Prosecutors demand life for Duch | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 30.03.2011
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Prosecutors demand life for Duch

Prosecutors have urged a U.N.-backed tribunal in Cambodia to impose a stiffer sentence on the Khmer Rouge's chief jailer Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch.

Kaing Guek Eav was head of the notorious Tuol Sleng prison, known as S-21

Kaing Guek Eav (Duch) ran the notorious Tuol Sleng prison, known as the S-21 in the late 1970s

On Tuesday, prosecutors called for "a life term, reduced to no less than 45 years." The prosecution argued that Duch had failed to show "real, sincere remorse." They also demanded that enslavement, imprisonment, torture, extermination, rape and other inhumane acts to be added to Duch's list of convictions.

Cambodian victim Hong Savath, 47, weeps after the sentencing of Kaing Gek Eav in 2010

Survivors demand more reparations such as memorials and free psychological support

Survivors and relatives of some of the 15,000 people who died in the notorious Khmer Rouge's Tuol Sleng prison made a final call for more reparations as the appeal case drew to a close on Wednesday. Brice Poirier from Advocats Sans Frontieres, which represents some of the victims, known as the civil parties, said their appeal marked "the last moment for civil parties to get justice."

The only reparations the victims will be receiving are that their names will be included in the judgment and Duch's apologies will be published. A ruling on the appeals is expected in late June.

Reduced prison sentence

The 68-year-old Duch was sentenced last July to 35 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity. His sentence was reduced to 19 years due to time and other technicalities. In their appeal on Monday, Duch's lawyer called for his acquittal and release, saying the court has no right to try him because he falls outside the court's mandate to prosecute the regime's senior leaders and those most responsible for the crimes committed. They argued that their client was "just a minor secretary" following orders.

Skulls on display at the Genocide memorial in Phnom Penh

Two million Cambodians died during the Khmer Rouge's rule

Duch headed the Khmer Rouge's Tuol Sleng prison, known as the S-21. Up to 16,000 people were tortured under Duch's command during the regime's 1975-1979 rule. Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge wiped out up to two million people through starvation, overwork and execution.

The prison chief Duch is the first former Khmer Rouge cadre to face an international tribunal. Four more of the regime's former members, including "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, are due to go on trial later this year; Duch is expected to appear as a witness in their cases.

Author: Ziphora Robina (AFP/ap)
Editor: Sarah Berning

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