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Douche, commandant of the notorious S-21, is dead.  He was actually somewhat of a prude.  When one woman was soaked in water and then forced to stand in cold air, he terminated the torture so that the Khmer Rogue torturers wouldn't get woodies.  In later life he became a born again Christian.


Kaing Guek Eav, the former schoolteacher known as Duch who became the most notorious killer during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror in Cambodia in the 1970s, died on Wednesday at a hospital in Phnom Penh, the nation’s capital. He was 77.

He was admitted to Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital on Tuesday, and his death was announced by Neth Pheaktra, spokesman for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Phnom Penh. The Kandal provincial court later said in a statement that he had died of lung disease.

Duch was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 for atrocities he had committed as a commandant of the Tuol Sleng prison. At least 14,000 people died after being held there, most of them sent to a killing field after being tortured and forced to confess to often imaginary crimes. Only a handful survived.

Duch (pronounced doik) and Tuol Sleng became symbols of the brutality of the Khmer Rouge as it devoured itself in paranoia and purges. Under the regime, from 1975 to 1979, at least 1.7 million people died from execution, torture, starvation, untreated disease or overwork.

A joint Cambodian-United Nations tribunal found Duch guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes as well as homicide and torture. The tribunal first sentenced him to 35 years, giving him credit for years already served in pretrial detention. A higher court within the tribunal later increased the sentence to life imprisonment without a right to appeal.

A schoolteacher before the Khmer Rouge came to power, he took his revolutionary name from a children’s book about an obedient schoolboy named Duch. “I wanted to be a well-disciplined boy who respected the teachers and did good deeds,” he told the court.

That obedience made him an effective operative for the top Khmer Rouge leadership. His chief defense was that he, too, had feared for his life if he did not carry out orders.

But the vigor, creativity and cruelty with which he ran his torture house belied that defense. And his brashness and arrogance during the trial were anything but that of a young innocent.

The force of his personality dominated the courtroom, and his self-confidence sometimes hardened into condescension as he corrected a lawyer or witness about details of the case against him.

At one point, a judge reminded him that laughter was not an appropriate response to a question.

A panel of court-appointed psychiatrists said that Duch was “meticulous, conscientious, control-oriented, attentive to detail and seeks recognition from his superiors,” and that he exhibited “a strong presence of obsessive traits.”

One question hovered above the trial: the source of the “evil” — as he himself described it — that could have compelled him to scribble on a list of 17 children, “Kill them all.”

“How do human beings become part of a project of mass murder?” asked Alexander Laban Hinton, the author of “Man or Monster?” (2016), a book about Duch. “It’s too easy to dismiss people as sociopaths or psychos. Instead you really have to grapple with their humanity.”

Kaing Guek Eav was born on Nov. 17, 1942, to a family of Chinese immigrants in Kampong Thom Province, in central Cambodia. He was a star pupil in school, rising through elite institutions to gain a baccalaureate in mathematics at the prestigious Lycée Sisowath in Phnom Penh.

He joined the Khmer Rouge, a radical Communist movement, in 1967 when it was still a jungle insurgency. He honed his interrogation skills at two prisons he ran in territory that the group controlled.

Duch said he had picked up beating techniques from Cambodian and French police manuals and worked out his own system through trial and error. In passing on his techniques, he said, he often had to instruct young recruits not to get carried away during torture and kill the prisoner. When this happened in Tuol Sleng, the interrogator himself could be sentenced to death.

While running the prison, he was also appointed to head the Santebal, the “special branch” in charge of internal security and prisons.

When a Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge from Phnom Penh in January 1979, Duch oversaw the execution of the remaining prisoners. But he did not destroy the records of interrogations, carefully kept accounts that could run to as many as 200 pages. They amounted, in the end, to his life’s work.

After fleeing Phnom Penh, Duch appeared to undergo a dramatic life change, converting to Christianity while living in refugee communities along the border with Thailand. As a religion of forgiveness, Christianity, if his embrace of it was genuine, may have appealed to a sense of guilt. He sometimes carried a Bible into the courtroom during his trial.

Duch was discovered in 1999 by the photographer Nic Dunlop, who later wrote a book about him, “The Lost Executioner” (2005).

Before being arrested shortly afterward, Duch told Mr. Dunlop and the journalist Nate Thayer that he had decided to confess to prove that the prison, known to the regime as S-21, had really existed, rebutting a claim by the Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot that accounts of it were propaganda fiction.

During his trial, however, Duch seemed to doubt the validity of his work, telling the courtroom that while running the prison he did not believe most confessions that his torturers had extracted and that he then annotated and sent to his superiors.

“I never believed that the confessions I received told the truth,” he said. “At most, they were about 40 percent true.”

And he said he believed that only 20 percent of the people whose names had been extracted through torture were genuine opponents of the regime. Those people were in turn pursued, arrested and tortured until they, too, produced the names of imagined accomplices.

“The work expanded,” Duch said. “People were arrested illegally, right or wrong. I considered it evil eating evil.”

Two other higher-ranking Khmer Rouge leaders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, were convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison. Nuon Chea has since died, and two more defendants died during the course of the trial, leaving Khieu Samphan as the only one of the original defendants still alive. The Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died in 1998.

Among the peculiarities that emerged during the trial were Duch’s complicated attitudes toward women and sex.

To prevent torturers from behaving inappropriately toward women, he said, he assigned the wives of prison staff to carry out the torture of female prisoners. He was reported to have turned his face away to protect himself from sexual feelings.

He recalled one woman who was soaked in water and then forced to stand in cold air. When he realized that her clothes were clinging in a suggestive way, he said, “we called off the torture so that we would not be aroused.”

After a complicated courtroom defense during which he admitted carrying out the acts of which he was accused, he reversed himself at the last moment to declare that he was not guilty and should be released.

Duch was said to have had four children, but information about his survivors was not available. His wife was reported to have been killed in a robbery.

Whatever Duch’s crimes, David Chandler, a historian of Cambodia, noted that Duch was the only one of the five defendants to have admitted his guilt.

“He’s a guy who’s thought about it, faced up to some stuff,” said Mr. Chandler, the author of “Voices From S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot’s Secret Prison” (1999). “Duch is the only human on trial. The others are monsters.”



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1 hour ago, Pdoggg said:

Douche, commandant of the notorious S-21, is dead.  He was actually somewhat of a prude.  When one woman was soaked in water and then forced to stand in cold air, he terminated the torture so that the Khmer Rogue torturers wouldn't get woodies.  In later life he became a born again Christian.


Khmer rouge ?

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On 9/4/2020 at 8:06 PM, Jimmy Cargopants said:

It makes me angry that the man got to live to 77. 

I can't quite believe in it but I hope there's a hell for him...

no he is born again. he will live in paradise . but the poor heathen brothers and sisters he murdered will be in hell. as they followed the wrong superstition. he was a cunt and still is. 

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