No Forgiveness for Duch: Civil Party Witness

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
24 August 2009

Chhum Nov, now 62, a former cadre member who lost her son and husband to the Khmer Rouge, told a UN-backed tribunal Monday she would not forgive Duch, a prisoner administrator for the regime now on trial for atrocity crimes.

Chhum Nov is the latest in a line of civil party witnesses to take the stand against Duch, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, as he faces trial. She was also a Khmer Rouge cadre and was arrested in 1977 and detained in Prey Sar prison, also administered by Duch.

“My aunt is very angry at me, and she curses me, saying that because of me, many people died,” Chhum Nov told the court. “I kneeled down to apologize to my aunt, but should wouldn’t forgive me. So I don’t want to forgive the accused.”

Many former Khmer Rouge are now living among their victims, and genocide experts have sought to bring their stories into the open. The tribunal is one of the ways this is happening, as Duch’s trial continues.

Now 66, Duch faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and murder for his role at two Khmer Rouge prisons and a mass execution site on the outskirts of the capital.

Duch said he understand Chhum Nov’s suffering, adding that he had accepted responsibility for all the crimes that took place at his prisons.

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