News / Asia

    Cambodia Court Extends Key Khmer Rouge Official's Prison Sentence

    Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Kek Iev alias Duch (C) greets the court during his appeal hearing at the Court Room of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, February 3, 2012.
    Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Kek Iev alias Duch (C) greets the court during his appeal hearing at the Court Room of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, February 3, 2012.

    The United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia has extended the sentence of a former Khmer Rouge torture chief to life in prison.

    Kaing Kek Iev, better known as Duch, had appealed to reduce his 35-year-term, but the court ruled his harsh crimes instead deserved an even longer sentence.

    Comrade Duch, who ran the main torture center of the Khmer Rouge during their brutal rule in the 1970s, was found guilty in 2010 of overseeing the torture and execution of more than 12,000 people at Tuol Sleng prison, also known as S-21, and gave him a commuted 19-year sentence.

    Although Duch admitted his role and asked for forgiveness, he surprised the court and upset victims by asking for acquittal. The 69-year-old argued he was a junior official only acting on orders and that more senior leaders should be held responsible because they did much worse.

    The tribunal’s Supreme Court disagreed. Speaking through a translator, the judge said Duch’s sentence must be proportionate to the crimes he committed.

    “The accused is responsible for detention, interrogation, torture, enslavement, and execution of a number of individuals who were not political enemies,” he said.

    The ruling ends the first and only successful prosecution by the United Nations-backed tribunal.

    The decision Friday was largely welcomed by observers and critics who say the court has not pursued cases against former Khmer Rouge aggressively enough. At the court, survivors of the Tuol Sleng prison camp cheered the ruling.

    Speaking to reporters after the verdict, Bou Meng said he was 100 percent satisfied with the court’s decision and the trial chamber is an example of a world court.

    There were a few dissenters to Friday’s verdict, including one of the tribunal’s main observers.

    Clair Duffy with the Open Society Justice Initiative said the life sentence violated Duch’s rights, arguing that it failed to account for eight years when he was illegally detained by the Cambodian military.

    “They gave him a five year reduction for the violation of his rights at trial and even the prosecutor agreed that that was correct. And by majority, mainly the national judges and one international voting with them, they've given absolutely no recognition for that,” Duffy stated.

    Since its founding in 2005, the court has spent close to $200 million and been dogged by allegations of political pressure to limit prosecutions.

    A second trial is underway of the three most senior surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge. They are former chief ideologist Nuon Chea, head of state Khieu Samphan, and foreign minister Ieng Sary.

    Cambodia’s Prime Minister has said the second trial should also be the last and warned further prosecutions could split the country.

    Last year, a United Nations-appointed judge was forced to step down after allegations that two other cases were dismissed after improper investigations.
    Cambodian authorities have refused to appoint his replacement, who has shown a willingness to prosecute more cases.

    Under the leadership of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge executed, tortured, starved, and worked to death up to two million Cambodians in pursuit of a communist utopia.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora