Khmer Rouge War Criminal Gets 35-Year Sentence

World | July 26, 2010, Monday // 09:32|  views

Former Chief S-21 prison Kaing Guek Eav alias 'Duch', has been sentenced to 35 years in jail. Photo by EPA/BGNES

A UN-backed tribunal has sentenced the head of the major prison of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia to 35 years in jail.

Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, was found guilty of murder and torture, and crimes against humanity for running Tuol Sleng prison, which symbolized the horrors of the radical Maoist regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia believe to have caused close to two million deaths in the late 1970s.

Duch admitted to overseeing the torture and killing of more than 14,000 people in his prison, also known as S-21, but said he was only carrying out orders. His case is the first heard by the joint UN-Cambodian court set up to prosecute the Khmer Rouge. He is the first Khmer Rouge cadre to be convicted by an international tribunal over the deaths of up to two million people through starvation, overwork and execution at the hands of the regime.

A converted Christian, Duch has expressed "excruciating remorse" for the S-21 victims, most of them tortured and forced to confess to political crimes before they were taken to the "Killing Fields" execution sites during the agrarian revolution. The Pol Pot regime in Cambodia ended with a 1979 invasion by Vietnam.

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Tags: Khmer Rouge, war crimes, Cambodia


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