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Tribunal Bridging Gaps for Cambodians: Monitor

With a verdict expected for the Khmer Rouge torture chief Duch expected next week, a tribunal monitor said Monday his trial has brought Cambodia's closer to sentiments of justice for the regime's atrocities.

The UN-backed court is expected to release the verdict on July 26, following court proceedings that began in March 2009. Duch, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, oversaw the torture center of Tuol Sleng and the deaths of more than 12,000 people. He could receive up to life in prison, though some of his defense have argued for leniency.

No matter the outcome, the case itself has brought more attention to the Khmer Rouge tribunal, which foundered in the beginning and was subject to wrangling between UN and Cambodian officials.

The tribunal is now at work on its second case, which could include more atrocity crimes charges for Duch and four senior leaders of the regime.

“The Duch trial has brought more support to the Khmer Rouge tribunal, especially in relation to Case 002,” Long Panhavuth, who oversees the tribunal for the Cambodia Justice Initiative, told “Hello VOA.”

The tribunal overall has benefited Cambodia, he said, especially in bridging a gap between the older generation of survivors and the newer generation who don't have a clear picture of the Khmer Rouge or its history, he said.

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said Monday it was better to have trials that are not quick and do not underperform.

“We want a court that is transparent and fair, so that it leaves a good mark on history,” he said.