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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid