Skip to comments.Khmer Rouge torture chief weeps at "Killing Fields" (U N-backed tribunal)
Posted on 02/26/2008 12:45:42 PM PST by NormsRevenge
CHOEUNG EK, Cambodia (Reuters) - The chief torturer under the Khmer Rouge "Killing Fields" regime wept and prayed on Tuesday as he led the judges who will try him for crimes against humanity around the mass graves for some of its victims.
Duch, also known as Kaing Guek Eav, accompanied 80 judges, lawyers and other officials of a U.N.-backed tribunal to the 129 graves, uncovered after a Vietnamese invasion sent the Khmer Rouge back to the jungles in 1979.
"I saw Duch kneel in front of the trees where Khmer Rouge soldiers smashed children to death," a policeman told reporters after the four-hour tour.
"He cried and apologized to the victims" in the former rice fields outside Phnom Penh, he said.
Stacks of excavated skulls mark the area.
Some of the victims were from the regime's S-21 prison at the former Tuol Sleng high school in Phnom Penh run by Duch, now 66.
About 14,000 people -- including a few foreigners accused of being CIA spies -- went into the jail to be tortured into confessing to working against a regime deemed responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people.
Only a handful emerged alive.
"Duch expressed his sadness and shed tears two to three times," tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said. "He held his palms together to pay respect to the victims in front of the shrine of skulls."
Duch, the first senior Khmer Rouge official to be detained, was to lead court officials on a tour of Tuol Sleng on Wednesday.
"This is just one more piece in building a case file. It can be very useful in court to have a visual representation of the site in question," Australian court official Helen Jarvis said.
Tuol Sleng is now a shrine to those killed by the Khmer Rouge, who also eradicated potential opponents of their back to "Year Zero" revolution to produce an agrarian utopia through overwork, starvation and disease.
Detained in 1999 and now a Christian, Duch is expected to be a key witness in the trials of "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's right hand man, Khieu Samphan, president under the regime, Ieng Sary, its foreign minister, and his wife.
"He could not have committed those crimes alone," Duch lawyer Kar Savuth said. "He took orders from the top leaders."
Many Cambodians want to hear what Duch will have to say in trials expected to start in July. The defendants face a maximum of life in prison.
"I still do not understand why Duch jailed me, killed my wife and our baby," said Chum Manh, 78, one of the few survivors of Tuol Sleng.
Nuon Chea is accused of playing a central role in atrocities by the Khmer Rouge during their 1975-1979 rule, which they began by driving everyone out of the cities with whatever they could carry.
He was arrested last year along with Ieng Sary and his wife, lifelong friends of Pol Pot.
Pol Pot died in 1998 in the final Khmer Rouge redoubt of Anlong Veng.
Tourists look at a mass grave for Khmer Rouge victims at Choeung Ek, 17 km (11 miles) south of Phnom Penh, February 26, 2008. Duch, also known as Kaing Guek Eav, who has confessed in interviews with Western reporters that he committed multiple atrocities as head of Phnom Penh's infamous Tuol Sleng, or S-21, interrogation centre, toured the site on Tuesday to re-enact his crimes for a U.N.-backed court. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea
can they get one of these going for Fidel?
Well, when he's done testifying, send him off to see Jesus.
In the early 70’s, liberals denied this possibility. In 1975 they denied it was happening. In 1976 they denied it was as bad as they said. Now they are silent. Bastards.
ping Bob Edgar, former Congressman, head of the Methodist Church and current head of Common Cause.
They should rename this, “The Walter Cronkite/Dan Rather Responsible Journalism Shrine”
Not silent. They now say that Iraq will not be like Cambodia if we pull out. Back to step one.
The Spring of 1975 New York Times editorial was “Cambodia without Americans: for most a better life”.
The New York Slimes has been on the side of evil for many decades.
I NEVER pay for this paper, it is like funding Satan.
that’s why I shake my head when I read FR comments about how the NYT has lost its standards, integrity, etc. Must have been before my literate life-time, which goes back further than I care to think now.
good point to make. The killing fields happened as a result of our pullout from Southeast Asia. The liberals/radicals keep trying to make Iraq into another Vietnam. It’s good to remember what happened in Vietnam and Southeast Asia after we withdrew. The liberals/radicals have a hole in their memory that there were very drastic consequences from our withdrawal.
They’re not silent about it now. They’re blaming it on America.
“...a regime deemed responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people.”
Socialism, the ideology of death.
Me too, FRiend. Back in the 1930s, the NYT had a reporter in Ukraine singing Stalin's praises while 11 million people were being deliberately starved to death by the regime.
The article says he will be tried for crimes against humanity. If he is a Christian, he knows that he must testify truthfully at the trial and that the government may execute him for his acts. But he will not experience the second death.
Given that he is testifying against several other very high ranking Khmer Rouge, I think it is highly likely that in exchange for his truthful testimony against the others, his life will be spared.
Cry me a river Duch...I hope they execute him in the same damn fields.
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