Trial management next on agenda

Trial management next on agenda

The Trial Chamber will hold a trial management meeting tomorrow that will not be open to the public. Items on the agenda:

* The estimated duration of trial proceedings.

* Scheduled trial days and recesses.

* The allocation of time for presentations by civil parties.

Comrade Duch's trial will resume Monday with questioning about the operation of S-21. Discussion wrapped up today about armed conflict with Vietnam. It seems that the chamber has been trying to determine whether an armed conflict did indeed exist between the two countries before the severing of diplomatic ties in 1977. If it did, persecution of Vietnamese detainees at S-21 before 1977 would qualify as "war crimes."

However, Duch appears to remember little about the conflict, and claims he was not well informed about it at the time. He did acknowledge that at least a political conflict existed between the two Communist organizations prior to 1977, but that is not enough for a war crimes charge.

Civil party lawyers showed reasoned restraint today. Since it appeared Duch genuinely did not remember much about the conflict, and judges had already conducted extensive questioning, three of the four civil party groups chose not to pursue additional questions. In terms of trial management, this was a positive development, as a good deal of civil party questioning in the past has been repetitive.

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