The Master of Confessions – Thierry Cruvellier on the ECCC’s Duch Trial


Justice in Conflict

Chris Tenove is a semi-regular Justice in Conflict blogger, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Toronto. He reported on the Duch trial at the ECCC for Macleans’ magazine and Radio Netherlands.

S-21 Prison (Photo: Andrew / Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/willposh/) S-21 Prison (Photo: Andrew / Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/willposh/)

When the Khmer Rouge were driven from Phnom Penh by Vietnamese and Cambodian forces in early 1979, they left behind an institution that has come to illustrate the regime’s cruelty and paranoia. At the S-21 prison, now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the liberators found 14 recently-executed prisoners as well as rooms full of chains, shackles, a waterboarding apparatus, and other instruments of torture. They also found a vast archive, with thousands of photographs of terrified men and women, along with the confessions that were extracted from them. The documents showed that while the activities were barbaric, the institution operated with bureaucratic discipline. Scrawled across many of the documents…

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