Prosecution to seek life term for Khmer Rouge war criminal Duch
March 27, 2011
Phnom Penh - The prosecution in the appeal case of the former head of security for the
Khmer Rouge in Cambodia said Sunday it would seek a tougher sentence from the
United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal when it opens on Monday.
Last year, the tribunal's lower chamber sentenced Comrade Duch, whose real name is
Kaing Guek Eav, to 35 years in jail for his role in the deaths of at least 12,272 detainees
at the notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh in the 1970s.
Duch's sentence was reduced to 19 years for time already served and compensation for
being held illegally prior to trial.
The prosecution will seek to have him jailed for life on the grounds that the original
sentence was too lenient.
'The most important ground of appeal is that the sentence given by the trial chamber was
manifestly inadequate,' international co- prosecutor Andrew Cayley said. 'We are seeking
Prosecutors also objected to the court's decision to subsume a number of crimes against
humanity charges into a single conviction. Cayley said those charges were so significant
that Duch should be found guilty of them individually.
Duch's appeal against the conviction is scheduled to last three days, with the verdict
likely to be delivered in June. Duch's lawyers are arguing that the court did not have
jurisdiction to try him.
The 68-year-old is the first person the international court has found guilty of crimes
committed under the Khmer Rouge regime, which ruled Cambodia between 1975-79.
The tribunal was established to try surviving senior leaders and those considered 'most
responsible' for crimes committed by the ultra-Maoist regime.
Duch's trial in 2009 saw him mount a spectacular turnaround when he reversed his 'guilty
but sorry' plea. In the final days of the nine-month hearing, his lawyer told the court that
Duch should be acquitted and released.
In their appeal defence lawyers argue that their client did not fall into the category of
'those most responsible' for crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge.
S-21 was a torture and execution centre for perceived enemies of the revolution. Just a
handful of an estimated 15,000 detainees survived.
The appeal comes months ahead of the start of the second - and possibly final - case that
the Khmer Rouge tribunal will hear.
Four senior former Khmer Rouge leaders are set to face trial on charges of genocide, war
crimes, and crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the deaths of up to 2.2
million people from execution, disease, starvation and overwork.
All four deny the charges.
The four are: Brother Number Two Nuon Chea, the movement's ideologue; head of state
Khieu Samphan; foreign minister Ieng Sary; and his wife, the social affairs minister Ieng
Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, died in 1998.