KRT Begins Dissemination Of Kaing Guek Eav Verdict

At crime scenes around Phnom Penh yesterday, the Khmer Rouge tribunal distributed the first copies of the printed and bound verdict in the trial of crimes against humanity convict Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch.

“We think it is important for the general public and researchers to read the verdict and understand more details about what happened at S-21 and Choeung Ek and S-24,” said ECCC public affairs chief Reach Sambath. “The people we met there were so happy and the chief of Prey Sar commune said it was beyond his expectations that he would hold the verdict in his hands.”

Duch was the chairman of the Khmer Rouge secret police, which maintained a prison in Chamkar Mon district as well as a labor camp and a mass execution site in Dangkao district.

At the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the former site of S-21, prison survivors Chum Mey, Vann Nath and Bou Meng were presented with copies of the verdict and raised them to the sky.

“Vann Nath raised his hands into the air to show the verdict to the spirits,” recalled Mr Sambath. “And he said, ‘Beloved friends, colleagues and prisoners who were here, I am happy to show you that this is the verdict that found Duch guilty—we have waited 35 years for this occasion and now you should join me in happiness.’ He called the souls of Tuol Sleng and it was very emotional.”

Mr Mey has publicly registered his strong opposition to the verdict, which sentenced Duch to 35 years in prison, of which only 19 remain to be served.

Despite media reports yesterday that he had changed his mind upon receiving his copy of the book, he said this was not true.

“I still don’t agree with the 19 years in jail—it can still not be accepted,” he said. “I am satisfied with the book but I am not satisfied with the verdict.”

Mr Sambath said that due to high demand “from every corner of the universe,” the court would be printing 5,000 more copies of the 450-page verdict.

(Additional reporting by Phorn Bopha)

 

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