Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, was accused of directing the Security Prison S-21 in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. Under Duch’s authority, countless abuses were allegedly committed against the civilian population, which occurred within a political context of widespread or systematic abuses and constituted crimes against humanity.
On 31 July 2007, Kaing Guek Eav was charged with crimes against humanity and placed in the provisional detention of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). On 20 November 2007, Duch became the first of the former Khmer Rouge leaders to appear in open session before the ECCC – a special court jointly created by the United Nations and the government of Cambodia.
On 8 August 2008, the Co-Investigating Judges delivered a Closing Order indicting Kaing Guek Eav. In a Decision on 5 December 2008, the Pre-Trial Chamber granted a Prosecution appeal which sought to add the charges of "torture" and "premeditated murder" to the Closing Order against Duch. On 19 January 2009 the Court issued an Order setting the date of the initial hearing for February 2009.
Proceedings against Duch began on 17 February 2009 and closing statements began on 25 November 2009.
The verdict of this Case was pronounced on Monday 26 July 2010 in the main courtroom of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).
The Trial Chamber found Duch guilty of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and sentenced him to 35 years of imprisonment. In deciding on an appropriate sentence, the Chamber noted a number of aggravating features, in particular the gravity of the offences, which were perpetrated against at least 12,272 victims over a prolonged period.
Prosecutors had sought a 40-year sentence, but the Court reduced his sentence due to mitigating factors such as his cooperation with the trial, admission of responsibility, remorse and the potential for rehabilitation. Duch also got credit for time served, including a period of "illegal detention" by the Cambodian Military Court starting in 1999 and his period of detention during his ECCC trial. Duch also faced charges of premeditated murder and torture under domestic Cambodian law. Duch was not convicted of these charges, however, because the judges were unable to come to a majority on the charges, leaving the court unable to convict under the ECCC law.
On 16 August 2010, the Co-Prosecutors filed a Notice of Appeal against the Judgement of the Trial Chamber of 26 July 2010. It requests the Supreme Court Chamber to increase the sentence against Duch because, according to the prosecutor, Duch should be separately convicted of crimes against humanity, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, rape, extermination, and other inhumane acts, and that these were improperly combined with crimes of persecution and torture.
The Accused and the Co-Prosecutors have appealed the Trial Chamber verdict to
the Supreme Court Chamber. A number of Civil Parties has also filed appeals
against the Trial Chamber’s decision on reparations and admissibility of Civil
The Supreme Court Chamber will hold oral hearings in the appeals against the Trial Chamber's judgment in Case 001 in the last week of March 2011.Victim participation and bias in the Cambodian CourtsVictim participation and bias in the Cambodian Courts: