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Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

In quotes: Khmer Rouge trial

Some reactions as the landmark UN-backed trial of a former Khmer Rouge leader, Kaing Guek Eav - better known as Duch - opens in Cambodia. Duch is accused of presiding over the murder and torture of at least 15,000 inmates at the prison camp he ran.

NIL NONN, PRESIDING JUDGE

This first hearing represents the realisation of significant efforts to establish a fair and independent tribunal to try those in leadership positions and those most responsible for violations of Cambodian and international law.

VANN NATH, S-21 PRISON SURVIVOR

This is the day we have waited for for 30 years. But I don't know if it will end my suffering.

MEUNG SON, S-21 PRISON CAMP SURVIVOR

It is an important day that I'm here to listen to Duch and to hear the process of the tribunal. I want to witness Duch's willingness to tell the truth.

FRANCOIS ROUX, FOR THE DEFENCE

This situation is unacceptable...

A person can't be held in detention for more than three years under Cambodian law. [Duch has been in custody for more than nine years.]

HELEN JARVIS, HEAD OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS FOR EXTRAORDINARY AFFAIRS IN THE COURTS OF CAMBODIA

I don't think we can overestimate the importance of today for the history of Cambodia. Thirty years - even a little over 30 years, 30 years, one month, one week, since the overthrow of the regime. It's something many, many Cambodians thought they would never live to see and here, today we are embarking on that road.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

The tribunal cannot bring justice to the millions of the Khmer Rouge's victims if it tries only a handful of the most notorious individuals, while scores of former Khmer Rouge officials and commanders remain free.

RICHARD ROGERS, DEFENSE SUPPORT ACTION

As a court dispensing justice that is not just about punishment or retribution, but is also about reconciliation and closure, what is the appropriate sentence, if any, for a man such as Duch - a man who has confessed to his crimes, who has assisted the investigation, and who has shown remorse and asked for forgiveness?

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