International jurists for the Trial Chamber of the Khmer
Rouge tribunal have joined their Cambodian counterparts in anticipation of the
trial of Duch, whose pre-trial preparations will be completed soon, a tribunal
spokesman said Wednesday.
The case of the infamous chief of the Tuol Sleng torture
center, who is charged crimes against humanity, will be the first tried of five
jailed former leaders of the regime. More than 16,000 Cambodians were tortured
and sent to the deaths at the center.
His trial is expected to begin in September or October.
Both French and New Zealand trial judges began
working with their Cambodian colleagues last week, and the trial chambers have
been equipped and prepared, tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said.
"The courtroom, the seats for participation of victims,
are ready," he said. "And the trial judges have already prepared
themselves. The famous judge Sylvia Cartwright, a New Zealand national, arrived this
Co-investigating judge Marcel Lemonde said the proceedings against
Duch were entering the period of closure and would be filed soon to the First
A source close to the tribunal said Wednesday the
co-investigation judges will likely complete the closing order early this week
or late next week, and the First Trial Chamber will hold a meeting to decide
the set the date for Duch, around Sept. 15.
"We don't see any obstacles regarding the trial of
Duch," Adhoc tribunal monitor Hisham Mousar said.
Duch was held by Cambodian military courts from May 1999
until he was handed to the tribunal last year.
Keat Bophal, head of the tribunal's Victims Unit, said Duch
is facing 66 civil complaints.