28 år etter at Røde Khmer ble styrtet ble en av bødlene stilt for retten. Det sier sitt om uviljen mot et rettsoppgjør. Fire andre skal være tiltalt, men navnene er ikke offentliggjort.
Duch var sjef for det beryktede fengslet Tuong Slol. Svært få kom levende derifra.
Duch, 62, also known as Kaing Guek Eav, headed the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, a virtual slaughterhouse where some 16,000 suspected enemies of the regime were tortured before being taken out to what later became known as «killing fields» near the city.
Duch supervised the brutal interrogations of those seen as enemies of the Khmer Rouge. His attention to detail and sense of duty meant S-21 kept meticulous records, which are likely to serve as key evidence in any trial.
Of the roughly 16,000 people who passed through S-21 — now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum — only about a dozen are thought to have survived.
Three senior-level colleagues are living freely in Cambodia, albeit in declining health: Nuon Chea, the movement’s chief ideologue; Ieng Sary, the former foreign minister; and Khieu Samphan, the former head of state. All three are widely believed to have been recommended for prosecution.
Like many senior Khmer Rouge, Duch had an academic background. A student who excelled in math, he was a teacher and then deputy principal of a provincial college.