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Light Duch Sentence a Failure of Justice: Victim

Hisham Moussa, (left), and Chum Sirath, (right), on 'Hello VOA'.
Hisham Moussa, (left), and Chum Sirath, (right), on 'Hello VOA'.

The 19-year commuted sentence for convicted Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch is unlikely to provide a sense of justice to many people who lost family to his notorious torture center, a survivor and UN-backed tribunal monitor said Monday.

A tribunal conviction could have provided three steps toward reconciliation for victims, said Chum Sarath, a lawyer for civil parties who complained as part of the Khmer Rouge tribunal process.

First, justice must be acceptable to the victims, he said. Second, their satisfaction should lead to an alleviation of sadness. Finally, a sense of healing would bring reconciliation.

“There was not even the application of the first step among three, so it's impossible to have healing and reconciliation,” he said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

Hisham Moussa, a tribunal monitor for the group Cooperation France-Cambodia, who also joined “Hello VOA” Monday, agreed.

“I have seen that the feelings of victims want Duch to serve from now to life, as he might have freedom afterwards,” he said.

Duch, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, faces the prospect of release at the age of 86. Cambodian law does not provide for the death penalty, and judges commuted an original 35-year sentence to 19, citing leniency and time served.

The sentencing had created a mistrust in the international court on the scale of mistrust for the national court, he said.