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Prosecutors argue against bail in Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal hearing

[JURIST] Prosecutors argued before a hearing of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] Wednesday that former Khmer Rouge official Kaing Guek Eav [TrialWatch profile] should be denied bail to prevent violence that could threaten public order. Lawyers said that Kaing Guek Eav, better known as "Duch," is a flight risk and, if released, could be targeted for a revenge killing by relatives of Khmer Rouge genocide victims. Duch has contested his eight-year pre-trial detention [JURIST report] as a violation of international law, and has requested to be released on bail in the months before his as-yet unscheduled trial. A decision is not expected for several days, but ECCC judges have indicated that they do not have jurisdiction to determine the legality of Duch's detention.

Duch, who was in charge of the notorious S-21 prison [Wikipedia backgrounder] in Phnom Penh, is one of five top leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime [JURIST news archive; BBC backgrounder] currently in ECCC custody. Duch was arrested in 1999 on genocide charges; he was subsequently charged with war crimes by a military court in March and with crimes against humanity [JURIST reports] by the ECCC in July. Those charges were primarily brought to keep Duch in custody while the ECCC started operations. Also Wednesday, the tribunal expressed concern for the safety of former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan [JURIST report] if released. AP has more. AFP has additional coverage.

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