Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Duch ‘scolded’ by Chea for not destroying docs

Duch ‘scolded’ by Chea for not destroying docs

Khieu Samphan follows the testimony of Kaing Guek Eav during Case 002/02 earlier this week in Phnom Penh. ECCC
Khieu Samphan follows the testimony of Kaing Guek Eav during Case 002/02 earlier this week in Phnom Penh. ECCC

Duch ‘scolded’ by Chea for not destroying docs

Khmer Rouge tribunal defendant Nuon Chea scolded the former commandant of the infamous S-21 prison for failing to destroy its archives as Phnom Penh fell to the Vietnamese in 1979, the court heard yesterday.

The archives contained lists of people to be “smashed”, interrogated or captured. Other lists detailed people whose health had faltered from torture or suicide attempts, and who had to be nursed back to health and “fattened up” to extract more confessions.

The reams and reams of documents are now being used as evidence in the tribunal’s current Case 002/02 against Chea and his co-defendant, Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan.

“In 1983, we met for the first time since the end of the regime,” Kaing Guek Eav, the former S-21 warden better known as Duch, testified yesterday. “I mentioned that the documents remained at the time, and he scolded me.”

Duch said that he never received orders to destroy the archives and he fled when he saw Vietnamese tank columns closing in.

In keeping with his testimony over the past few days, Duch continued to implicate Chea in the running of the notorious prison, where as many as 15,000 are thought to have been killed. When he was still overseeing the prison, occasionally higher-ups including Chea would order Duch to edit out names of VIPs that had been implicated in confessions – including Samphan.

Prisoner lists occasionally said that people were marked for release or removal, though Duch testified yesterday that this meant that the people were executed, sometimes simply to make room for new incoming prisoners.

As an example, he remembered writing “for removal” under names of Division 920 cadres, at the orders of Chea. In another case more than 600 Thai prisoners were “removed” by a cadre named Hor.

Duch recalled that injuries, disease and mental breakdowns from torture resulted in some people losing dangerous amounts of weight. These people were put on special meal regimes “to prevent the prisoners from dying and having their confessions cut off”, said Duch.

There were also suicide attempts. One important prisoner swallowed a screw, which had to be surgically extracted and another woman obtained a razor and cut herself.

One woman was dissected for anatomy training against Duch’s orders, as he believed she was still valuable enough to keep alive.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • Call for boycott of Angkor unacceptable

    Dear Editor, I wish to express my strong disagreement on the article published by Traveller for their website with the title Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid. Below is my opinion of the article. It is obviously free for the Traveller to

  • Probe underway after wreckage of drone with Chinese characters found

    Air Force Command spokesman Prak Sokha said on Sunday that investigations are underway regarding the wreckage of a drone that was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district. The wreckage has been taken to the capital for further examination,

  • Gov’t slams UN rapporteurs over Sokha trial statement

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN Office in Geneva deplored the statement of three UN special rapporteurs who claimed that Kem Sokha’s trial was “tainted” due to irregularities. The reaction

  • No power shortages next dry season, says energy minister

    Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem has assured the public that Cambodia will not suffer power shortages during the next dry season. Speaking on local TV on Tuesday, Sem projected a rise in power demand during 2020’s dry season – which starts in November and

  • Gov’t takes steps to lower logistics, transport costs

    With the threat of losing trade privileges in the EU drawing closer, the government is taking measures to reduce logistics and transportation costs to safeguard the Kingdom’s competitiveness. The EU is due to decide whether or not to withdraw the Kingdom’s trade privileges