[JURIST] The Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Friday sentenced Kaing Guek Eav [Hague Justice profile; ECCC materials], also known as “Duch,” to life imprisonment [press release] for crimes against humanity and violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions [materials]. In a supermajority decision [summary, PDF], the Supreme Court Chamber overturned two decisions of the Trial Chamber. According to the Supreme Court Chamber, the July 2010 decision [JURIST report] imposing 35 years of imprisonment was made in error because it focused on the mitigating factors such as cooperation, regret and apology [JURIST report] rather than the seriousness of the crimes. The court emphasized that Kaing’s role as head of Security Center S-21 [Fathom backgrounder] and his crimes during his office. In addition, the Supreme Court Chamber found that remedies granted to Kaing for the illegal detention by Cambodian Military Court were wrong because the Trial Chamber considered only specific crimes against humanity, the Supreme Court entered additional convictions for crimes against humanity including extermination, enslavement and torture.
Kaing is the only former Khmer Rouge leader to have been convicted by the ECCC. Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea were indicted [JURIST report] in September 2010. The ECCC ruled that Ieng Thirith was unfit to stand trial, but the Supreme Court Chamber in December ordered that she remain in detention [JURIST reports] and that the Trial Chamber exhaust all measures so that she can stand trial. The other three went on trial [JURIST report] in November. In October 2010, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen [BBC profile] informed the UN that Cambodia will not allow further prosecutions of low-ranking Khmer Rouge officers [JURIST report].