Duch’s no-media return to the scenes of the crime

03 March 2008 by Erika Kinetz

On February 26 and 27, Kaing Guek Eav, alias "Duch", returned to the scenes of his alleged crimes in Phnom Penh. It had been 29 years since he had set foot in the S-21 detention and torture center that he commanded from April 1975 to January 1979 and in the Choeung Ek killing fields where the majority of prisoners perished.

On Tuesday, Duch spent more than three hours leading a cavalcade of judges, prosecutors, lawyers and witnesses from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), tasked with trying former Khmer Rouge leaders, around the mass graves of the Choeung Ek killing fields just outside of Phnom Penh. Thousands of Cambodians were murdered there. Human bones and small scraps of clothing still work their way up through the dirt.

On Wednesday, the defendant led this entourage of about 80 people, including a few former prisoners, through the grisly halls of the S-21 torture center at the former Tuol Sleng school, which was transformed into a torture center under his command.

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