Duch To Appeal ECCC Pre-Trial Detention Order

Lawyers for Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, have notified the Khmer Rouge tribunal of their intention to appeal a court order placing him in detention, attorney Kar Savuth said Tuesday.

The tribunal’s co-investigating judges last month charged Duch, 66, with crimes against humanity and ordered that he be held at the court pending a judicial investigation.

“I’ve already filed a notice of appeal,” Kar Savuth said, adding that notice was given Thursday.

Before being taken into custody at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on July 31, Duch, former director of the notorious S-21 prison, had been held without trial by the Military Court since May of 1999.

Legal experts familiar with the case have maintained that this may furnish arguments for Duch’s defenders and complicate his prosecution.

However, in their order the co-investigating judges argued that any abuse of process occurred prior to the ECCC’s existence and was outweighed by the gravity of the charges. The judges also wrote that there were concerns that Duch might flee or have his safety jeopardized if released.

Kar Savuth declined to discuss the grounds for the appeal.

Tribunal rules stipulate that the co-investigating judges have five days, or until today, to forward the case to the five-judge Pre-Trial Chamber, which must then set a hearing date. The rules also stipulate that the Chamber will decide whether to make the hearing, legal briefs and decisions public.

Kar Savuth said he was unaware of whether a request for the hearing to be made public had been made on Duch’s behalf.

Peter Foster, the tribunal’s UN spokesman, said that the Pre-Trial Chamber judges would have broad discretion over whether to keep all or part of the procedure private. But Foster said he was optimistic that both oral arguments and court filings would be open to public.

“There is no way we can say for sure, but our intention is to make as much of the process public as possible,” he said.


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