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Duch Indictment Outlines Heinous Crimes

When jailed prison chief Duch faces a Khmer Rouge tribunal chamber in coming months, he will face charges that he was fully responsible for the deaths of at least 12,380 people at Tuol Sleng, as well as war crimes, documents issued this week show.

Investigating judges of the tribunal announced Tuesday they had sent their closing order to the Trial Chamber Aug. 8, setting the stage for the trial stage of the prison chief.

Duch, 65, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, now faces both charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, for his role as director of the S-21 prison, and the order forwarded this week gives a detailed outline of charges made against him.

Investigating judges claim he was fully responsible for the 12,380 people who died under his watch, a number that the order said was not the full amount killed.

Duch himself acknowledged that some prisoners who were later killed were not documented at Tuol Sleng.

More than 1,000 people were killed by having their bodies emptied of blood, the order said, citing witnesses, an execution method that was particularly horrifying to prisoners.

Among the prisoners, most were Cambodian, including 200 prison staff, who themselves were subsequently detained there, according to the order, which serves as an indictment.

Prisoners included Muslims, Thais, Laotians, Indians, Westerners and more than 400 Vietnamese, according to order. Of the Vietnamese, 150 would be considered "prisoners of war."

The closing order claims witnesses reported being terribly afraid of Duch, who had the power to order executions.

However, the order says, Duch confessed that "in general cases, high-ranking [officials] told him to prepare to receive prisoners, and most of those prisoners had been arrested and transferred by their respective units."

"But some evidence makes clear that S-21 arrested prisoners by itself," the order said.

Some of them had been accused of belonging to "special agencies" of Vietnam, the order said.

The charge of crimes against humanity was put forward because of the mass killings, torture, detention, abuse, sexual abuse and other methods, the order said.

War crimes was put forward for the intent to kill, injure and cause suffering, as well as denial of rights of judgment, according to the order.

The investigating judges ruled Duch would be held in detention ahead of his trial.

The Trial Chamber will now set up a date for the trial and choose witnesses to appear, co-investigating judge You Bunleng said.