Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Comrade Duch, head of the infamous Tuol Sleng/S-21 prison. He stands accused of crimes against humanity and much more besides. He's been in detention since 1999 and deserves to remain incarcerated for the rest of his days. The trial itself began in March of last year and ended in November. I attended just once on the day that David Chandler gave his expert testimony. It was clear to me that Duch was enjoying his moment in the spotlight, and though he has freely acknowledged his role as the head of S-21, he didn't tell the whole truth and only revealed what he wanted us to know. His defense focused on the premise that he acted out of fear for his life and whilst that may've been partly true, his culpability as head of the interrogation and extermination center tells a very different story. This man is responsible for at least 12,000 deaths, and probably many more, and deserves whatever the trial judges can throw at him. His remorse is a sham and his guilt is clear, even though his former S-21 colleagues were less than forthcoming in their time on the stand. Nevertheless, the paper trail left by the Khmer Rouge and his own admissions, have sealed his fate. The trial for case 002, four of the leading members of the Khmer Rouge hierarchy, is unlikely to begin before the end of this year.