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Head judge calls for "Fair and just" verdict for prison chief

Written By vibykhmer on Saturday, August 22, 2009 | 12:15 AM

Human skulls of Khmer Rouge victims on display at Choeung Ek, near Phnom Penh(Photo: Reuters)

RFI - Radio France International
The UN-backed Cambodian war crimes court has asked those who testify to not use the hearing to take revenge, and has promised a “fair and just” trial of S-21 prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Comrade Duch

Head Judge Nil Nonn made the request following days of testimony from families of victims killed at Cambodia’s notorious Tuol Sleng prison in the 1970s, also known as S-21.

Two French citizens gave evidence in the trial this week.

On Thursday, Svaruth Or, a French citizen of Cambodian origin, at a court in Versailles, outside Paris, called for justice for the death of his brother, a Cambodian foreign ministry official, who was allegedly killed in the prison after being held for 97 days.

Speaking via video link, he told the court he was not looking for any financial reparations, only “moral” ones.

On Wednesday, French national Martine Lefeuvre wept as she told the court how her Cambodian husband was tricked into returning to the country and ended up being murdered in Tuol Seung.

She says she cannot forgive Duch for the torture and murder of her husband and demanded the maximum sentence for the former maths teacher.

Cambodian officials say the trial of Duch is expected to end in October but the verdict will come several months later. Duch has accepted all responsibility in running the prison throughout the regime.

Two million people died from mal-nourishment, exhaustion, torture and murder in 1977-79 when the Khmer Rouge emptied Cambodia’s cities in an attempt to create an agrarian utopia in the country.


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