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Ex-Khmer Rouge prison chief visits mass grave site in ECCC investigation

[JURIST] Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav [TrialWatch profile], also known as Duch, visited the Choeung Ek "killing field" Tuesday as part of an on-site investigation [press release, PDF] by co-investigating judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive]. The tribunal described the investigation as "a normal investigative action, the aim of which is to clarify the declarations by each of the participants by gathering photos, audio-visual recordings and creating material for use in 3D reconstructions." A similar on-site investigation will be held Wednesday at Tuol Sleng, the site of the former prison under Duch's command.

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. He was arrested in 1999 on genocide charges and 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. A panel of ECCC judges ruled late last year that Duch should not be granted bail [JURIST report] while preparations for his as-yet unscheduled trial continue. AP has more.

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