Khmer Rouge tribunal officials announced Thursday they would
determine a trial date for jailed prison chief Duch in January, setting the
firmest date yet for the first trial of five jailed leaders.
In a statement Thursday, tribunal
officials said the trial date for Duch, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, will be decided after the Pre-Trial Chamber
rules on an indictment appeal by prosecutors on Dec. 5.
Prosecutors appealed a ruling by investigating judges in August, claiming the indictment had not encompassed the full extent of
his alleged crimes. A ruling on that appeal will move a trial forward, though
no date is certain.
“We cannot expect any date before the Pre-Trial Chamber
decides on the appeal,” tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said.
However, Long Panhavuth, a program officer for court monitor
for the Open Society for Justice Initiative, said he expected a trial for Duch
would not start until at least February 2009.
Duch, 65, charged with war crimes and crimes against
humanity, has been detained since May 1999. Four other Khmer Rouge leaders were
arrested in 2007.
“Successfully conducting trials of this significance is a
complex process, and the Court recognizes that it can be frustrating for the
millions who have been waiting for decades to see justice done,” the tribunal
said in its statement Thursday. “Nevertheless, each step of the legal
process must be followed carefully and conducted in line with the highest
standards of justice. This will also ensure the most enduring legacy for the
The announcement came as three senior-most detained leaders
were sent to the hospital for check-ups. Nuon Chea, 82, Khieu Samphan, 76, and
Ieng Sary, 82, each were taken to Calmette
Hospital for routine
visits this week.