Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chea defence disputes Duch's claims at KRT




Chea defence disputes Duch's claims at KRT

Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, gives his testimony during Case 002/02 yesterday at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. ECCC
Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, gives his testimony during Case 002/02 yesterday at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. ECCC

Chea defence disputes Duch's claims at KRT

Defence counsel for former “Brother No 2” Nuon Chea struck back after days of witness testimony that has repeatedly implicated his client in the running of the notorious S-21 prison, during the Khmer Rouge Tribunal yesterday.

Former S-21 chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, had previously testified that from August 15, 1977, onwards, his former superior Son Sen had left Phnom Penh for the battlefield and Duch was to report directly to Nuon Chea – a claim Chea has rejected.

Yesterday, defence lawyer Victor Koppe confronted Duch with a series of documents and news broadcasts that showed Son Sen was present in Phnom Penh on multiple occasions after his purported departure.

Duch explained Son Sen’s recurring presence in the capital, as well as the continued appearance of his signature on prisoner confessions, by saying his former supervisor was regularly called back from the front and was authorised to complete unfinished work at S-21.

When Koppe asked Duch if he had any documents to back up the claim that he was supervised by Nuon Chea, Duch said: “I have no evidence”.

“You were a party member of the lowest level. You couldn’t possibly know, could you?” Koppe pressed.

“How could I not know about that issue?” Duch responded. “Uncle Nuon called me to meetings with him and said Son Sen had gone to the battlefield . . . and I had to work with him to do the tasks.”

Koppe also asked if Duch, as the commander of a regiment, had held a similar rank to Prime Minister Hun Sen – also a regimental commander under the Khmer Rouge. However, Duch said they differed because Hun Sen’s “soldiers were fully armed and nobody dared to get in his way”.

“So Hun Sen could flee to Vietnam with his fully armed soldiers . . . but I could not do that because I had nothing,” Duch said.

Duch also testified that because members of the upper echelon were frequently implicated in confessions extracted through torture, one confession was not enough to justify an arrest – however, some cadres were placed under intense surveillance during the regime, he added.

Presented with a historical estimate that roughly 4,300 confessions had been extracted at S-21, Duch said he didn’t know if it was accurate.

“I cannot say anything about that . . . because there were many prisoners who were smashed without having confessions,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Man Covid-19 positive after Thailand trip

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday reported the third Covid-19 case in less than two weeks, bringing the total to 125. The man, a 26-year-old from Tbong Khmum province's Tbong Khmum district, arrived at the O'Beichoan border checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province on Thursday. He is

  • Kingdom's GDP growth to narrow -1% to -2.9%, World Bank says

    The World Bank expects further recoil on Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to between minus one per cent and minus 2.9 per cent for 2020 as its main growth drivers – tourism, manufacturing exports and construction – take a beating due to Covid-19, its latest economic update

  • Vietnam: Tougher sentences for child abusers

    Several National Assembly (NA) deputies in Vietnam are calling for tougher penalties to be handed down to child abusers. They hope stricter punishments will act as a strong deterrent to prevent offenders committing further offences in the future. Extreme measures such as chemical castration were

  • Central bank to shun small US banknotes

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is considering not accepting smaller denominated US dollar banknotes – $1, $2 and $5 – from banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) which it said are flooding its stockpile as the demand for those notes is low. While some banking insiders welcomed the move as

  • PM lauded in Covid-19 fight

    World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen thanking him for following the WHO’s guidance and commending Cambodia’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19. In his letter made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Workers return, hope for salaries

    More than 600 factory workers in the capital’s Chaom Chao commune in Por Sen Chey district returned to work after the factory’s owner promised to pay their salaries in instalments until the middle of next month. On Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 600 workers gathered