The Khmer Rouge Tribunal once again on Thursday heard remarks from a well-prepared civil party who cast doubt on Kaing Guek Eav’s expressions of remorse and used the S-21 prison chairman’s own words against him.
Chum Sarath, 68, lost his two younger brothers, Chum Narith and Chum Sinareth, at S-21 prison. He remembered them fondly as good students and good friends.
“Although they were brothers, they really got along well with each other,” he said. “One was good at telling jokes, the other was good at laughing at the jokes, so they were a very good pair.”
Mr Sarath added that before their arrests both Sinareth, a teacher, and Narith, a Khmer Rouge cadre who worked at the Ministry of Propaganda, were acquainted with the accused, best known as Duch.
Mr Sarath’s remarks were full of mini-discourses on history, poetry and religion, despite several gentle admonitions from Trial Chamber President Nil Nonn to focus on the facts of his case. He had clearly paid close attention to the proceedings at the tribunal so far: At one point, he criticized Duch’s theatricality, offering a lengthy analysis of a moment on April 6 when Duch recited an excerpt from a nineteenth-century poem about the death of a wolf.
“This Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, recited that poem: ‘You must carry out the duty where fate has brought you, and you shall suffer and die without a word….’
“And as I said, the accused recited the poem at 4:30 when he was questioned by his counsel, Francois Roux, and after he finished reciting the poem he left two or three minutes for him to be silent…. And during the three-minute time, everything was so moody, so quiet, and probably people would have a feeling of sorrow for this accused. This is a type of technique, as they were playing before this chamber, and maybe they could join as a team to play theater in France,” he said.
Later, Mr Sarath quoted from the transcript of the trial, scoffing at Duch’s assertion that he felt remorse for his actions at S-21 and prayed for forgiveness.
“In the statement made by the accused, he prays. But he did not pray for the souls of those who died to rest in peace. He prayed in order to make himself feel better,” Mr Sarath said. “I would like to declare before this chamber that I will not be able to accept this ungenuine apology.”
The tribunal also heard remarks via video-conference yesterday from a French national whose brother was killed at S-21. Ou Savrith, 53, gave a precise and well-organized statement, referring several times to his brother Vindy’s 97 days of captivity at S-21, and to his own subsequent 10,950 nights of suffering due to his brother’s death. Like Mr Sarath, Mr Savrith told Duch in no uncertain terms that he would not forgive him.
“On behalf of my entire family, I must say we will not forgive, because forgiveness is beyond the death camps, and today all that remains is despair. So the answer is clear: There will be no forgiveness from my side,” he said.
Remarks from civil parties are expected to continue when the trial resumes on Monday.