Khmer Rouge jailer Duch submits appeal

By Guy De Launey
BBC News, Phnom Penh

  • Published
Kaing Guek Eav hears his sentence 26.7.10
Image caption,
Duch oversaw the deaths of thousands of men, women and children at Tuol Sleng prison

A former Khmer Rouge prison chief found guilty of crimes against humanity has started formal appeal proceedings.

Last month, judges at a UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia sentenced Kaing Guek Eav to 35 years for his role in the torture and murder of thousands of people.

But the man best known as Comrade Duch has argued that he should not be held responsible.

Prosecutors have also launched their own appeal.

They said earlier this month that the sentence passed was too lenient as, with time already served, Duch would be free in at most 19 years.

That is hard for many survivors of the Khmer Rouge era to swallow.

Duch's appeal may add to their unease.

He admitted overseeing the systematic torture and murder of thousands of people at the S-21 detention centre and even apologised to the victims' relatives in court.

But the former prison chief now says he should not have been on trial at all.

The tribunal was set up to prosecute the surviving senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge and those most responsible for the worst atrocities.

Duch claims he falls into neither category.

The appeals may be heard as early as the end of November.

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