Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court points to Duch verdict lessons

Court points to Duch verdict lessons

Court points to Duch verdict lessons

KHMER Rouge tribunal officials yesterday told a standing-room-only auditorium of roughly 350 students at the Royal University of Law and Economics in Phnom Penh that they should learn from July’s verdict in the case of Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, as they work to strengthen Cambodia’s judicial system.

“What is important for you to remember – and this is probably my most important lesson for you today – you are the judicial reform,” said Knut Rosandhaug, deputy director of administration at the tribunal. “If you don’t do it, nobody will.”

On July 26, the Trial Chamber found Duch guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 30 years in prison, a sum that took into consideration his unlawful pretrial detention.

Rosandhaug recommended that students study the verdict in order to learn how to recognise accepted legal arguments, how to test the relevance and weight of such arguments, and how to structure a case.

Prosecutors submitted their appeal of the verdict last week, seeking 45 years for Duch on the grounds that the 30-year sentence was “plainly unjust”. Defence lawyers have said they also plan to appeal.

Students can also learn from the appeal process, Rosandhaug said.

“It’s absolutely permitted – it’s allowed to disagree with a judicial decision, but you have to do it in a legally accepted manner,” Rosandhaug said. “If you get that message, which is not easy to get, you will be able to do the legal reform this country needs.”

Third-year student Ngeth Puthearoth said after the presentation that he viewed the Duch verdict favourably because, he said, it affirmed the moral basis for universal human rights. “This case can make people know they have the right to live, to study – all over the world”, he said. “The case refers to morals. Before doing something, people should think about morals. That’s why we create law.”

Tony Kranh, acting director of administration at the tribunal, said in his remarks that “more than 50,000 Cambodians” attended proceedings in the Duch case.

MOST VIEWED

  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • PM's Bodyguard commander hits back at US

    The commander of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit (BGU) Hing Bun Heang on Sunday dismissed a short video clip that went viral on social media in which he says he is preparing for a war with the United States over its aggressiveness towards

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth