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

  • 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