Khmer Rouge Jailer First to Be Charged

UN-backed tribunal opens amid doubts senior leaders will be brought to justice
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2007 3:31 PM CDT
Foreigner and Cambodian pre-trial chamber judges, from left, Rowan Downing (Australia), Prak Kimsan (Cambodia), Katinka Lahuis (the Netherlands) and Hout Vuthy (Cambodia), sit inside the court hall of...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A UN tribunal has charged an ex-Khmer Rouge prison chief with crimes against humanity in the torturing and killing of as many as 17,000 people during the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s. Kang Kek Ieu, known as Duch, ordered inmates executed at the "killing fields" near Phnom Penh, the BBC reports. He is one of five suspects the tribunal plans to investigate.

Duch is the first person charged by the tribunal, which has taken years to get off the ground. Survivors publicly wonder whether it will track down more senior Khmer Rouge leaders, many of whom are living freely in Cambodia. The biggest names will never be charged: Pol Pot died in 1998, and second-in-command Ta Mok died last year. (Read more genocide stories.)