Phnom Penh’s Military Prison, where former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, better known as Duch, has been held since 1999, is ready to transfer him to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, a prison official said Sunday.
“We have finished the documents to be transferred with Duch to the ECCC,” Military Court Prosecution Department Lieutenant Colonel Un Sophal said, adding that Duch is in good health.
The names of the five former regime leaders that have been identified as potential defendants by ECCC prosecutors have not been made public, though Duch is thought to be among them.
Kim Huon, president of the Military Court’s prosecution department, and Prum Sornthon, the court’s prosecutor in charge of Duch’s case, said Sunday that they had yet to receive a request from the ECCC to transfer Duch.
“If there is a request, we will hand him over,” Kim Huon said.
Prum Sornthon said that Duch’s case file will be held at the Military Court until the ECCC requests his transfer. “We are waiting for their request,” he added.
ECCC officials announced on July 18 that the tribunal’s eight-cell detention facility was ready for occupancy. Co-investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde said Sunday that he could not comment on when Duch might be transferred to the tribunal’s jurisdiction. “You will know more soon,” he said.
In March, the Military Court renewed war crimes charges against Duch, allowing for his detention until November 2008.
Some have suggested that Duch’s extended pre-trial detention might violate international norms and could become an issue during trial. Lemonde declined to comment on that possibility. “I will answer this question in a judicial decision, not in an interview,” he said.
Under ECCC rules, defendants accused of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity may be held in provisional detention for two years. Those accused of other crimes may be held for up to one year without trial.