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Duch Verdict Praised as Encouraging Example for Courts

Key donors to the Khmer Rouge tribunal hailed the verdict and sentencing of Kaing Kek Iev this week a success.

The completed trial for the prison chief better known as Duch, the first for the UN-backed court, will now stand as an example for Cambodia’s own judicial system, said David Lipman, head of the EU’s delegation in Cambodia.

“The first sentencing of the tribunal is a historical occurrence and a unique opportunity to help to bring to closure a dark chapter of the Cambodian history,” he said. “I hope that it will also be a start for the introduction of international law in Cambodia.”

Following Duch’s verdict and sentencing, issued Monday, the EU immediately announced a contribution of $2.6 million to help pay the salaries of judges, prosecutors and other staff for the cash-strapped Cambodian side of the hybrid tribunal.

Both France and Japan issued a joint statement praising the tribunal for its progress. And the US hailed the verdict as showing “commitment” by international and Cambodian court staffs to uphold “an international standard of justice.”

Illinois Democratic House Representative Mike Quigley told VOA Khmer the trial was a reminder that the US must work to ensure that “justice is pursued for as long as it takes, whatever it takes, and regardless of the cost.”

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said the accolades from international observers would act as encouragement for officials who are now at work on the court’s second case, to try senior leaders Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith.