Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Duch tells KRT he ‘did not want to kill’

Duch tells KRT he ‘did not want to kill’

Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, is cross-examined at the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Phnom Penh last week. ECCC
Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, is cross-examined at the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Phnom Penh last week. ECCC

Duch tells KRT he ‘did not want to kill’

Although he sent thousands to their deaths, former S-21 prison chief Kaing Guek Eav kept his own hands clean.

On his 12th and final day of testimony before the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday, Eav, better known as Duch, said despite overseeing the interrogation and execution of more than 12,000 people who were rotated through the prison, he took steps to ensure he didn’t personally end a life.

Nuon Chea defence lawyer asked Duch about an incident he mentioned during his testimony, in which he claimed Chea gave him potentially poisonous capsules to feed to prisoners, but Duch replaced the powder with paracetamol.

Koppe said he was puzzled by Duch’s account of swapping the powder in an apparent – and temporary – salvation for a handful of prisoners who were already marked for death.

“You were responsible for executing all these prisoners …What made you want to save these people?” Koppe asked. “I did not allow my hand to kill prisoners,” Duch said.

“The medicine was given by Uncle Nuon himself, so if I did not want to kill prisoners by myself, I needed to change the contents.”

Duch also expounded on post-1979 “fabrications” at the prison – including a large immersion basin for water torture, and a chalkboard on which S-21 rules were inscribed.

Duch claimed these features were added by the Vietnamese after S-21 staff had fled the site, which now stands as the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. “I denied that particular basin existed, and I made my protest,” Duch said.

Drawing on a list of 15,000 names of S-21 prisoners, Koppe noted that less than 5 per cent were listed as the “wife of” another prisoner, but Duch could not put a figure to the number of family members arrested for the sins of their kin.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol