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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Duch verdict set for February

Duch verdict set for February

After more than 15 months considering the appeals in the Khmer Rouge tribunal Case 001, the Supreme Court Chamber yesterday announced it would not deliver a decision until February 3.

Kang Guek Eav, alias Duch, was director of the infamous S-21 interrogation and execution facility in Phnom Penh during the Khmer Rouge regime, where more than 12,000 people were detained, tortured and executed.

He was arrested in July, 2007 and later charged with crimes against humanity and breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

“The Supreme Court Chamber has taken too long,” Duch’s lawyer, Kang Ritheary, told the Post yesterday. “It is not Cambodian procedure to declare the verdict after waiting so long.

“It is not a good example for Cambodian courts – the ECCC should be a role model.”

Under Cambodian criminal procedure, a court must announce the date it will deliver a decision “as soon as possible” legal expert Sok Sam Oeun, president of the Cambodian Defender’s Project said.

“This is a very special case, but it shows that the court does not care about the detention period for the accused.”

In July, 2010, after about seven months of deliberations, the Trial Chamber decided to sentence Duch to 35 years imprisonment, of which he was expected to serve only 19 years after being giving a five-year sentence reduction and credit for 11 years spent in pre-trial detention.

The defence, co-prosecutors and civil parties all filed appeals against the verdict to the Supreme Court Chamber.

The defence appealed the verdict and the sentence, requesting the judgment be set aside as the tribunal did not have jurisdiction to prosecute Duch.

The co-prosecutors also appealed the verdict and the sentence, requesting a life sentence for Duch.

The civil-party lawyers likewise appealed against the decision, which offered only 66 of the 90 victims who applied as civil parties any relief.

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