Historic ruling

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Samphan (left) and Chea

PHNOM PENH — Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime committed “genocide” during its reign of terror from 1975-1979, a UN-backed war crimes court said Friday in a historic ruling.

“The chamber… finds that the crimes of genocide… were committed” against ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslims, presiding judge Nil Nonn said — the first time the court has issued such a ruling.

Two senior leaders of Khmer Rouge regime were sentenced to life imprisonment for killings during the group’s brutal rule of Cambodia in the late 1970s.

The Khmer Rouge’s former head of state Khieu Samphan, 87 and “Brother Number 2” Nuon Chea, 92, are the two most senior living members of the ultra-Maoist group that seized control of Cambodia from 1975-1979.

The reign of terror led by “Brother Number 1” Pol Pot left around two million Cambodians dead from overwork, starvation and mass executions.

The two defendants were previously handed life sentences in 2014 over the violent and forced evacuation of Phnom Penh in April 1975.

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