ECCC aiming to end investigation into ex-Khmer Rouge prison chief by July

[JURIST] Officials from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] said Thursday that the court expects to complete an investigation into former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav [TrialWatch profile], also known as Duch, by July. In a statement [PDF text], the court said:

Indeed, the [Co-Investigating Judges] intend to notify the parties that they have finished their investigations in the first case file in early May 2008 (this is the formal notification under Rule 66(1) of the Internal Rules). Thereafter, the CIJ will work towards issuing a formal Closing Order relating to Duch in early July 2008 on whether and, if so on what charges, to send Duch forward for trial. However, the procedures between early May and final closure in July 2008 do not depend on the CIJ, but rather on the exercise by the parties of their procedural rights. The CIJ have therefore taken certain initiatives to ensure that all parties understand the projected proceedings and timetable, and work in the same direction to maintain the objective of closure in July 2008.

On that basis, it is hoped that any trial of Duch on charges raised in the Co-Prosecutors' Initial Submissions could commence at the beginning of the last quarter of 2008.
Duch, who was in charge of the notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, is one of five top leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime [JURIST news archive; BBC backgrounder] currently in ECCC custody. So far no top Khmer Rouge officials have faced justice, although the ECCC said Thursday that Duch may become the first to go to trial later this year. AP has more.

Duch was arrested in 1999 on genocide charges and was subsequently charged with war crimes by a military court in March and with crimes against humanity [JURIST reports] by the ECCC in July. Those charges were primarily brought to keep Duch in custody while the ECCC started operations. A panel of ECCC judges ruled late last year that Duch should not be granted bail [JURIST report] while preparations for his trial continue.



 

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