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Duch To Be Tried in Early 2009: Tribunal Judge

Jailed Khmer Rouge prison director Kaing Khek Iev, known to many by his nom de guerre, Duch, will be the first regime cadre to be tried, some time early next year, a tribunal judge said Monday.

You Bunleng, an investigating judge for the tribunal, said the investigation of Duch’s case will be finished this month, after which responses from lawyers will be considered before the case is submitted for trial.

If all goes smoothly, the first case against Duch can be submitted by July or August, meaning a trial could start by the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009, he said.

Duch was arrested in 1999 and held by the military courts until his transfer to tribunal detention last year.

He faces charges of crimes against humanity for his role as director of S-21, or Tuol Sleng, a prison where as many as 16,000 Cambodians were tortured and later executed in “killing fields” on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Less than 10 survived.

“The case related to Tuol Sleng’s history is easier than others, and there is clear evidence,” said Sok Samoeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project. You Bunleng said Monday elements of Duch’s trial will be used in subsequent trials.