Duch Talks About Killings At Tuol Sleng Prison During KR Regime

Posted by khmernews on February 25, 2008

Den Sorin

Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, former director of Tuol Sleng prison, code-named Bureau S-21, has told a foreign newspaper about the killings during the Khmer Rouge regime. Although the story of Duch killing people is a bit out-of-date, it seems new to people everywhere who have known and heard about the “Killing Fields regime” which lasted for 3 years, 8 months and 20 days. This is because the torture and killings during the Khmer Rouge regime, especially in Tuol Sleng prison, are like a tale in which people had never expected that such killings would ever happen in this modern world. Noticeably, those “beasts” and chief killers of the Khmer Rouge regime were intellectuals, such as Duch.
According to documents, almost 20,000 people were tortured and exterminated in Tuol Sleng prison, run by Kaing Guek Eav, commonly known as Duch.

While Duch is now being detained in the Khmer Rouge tribunal, the foreign newspaper has recently quoted his speech in an interview with him, while he was being detained in Military Prison. Some people question that “journalists are very eager for news to release immediately after getting it, but why have they kept the interview with Duch until now?” Meanwhile, other people think that there might be some condition from the Military Prison’s or Military court’s officials about the publication of the interview with Duch. Therefore, it has been delayed until now, since it is weird that journalist were allowed to interview the accused who had been charged with crimes against humanity and genocidal crimes.

Yesterday, an England-based newspaper published an article related to the killings during the Khmer Rouge regime by Duch. The article is from an Italian journalist working for the British newspaper The Independent.

Reports said that Duch is one of the surviving most senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

In response to the journalist’s question, Duch said that he was under the command of Khmer Rouge Defense Minister Son Sen. Duch claimed that all the killings were ordered by Son Sen and that when people were sent to be executed in Tuol Sleng prison- S-21, he interrogated and tortured them and then sent confession reports to Son Sen.

In the interview, Duch did not place blame on someone else besides Son Sen. However, when Nuon Chea arrested by the Khmer Rouge tribunal last September claimed that Duch had put blame on him because Duch hated him so much. Some observers claimed that Nuon Chea’s assertion was only that of an irresponsible person.

When asked, “Why didn’t you stand up against the Angkar?” Duch answered that he could do nothing but to respect and believe in the Angkar since if he protested or fled away, his family would be held hostages and killed. Therefore, he had to play his role at the end of road, at that time Vietnamese troops entered Cambodia in 1979.

As response to the question why he joint Christianity, Duch said that Christianity is a force which fights communism. Duch told the paper that during the “Spy War”, he was 20 years old. Communists were trying to propagandise against corruption. They made him fully believe in communism with which he eventually became pathetic. He said that the promise of the communists was excellent, but that it was not that excellent in reality.

Kaing Guek Eav, a.k.a Duch, was living with the Khmer Rouge until the Angkar was toppled. However, he still continued to follow them so far. In the 1980s Duch left the Khmer Rouge after an internal conflict and worked for a humanitarian organization along the border. He defected from Buddhism to Christianity. This is what Duch claimed to be made to clean his sins and oppose communism. However, after the integration of the Khmer Rouge into the government, Duch returned to the Khmer Rouge’s Angkar and settled in Somloat until his arrest.

Duch had been detained for many years at Military Court without trial with Ta Mok. However, Ta Mok died before the trial, which is so regretful. The mystery we have now is why the western journalist who had interviewed Duch in Military prison and just published the news now.

Some sources said that a lot more of what Duch told the journalist about mass killings have not been published yet, but it is believed that they will be released soon after the trial of former top Khmer Rouge leaders.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, vol. 15, #3385, Tuesday, February 12, 2008.


One Response to “Duch Talks About Killings At Tuol Sleng Prison During KR Regime”

  1. I wanted to thank you for this excellent read. I surely liked every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked and will be reading more.

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