Wednesday, 21.11.2007: On the Day of the Hearing of Duch: People Condemn His Lawyer

Posted on 22 November 2007. Filed under: Week 535 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 535

“Phnom Penh: On 20 November, the first steps of the pre-trial of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia were taken, in order to try the former Khmer Rouge leaders who are still alive.

“Kaing Guek Eav known as Duch, the former chief of the Tuol Sleng Prison of the Democratic Kampuchea regime, had a hearing held by the tribunal, to deal with the complaint of his lawyers in order to bail release him on bail.

“Before the hearing, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [ECCC] announced it publicly, so that citizens could come to hear the co-judges’ decision on Duch’s fate.

“Buses, which are sponsored by the tribunal, waited for the citizens who want to listen to the hearing, opposite the royal railway station before 7 a.m. in order to carry them.

“Officials at the ECCC checked everybody coming very strictly with scanners, to search for weapons and explosive ordnance. Not fewer than 200 national and international journalists, and approximately 300 citizens from every background, entered the building of the tribunal.

“A building for detaining the five former Khmer Rouge leaders is toward the southeast of the hearing hall. Although the building is next to the hearing hall, Duch was not allowed to walk into the courtroom.

“The national and international journalists who attempted to take pictures of Duch walking out of the detention building were forbidden to do so, while Duch was carried in a car with the windows closed.

“Firstly, all the citizens and journalists had assumed that they would be allowed to enter the hearing hall in order to see Duch’s face, but they were not allowed; only ten representatives of the citizens and two journalists entered the hearing hall; however, the journalists were not allowed to bring in cameras, telephones, and recorders; they could bring in only pens and notebooks. Besides that, there were only judges, co-judges, co-prosecutors, and judges’ clerks.

“As to the other large number of journalists and citizens, they had only a chance to view and listen to the hearing in another room, which has about 500 chairs and two big TV screens transmitting from Duch’s hearing hall. Moreover, the citizens and journalists who attended the hearing, which was interpreted into three languages -Khmer, English, and French – could hear only via earphones.

“At about 10:30 a.m., the hearing started. Duch was sent into the curved wooden dock; then the journalists were allowed to take pictures of Duch for about ten minutes only.

“Judge Huot Vuthy started to read in detail the background of Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, before allowing a co-judge to question Duch directly, who was standing behind the curved wooden dock. A judge asked Duch about the history of his many names and asked Duch to explain some other elements of his background publicly. At that time, he stood up and placed his hands together for a traditional greeting with a sad face, looking at the judges and the participants of the hearing. Duch did not answer much, and then he asked for permission from the judges to let his lawyer, Mr. Kar Savuth, answer in detail.

“A few minutes later, the co-judges allowed his lawyer to explain further and to read a brief text about Duch’s background.

“Mr. Kar Savuth, who is a defense lawyer of Duch, started to argue against the co-judges, in order to bail his client out. Mr. Kar Savuth accused the Military Court and the ECCC of illegally and unjustly detaining his client [because he was held in detention longer than 6 months without facing a court – the longest time that the law allows].

“The lawyer said that if one counts since the day of the arrest of his client on 10 May 1999 until now, Duch has been detained for eight years, six months, and ten days already. The lawyer also demanded again and again that the ECCC must therefore release him immediately.

“On the other hand, the citizens, who had come to listen to the hearing via the televised transmission, were astonished and mocked the lawyer Kar Savuth, saying that the lawyer seems to intend to defend the chief murderer, so they do not support him. Other citizens shouted, asking where the lawyer’s relatives, children, nieces, and nephews were during the Democratic Kampuchea regime.

“However, some people asked those citizens to calm down, because normally a defense lawyer does not discriminate against any individual, whether they are a bad person or even a murderer. When they defend someone, they always try to find out any reason so that their client can be bailed out. Nevertheless, to be bailed out or to be jailed, depends on the co-judges’ and prosecutors’ decision at the end of the hearing.

“The co-judges affirmed that according to a new Article 39, Duch may be sentenced from five years’ to life imprisonment.

“Mr. Kar Savuth asked the hearing to decide whatever possibility exists to bail his client out urgently; if his client is not bailed out, they should please explain clearly whether the detention of his client so far is right or wrong, and if it is considered to be right, on which articles of law it is based.

“Mr. Tin Manyah, a Khmer-Muslim, said, ‘I am not happy with the attorney because he defends this murderer to be bailed out. I think if Duch is allowed to stay outside of the prison, it means that this murderer may want the kill citizens freely again. My relatives were killed by Duch in the S-21 prison, presently known as Tuol Sleng prison.’

“Mr. Tin Manyah stated that the lawyer said the detention of Duch is unjust; whereas Duch’s actions – to detain hundreds and thousands of people and to kill prisoners in Tuol Sleng prison, where bones are piled up like a mountain – is that fair? Thus, if the lawyer wants Duch to be bailed out, he rather should be jailed instead. He wants Duch to be detained in prison for all his life.

“Mr. Chorn Sophal, a student from the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said, ‘I want the hearing to try Duch, the former chief of Tuol Sleng prison, and to detain him in the tribunal; though I was not yet born during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, through documents and from my relatives, I know what they told me: that Duch was very cruel when he was the chief of Tuol Sleng prison. I still hope he will be kept in jail as the hearing has not ended.’

“As for the national and international journalists, they are very interested in information about the hearing by the ECCC. Some journalists got only a picture of Duch, and then rushed to send it out; as for the CNN and BBC networks, they also broadcast live immediately.

“The hearing started from the morning until 5 p.m., but the results have not been known, because the hearing will continue at 9 a.m. the next morning.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1498, 21.11.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 November 2007


Deum Ampil, Vol.2, #44, 21-27.11.2007

  • Royal Government Decides to Cancel Investment [in resort] of Phanimex Company on 200 Hectares of Land in Ponhea Leu [Kandal – because this investment would affect a water current and a water reservoir]
  • Human Rights Party Is Prevented by Authorities from Erecting Signboard in Phsar Chas Subdistrict [as reason for preventing this, the authorities said they do not allow the party to erect its signboard in a public place of their territory – Daun Penh, Phnom Penh]


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1498, 21.11.2007

  • On the Day of the Hearing of Duch: People Condemn the Lawyer
  • 91 People Die in Religious Violence in Pakistan


Khmer Amatak, Vol.8, #527, 21.11.2007

  • Funcinpec Leaders Go to Local Level; They Boast about Hun Sen’s Achievements Only
  • Cambodian People’s Party Forces People to Get Its Membership Cards Issued in Kompong Cham
  • A French Embassy Official Tells Hor Namhong to Tighten Security in Phnom Penh [after a French embassy female staff member was killed by a bus when she had her purse snatched by pickpockets, and she fell down from a moto taxi]
  • [Kompong Thom] Provincial Governor Nam Tum Looks Down on Khmers by Saying “Four Hard Working Khmers Cannot Be Compared to One Yuon [Vietnamese]”


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.1, #56, 21.11.2007

  • Ms. Pong Chiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru – director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights]: Thousands of Khmer Women Suffer [domestic] Violence Every Day


Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6198, 21.11.2007

  • Suspect of Robbery at Phone Shop in Stung Meanchey Killed by Mob; He Could Not Escape, He Begged for His Life, but He Was Beaten to Death by the Mob [20 November – Meanchey, Phnom Penh]
  • Car Overtook Another Car, It Hit a Truck and Exploded: Five People Dead and Twelve Injured [Tboung Khmum, Kompong Cham]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3317, 21.11.2007

  • Poipet Border Crossing Officials Are Seriously Corrupt in Issuing Border Passes


Rasmei Angkor, Vol.14, #1250, 21.11.2007

  • [Korean] President of a Company Taking Laborers to [South] Korea Hangs Himself [probably he lost in gambling – Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4442, 21.11.2007

  • Government Decides to Put Three Rubber Plantations [Boeng Ket, Chamkar Andoung, and Memut – Kompong Cham] for Private Companies to Bid
  • 20% of Cambodian Children under Eight Years Old Die [per year] because of Lack of Sanitation [according to Ministry of Rural Development]
  • Truck Transporting Smuggled Fuel Hits a Taxi: Five People Dead and Twelve Injured [Tboung Khmum, Kompong Cham]


Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #557, 21.11.2007

  • Sam Rainsy Supports UN to Take Economic Sanctions against Burmese Dictators

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