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Tribunal Prosecutors Push for Torture Center’s Inclusion in Trial

Paintings by human rights icon and artists Vann Nath depicting how torture devices were used hang on the walls of Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 2011.
PHNOM PENH - Prosecutors at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal have asked the Supreme Court chamber to decide on whether the torture center of Tuol Sleng should be included in current proceedings against two jailed regime leaders.

The prison was at the center of the court’s first trial, which ended in the conviction of Kaing Kek Iev for atrocity crimes.

But the Trial Chamber of the court determined in March the prison should not be included in the current trial of ideologue Nuon Chea and head of state Khieu Samphan. Instead, the court decided that certain phases of Khmer Rouge purges and a killing site known as Tuol Porchrey should be considered.

Prosecutors say this was a error “in fact and law” and that crimes committed at the Tuol Sleng center, known to the Khmer Rouge as S-21, should be included in the current trial. In an appeal made public on Wednesday, tribunal prosecutors asked the Supreme Court chamber to make a decision “without delay.”

Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said the Supreme Court chamber had received the appeal and would have three months to decide on it.