Friday, February 3, 2012
Many Cambodians will feel a greater sense of justice has prevailed with this morning's announcement that Comrade Duch, commandant of the infamous Tuol Sleng S-21 prison, who oversaw thousands of deaths at the hands of his torturers and death squads in the late 1970s, has been sentenced to life imprisonment, following an appeal by both the prosecution and defence teams. The verdict determined that Duch trained, ordered and supervised his staff to conduct “systematic torture and execution of prisoners” and he showed “dedication to refining the operations of S-21, which was the factory of death.” The high numbers of deaths under Duch's watch “undoubtedly place this case among the gravest before international criminal tribunals.” Originally given a 35-year term, that was effectively reduced to 19 years for time served, the extended sentence handed out today will surely mean that he'll see out his days behind bars. And rightly so. His crimes were of such a magnitude that to even contemplate release, parole or even a pardon, god forbid, at any stage in the future would've been a smack in the face for any right-minded Cambodian citizen. Now lets see what punishment can be meted out to his superiors, three of which are currently on trial at the Tribunal.