At least 345 Vietnamese “soldiers, spies and simple citizens” were killed in the Tuol Sleng torture center under the Khmer Rouge, the prison’s administrator told tribunal judges Wednesday.
The Vietnamese prisoners were arrested between 1976 and 1977 when Khmer Rouge fighters began making cross-border incursions into southern Vietnam.
Duch, 66, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, is undergoing an atrocity crimes trial at the UN-backed tribunal. He has been charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and murder, but not genocide.
Around a third of the Vietnamese prisoners were military personnel, but nearly half were spies, Duch said. A quarter of them were civilians.
The Khmer Rouge leaders used recorded confessions of Vietnamese prisoners as part of its propaganda, Duch said.
All confessions of Vietnamese prisoners were sent to Nuon Chea, Pol Pot’s lieutenant, who is now in tribunal detention awaiting trial.
Duch gave an example of three Vietnamese “spies” captured in February 1976 half a kilometer inside Cambodia. They confessed to removing boundary markers and planning an offensive into eastern provinces.
“In principle, they were the enemy,” Duch said. “The Cambodian communist party recognized all three Vietnamese spies as enemies. So they were killed.”