Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Duch questioned about plots against DK regime

Duch questioned about plots against DK regime

Former S-21 chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, gives his testimony earlier this week at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. ECCC
Former S-21 chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, gives his testimony earlier this week at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. ECCC

Duch questioned about plots against DK regime

Former S-21 prison chief Kaing Guek Eav was probed on the arrests of upper level Khmer Rouge cadre suspected of spying for Vietnam and planning a coup d’état against the Pol Pot regime at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday.

Touching on an issue key to the defence of co-accused Nuon Chea – the regime’s former “Brother number two” – Eav, better known as Duch, was confronted with questions about alleged Vietnamese infiltration into the ranks. The Chea defence has argued that the Khmer Rouge was riven by competing factions, and faced a legitimate threat from Vietnam – a threat that Duch obliquely acknowledged.

Questioning briefly touched on former North West Zone secretary Koy Thoun, who was arrested in early 1977 and upon whose confessions of plotting against the regime later purges were allegedly based.

Duch said he had personally interrogated Thuon without resorting to torture.

“It was an absolute order not to commit torture . . . against him,” Duch said. “Since I was once his subordinate . . . I was ordered not to be convinced by Koy Thuon and I had to be strong in my stance.”

He said Koy Thuon was permitted to sit on a bed while questioned, and Duch ordered guards to watch over him after Thuon “became very angry, and broke the eyeglasses and threw away the pen”.

“I ordered them not to inflict any torture, and prevent him from committing suicide,” Duch said.

But when Nuon Chea defender Victor Koppe asked Duch if he knew the reasons for Koy Thuon’s arrest and execution, Duch deferred to the party line.

“The reason, during the Khmer Rouge regime, was simply anyone who [was] considered an enemy was to be smashed,” he said.

Koppe again cast doubt on the extent of Duch’s knowledge, pointing out that Duch was holed up in his house day and night, trawling through the reams of “confessions” extracted from prisoners.

Duch, referring to himself in the third person, admonished the implication.

“Head of S-21 was not a stupid person . . . head of S-21 knew everything,” he said.

Koppe then turned to an assessment by academic William Duiker, who wrote that Vietnam, after it had planted seeds for a general uprising that was thwarted by the death of Khmer Rouge East Zone leader Sao Phim, opted for an outright invasion of Democratic Kampuchea.

“Rebel forces in Cambodia would take part in the attack and provide a cloak of legitimacy,” Duiker wrote. Duch said the statement was “consistent with the true situation of the time”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,