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Cambodia genocide court to encourage victims to come forward

[JURIST] A spokesperson for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] announced Tuesday a large-scale media campaign to encourage more victims to come forward and participate in the trial of Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder] leader Kaing Guek-Eav [TrialWatch backgrounder; court materials], better known as "Duch." The trial is set to begin [JURIST report] February 17. Announcements will be made [AFP report] in newspapers, on the radio, and perhaps on television, and victims will have until February 2 to come forward.

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.

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