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Thirty years after the fall of a dictatorship believed to have killed
almost two million people, prosecutors with a special tribunal in Cambodia are
preparing the first trial for one of the regime's key leaders. While the crimes
committed by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s were enormous, with the
prosecution of Kaing Khek Iev [KAHNG KEHK EE-oh] a measure of justice will
begin returning to the former killing fields.
Robert Petit, with the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia, said
Kaing will be tried for genocide and other crimes beginning in March. Known as
Duch [DOY-k], he commanded the Tuol Sleng [Tool Sleng] prison in Phnom Penh
where at least 15,000 people are believed to have been tortured or killed in
the regime's campaign to totally remake Cambodian society.
Four other Khmer Rouge leaders also tied to crimes against humanity have also
been detained and face trial after Kaing. The announcement came on Remembrance
Day, the anniversary marking the regime's removal in 1979.
The United States supports the efforts of Cambodia and the international
community to bring to justice those most responsible for serious violations of
international humanitarian law under the Khmer Rouge regime.