Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Under Khmer Rouge, No Rights, No Law: Duch

With his atrocity crimes trial picking up again, former Khmer Rouge jailer Duch said the regime operated without the ideas of individual rights and without law.



The former director of Tuol Sleng, a prison known to the Khmer Rouge as S-21, is accused of overseeing the torture and murder of 12,380 people. There were no individual or personal rights under the regime, Duch told judges Monday.

“There was no law,” he said. “There was only party’s way.”

Duch, 66, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, is facing charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and murder, for administration of Tuol Sleng, the regime’s main torture center, and other prisoner facilities.

He faced questioning on Monday from French judge Jean Marc Lavergne, who wanted to know how the Khmer Rouge protected individual rights.

Under the regime, Duch said, all power was in the hands of the Standing Committee of the communist regime.

“The committee gathered three bodies: legislative, executive and judicial powers were under the control of the Standing Committee,” he said.

Duch’s trial, the first to be undertaken by the tribunal, is uncovering some of the architecture of the regime, on the record. Duch has claimed responsibility for deaths and torture under his command, but has denied direct acts.

He has also apologized to victims and is seeking to show the court that he was a dedicated revolutionary caught up in a murderous regime.
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