Most Cambodians Disagree On Releasing DUCH

Posted by khmernews on December 11, 2007


At the entrance of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, hundreds of people were queuing to enter to listen to the hearing on November 21-22, 2007. The hearing was not trying the crimes Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, is charged with, but was for the appeal by Duch, who wishes to be released on bail.
The noticeable thing is that the big crowd of people was eagerly waiting to observe whether the Judges in the Pre-Trial Chamber will release Duch on bail or not. Those people included journalists, diplomats, victims, and witnesses. Some victims and witnesses were not invited, but when they received the news of the hearing of Duch, they spent time and money to travel to see the hearing.

The people who were allowed to enter to listen to the hearing were all concentrating, almost without a move, on the hearing, on defense lawyers, and on the conclusion of co-prosecutors.

Taking chance during the break of the hearing, journalists gathered to interview an elderly man Om Pom, 76, from Kompong Speu province. Om Pom is a victim and also a witness. He said that 16 of his relatives had been killed by the Khmer Rouge during the Democratic Kampuchea regime and that he had his feet chained for 6 months before he was released. He said in the compound of the tribunal that no one had invited him to the [tribunal], and that when he knew about the hearing of Duch on November 20, he came to the tribunal. He expressed his disappointment over the defense lawyer who had requested that Duch be released on bail. “I want to ask the Co-Judges if they allow me to ask,” he said, adding that he might decide to attack Duch if Duch was released on bail and walked outside, since he had suffered to much. “During the Khmer Rouge regime, the Khmer Rouge leaders abused people so much, and now they are only imprisoned, sleeping comfortably, and eating delicious food,” he said, “why do they want to be released?” Om Pom said that he wanted the judges to continue to detain [Duch] and do not approve with any decision which leads to Duch’s release.

“If the Pre-Trial Chamber releases him (Duch), we are concerned about his personal safety,” said Seng Theary, director of the Center for Social Development (CSD). “And if he is endangered, we will lose a lot and lose everything from the history.” She said that anything which had happened in the Military Court was not related to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Besides the [people in] the above interviews, many other witnesses in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s compound did not support Duch’s release on bail.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 15, #4448, Wednesday, November 28, 2007.


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