Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Duch: Nuon Chea ordered S-21 slaughter

Duch: Nuon Chea ordered S-21 slaughter

Duch: Nuon Chea ordered S-21 slaughter


The 1979 Vietnamese invasion represented new hope for many Cambodians, but it equaled a death sentence for more than 500 remaining inmates at S-21 prison, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, testified yesterday at the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

{jathumbnail}

Under examination by deputy co-prosecutor William Smith, Duch, the former chief of the notorious S-21 interrogation centre, said Brother No 2 Nuon Chea “ordered the executions of the remaining prisoners of S-21” in January 1979, as the Khmer Rouge prepared to evacuate Phnom Penh in advance of the Vietnamese invasion.

“And how many prisoners were there when he gave you that order?” Smith asked.

“There were more than 100 prisoners, even over 500, I feel,” Duch responded, adding that the “mission [was] accomplished” within three days.

Duch continued his incriminating testimony against his former superior later that afternoon, implicating the former deputy secretary in the executions and burnings of foreign nationals who had been captured off Cambodia’s coast in 1977.

“After the interrogations, there would be a decision to smash – the smashing was to be conducted in a form of burning to ash,” Duch said.

“I was following the order from Nuon Chea, and I implemented the order,” the prison chief added, explaining that the corpses of the captured foreigners, who had been first executed, were burned so as to remove evidence.

“We needed to burn them entirely … to burn to their bones into ashes…so no one would be able to trace them.”

Duch also clarified statements he made on Thursday concerning the decision-making process within Democratic Kampuchea.

On Thursday, he had said that most decisions to arrest individuals and send them to S-21 were made by the Standing Committee, but yesterday, Duch focused on the prominent role Nuon Chea and Pol Pot played in such decisions.

“The decision to arrest was made by the Standing Committee in a broad sense, but in a more practical sense, it was Brother Pol [Pot] who made the decision, and in some cases, Brother Nuon [Chea] was the one who made such decisions,” Duch testified.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristin Lynch at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not

  • IPU slams government claim

    The president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron, has refuted a claim by the National Assembly that she “highly appreciated the achievements of Cambodia” in its July national elections with a tweet saying “Of course not!” before adding “No congratulations”. A delegation from

  • Conflict lingers on Paris Accords

    As the Kingdom prepares to commemorate on October 23 the 27th anniversary of the signing of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, which ushered in an end to nearly two decades of civil war, there is political conflict on whether the tenets of the agreement are still being

  • EU agrees VN trade deal despite rights concerns

    The EU on Wednesday agreed to a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam, a country described as having a “major rights-abusing government”. This comes amid the 28-nation bloc preparing the procedure for a possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential trade agreement on