Cambodia's genocide tribunal formally indicted a former prison chief of the notorious Khmer Rouge yesterday, paving the way for the first trial since the court was set up in early 2006.
The UN-assisted tribunal said in a statement that its investigating judges had issued the indictment after ending their inquiries into the 66-year-old Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, whose Phnom Penh prison was used as a torture centre.
Duch, accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes, is the first suspect to be indicted by the tribunal. He and four other former senior members of the Khmer Rouge, which held power in the late 1970s, were taken into custody last year.
The indictment, posted on the tribunal website, came in a closing order by the investigating judges. The indictment documents now go to the tribunal judges.
The radical policies of the communist Khmer Rouge are considered responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution. No senior member of the group has ever stood trial for the atrocities.
No date has yet been set for a trial, but tribunal officials have previously said it was expected to begin in late September.