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KR witness list sent to judges

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Prosecutors of Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav have submitted a

list of witnesses who they believe should testify against the Khmer

Rouge cadre.

Photo by:
AFP

A Khmer Rouge victim outside the tribunal on the day of Nuon Chea's appeal against his pretrial detention.

PROSECUTORS at the Khmer Rouge tribunal confirmed Tuesday that they have sent a list of witnesses they wish to be called upon in the court's upcoming first trial of former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, expected to begin in March.

International prosecutor Robert Petit told the Post that a list had been submitted to the trial chamber of the court, but did not want to disclose how many witnesses it included. He said, however, that given the amount, the trial would likely take between three to four months.

According to the rules of the court, other parties have until January 19 to submit their own witness lists before judges finally choose whom they will summon.

International lawyer for civil party participants Silke Studzinsky told the Post Tuesday she believed the list to include survivors as well as people who had worked at the school-turned-torture facility that Duch headed, but could not give details until the judges had formally summoned them.

When contacted by the Post Tuesday, Van Nath, a survivor of the prison, was unable to confirm that he would be summoned to court, but as one of the only surviving witnesses to the crimes of the accused, said he was ready to testify.

 "I have waited a long time for the hearing of [Duch]. I will present my evidence and talk to the tribunal about the torture and condition of life at the prison, in which I was detained during the regime," he said.

"I have told the tribunal already about this evidence and when the KRT needs me, I am happy to testify," he added.

How many is enough?

Media reports speculated Tuesday that more than 30 witnesses were on the prosecutors' list. Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, said he believed this to be "reasonable" considering the trial focused only on one prison, but said he hoped the court would not forget the importance of victim participation.

 "I would remind the court that there are many victims that would like to participate in the trial," he said Tuesday.

Up to 16,000 people were tortured or killed at Tuol Sleng. 

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