Ex-Khmer Rouge prison chief admits training staff to use torture

[JURIST] Former Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder] prison head Kaing Guek Eav [TrialWatch backgrounder, JURIST news archive], also known as "Duch," testified in court Thursday that he trained staff to elicit confessions from prisoners through torture. Kaing also testified [AFP report] before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] as to the chain of command at the notorious S-21 prison camp. On Wednesday, Kaing testified that he was tricked by UN officials [AFP report] in 1999 into giving a recorded confession. Kaing is being tried in the ECCC on mass torture and murder charges stemming from the killing of prisoners at the S-21 prison he oversaw. Kaing has admitted responsibility [JURIST post] for the deaths of prisoners at S-21.

Kaing recently requested release to a 'safe house' [JURIST report] during Cambodia genocide trial, though he lost a similar appeal [JURIST report] of his pre-trial detention in 2007. His trial is the first of eight [JURIST report] that the ECCC hopes to hear against former members of the Khmer Rouge, which has been accused of murdering 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] during its nearly four-year reign. The ECCC has long been plagued with accusations of corruption and inadequate funding, with greater problems in recent years. In March, the ECCC reported that it would be unable to pay its Cambodian employees [JURIST report] for that month, one year after the court had requested $114 million dollars from the UN [JURIST report]. In February, Human Rights Watch warned that the ECCC trials were in danger of being tainted for their failure to follow fair trial standards [JURIST report], and in January a Cambodian court agreed to hear a corruption case [JURIST report] involving two ECCC judges.

 

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