Former S-21 chairman Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, was transferred from his temporary detention quarters at the Khmer Rouge tribunal to Kandal Provincial Prison yesterday, where he will live out the rest of his days.
Some 15 months after the tribunal’s highest body handed down its final verdict against Duch and increased his sentence to life in prison, prosecutors in late May approved a specially constructed cell at the provincial jail and requested the transfer, which was signed off on a week ago, the tribunal announced yesterday.
“While recognising the practical constraints of local prison conditions, the Co-Prosecutors have concluded . . . that the prison accommodation on offer to Kaing Guek Eav is that which will best protect his interests,” reads a court statement.
Planning for post-verdict detention of the crimes against humanity convict has been tricky, with the court expected to ensure international standards and the Cambodian prisons system all but unable to accommodate such needs.
The prison to which Duch was moved yesterday is arguably the nation’s best – a model prison funded and built by Australia in 2006 at a cost of roughly $1 million. But even there, conditions are far from perfect, and it has taken nearly a year and several thousand dollars to ensure Duch’s cell and the prison meet minimum rights standards, said co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley.
“The government have really made many, many efforts to make sure these facilities are useful,” he said.
Cayley said prosecutors carried out an “extensive” internal report on prison conditions in the wake of the improvements, which include building work, equipment and furnishings. Among the findings of the report were that Duch would have access to purified drinking water, adequate meals, acceptable medical facilities and no impediments to the free practice of religion, said Cayley.
“The department of prisons within the Ministry of Interior have been extremely co-operative and supportive,” he said. “I’m confident that he will be secured and his rights protected.”
Additional reporting by Vong Sokheng