When a pair of journalists tracked down Kaing Guek Eav in Battambang in 1999, he was an aid worker and born-again Christian. He went by the name Hang Pin, attempting to shed his former Khmer Rouge identity of Duch: head of the S-21 detention and torture center in Phnom Penh, responsible for overseeing more than 10,000 deaths.
Duch died aged 77 on Tuesday night, after two decades spent in jail and on trial. He was convicted of crimes against humanity in 2010 for extermination, enslavement, torture and other inhumane acts, and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s highest chamber in 2012.
Of the three men convicted by the tribunal, Duch was noted for his expressions of remorse. According to one scholar, the ex-cadre’s dramatic apologies, made during trial hearings, “will be remembered as a signature moment of the tribunal.”