Former DK prison chief convicted to 35 years in jail

13:31, July 26, 2010      

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The joint Cambodia-U.N. court on Monday sentenced former Democratic Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge) prison chief 35 years in jail for his crimes committed during the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime in late 1970s.

Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch was chief of security center in Phnom Penh with a code name as S-21, was convicted by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to 35 years in jail for torture and murder crime, and crimes against humanity.

Duch, 67, admitted he was responsible for the deaths of 12,273 at S-21 under his command, but argued he had committed at the orders of his bosses.

S-21 is now turned to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, located in Phnom Penh and draws many foreign tourists.

Some 1,000 people attended and heard the verdict in the ECCC, about 15 km west of capital Phnom Penh, including villagers, journalists, diplomats, government officials and Khmer Rouge-era survivors.

Duch has 30 days to file appeals to the tribunal's Supreme Court Chamber and will be granted an additional 60 days to file the appeals if he decided to do so. However, Duch's defense lawyer said earlier they vowed to appeal even his client was sentenced to a single day in jail.

It was said that Duch will be served only 30 years because he had been illegally detained for five years before handed over to ECCC.

Duch is the first one to have been convicted among the five Khmer Rouge leaders who are being detained and to be prosecuted by the ECCC for war crime and crimes against humanity.

The other four are Nuon Chea, former president of the parliament, Khieu Samphan, former DK's head of state, Ieng Sary, former foreign minister and his wife Ieng Thirith, minister of social affairs. They were all on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The ECCC is a U.N. backed court and it began to operate in 2005 with some 500 personnel, both the Cambodian and foreign staffs.

At the end of his 77-day trial that concluded last November, Duch was asking for forgiveness and expressed his remorse for the loss of lives under his command.

Duch was a teacher of mathematics and later turned to Christian before he was arrested in late 1990s.

The ECCC is also proceeding with the rest of four, but no date has yet been set for their trials.

Source: Xinhua


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