The Khmer Rouge commander, known as “Douch”, who was the main torturer and head of the regime’s security in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, died at the age of 77 on Wednesday. He was sentenced to life in 2012.
Methodical and zealous executioner for the ultra-Maoist movement of Pol Pot in Cambodia, Douch died on Wednesday, September 2, at the age of 77. He was the only Khmer Rouge official to ever plead guilty before questioning everything and demanding his release.
Kaing Guek Eav, aka Douch, “died in hospital,” said Neth Pheaktra, a spokesman for the Cambodian UN-sponsored tribunal to try key Khmer Rouge officials. No details were given about the causes. of death. “He had been suffering from lung disease for several years,” a source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
An ambiguous personality
Douch was previously the director of the horrific Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, also known as S-21, where 15,000 people were tortured before being executed between 1975 and 1979. He will remain a deeply personal person. ambiguous. Be able to cooperate with justice and cry emotionally at the first instance hearing, before we turn around and appeal to the court’s incompetence.
Douch’s personality has never been unanimous. When his French lawyer, François Roux, described the sincerity of a man who was anxious to “return to humanity”, they condemned the survivors and the accusation “crocodile tears”.
During his first trial, between March and November 2009, this little man with salt and pepper hair and a powerful eye supported torture, cruelty as a political method, executions, the terror that prevailed in Tuol Sleng. “I am. emotionally and legally responsible, “he acknowledged.
Converted to Christianity in the 1990s, he asked for forgiveness from the few survivors and families of the victims and agreed to be sentenced to “the most severe sentence.” coup de theater and claimed that he was only a servant and not a high official of the regime and that he therefore escaped the jurisdiction of the court.
Sentenced to 30 years in prison for crimes against humanity and war crimes in 2010, he appealed. Then separated from his French lawyer and instructed the Cambodian, Kar Savuth, to get his release. He was then sentenced to life in prison.
An “accuracy in each of its tasks”
He was then a key witness in the trial of three Khmer Rouge leaders, the only ones held responsible for the deaths of two million people: the head of the democratic Kampuchea Khieu Samphan, sentenced to life in prison, the regime ideologue Nuon Chea, who was also sentenced to life in prison but then died, and Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, who died during his trial. Douch then explained that the regime’s policy was to “crush” the prisoners who urge Nuon Chea to call him a “rotten branch”.
Born on November 17, 1942 in a village in the province of Kompong Thom, north of Phnom Penh, Douch was a professor of mathematics before joining the Khmer Rouge in 1967. After the fall of the regime in 1979, he continued to belong to the movement then worked for humanitarian organizations. After years in hiding, he was unmasked in 1999 by an Irish photographer, Nic Dunlop, and arrested.
“Careful, conscientious, attentive to being well regarded by their superiors” according to the psychiatrists, the torture had had a careful administration of the prison’s activities. But if he did not intend his role as head of the facility, he also portrayed himself as a prisoner of a doctrine, unable to say no.
And refused to take a political role in the Khmer Rouge regime and took refuge behind the fear of being shot to justify his zeal. The indictment described his “enthusiasm and accuracy in each of his tasks”, his “pride” in running the torture center and “indifference to the suffering of others”.
The French ethnologist François Bizot, three months in captivity by Douch in 1971 in the jungle, for his part evoked the torturer’s “basic sincerity”, “ready to give his life for the revolution”.
With AFP and Reuters