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First conviction for the Khmer Rouge regime

Big Brother Duch condemned to 35 years

Thirty years after the end of the dictatorship comes the first landmark sentence for Kaing Guek Eav, the director of the S-21 camp where more than 12,000 people were killed. Between 1975 and 1978 the bloody regime run by Pol Pot exterminated nearly 1,800,000 Cambodians. The Extraordinary Chambers of the UN-backed Courts of Cambodia have started the trials only now. There are still four Khmer leaders awaiting trial: "brother number two" Nuon Chea, former head of state Khieu Samphan, former foreign minister Ieng Sary and his wife Ieng Thirith.
Kaing Guek Eav, known under the dictatorship by the name of Big Brother Duch, was sentenced on accounts of murder, torture, rape and crimes against humanity. Only 20 prisoners survived detention in S-21 camp: during the trial the witnesses have told about the tortures inflicted to the inmates in the notorious death prison.

Further insights:

Ong Thong Hoeung, J'ai cru aux Khmer Rouges in French (English title: I believed in the Khmer Rouge), Buchet Chastel 2003. Report-book about the horror of the re-education carried out by the Khmer regime and the tragic fate of a people.

Roland Joffé, The Killing fields, dramatic, Great Britain, 1984. The story of Dith Pran, the interpreter who succeeded in taking the New Times journalist Sidney Schenberg into safety and for this reason was imprisoned in the labour camps.

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28 July 2010

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Khmer Rouges

the "big brothers" of genocide in Cambodia

The genocide took place between 1975 and 1978.
Cambodia is a South-Eastern Asian country neighbouring with Vietnam. Colonized by the French, in 1953 it became an independent country led by prince Norodom Sihanouk. He was overthrown in 1970 by a coup of general Lol Non, supported by the United States. After a fierce campaign against the communists and vietnamese who were there in the country, in 1975 the power was seized by the Khmer rouges, a tiny group of Leninist background which had become popular especially in the rural areas of the North. They proclaimed the Republic of Democratic Kampuchea.

The Khmer Rouge was a group driven by the need to find new “objective enemies” and it exterminated a big part of the population according to their religion, race and political views. Accountability and implementation of the genocide by Khmer Rouge movement must be identified among the “big brother”, a group of 20-25 people united under similar educational experiences and views. This group was influenced by Stalinistic ideals; the “Big Brother” developed an orthodox version of communism based on an exaggerated vision and used the concept of race as a pretext propaganda to justify the persecutions of the “objective enenmies”. In Cambodia, there was an “archipelago of concentration camps” to re-educate people, which was called S-21; Duch, one of the members of the “Big Brother” even confessed that the prisoners were being tortured and excruciated before killing them.

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The killing fields

tale of Dith Pran, Righteous in Cambodia genocide

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Dith Pran

reporter, photographer and human rights activist