35-Year Jail Term For Khmer Rouge Official

In the first judicial verdict on the genocide committed by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, a former official of the regime was on Monday pronounced guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment. The Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) on Monday convicted Kaing Guek Eav (67), also known as Duch, for his role in the mass execution of the “enemies” of Khmer Rouge at S-21, a security centre which was used as a prison and a killing field between 1975 and 1979. In the court proceedings in Phnom Penh, witnessed by nearly 30,000 people from the public gallery, the Trial Chamber, by a majority, convicted Duch of a range of crimes against humanity such as persecution on political grounds, torture, and extermination. Yet, taking into account the “illegal detention” that Duch underwent at the hands of the Cambodian military court between 1999 and 2007, the Trial Chamber reduced the pronounced sentence to 30 years of imprisonment. It was also ruled that he was “further entitled to credit for time already spent in detention” under the jurisdiction of not only the military court but also the ECCC itself during his judicial trial.