Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NY Review of Books on ECCC

NY Review of Books on ECCC

NY Review of Books on ECCC


Duch at the tribunal last year with defense lawyers Francois Roux (left) and Kar Savuth (ECCC).

The New York Review of Books had a blog post last week on the ECCC by Stéphanie Giry, editor-at-large of Foreign Affairs. Giry writes about Case 001 and the extent to which Duch was able to exert his influence over the proceedings:

For his part in overseeing the torture and execution of at least 12,273 prisoners, Duch was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and sentenced to a 35-year prison term, with 19 years left to serve. But after spending much of the 77 days of court hearings expressing remorse, he is now appealing the sentence and asking to be released, claiming that he was neither one of the regime’s leaders nor among those “most responsible” for the Khmer Rouge’s atrocities, the only people the special court in Phnom Penh is entitled to try. This request reflects a dramatic last-minute shift in the defense’s strategy, from cooperating with the court to disputing its authority to judge Duch. That Duch could undermine the trial and its outcome in this way highlights its central flaw: all along, he was allowed to dominate the telling, and so influence the judging, of his own crimes.

Duch's shock bid for acquittal, Giry suggests, is part of a strategy by defense lawyer Kar Savuth to "[set] the stage for an early release a few years into Duch’s sentence". As the case moves to the Supreme Court Chamber, however, prosecutors are hoping to close off this possibility - in their appeal brief filed last month, they asked that Duch receive 45 years in prison "without the possibility of a parole". 

Giry also notes in passing that "two army generals" are among the five suspects who are being investigated in advance of Cases 003 and 004 (and whose identities remain confidential). UN court spokesman Lars Olsen said, however, that "any names or positions figuring in the media are pure speculation".

Also last week, the American magazine The Nation had a lengthy piece on the International Criminal Court and the changing face of international justice. The ECCC is mentioned only briefly, but the article provides a nice overview of the progress of contemporary war crimes prosecutions around the world. 

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon