Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 45 years sought for Duch

45 years sought for Duch

45 years sought for Duch

related coverage

Prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge tribunal are seeking a 45-year prison term without parole for former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, saying that the 30-year sentence he received in July is “plainly unjust”, according to an appeal made public Tuesday.

In their 66-page appeal, the prosecutors asked that the former jailer, better known as Duch, receive a life sentence that would then be commuted to 45 years due to his unlawful pretrial detention.

They also requested that “a further reduction be made as appropriate for the very limited mitigating circumstances” in the case, a reduction that international co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley said should be five years “at an absolute maximum”.

The prosecutors said the gravity of the crimes committed had led them to “an unmistakable conclusion that the Trial Chamber failed to exercise its sentencing discretion properly”.

“The facts are stubborn. They will not go away,” the prosecutors wrote in their appeal.

“There comes a point where the crimes committed are sufficiently grave and the offender sufficiently notorious, or in such a position of authority, that the highest sentence must be imposed. That point was reached and passed here.”

Duch became the first person sentenced at the tribunal in July when he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions for his role as head of the Khmer Rouge secret police and his leadership of Tuol Sleng, a facility in which nearly all of the perhaps 14,000 prisoners who passed through were eventually killed.
The Trial Chamber judges initially settled on a 35-year sentence, rather than a maximum life term, because of mitigating circumstances including Duch’s cooperation with the court and his “limited” expressions of remorse.
They deducted an additional five years because of the period of unlawful detention Duch served at a military court following his arrest in 1999.
With credit for time served, Duch stands to be released in roughly 19 years, a sentence that a number of victims charged was unacceptably short.
Cayley said the decision to appeal had been driven both by legal analysis and public opinion.
“We certainly listened to the public in making this decision, and certainly to the victims, which we have an obligation to do, but I also think we examined the judgment very carefully and we felt that too much consideration was given to the mitigating circumstances,” Cayley said.
During closing arguments last year, the prosecution requested that Duch receive a 40-year prison term.
Anne Heindel, a legal adviser at the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, said that in view of international precedent, the nature of Duch’s offences could augur an increased term.
“The average seems to go up when you’ve committed crimes over an extended period,” Heindel said. “I do think that that is an important factor that should weigh in.”
Duch’s defence lawyers have also announced plans to appeal against the judgment, charging that their client does not fall within the tribunal’s mandate to investigate “senior leaders and those most responsible” for crimes committed under Democratic Kampuchea.
The prosecution has requested that appeal hearings be held publicly, and Cayley guessed that they would begin “towards end of this year or the beginning of next year”.
Tuol Sleng survivor Chum Mey said the appeal was in accordance with victims’ wishes.
“I think if the court sentences [Duch] to 45 years in prison, we would accept it because we consider that the same as a life sentence,” Chum Mey said.

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • 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