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Rights groups concerned by conduct of Khmer Rouge trial

Despite widespread jubilation over the life sentence handed to Khmer Rouge jailer Kaing Guek Eav, local and international rights groups are concerned that the process of justice has not been well served.

  • Bridget Di Certo
  • Cambodia
  • February 7, 2012
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In the wake of the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s landmark life sentence for former S-21 prison director Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, rights groups have expressed concern that the sensational appeal decision masks worrying human rights implications.

Victims rejoiced on Friday as the Supreme Court Chamber at the UN-backed tribunal scratched the original sentence against Duch and awarded him the maximum penalty under Cambodian criminal law – the rest of his life behind bars – for crimes the chamber called “undoubtedly among the worst in recorded human history”.

However, rights groups and monitors are concerned the chamber’s dramatic sentence contains elements which could have dark ramifications for fair trial rights and the court’s remaining three cases.

“The decision to overturn the legal remedy for Duch’s unlawful detention and to provide no alternative may be perceived as a case of public opinion trumping human rights,” Amnesty International’s Rupert Abbott said on Friday.

The former chairman of the notorious interrogation facility was illegally detained by the Cambodian Military Court for eight years, a breach of human rights the Trial Chamber at the court had originally sought to remedy through a sentence reduction of five years.

However, in a decision disputed by two of the international appellate judges, the chamber counted Duch’s illegal detention by the Cambodian Military as time served.

Full Story: Duch verdict worries

Source: Phnom Penh Post
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