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Indicted ex-Khmer Rouge leader willing to testify about Cambodia genocide

[JURIST] Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Khek Iev [TrialWatch profile], also known as Duch, is willing to testify against other members of the Khmer Rouge, according to information released Wednesday by the tribunal that indicted [JURIST report] Duch earlier in the week. Included in Duch's detention order [PDF text] is Duch's admission that he oversaw the S-21 prison and his statement that he is willing to talk about the crimes that led to the Khmer Rouge genocide [JURIST news archive] of 1.7 million Cambodians. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] also said Wednesday that Kar Savuth and Francois Roux had been selected by Duch to serve as his trial lawyers [press release, PDF].

Duch, one of five former Khmer Rouge leaders under investigation by the court, was arrested in 1999 on genocide charges and was subsequently charged by a military court with crimes against humanity in 2002 and war crimes [JURIST report] in March in an effort to keep Duch in custody while the ECCC started operations. Earlier this month, Nuon Chea [BBC profile], former deputy general of the Cambodian Communist Party and the most senior surviving member of the Khmer Rouge, said in an AP interview [text] that he expects to appear before the ECCC, but denied any responsibility for the genocide. The ECCC was established by a 2001 law [text as amended 2005, PDF] to investigate and try those responsible for the Cambodian genocide that occurred between 1975-1979. The genocide resulted in the deaths of approximately one-third of the Cambodian population. To date, no top Khmer Rouge officials have faced trial, and the charges against Duch are first charges brought by the tribunal. AP has more.

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