Cambodian torturer finally faces trial
The torturer-in-chief for Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime finally faced trial Tuesday in the first case heard by a UN-backed genocide tribunal into the horrors of the “Killing Fields” 30 years ago.
Kaing Guek Eav, better known by the alias Duch, faces charges of crimes against humanity over his iron-fisted rule at Tuol Sleng prison, where he is accused of presiding over the deaths of 15,000 men, women and children.
He sat solemnly in the dock as hundreds of people turned up to watch the start of proceedings against a key figure in the ultra-communist regime, which killed around two million people in one of the 20th century’s worst atrocities.
“I prayed for dawn as soon as possible so that I could see this trial start,” said artist Vann Nath, one of only about a dozen survivors from the prison, who was put to work painting pro-regime pictures.
Duch Under Duch, a former maths teacher now aged 66, Tuol Sleng was used to extract false confessions from alleged traitors that they were agents of foreign powers including the CIA.
Most inmates were taken from the prison, a former high school, for execution at nearby Choeung Ek, an orchard now known as the “Killing Fields.” Adults were beaten to death with hoes while children’s heads were smashed against trees.
On Tuesday, Duch wore a blue shirt and listened through earphones as the court opened the trial behind a huge bullet-proof screen to prevent revenge attacks by his victims. He did not speak publicly.
RAW STORY has more details here.
(with wire reports)
This video is from ITN, broadcast Feb. 17, 2009.