In the dramatic first days of testimony at the Khmer Rouge tribunal in early April, Kaing Guek Eav, aka Comrade Duch, confessed to running S-21, the regime’s main prison in Phnom Penh. Now that the United Nations-backed trials are under way, it is hoped that proceedings against the former maths teacher will help establish a definitive record of events and elements of the 1975-79 regime.
Although Duch has admitted responsibility and apologised for overseeing the torture and execution of about 15,000 men, women and children at Tuol Sleng, there are some widely varying accounts of life under Pol Pot. Prior to his time at S-21, Duch was in charge of M-13 where, by his own admission, at least 300 people were killed. Many believe the figure was far higher.