Two Vietnamese cameramen who were among the troops to oust the Khmer Rouge in 1979 hailed the upcoming trial of prison chief Duch as a positive step for justice in Cambodia.
“Comrade Duch,” whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, faces charges for atrocities committed at Tuol Sleng prison under his supervision. At least 12,000 Cambodians were tortured at the center and later executed at the Choeung Ek killing fields, which was also under Duch’s purview.
An initial hearing for his trial under the Khmer Rouge tribunal opened Tuesday, while his full trial is expected to begin in earnest next month.
“We must show our documents and condemn what was a serious crime,” cameraman Dinh Phong, who was among Vietnamese forces that drove the Khmer Rouge from Phnom Penh in January 1979, told reporters Monday.
As the Khmer Rogue withdrew, they left the bodies of victims behind, not only in Tuol Sleng, but “everywhere,” he said. “Near the road, in the forest and in the ditch, there were bodies.”
Dinh Phong and his fellow cameraman, Ho Van Tay, filmed what they found from the outset, in footage that has been donated for the tribunal.
The two were brought together Monday with a child they had helped rescue from Duch’s prison, Norng Chan Phal.
“I would say that this is the end of Duch,” Norng Chan Phal, now 39, said of the upcoming trial. “He is the chief of the murderers.”