Jailed Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch was handed two more
counts in his atrocity crimes indictment Friday, but he was not charged under a
legal principle that would link four other leaders to his alleged crimes.
Chief judge Prak Kimsan announced the decision of the Khmer
Rouge tribunal’s Pre-Trial Chamber Friday, adding the crimes of murder and
torture from Cambodia’s Penal Code to charges of war crimes and crimes
The decision moved the tribunal one step closer to Duch's trial, expected in early 2009, the first ever for courts that have faltered from their inception, alarming critics who worry leaders will perish before they face trial.
Tribunal prosecutors in September lodged an appeal against the
indictment, part of a so-called “closing order” by the investigating judges, noting Duch had not been indicted for the two crimes,
which fall under the 1956 Penal Code.
Prosecutors also noted Duch, who real name is Kaing Kek Iev, was not indicted for all crimes
committed in the notorious prison he ran, Tuol Sleng, known to the Khmer Rouge
by the codename S-21.
The Pre-Trial judges said Friday they had found enough
reason in the appeal to add the two crimes to Duch’s indictment.
They announced they had found enough cause for
murder, because Duch had allegedly planned or incited
killings at S-21 and the nearby site of mass graves, or “killing fields,” at
Chhoeung Ek, a commune in Phnom Penh’s
Duch’s defense lawyers did not comment after the hearing,
but in a brief submitted to the Pre-Trial Chamber in November, they expressed
worry that the murder and torture claims could delay the court through further
However, Hong Kimsuon, a lawyer for the civil parties in
Duch’s case, said Friday the new indictment would not extend the investigation
or prolong the process.
“It is only an additional [two charges], and after that they will
go forward to trial,” he said.
Judge Prak Kimsan also said Friday Duch would be detained
until his trial and the case would now be forwarded to the Trial Chamber.
Prak Kimsan said the legal principal known as joint criminal
enterprise, which could potentially link the other leaders with Duch’s crimes,
had not been satisfactorily demonstrated.