ECCC Reparations

This blog is designed to serve as a repository of analyses, news reports and press releases related to the issue of RERAPATIONS within the framework of the Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a.k.a. the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cambodian tribunal to hold first public hearing on detained Khmer Rouge leader's appeal

Cambodian tribunal to hold first public hearing on detained Khmer Rouge leader's appeal

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: A former Khmer Rouge leader charged with crimes against humanity will appear publicly in a courtroom for the first time when his appeal against detention is heard, an official said Wednesday.

The appeal by lawyers for Kaing Guek Eav, the former Khmer Rouge prison chief also known as Duch, "will be the first courtroom proceeding" of any kind held by the tribunal, said Reach Sambath, a spokesman for Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal.

He said no date has yet been set for the hearing but it could be in late November or early December.

"The public hearing will encourage the people to be involved in the process of the trial. We expect a lot of people will participate in the hearing," Reach Sambath said.

A panel of five judges — three Cambodian and two international officials — of the pretrial chamber will conduct the proceeding, a tribunal statement said. Duch will be present, Reach Sambath said.

Duch headed the Khmer Rouge's S-21 prison and torture center, where some 16,000 suspected enemies of the regime were tortured before being taken out and executed in an area near the capital later known as the "killing field," which eventually became the location of a genocide museum. Only about a dozen of prisoners are thought to have survived.

He has been charged with crimes against humanity committed when the Khmer Rouge held power from 1975-79.

The communist group's radical policies caused the deaths of some 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.

In their appeal motion last month, Kar Savuth and François Roux, Duch's Cambodian and French lawyers, asked that their client "be released immediately."

The argued that Duch's rights had already been violated because he has been held without trial in a military prison since May 1999.

They called the previous detention period "excessive and illegal" under Cambodian law and under the international human rights standards. They said Duch must "be awarded compensation for the harm he has suffered as a result of the time he has spent" in the military prison.

Duch was transferred to the custody of the tribunal in July.

In their detention order issued just after taking Duch into custody, the tribunal's co-investigating judges rejected a similar argument, saying they did not have jurisdiction to determine the legality of Duch's prior detention.

They also said granting him freedom could provoke public anger and violence that could imperil Duch's own safety.

Besides Duch, the only other suspect detained by the tribunal is Nuon Chea, the former Khmer Rouge ideologist who has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The prosecutors have recommended three other suspects for trial but not named them yet.

Last week, the Khmer Rouge's former foreign minister, Ieng Sary, said he believed he will be the next one to face charges by the genocide tribunal, but denied responsibility for the atrocities during his group's rule.

The trials are expected to begin next year.


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