Asia-Pacific

Verdict date set for Khmer Rouge jailer Duch

Duch, 24 November
Image caption Kaing Guek Eav, or Duch, has requested clemency from the court

Cambodia's UN-backed genocide court has set a date for the verdict in the case of former Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch.

The verdict, to be announced on 26 July, will be the first from the special court.

Duch, 67, whose full name is Kaing Guek Eav, is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes.

He ran Tuol Sleng prison, where as many as 17,000 people believed to be enemies of the Khmer Rouge were killed.

Up to two million people died under the Khmer Rouge, which ruled Cambodia from 1975-1979.

Many died of starvation and overwork after the Maoist regime sent city-dwellers to work in the fields in an attempt to build an agrarian society. Others were imprisoned and killed.

Duch was the first of five senior Khmer Rouge leaders to face trial at the special court in Phnom Penh, which has taken years to set up.

"Hopefully it (the verdict) will be a turning point for the people of Cambodia who have waited for more than 30 years to see someone from the Khmer Rouge brought to justice," court spokesman Lars Olsen said.

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