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Torture Chief Could Testify at Upcoming Khmer Rouge Trial

Duch was arrested in May 1999 and was later charged by the tribunal for war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and homicide, file photo.

Comrade Duch, the Khmer Rouge torture center chief now serving a life sentence for atrocity crimes, could be summoned to testify in the upcoming trial of two aging regime leaders, a court official said Wednesday.

Operations at S-21, the brutal Khmer Rouge security center that Duch ran, will be included in the upcoming trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, later this year, according to documents released by the court Tuesday.

“If necessary, Duch will be summoned to the hearing,” tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said.

Duch’s appearance at a trial would put the word of one former Khmer Rouge soldier against his supervisors, while at the same time incorporating crimes from four different security centers, including S-21.

Nuon Chea, the regime’s chief ideologue, and Khieu Samphan, its nominal head of state, face charges for atrocities crimes, including genocide, and are the highest profile figures to face the tribunal.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said Wednesday that crimes at S-21 mirror those in other detention centers. “It is reasonable to gain clear evidence concerning crimes against humanity under Democratic Kampuchea,” he said, using the official name of the regime.