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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs