Statement: “The Khmer Rouge killed almost 2 million Cambodians,” [...] “Therefore, we should not release [them].”
Appeal Rejected, Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Detained
Posted date : 04-12-2007
Source : Rasmei Kampuchea By : Brewin
Number of Visitors : 42 Print
Phnom Penh: The Khmer Rouge Tribunal on December 3 denied bail of Kaing Guek Eav, commonly known as Duch, Tuol Sleng prison chief of the Democratic Kampuchea regime, and decided to continue to detain him, with concerns that he might flee, put pressure on witnesses, or destroy evidence.
Having understood that the hearing of the appeal by Duch has been carefully observed by the public, media and international community and that Cambodians do not have enough law bases, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal issued a detailed verdict to explain the basic law which states the necessity of the detention of Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch.
Prak Kimsan, president of the Pre-Trial Chamber, spent one hour and a half to read a detailed verdict while the accused Duch was listening quietly and carefully. According to the verdict read by Prak Kimsan, the Judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber have decided anonymously to reject the appeal by Duch and to affirm the order for provisional detention of the Co-Investigating Judges. The verdict states that the Pre-Trial Chamber thinks that the detention of Duch is necessary to prevent him from putting pressure on witnesses or destroying evidence. The verdict explains in detail that if Duch is released, witnesses will be frightened to testify in the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal while they have already been worried to participate as witness in the prosecution of former Khmer Rouge leaders.
Besides, the Pre-Trial Chamber is also worried that Duch, who could face the life imprisonment, might flee if he is released.
The verdict reasons that so far Duch had escaped from one place to another by changing his name and jobs very often. Moreover, the concern of his personal security is also a reason that the Pre-Trial Chamber continues to detain him and rejects his appeal for release on bail. The Pre-Trial Chamber is also worried that the victims could take revenge on him as his identity has been revealed and as he is publicly known.
Duch’s lawyer Francois Roux expresses his disappointment over the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber. “I am disappointed by the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber, which does not consider the case that Duch has been detained for more than 8 years,” he said. He, however, said that he could not comment on the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber.
While the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber cannot be appealed, Francois Roux claimed that he would re-state the issue of Duch’s detention for more than 8 years which violates Cambodian law and the UN agreements on the civil and political rights when the Khmer Rouge trial is held in mid-2008.
Concerning the issue the Pre-Trial Chamber explains that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is independent and not authorized to check the activities of the Military Court. The Khmer Rouge Tribunal is not connected to the Military Court.
The Cambodian Military Court had detained Duch for more than 8 years before he was sent to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. The prolonged 8-year detention has become the weak point Duch’s lawyers try to explain in order that his client can be released on bail. However, the verdict denies any relation between the Military Court and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
Observation on Duch while the Judges release the verdict
At around 2 p.m. Prak Kimsan, president of the Pre-Trial Chamber, requested Duch to stand before a curved wooden dock in order to listen to the verdict but with the suggestion from Duch’s lawyers, Prak Kimsan allowed him to sit and listen to the verdict. While Judge Prak Kimsan was reading the verdict, Duch quietly cast a glance at the five judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber and strained his ears to listen carefully. In the hearing room, Duch did not show any sign of shock although he was worried. Rarely did Duch look at the more than 10 observers who were allowed to watch and listen in a small hearing room, while many others were watching a big screen in the big hall.
Sometimes, Duch took a glace at the symbol of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal which decided his fate. What important is that when the judge announced that his bail was rejected, Duch was not surprised. When he was escorted across the observers, he turned and smiled at them in the hearing room before he was brought into a car driving him to the detention cells which is only 20-30 metres away from the hearing room.
The decision delights people
Thon Saray, director of the ADHOC human right group, said that the decision made Cambodians who had been waiting longingly for justice happy. “The decision reflects the importance that the trial of Khmer Rouge leaders is held as soon as possible, since the Khmer Rouge leaders are very old,” he said, adding that they were also with illnesses.
Mey Chum, who was among the people attending the hearing, said that he supported the decision of the Khmer Rouge court. “The Khmer Rouge killed almost 2 million Cambodians,” he said, “Therefore, we should not release [them].”
-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 15, # 4453, Tuesday, December 04, 2007