ECCC Seeks Witness, Expert Lists for Duch Trial

The Khmer Rouge tribunal has scheduled its first trial chamber proceedings for January in the case against former S-21 chairman Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, and judges have requested witness and ex­pert lists from both prosecutors and defense, according to a statement from the Extraordinary Cham­bers in the Courts of Cambodia.​​​

Officials will use the closed-door Jan 15 and 16 “trial management meeting” to schedule two subsequent hearings required before the trial can start, according to the release.

“This is a very good beginning, and we are very pleased with the moves by the judges,” Reach Sam­bath, spokesman for ECCC, said Sunday by telephone.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers for Duch have already begun submitting witness names, Reach Sam­bath said. Attorneys have until next week to submit an initial witness list and then they will have 15 days to submit additional names, according to the release.

On Dec 5, the court’s pre-trial chamber added premeditated murder and torture to Duch’s indictment, which removed the final ob­stacle preventing initiation of trial proceedings against him.

The additional charges stemmed from Duch’s time overseeing S-21 prison during the Khmer Rouge regime. In August, co-investigating judges indicted him on charges of war crimes and crimes against hu­manity at S-21.

Following the trial management meeting Jan 15 and 16, attorneys and judges will schedule two other hearings described by the ECCC’s internal rules as the initial hearing and the substantive hearing.

At the initial hearing, judges will consider whether “the hearing of a proposed witness or expert would not be conducive to the good ad­min­istration of justice” and reject such witness or expert if necessary, according to the rules.

At the substantive hearing, pro­secutors will read the charges against Duch and Duch’s lawyer can re­spond briefly, according to rules.

Duch defense attorney Ka Sa­vuth declined to comment Sunday.

     (Additional reporting by Eang Mengleng)

Related Stories

Latest News