Frenchwoman Urges The KR Tribunal To Try Duch

Posted by khmernews on August 22, 2007

Chey Sachakk

A Frenchwoman whose husband was killed at Tuol Sleng prison during the Khmer Rouge (KR) regime has recently urged the KR Tribunal to prosecute Duch as soon as possible because it has been nine month since she applied her indictment.

Chhay Hok Pheng, president of the Committee of the Victims of the Khmer Rouge in France, who has headed a delegation in Cambodia to observe the process of the KR trials, said that the Frenchwoman who is a former professor submitted her legal complaint through his committee and that but the Office of Co-Prosecutors of the KR Tribunal hasn’t taken any action in response her complaint.

While Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, former head of Tuol Sleng prison, is being detained in the provisional detention center of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the president of the Committee of the Victims of the Khmer Rouge has urged the KR Tribunal to take action as soon as possible so that he will have chance to issue other 45 legal complaints.

“A legal complaint we submitted in December last year has not been responded by the Co-Prosecutors of the KR Tribunal, but the Co-Prosecutors said that they provisionally accepted it. So, we have to wait and see when the Co-Prosecutors consider the Frenchwoman’s complaint standing,” said Chhay Hok Pheng.

He added that the urging was intended to accelerate the process of justice finding for victims so that the victims would be able to express their sufferings and acquire justice. “If the trials can get underway soon, it’s exactly what we want.”

It is noticed that the urging for the action on the complaint is made while Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Kaing Guek Eav, aka Duch, was already charged with crimes against humanity in late July 2007.

The Committee of the Victims of the Khmer Rouge which has 4 members met KR Tribunal’s Co-Prosecutor Chea Leang Thursday last week. According to Chhay Hok Pheng, Co-Prosecutor Chea Leang still hasn’t taken the legal complaint of the Frenchwoman to consider yet.

The failure to take legal action on the case of the French victim has disappointed the victim and Chhay Hok Pheng because they think that it has been nine months since they filed the complaint and that [the court] shouldn’t have kept the complaint without paying any attention to it.

Lawyer groups have voiced their concerns over the appointment of Co-Investigating Judge You Bunleng to be the President of the Cambodian Court of Appeal, whose former president Ly Vuochleng has fled abroad because of the alleged corruption over the release of two men convicted in the Chai Hour II Hotel human trafficking case. They have been worried that this reason would delay the tribunal’s judicial process again.

The general public has noticed that although the KR Tribunal has spent over one year out of its 3 years term, most of the people still haven’t understood about the legal procedures of the court and how to file their complaints to get justice for themselves and their family.

According to the KR Tribunal’s Internal Rules, victims can file their own complaints in accordance with their physical and mental damages which have lasted until the present time.

Meanwhile, Co-Prosecutor Robert Petit has claimed that the complaints received are fewer than the number expected. However, Robert Petit hasn’t given any comment on when those victims’ complaints would be considered and taken action on. 

According to Cambodian law, prosecutor is obliged to response to the complainant though the prosecutor will or will not take action on the complaint.

Up to the present time, the KR Tribunal has just begun the investigation on 5 suspects accused of the responsibilities for the mass murder of almost 2 million Cambodians. Besides Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, other four suspects have yet to make public.

Concerning the legal complaint which was submitted nine months ago by the Frenchwoman whose husband was killed in Tuol Sleng prison during the KR regime, the Co-Prosecutors should take it to consider in order not to make her lose faith on the KR Tribunal.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol. 14, #3239, Friday, August 17, 2007.


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