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.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Prosecutors Want Khmer Rouge Chief Held

Prosecutors Want Khmer Rouge Chief Held


The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 21, 2007

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Prosecutors urged a U.N.-backed genocide tribunal Wednesday to deny bail to the former head of the Khmer Rouge's largest torture center, saying his release could pose a threat to public order in Cambodia.

Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, is charged with committing crimes against humanity as the commandant of the regime's notorious Tuol Sleng prison. He is one of five people held in connection with the communist regime's brutal rule of Cambodia in the 1970s.

Duch became the first defendant to appear before the long-awaited tribunal when his bail hearing opened Tuesday. His defense lawyers argued that Duch's human rights have been violated by his long detention and that he should be freed on bail ahead of trials expected to start next year. He has been in custody since 1999.

The Khmer Rouge regime is blamed for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people during its reign from 1975-79. Many have said they feared the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders might die before being brought to justice. The movement's notorious leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998.

Duch, now 65, was the commandant of the Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh, also known as S-21. As many as 16,000 men, women and children were tortured there before being executed outside the capital at the site known as "the killing fields." Only 14 people are thought to have survived.

Prosecutors called Duch a "flight risk" and urged the court Wednesday to keep him behind bars _ for his own safety and in the interest of public order. Duch's trial is expected to start in the middle of next year, but the tribunal has not yet set specific dates for any of the trials.

If Duch were released he could be harmed both by "accomplices wishing to silence him and by the relatives of victims seeking revenge," Robert Petit, a prosecutor from Canada, told the court.

Petit added that "the entire public order (could) be jeopardized" if the aging Khmer Rouge official were freed.

Graying and frail, Duch took the witness stand for a second day Wednesday dressed in the same white polo shirt he wore a day earlier.

His lawyers, countryman Kar Savuth and Francois Roux of France, argued that he should be released because his human rights had been violated during the eight years he already spent in a Cambodian military prison on war crimes charges before being transferred to the tribunal's custody in July.

Duch has said he was simply following orders from the top to save his own life. "I was under other people's command, and I would have died if I disobeyed it," he told a government interrogator after his arrest.

Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, 76, was arrested Monday and charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Last week, authorities arrested Ieng Sary, the regime's ex-foreign minister, and his wife Ieng Thirith, its social affairs minister. Both were charged with crimes against humanity; Ieng Sary was also charged with war crimes.

Former Khmer Rouge ideologist Nuon Chea was detained in September on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.


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