[JURIST] The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] announced [order, PDF] Monday that the trial of Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder] leader Kaing Guek-Eav [TrialWatch backgrounder; court materials], better known as "Duch", will begin February 17. Duch faces charges [scheduling order, PDF; JURIST report] of murder and torture in addition to charges [closing order, PDF; JURIST report] of crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Conventions.
Duch is best known for running the Tuol Sleng (S-21) prison camp [backgrounder] in Phnom Penh in the late 1970s after the Khmer Rouge took over. Out of an estimated 17,000 people imprisoned at Tuol Sleng, there are only twelve known survivors [advocacy website]. The ECCC plans to try as many as eight suspects [JURIST report] for their roles in the Khmer Rouge regime, which is generally held responsible for the genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] between 1975 and 1979. Earlier this month, Japan announced [JURIST report] that it would give an additional $21 million to the ECCC following an announcement by the court [JURIST report] that it plans to complete operations a year early because of limited funding. In February, a Cambodian genocide survivor testified [JURIST report] against Nuon Chea [PBS backgrounder] at a pretrial hearing, marking the first time a victim has taken the stand against a former Khmer Rouge official.