Trial of ex-Khmer Rouge jailer to be delayed
The Associated Press
Published: August 22, 2008
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Plans to begin the trial of a former Khmer Rouge jailer will be delayed by the prosecutors' attempt to have more charges added to the indictment of the suspect, judges for Cambodia genocide tribunal complained on Friday.
The delay is regrettable, the judges said in a statement a day after the tribunal's prosecutors decided to appeal the indictment for Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch.
Duch headed the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh in the late 1970s. 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.
The trial for Duch, 66, had been expected to open in late September.
But it now "will be delayed by the appeal" of the prosecutors, the investigating judges said in a brief statement Friday.
While "regretting" the delay, the judges said they "remain determined to do their utmost to ensure that justice is rendered to the Cambodian people as speedily as possible."
It is not clear how long it will take to rule on the prosecutors' appeal.
Many fear the five former Khmer Rouge leaders in detention may die before they face justice.
On Thursday, the tribunal's prosecutors said they will seek to have charges of homicide and torture — crimes under Cambodian national law — added to the indictment.
They said limiting the indictment to charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, which fall under international law and 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.
The prosecutors argued 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.
Copyright © 2008 the International Herald Tribune All rights reserved