Duch Lawyers Decide Against Further Investigation

Lawyers for former S-21 prison Director Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, have chosen not to request further investigations by judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, a lawyer for the defendant said Monday.

Tribunal co-investigating judges announced Friday they had concluded their investigations into crimes allegedly committed by Duch at S-21, opening a 15-day window for parties to request additional investigations. A lawyer for two civil parties to the court said Monday that he is planning to make a request.

“The defense considers that it is important that the Duch trial take place as quickly as possible,” Duch’s lawyer, Francois Roux, wrote in an e-mail. “There would surely be enough to prolong this investigation for long months yet. But what has not been done during this relatively brief investigation can be done during the public trial.”

“In particular, witness[es] and experts who have not been heard at this stage will be perfectly able to testify at trial, while resisting the temptation to start everything over from the beginning,” Roux added. “The defense for its part is not considering requesting supplemental investigations at this stage.”

Hoping to bring Duch to trial this year, co-investigating judges in September severed his alleged acts at S-21 from the rest of their investigation. International Co-Prosecutor Rob­ert Petit said Friday it was too early to say whether the prosecution would seek further investigatory work.

Kong Pisey, a lawyer representing two civil parties in the Duch case, said he and fellow Cam­bodian law­yer Yong Phanith are considering asking for more work in the case.

“We’re just studying the dossier, but we plan after that to ask the co-investigating judges to conduct more investigations,” he said.

“We have to make sure. If the document is not clarified yet, we have to do that,” he said.

Kong Pisey said he was not sure whether such a request could delay the start of Duch’s trial.

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