Thursday, 20 August 2009

Duch faces professor's wife

Photo by: AFP
S-21 chief Duch said Wednesday that he did not know how his former professor died.

Kickback scheme

THE Pre-Trial Chamber on Tuesday effectively ended an attempt by Nuon Chea's defence team to have the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges look into allegations of corruption at the tribunal. The defence in March asked the judges to obtain the results of a UN graft review prompted by allegations of a kickback scheme, as well as "anything else suggesting an organised regime of institutional corruption". The judges said in April that they did not have jurisdiction to launch an investigation. The Pre-Trial Chamber ruled Tuesday that an appeal from the defence was inadmissible.

The Phnom Penh Post
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Cheang Sokha

S-21 prison chief maintains he knows nothing about his former teacher's fate.

THE wife of Phung Ton, a respected law professor who at one point taught Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, told Cambodia's war crimes court Wednesday that her grief had only intensified in the more than 30 years since her husband was detained at the torture facility and later executed.

"I have never been happy," said civil party Im Sun Thy, 70.

"I have been terrified and living with trauma."

She added that her grief had at times driven her to contemplate suicide.

Im Sun Thy, who had asked to be accompanied by a court-provided medic during her testimony, said she had not come to the court to seek revenge, but rather to find out the truth about what happened to her husband, who was detained in December 1976.

Phung Ton's daughter, Phung Sunthary, 53, who also testified Wednesday as a civil party, said she did not believe Duch's past claims that he had no idea what happened to the professor after he disappeared into Tuol Sleng.

"How could the chief of the secret police unit not know what happened to my father?" she asked. "Was the chief of S-21 a puppet?"

She went on to say that she would not accept Duch's apology if he refused to specify how her father had been killed.

"I will close the door for the accused person to apologise" if Duch does not reveal the true story of Phung Ton's death, she said.

Duch said again Wednesday that he did not know at the time that the professor had been held at Tuol Sleng, adding that he had not issued the order to arrest Phung Ton.

"For my professor, I did not know of his detention or that he was suffering from insufficient food or bad living conditions," he said, adding that he had been upset himself when he learned of Phung Ton's fate.

Also Wednesday, UN court spokeswoman Yuko Maeda announced the UN had nominated a replacement for international co-prosecutor Robert Petit, whose resignation goes into effect September 1.

Maeda said the UN had submitted the nomination to the Supreme Council of the Magistracy and was optimistic that the candidate would be approved. She declined to provide any information about the candidate.

Sam Pracheameanith, Cabinet chief at the Ministry of Justice and assistant secretary general of the Supreme Council of the Magistracy, said Wednesday that the body had not yet received the appointment request. He declined to say how long the approval process might take, though the UN has said it hopes to have the replacement in place before Petit departs.

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