Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

'Ice Bucket Challenge' angers anti-abortion activists

Read more

#TECH 24

Tomorrow's Transport Today

Read more

FOCUS

Mothers and children leaving Honduras at all costs

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

US journalist Peter Theo Curtis freed in Syria

Read more

ENCORE!

An art wonderland: A burnt-out piano, a bed in a box and a giant magic mushroom

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Historian Jean Garrigues: 'For the first time, Hollande knows what he is doing'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Russian troops have entered Ukraine, says Kiev

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Khmer Rouge prison chief 'Duch' found guilty

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-26

A UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Cambodia sentenced the former Khmer Rouge prison chief known as "Duch" on Monday to 35 years for murder and torture as well as crimes against humanity as chief of the notorious Tuol Sleng prison in the 1970s.

REUTERS - A U.N.-backed tribunal sentenced a senior member of the Khmer Rouge to 35 years in prison on Monday in its first verdict three decades after the "Killing Fields" revolution tore Cambodia apart.

The verdict was short of the maximum 40 years sought by the prosecution and of the life behind bars demanded by many Cambodians who have struggled for decades to find closure for one of the darkest chapters of the 20th century.
 

Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, was found guilty of murder, torture, rape, inhumane acts, crimes against humanity and other charges for running a prison that symbolised the horrors of the ultra-communist regime blamed for 1.7 million deaths in 1975-79.
 
The 67-year-old the former schoolteacher, who admitted to overseeing the torture and killing of more than 14,000 people, will only serve 30 years because the court ruled he was held illegally by the Cambodian military from 1999 to 2007.
 
Duch betrayed no emotion as the verdict was read but some Cambodians wept loudly in the courtroom.
 
"There is no jusice. I wanted life imprisonment for Duch," said Hong Sovath, 47, sobbing. Her father, a diplomat, was killed in the prison. Khan Mony, whose aunt was executed after passing through the Duch's jail, said he was devastated.
 
"The verdict is not fair. This warranted life. Duch killed so many people. If this court was fair, people would have been calm and accepted this," she said.
 

The court said at least 12,273 people were killed at Duch's Tuol Sleng prison, a converted high school also known as S-21 but acknowledged the number could be as high as 14,000.
 
"The chamber has decided there are significant mitigating factors that mandate a finite term imprisonment rather than life imprisonment," the tribunal's president said, citing Duch's expressions of remorse and cooperation with the court.
 
Complex cases
 
Thousands huddled around televisions in cafes and homes to watch live broadcasts of the verdict, the first by the joint U.N.-Cambodian court set up to end decades of silence over atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge.
 
Now a born-again Christian, Duch had expressed "excruciating remorse" for the S-21 victims, most of them tortured and forced to confess to spying and other crimes before they were bludgeoned at the "Killing Fields" execution sites during the agrarian revolution, which ended with a 1979 invasion by Vietnam.
 
Some have expressed hope the verdict would finally give the impoverished nation a chance to move forward -- and a chance for investors to guage whether rule of law has taken root in one of Asia's most promising frontier markets.
 
Justice, however, could be elusive. Duch's case is clear-cut and only the start. More controversy awaits when, or if, four other cadres indicted by the court are finally tried.
 
The cases of former President Khieu Samphan, "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, ex-Foreign Minister Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith are highly complex and politicised. Many fear they may never go to trial, or they might die before seeing a courtroom.
 
Standing in the way of justice, analysts say, is not just the excessive bureaucracy and a drawn-out legal process, but a powerful single-party government that has never fully backed the tribunal and has historical ties to the Khmer Rouge.
 
Many former Khmer Rouge members are now part of Cambodia's civil service and occupy top positions in provincial and central government and experts say they are keen to curtail the court's progress and limit the scope of future investigations.
 
Long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen is himself a former Khmer Rouge foot soldier who says he defected to eventual conquerers Vietnam. He has warned of another civil war if the court expands its probes into the horrors of Pol Pot's "year zero" revolution.
 
Finance Minister Keat Chhon has also admitted his involvement as an interpreter for late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, while Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has been accused of having Khmer Rouge connections and heading a detention centre. He denies the claims.

 

Date created : 2010-07-26

  • CAMBODIA

    Former Khmer Rouge prison chief 'Duch' fires lawyer ahead of court ruling

    Read more

  • CAMBODIA

    Cambodia threatens to expel UN envoy over 'interference'

    Read more

  • CAMBODIA

    First genocide charges issued against former Khmer Rouge leaders

    Read more

COMMENT(S)