I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of a court case in which the defendant challenged the truthfulness of a witness against him by admitting to even more heinous crimes, but that’s what happened this week in the trial of Khmer Rouge jailer Kaing Guek Eav, or Comrade Duch. The Cambodian Nuremburg-type hearings continued this week with testimony from a few who claimed they were held at the S-21 prison in the late 1970s under Duch’s control, but he doubted them:
More than 14,000 people died at the S-21 prison. Eight people have now provided testimony of their detainment, although Duch has questioned whether all of them really spent time there, and one of the judges has raised some doubts….
Tuesday, another survivor, Lay Chan, said he had been detained at S-21 for two months in 1976 and interrogated twice before his release. Duch responded that nobody was released from S-21 and Lay could therefore not have been held there….
Wednesday the court heard from a female survivor, Chin Meth, 51, who described a routine of forced labor followed by beatings during a 15-day stay at S-21 in 1977.
However, Duch queried her recollection, too, although he said she could have been detained and interrogated elsewhere.
“The fact is that if she was transferred to S-21, she would be dead. She could not be let out,” Duch told the judges. “If people were transferred to S-21, they would be smashed.”
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