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Prosecutors appeal Duch indictment

Prosecutors appeal Duch indictment

Fears charges may be too broad to convict on

KHMER Rouge tribunal prosecutors are to appeal the indictment of S-21 prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, who stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, saying the court order did not represent the full extent of his alleged crime.

The accused, also known as Duch, is the first of five Khmer Rouge leaders to be indicted for his role in the 1975-79 regime.

In a statement issued Thursday, the co-prosecutors claimed that while the closing order contained charges that may ensure Duch's conviction, it did not "charge Duch for his responsibility, as co-perpetrator, for a significant number of crimes that occurred as part of a joint criminal enterprise inside S-21".

The statement also claimed that the appeal was not broad enough to stand up in court, and would need to incorporate charges under Cambodian law as well as international law.

"The closing order omits to charge Duch under the Cambodian Penal Code of 1956, even if the ECCC statute grants the court jurisdiction over these crimes. Charges under that code would reflect Duch's complete criminal conduct, would advance domestic Cambodian Law and would be highly significant for the Cambodian people," the statement said.

The appeal adds another impediment to the prosecution of Duch, whose indictment heralded the end of a nine-month pretrial period.

Court spokesman Reach Sambath said Thursday that the court was not worried the appeal will delay justice.  "They are exercising their right. We cannot put pressure on them," he said.

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