Ex-Khmer Rouge Leaders Get One More Year

The Military Court has extended by one year the prison detention of Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok, 77, and Kang Kek Iev, 62, the former commandant of the Khmer Rouge’s S-21 prison and torture center, officials said.

Ta Mok, the one-legged military strongman know as “the butcher,” and Kang Kek Iev, better known by his revolutionary nom de guerre “Brother Duch,” have been detained at the military prison in Phnom Penh since their capture in 1999.

Ney Thol, director of the military court, on Wednesday said both suspects will be detained one more year to allow further investigation of their crimes.

The new year-long incarceration marks the beginning of their sixth year behind bars without trial.

“The extension is based on the 1999 law for war criminals…. The judge has the power to extend, we just need to inform [the government, courts and lawyers],” Ney Thol said.

Ta Mok and Duch were charged with membership in the Khmer Rouge in 1999 and jailed un­­­der a law allowing their detention for one year, with yearly ex­ten­­sions for a maximum of three years. After the three-year detention limit expired in March 2002, both men were charged with crimes against humanity, allowing their detention for three more years.

Ngin Sam An, Military Court investigating judge, said the extension letter was signed on Sunday.

“This is the third [yearly] extension and also the last,” he said.

Duch’s lawyer Kar Savuth said he would not fight the extension as it was allowed under the law.

“This month, next year is the deadline. There will be no more extensions,” said Benson Samay, lawyer for Ta Mok, adding that there was in fact no investigation of his client and no moves to set up a Khmer Rouge trial.

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