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Khmer Rouge leaders found guilty for 'killing fields'

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At least 1.7 million people were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. (Source: ECCC/CNN) At least 1.7 million people were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. (Source: ECCC/CNN)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (ECCC/CNN) - Two aging leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia have been found guilty of crimes against humanity for what became known as "the killing fields.”

The accused - both in their 80s - had denied their guilt and had sought acquittals.

Nuon Chea, the former deputy secretary of the communist party of Kampuchea, and Khieu Samphan, once the president of Democratic Kampuchea, were sentenced to life in prison.

At least 1.7 million people were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979.

Many victims were executed or died of forced labor and starvation as authorities tried to create an agrarian utopia.

The men are the first Khmer Rouge leaders ever to face justice.

Communist Khmer Rouge dictator Pol Pot died in 1998, just hours before he was to be handed over to an international tribunal.

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