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.

Friday, August 22, 2008

More charges sought against Khmer Rouge jailer

The International Herald Tribune
The Associated Press
Published: August 21, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Prosecutors at Cambodia's genocide tribunal said Thursday they will seek to have more charges added to the indictment issued against a former member of the Khmer Rouge who headed the group's most notorious prison.

A senior genocide researcher said the plan to appeal the court's indictment could cause another snag in efforts to convene the trial of Kaing Guek Eav — also known as Duch — who headed the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh in the late 1970s.

The trial for Duch, 66, has been expected to open in late September.

About 16,000 men, women and children are believed to have been held at the prison, which served as a torture center for the Khmer Rouge. Only 14 are thought to have survived.

The number is a small fraction of the estimated 1.7 million deaths attributed to the radical policies of the communist Khmer Rouge, who held power in 1975-79.

In a prepared statement, the prosecutors said the charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes for which Duch has been indicted "may prevent the trial chamber from fully accounting for Duch's criminal responsibility" during his tenure at the prison.

"They believe that there should be a wider scope to the charges," Peter Foster, a tribunal spokesman, said Thursday.

In their final submission in July, the prosecutors had also sought to have Duch charged for homicide and torture — crimes under Cambodian law — in addition to crimes against humanity and war crimes under international law.

But last week, after finishing their mandated probe, the investigating judges issued their order indicting Duch only for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The prosecutors argued in response that Duch should also be charged "for his responsibility as a co-perpetrator for a significant number of crimes that occurred as part of a joint criminal enterprise inside" the prison.

They said their mandate "is not just to prosecute certain individuals but ... also to ensure the recording of a full and truthful account of the crimes of the Khmer Rouge and the individual criminality of those responsible for them."

The prosecutors said they will file their appeal before the statutory deadline of Sept. 10.

Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, an independent group researching Khmer Rouge atrocities, said he feared that the prosecutors' move would cause a further delay to the trial, which will come almost three decades after the fall of the group.

"It won't ease the frustration of the public," he said. Many fear the five former Khmer Rouge leaders in detention may die before they face justice.

Copyright © 2008 the International Herald Tribune All rights reserved


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