PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Prosecutors at Cambodia’s UN-backed war crimes court appealed Thursday the indictment of the former Khmer Rouge prison chief, saying it failed to present a “full and truthful account” of his crimes.
Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, became the first suspect indicted by the genocide tribunal last week.
The 65-year-old was charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for allegedly overseeing the torture and extermination of more than 12,000 men, women and children when he headed Tuol Sleng prison, known as S-21.
But prosecutors claim the charges do not extend far enough.
“The Closing Order (indictment) does not charge Duch for his responsibility, as a co-perpetrator, for a significant number of crimes that occurred as part of a joint criminal enterprise inside S-21,” the prosecution said in a statement.
“This may prevent the Trial Chamber from fully accounting for Duch’s criminal responsibility at S-21,” the prosecutors added.
Their appeal requests that a panel of investigating judges reopen the case against Duch in order to extend the charges against him.
Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath told AFP the appeal would not significantly delay the trial, expected to open around late September and last up to four months.
“All sides have no intention of delaying the trial,” he said.
Duch, a former mathematics teacher, has been in prison since 1999 for his role at Tuol Sleng.
He was transferred to the custody of the UN-backed court in July last year, becoming the first top Khmer Rouge cadre to be detained by the tribunal.
The indictment order, posted on the tribunal website, said more than 12,380 people were executed at S-21 — most after suffering inhumane detention conditions and prolonged mental and physical torture.
Thousands of inmates were also taken from the centre for execution at Choeng Ek, one of the areas now known as the Killing Fields.
Established in 2006 after nearly a decade of negotiations between Cambodia and the UN, the long-stalled tribunal seeks to prosecute crimes committed 30 years ago by senior Khmer Rouge leaders.