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

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group