Duch Sentenced to 35-year Imprisonment for Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes: A Major Step for International Justice

Press release
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FIDH and its member organisations in Cambodia, the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), welcome the verdict pronounced today by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, has been sentenced to 35-year imprisonment for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed between 1975 and 1979, while he headed the detention centre S21, where nearly 15,000 victims were tortured and executed.

According to Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH, Souhayr Belhassen, “this is a historical verdict: 30 years after the crimes were committed, justice has finally been done. This verdict is very significant for international justice as well as for the fight against impunity for crimes committed by the Khmer Rouges. We hope that decision will contribute to reinforcing the ECCC in the organisation of the second trial against four top leaders of the Khmer Rouges regime.”

For the first time in history, victims were granted the right to participate actively in proceedings before an international tribunal as civil parties. This aspect caught the attention of victims and the entire Cambodian population. Nevertheless, during this trial limitations were imposed upon the rights of victims to participate in proceedings. In this regard, our organisations recall the importance of facilitating participation of victims in judicial processes and hope that the 4000 victims, who are expected to participate in the second trial, will be able to fully be represented.

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