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U.N. chief calls for justice in Cambodia

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  • U.N. chief appeals for justice in Cambodia on 10th anniversary of Pol Pot's death
  • Five former Khmer Rouge leaders have been detained and face charges
  • Pol Pot regime brutalized its enemies from 1975 to 1979 in Cambodia
  • Two million people perished in the Cambodian genocide
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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- On the tenth anniversary of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's death, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed Tuesday for the senior leaders of the regime to be brought to justice.

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A Khmer Rouge soldier stands near the body of leader Pol Pot in a small hut on April 16, 1998.

"I would like to remind the international community of the urgent importance of bringing to closure one of history's darkest chapters," Ban said in a statement.

The secretary-general said he hoped that the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia "will soon deliver long-overdue justice for the people of Cambodia."

"The United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia remain actively engaged in efforts to hold the Khmer Rouge senior leaders and those most responsible accountable for their horrific crimes," he said.

Five former Khmer Rouge leaders have been detained and will face the ECCC, most of them on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

They are: Kaing Guek Eav, the alleged chief torturer of the regime; former Khmer Rouge Prime Minister Khieu Samphan; Ieng Sary, the regime's former foreign minister, and his wife, Ieng Thirith; and Nuon Chea, the top surviving regime leader.

The ECCC, which was established by both the United Nations and Cambodia, became operational in 2006, but the first formal hearings took place in fall of last year.

More than 2 million people died during the party's efforts to transform Cambodia into an agrarian utopia before troops from neighboring Vietnam overthrew the regime. Remnants of the Khmer Rouge continued to battle Cambodia's government into the 1990s before they fragmented in the middle of the decade.

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Pol Pot, known as "Brother Number One" during the group's nearly four years in power, died in a jungle hideout in 1998. Ta Mok, the former Khmer Rouge military chief known as "The Butcher," died in a Cambodian military hospital in 2006 while awaiting trial for crimes against humanity.

The tribunal, which includes three Cambodian and two international jurists, is expected to continue until at least 2010. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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