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The Duch Trial

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The initial hearing in the trial of Duch was held on February 17, 2009. The substantive part of the trial began on March 30, 2009. The trial lasted 77 days ending on November 27, 2009. Duch, a former mathematician, was deputy and then chairman of the infamous national prison Tuol Sleng (also known as S21) during the Khmer Rouge regime. On July 26, 2010, the Trial Chamber convicted Duch of crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison, which was then reduced to 19 years for illegal detention by the Cambodian Military Court as well as time served in detention at the Cambodian Military Court and the ECCC.[1] The Trial Chamber accepted 66 Civil Parties but denied Civil Party status at sentencing to 24 applicants on the ground that they had not demonstrated a link to S21,[2] either as a direct survivor or by bond of kinship, affection or dependency with a S21 victim. Finally, the Chamber ruled that reparations would be limited to the inclusion in the judgment of the names of the 66 accepted Civil Parties and the names of their family members who may have been harmed at S21, as well as a compilation and publication on the ECCC website of the accused’s statements of apology.[3]

Both Duch and the Co-Prosecutors appealed the verdict to the Supreme Court Chamber. Most Civil Parties have also filed appeals against the Trial Chamber rulings on reparations and admissibility of Civil Party applicants.[4] The appeal hearing was held March 28 to 30, 2011. The Supreme Court Chamber’s verdict is expected sometime in 2011.

[1] See, “ECCC, Kaing Guek Eav, Biography”, available at

[2] Originally 94 people applied to become Civil Parties in Case 001. Out of those, three withdrew their applications and one was denied. Ninety civil party applicants participated in the first trial.

[3] See, “Judgment, Criminal Case File # 001/18-07-2007-ECCC/TC” Cambodia: Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, 26 July 2010, available at

[4] See, “ECCC, Kaing Guek Eav, Biography”