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Tribunal Hopes To Conclude Duch Verdict This Year

In this photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, who ran the notorious Toul Sleng detention center, greets court officers during his appeal at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom

The Supreme Court Chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal said Thursday it hopes to have a final verdict in the case of torture chief Duch by the end of the year.

Duch, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, underwent an atrocity crimes trial at the UN-backed court in 2009, and was later given a commuted sentence of 19 years for overseeing the torture and execution of more than 12,000 Cambodians at Tuol Sleng prison.

Prosecutors say they want that sentence—which upset many victims of the regime—increased to 45 years, while defense had appealed to have him released.

“The public will be informed about the date of the pronouncement of the judgment as soon as it is determined,” the chamber said in a statement.

“By the end of the year, there will be a verdict,” tribunal spokesman Dim Sovannarom said.

The trial of Duch, who admitted his guilt and asked for the forgiveness of his victims, was a first for the court, which was established in 2006 and has shouldered criticism for its slow pace, as jailed leaders and their victims advance in age.

The announcement came after a leading victim activist, Tuol Sleng survivor Vann Nath, fell into a coma after an apparent heart attack last week. He remains in that condition at a clinic in the capital.

Chum Mey, who also survived the prison and is the president of the Association of Democratic Kampuchea Victims, said he was “not yet happy” with the work of the court, which is now preparing a case against four more jailed regime leaders.