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Verdict Expected in June for ‘Complicated’ Duch Case

A Khmer Rouge tribunal verdict in the trial of Kaing Kek Iev, the prison chief better known as Duch, is expected in June, although judges face numerous complexities brought about by the hybrid, international nature of the UN-backed court.

Duch’s trial, which ended in November 2009, was a test case for the court. Prosecutors have asked he be given 40 years in prison, while the defense asked for leniency. In his monthslong trial, Duch took responsibility for the deaths of thousands of Cambodians and asked families of his victims to forgive him.

In a lengthy interview with VOA Khmer, Lars Olsen, a spokesman for the tribunal, said the case was complicated in terms the laws involved, the differences in languages among international and Cambodia judges and their search for a suitable punishment.

“They will look at what is normal in other courts in dealing with crimes against humanity and with war crimes when they make decision” Olsen said.

The tribunal is a mix of international and Cambodia judges and prosecutors and includes unprecedented procedures for operation. It is now preparing for its second case, which will try Duch alongside four more leaders—Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith—for atrocities, including genocide.