Friday, August 20, 2010

Cambodia Tribunal is Distributing Copies and Summaries of the "Duch" Verdict

Cambodia Tribunal On August 5, 2010 the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) started to produce 5,000 printed copies of the entire Duch verdict and 17,000 copies of the judgment summary in Khmer language. The publications are to be distributed to the public free of charge.

The ECCC Trial Chamber issued its verdict on July 26, 2010. It found that Kaing Guek Eav—also known as “Duch”—was responsible for the torture and murders of more than 12,000 men, women, and children during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. Duch had been the commandant of the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, from which only a handful of persons survived. The ECCC Trial Chamber found him guilty of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The Trial Chamber sentenced him to 35 years’ imprisonment but granted him credit for approximately 11 years already spent in custody. It also granted a further reduction of five years because the Cambodian Military Court had held him in detention without trial for nine of the years he had spent in custody.

Mr. REACH Sambath, the Head of the Public Affairs Section of the ECCC, told reporters that the ECCC would be distributing these printed versions of the judgment to 24 provinces/municipalities, 188 districts, 1,621 communes, ministries, institutions, universities, high schools, libraries, NGOs, Civil Parties, and the general public for the purpose of additional studies and better understanding of Case File 001 in which charges have been brought against KAING Guek Eav, alias Duch. 

5,000 copies of the 450-page judgment and 17,000 copies of a 36-page summary version have been printed. This summary judgment was read out by His Excellency NIL Non, the President of the Trial Chamber, on 26 July 2010, subsequent to the 77 days of trial proceedings which were conducted on 30 March through 27 November 2009.

Mr. REACH Sambath stated, “We do this to answer to the emergent needs of the students and civil servants who have called the court and requested that the documents be printed out for public use and for the interests of their future educational research references.”

“We wish to make sure that they clearly understand the genuine importance of Duch’s trials and that they should not get carried away because of their thinking too much to merely the number of years Duch shall be imprisoned,” continued Mr. Sambath, “instead, they should envisage the long-term benefit of this judgment.”   He noted that a number of countries including the United States of America, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the European Community had expressed their support for the Duch verdict.  “This support is actually of vital importance due to the fact that now Cambodia is in the process of a speedy integration into the international community,” added Mr. Sambath.

These publications will become the historic documents of great value for lawyers, law students and professors to further their appreciation of the judicial proceedings, of this court in particular. Mr. REACH Sambath also pointed out that these books are the proof of the ECCC’s first Cambodia and the world historic achievement. It is an historic judgment for the younger generation to study the history of Cambodia. Above all else, the printed copies of the judgment will be of great interests to a wide range of young readers who are born after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime. Among other existing reference documents, these documents can be referred to as additionally important resources with regard to the history of the Khmer Rouge.

Mr. ING Vanthorn, the Director of the Areyathor Printing House, who was very busy with the work of producing the printed copies of Duch’s verdict so that they would be done in a timely fashion, said that he was pleased to be offered the task of producing the printed copies of Duch’s judgment. “As a victim of the Khmer Rouge regime, I feel happy to be part of this process,” said Mr. Vanthorn, “my Printing House offers a lower price for producing these printed copies for I am convinced that the distribution of these documents to Cambodians is of vital importance.”

The  ECCC is distributing these copies to targeted areas all across Cambodia. Members of the public can get a printed copy of the judgment they can contact the ECCC’s Public Affairs Section officers: Mr. DIM Sovannarom  or Mr. CHIN Hem Vicheth, or by sending an email to pas [at]  The verdict can also be downloaded from the ECCC website under “Court Documents”.   You can also click here to download a copy of the verdict.

The Co-Prosecutors have filed an appeal of the judgment.  Click here to read more about the grounds of that appeal.

(Adapted from ECCC Press Releases)


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