Duch: “I Apologize for Torture and Killings” – Wednesday, 1.4.2009

Posted on 8 April 2009. Filed under: Week 606 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 606

I am out of hospital care, but still not yet quite OK. Trying to catch up with the delays.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: The former chief of Tuol Sleng prison or S-21 Center, Duch, recognized his guilt and publicly apologized for torture and murders in the Tuol Sleng prison between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.

“Wearing a short sleeves shirt with red patterns during the hearing, Duch was allowed to stand up and express his position. Duch read out from a drafted paper with a plain voice, admitting his crimes at the S-21 or Tuol Sleng prison, ‘I accept, according to the law, responsibility for all crimes, especially torture and carnage. For torture, I would like to express remorse for all crimes during the Khmer Rouge Democratic Regime.’

“Duch added that, based on the trace that he had acted at Cheung Ek and at the [present] Tuol Sleng Museum, he would like to be allowed to express his apology to those who survived and to the families of victims who lost their lives in the S-21. ‘Now, I would like to ask these people to please witness that I want to apologize. Please take this intention into consideration. But I don’t really demand that you pardon me already now.’

“Also, Duch stated that his crimes against human lives, especially women’s and children’s lives, are grave crimes that cannot be tolerated. His present request is to keep the door open for him to apologize.

“With a voice like feeling a lump in his throat but without tears, Duch stated his very painful remorse that whenever he recalls his past, he feels painful. He is terrified recalling past activities that he had committed and which he was ordered to enforce that mostly harmed many innocent lives, including those of women and children. Even though he followed orders of the Angkar [the ‘Organization’ of the Khmer Rouge], he is really responsible himself for these crimes.

“Duch added that in his position as the S-21 Center chief, he did everything following orders from superiors, although he knew that enforcing orders would lead thousands of people to die. Duch’ superiors were Son Sen [who was executed in 1997 as a result of an internal power struggle] and Brother Number 2 (Nuon Chea) [who is also facing the same Khmer Rouge Tribunal]. Duch claimed that if he did not follow his superiors’ orders, he and his family’s members would also have been executed.

“The public who attended to directly observe the hearing at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal does not accept Duch’s apology. Interviewed attendees whose relatives were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime said that torture and murders cannot be tolerated. Let the court prosecute him. And Duch’s claim that torture and murders were enforced by his superiors’ orders, and that he and his family would also have been killed if he not did follow them are just Duch’s excuses.

“Nevertheless, this former Tuol Sleng prison chief put blame on the Communist Party led by Pol Pot at that time as responsible for the murders during the Khmer Rouge regime. He said in the hearing, ‘The Communist Party is absolutely responsible for the murders since 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979.’

“On the second day of the hearing, Duch showed a painting drawn by himself with the title ‘The Final Day of the Communist Party of Kampuchea.’ The painting showed the anniversary of the party in 1978, with the sickle sign, and with three leaders of the party: Nuon Chea sitting at the right hand side of Pol Pot and Ta Mok at the left hand side. Under the three leaders, there are four piles of bones and skulls.

“It is announced that the hearings of Duch will continue on 1 April 2009.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4860, 1.4.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #49, 1.4.2009

  • The Prime Minister Warns Not to Accuse More Former Khmer Rouge Leaders, otherwise War Will Break Out

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #153, 1.4.2009

  • The Khmer Prime Minister Warns the Siamese [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affairs [Kasit Piromya] to Withdraw the Word “Gangster” [which he had used, referring to Prime Minister Hun Sen – the Thai side claims that this is a linguistic misunderstanding – the same word can also refer to a skillful strong person]
  • Hun Sen Announces that All Cock Fighting Sites in the Country have to be closed [including the famous site of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1912, 1.4.2009

  • A Police Was Killed Cutting His Throat – His Wife Fainted [police are waiting for the woman to wake up so that she can indicate who are the murderers] Kompong Speu]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #376, 1.4.2009

  • Hun Sen Plans to Reduce the Number of Generals [by the end of this year]s, Which Stands Now at 13,684

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6617, 1.4.2009

  • ADB: In 2009 Cambodia Will Not Be Severely Affected by the Global Economic Crisis as Forecast [by economists and by the International Monetary Fund, which forecast that the Cambodian economy will achieve 2.5% growth in 2009, and 4% growth in 2010, depending on three factors: garment exports, increase of tourists arriving, and the construction industry]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4860, 1.4.2009

  • Duch: “I Apologize for Torture and Killings”
  • A UNESCO Delegation Goes to Check the Preah Vihear Temple [as a part of activities to help develop and conserve this old-age temple, and to see the preparation for the joint Cambodian-Thai administration of Preah Vihear, set as a condition for the listing as a World Heritage Site in 2008]
  • The Cambodian Disabled People’s Organization Calls on the National Assembly to Adopt a Cambodian Handicapped Law Soon

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1687, 1.4.2009

  • New Regulation from the Municipality: Khmer Gamblers Will Be Jailed and Foreigners [who commit offenses and violence] Will Be Expelled from Cambodia

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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[…] as director of torture and mass murder in trial. Here’s the translation, via DAS. See also this article in the Mirror (and best wishes for a rapid and full recovery to Norbert Klein, the Mirror’s […]

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