The death of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge executioner revives painful memories of Communist terror, 13. September 2020

CNN reported that Kaing Guek Eav, commonly known by his alias, Comrade Duch, died on 2 September at a hospital in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh.

"Comrade Duch ran Phnom Penh's S-21 prison, also known as Tuol Sleng, the most notorious Khmer Rouge torture site. From 1976-1979 it held approximately 14 000 prisoners, so-called “traitors of the regime”, where they were detained, interrogated, tortured and later executed," said Kok-Chhay Ly, a specialist at the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, in an earlier interview to

Tuol Sleng
A torture cell in the former Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. At present, S-21 Prison is known as the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide. Photo: The Killing Fields Museum of Cambodia.

Most scholars estimate that the Khmer Rouge rule of 1975-1979 led to the death of at least 1.7 million people (nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population). However, the researchers are yet to give an exact number of imprisoned or vanished people.

Duch pleaded guilty and asked for forgiveness during the trial. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

Duch was the first Khmer Rouge commander to be convicted. In 2010, Duch was brought to the UN-backed war crimes tribunal to bring justice to genocide survivors. He was found guilty of war crimes as well as crimes against for overseeing the torture and killing of more than 14,000 people at the S-21 prison. He was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. Two years later it was extended to life sentence, CNN reported.