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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Duch describes purges of cadres as 'evil eating evil'

Duch describes purges of cadres as 'evil eating evil'


Former prison chief addresses killings of regime officials under his command as trial continues to explore S-21.

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Duch speaks in court in this photograph of a television set broadcasting the proceedings at the ECCC earlier in the trial.

FORMER Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav told the UN-backed war crimes court Tuesday he knew the actions of the regime were "unjust" when it began turning on its own people, referring to the purification of Khmer Rouge cadres inside the S-21 security centre as "evil eating evil".

"The work [of S-21] expanded, people were arrested illegally, right or wrong.... S-21 smashed members of the party including permanent committee members.... I consider it evil eating evil," the former cadre, known as Duch, said.

"I knew that the security work to arrest people was unjust, but I was obliged to do it by my superiors and the party.... I was an absolute instrument of [the communist party]. That's why I admit my responsibilities in front of the ECCC," said

On day 13 of his trial, the former jailer continued to flit between regretting his alleged crimes and defending them, saying that he was not only an "instrument" of the regime, but like a "Berger [dog], very loyal to the superiors".

"Since I became chief of S-21, I received orders to purify the internal cadres of the party," he said.

"We could not protest against the decision ... If we protested, we would have been sentenced," Duch added.

Duch told the court on Tuesday that he was trained by his superior Son Sen, as well as Vorn Vet, Lon Nol and the colonial French police, to interrogate prisoners.

In response to questions from co-prosecutors, he admitted to also reading books about interrogation techniques, including former CIA director Allen Dulles's The Craft of Intelligence and others by the KGB.

But he told the court that he had not read the books in full because of language difficulties. "I only read some of the pages ... after, I sent them to Son Sen because of time and language difficulties," Duch said.

Regarding the Tuol Sleng prison, which was part of the wider S-21 security complex, he said that he now believed the transformation of a school into a torture centre was a "mistreatment of the culture and civilisation of humanity".



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