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Civil Parties Challenge Trial Chamber

Two civil party groups in the Khmer Rouge tribunal have submitted motions to the Supreme Court Chamber, claiming they have the right to question prison chief Duch on his character and to weigh in on his punishment.

The Trial Chamber in August denied civil parties such access.

Duch, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, faces atrocity crimes charges for his role as administrator of Tuol Sleng prison under the Khmer Rouge. He has been on trial since March.

“The prevention is against the spirit of the law,” said Hong Kim Suon, a lawyer for civil party Group 2. “There is no reasonable explanation for this decision.”

Emmanuelle Marchand, coordinator of Avocat Sans Frontiere and legal assistant to civil party Group 3, said Group 2 was claiming the right to make conclusions on Duch’s condemnation, while her group wanted to right to question the accused.

“The civil parties are a part in the trial,” she said. “And as such they have the same rights as the defense and the prosecutor. That is to say the right also to ask questions to experts and witnesses who provide information on the character of the accused.”

Tribunal spokesman Dim Sovannarom confirmed the suits had been submitted to the Supreme Court Chamber but declined further comment.