Khmer Rouge prison chief verdict set for July 26

Duch begged forgiveness for overseeing execution of 15,000 people at a jail.

Updated: May 24, 2010, 14:37 PM IST

Phnom Penh: The verdict in the trial of Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch will be announced on July 26, an official at Cambodia`s UN-backed genocide court said on Monday.

The 67-year-old Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav, is the first leader from the hardline 1975-1979 communist regime to face international justice.

"Hopefully it will be a turning point for the people of Cambodia who have waited for more than 30 years to see someone from the Khmer Rouge brought to justice," court spokesman Lars Olsen said in announcing the verdict date.

Up to two million people were executed or died of starvation, disease and overwork as the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge movement emptied cities and enslaved the population on collective farms in its bid to create a communist utopia.

Duch acknowledged responsibility and begged forgiveness for overseeing the torture and execution of more than 15,000 people at the notorious Tuol Sleng prison during his trial, which began in February last year.

Bureau Report