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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs