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Khieu Samphan’s role eyed


Case 002 defendant, Khieu Samphan was not a bad guy, former S-21 prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, told the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday.

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The notorious prison chairman, who oversaw the deaths of upwards of 12,000 men, women and children during the reign of the Khmer Rouge, said that former president Khieu Samphan was a “pure” and “clean” man.

“Khieu Samphan was put as the commander-in-chief of the revolutionary forces merely to build confidence amongst the international community that this person was a trustworthy person,” Duch said. “So the army was led by somebody who was clean and pure.”

It is the second time in as many days that Duch has emphatically stressed that the charismatic head of state was not one of the regime’s “bad guys” and in reality had barely any responsibility.

His role was “symbolic and honorific” Duch said, as Khieu Samphan, who holds a PHD in economics, never actually commanded the revolutionary army.

Duch also criticised the work of David Chandler, a renowned American scholar and historical expert on the Democratic Kampuchea period.

“I mention David Chandler, because in his book he says that Khieu Samphan was a bad guy and I argue that Khieu Samphan was not a bad guy,” Duch, who has been sentenced to life for his rule in the murderous regime, testified.

Defence counsel for the three co-accused, Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary, have frequently objected to the testimony being given by Duch because, they say, it is unclear which parts of his testimony are his memories from the regime and which parts are information he learned afterwards during the preparation for his own trial.

Khieu Samphan, who has been detained at the tribunal’s detention centre since 2007,  is accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at bridget.dicerto@phnompenhpost.com

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