News / Asia

    Prosecution Wants Increased Sentence for Khmer Rouge War Criminal Duch

    Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, gestures in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, March 29, 2011
    Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, gestures in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, March 29, 2011
    Robert Carmichael

    The prosecution at Tuesday’s appeal hearing for Comrade Duch, the former head of the Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison, has asked the United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal to increase the jail term it handed down last year. 

    March 29 marked day two of the scheduled three-day appeal court hearing for Comrade Duch, the Khmer Rouge’s former chief jailer, who has asked to be acquitted and released.

    Last year, the United Nations-backed tribunal sentenced Duch to 35 years in prison but reduced the term to 19 years because of time served and other factors.

    The lower court had found Duch responsible for the deaths of more than 12,000 detainees at S-21 prison, which he headed between 1976 and 1979.

    Displeased prosecutor

    On Tuesday, international prosecutor Andrew Cayley told the seven-judge Supreme Chamber bench that the lower court’s sentence was manifestly inadequate.

    He pointed out Duch’s change of strategy in the final days of his 2009 trial, when the 68-year-old defendant asked the court to acquit and release him.  That represented a stunning 180-degree turn, after nine months of Duch telling judges he was "guilty but sorry."

    Cayley says the lower court was mistaken to have placed so much weight on mitigating circumstances.

    He cited a number of areas in which he felt the lower court had been too generous - including Duch’s numerous expressions of regret which he feels were bogus.

    "In respect of remorse: the accused’s continued requests for release underscores in a case like this - involving massive criminality - the fact that the accused, to this day, lacks real sincere remorse for what happened," Cayley said.

    What Duch did

    S-21 prison, which Duch oversaw for three years, was a secret center where the Khmer Rouge sent thousands of perceived enemies of the revolution.

    An estimated 15,000 people were tortured and interrogated at S-21 and then killed after Duch signed their execution orders.

    Despite that, Duch’s lawyers told the appeal hearing Monday that their client should be freed.

    They claim that Duch's case does not fall within the court's mandate because he was not a senior leader of the Khmer Rouge. They say he should be acquitted and freed.

    On Tuesday, Duch’s lawyers said their client was a man who had acted under duress, expressed remorse and had not benefited, personally, from his years spent running S-21.

    The defense repeated that Duch had simply been following orders and that, if he had not done what he was told to do, he would have been killed.  His lawyer went so far as to describe Duch as a good man.

    Life term


    Not surprisingly, the prosecution disagreed.  Andrew Cayley says the appeal court should increase Duch's sentence because of the gravity of his crimes.

    Cayley says the prosecution recognizes Duch is entitled to some time off as compensation for being held illegally by the Cambodian authorities for years before his trial.

    "But we call for the imposition of a life term, reduced to 45 years simply to take account of that period of illegal detention," Cayley explained. "But, for the purposes of history, a life term must be imposed in this case for all of the reasons I have stated. "

    Duch’s appeal is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday and represents his last chance for release.

    The appeal chamber will deliver its verdict in June.

    You May Like

    US, Allies Discuss Next Steps in Islamic State Fight

    Meeting comes a day after US Navy SEAL was killed while fighting Islamic State forces in northern Iraq

    In China, Traditional Banks Fight Challenge From Internet Firms

    Internet companies lent more than $150 billion to customers in 2015, which is an extremely small amount compared to the much larger lending by commercial banks last year

    Trump Faces Tough Presidential Odds Against Clinton

    Numerous national election surveys show former secretary of state defeating presumptive Republican nominee with tough talk to halt illegal immigration and temporarily block Muslims from entering country

    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.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora