The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia has rejected a call by lawyers for Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, to expunge extensive statements made by the former S-21 prison director.
In a March 20 ruling by the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Pre-Trial Chamber, Duch is quoted in statements to investigating judges as saying that Khmer Rouge Brother No 2 Nuon Chea had authority over S-21, where at least 14,000 people were tortured before being executed. Duch also said that Nuon Chea ordered killings at S-21.
In that ruling, the Pre-Trial Chamber cited Duch’s statements as evidence that showed Nuon Chea may be responsible for crimes specified by prosecutors and, as such, grounds for his pre-trial detention were met.
In an April 24 decision obtained Tuesday, the Chamber dismissed claims by Duch’s lawyers that the disclosure of their client’s statements in the March 20 decision had breached the confidentiality of Duch’s judicial investigation.
Investigating judges had placed Duch’s statements in the case file concerning Nuon Chea’s case.
The ruling, signed by the Chamber’s president, Prak Kimsan, said Nuon Chea and Duch are subject to separate investigations.
Prak Kimsan said in the ruling that third parties “have no right to complain about the publication of information from an investigation against another charged person.”
Duch’s French defender Francois Roux said Wednesday that he was disappointed with the ruling.
“I regret this decision but as a lawyer I cannot criticize it. I cannot appeal as no appeal is foreseen in the ECCC law,” he said.
In the Pre-Trial Chamber’s March 20 ruling, Duch is quoted telling investigating judges during an Aug 23 interview that Nuon Chea ordered him on Jan 2 or 3, 1979, “to smash…all the victims” held at S-21.
“In total about 200 persons…I believe that all were killed,” Duch said.
In September, Duch told judges that Nuon Chea had made himself clear on the fate of those interned at S-21, according to the ruling.
“Nuon Chea clearly told me that all people [who] were sent to S-21 had to be killed,” Duch said. “As I was in charge of S-21, I followed, implemented his orders,” he added.
Given the opportunity to file pleadings regarding the Duch defense team’s request to have the statements stricken from the March 20 ruling, lawyers for Nuon Chea remained silent.
Nuon Chea’s Cambodian attorney Son Arun on Wednesday denied Duch’s allegations and said the Nuon Chea team was seeking more disclosure of facts in their case, not less.
“I want the people to be informed why there was an order to Duch to kill. And I want the public to consider whether the Duch allegations are right or wrong,” Son Arun said.
(Additional reporting by Prak Chan Thul)