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Duch Defense Files Acquittal Appeal at Tribunal

Defense lawyers for Kaing Kek Iev, the Khmer Rouge prison chief better known as Duch, filed their final appeal for his acquittal Wednesday, asking the Supreme Court Chamber to view him as a witness and not a detainee.

Duch was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Trial Chamber last month, receiving a commuted 19 years for his role as supervisor of Tuol Sleng prison.

But in their motion filed Wednesday, his defense said he qualified as “a witness of events during the period of Democratic Kampuchea” and deserving witness protection. Defense also cited reported errors by the Trial Chamber in determining his original non-commuted sentence of 35 years.

Tribunal legal affairs spokesman Lars Olsen said Wednesday it was not known how long the Supreme Court would need to make a determination, but “the scope of the appeal” probably meant no decision until November at the earliest.

The defense team’s appeal went counter to an appeal filed by court prosecutors, who said Duch should receive at least 40 years in jail.

Meanwhile, lawyers for a group of civil party complainants said yesterday they were appealing for five clients to be accepted as legitimate victims of Duch by the Trial Chamber.

During Duch’s verdict last month, the Trial Chamber excluded a total 24 civil party complainants as victims.