June 7, 2013
PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Cambodia's war crimes court on Thursday
transferred the Khmer Rouge's torturer-in-chief to a public prison to
serve out his life sentence for the slaughter of some 15,000 people,
Kaing Guek Eav, a former maths teacher better
known as Duch, was convicted last year of overseeing the extermination
of thousands of men, women and children at a notorious torture jail in
He was taken from detention at the purpose-built
UN-backed court -- where he has been held since 2007 -- to a local
prison in southern Kandal province, according to a court statement.
is being held in a separate cell from other prisoners" for his own
safety, Kuy Bun Sorn, director general of the General Department of
Prisons, told AFP.
"Duch is a criminal of a genocidal regime...
for those who lost their relatives under the Khmer Rouge regime, how
could they not express their anger against him?" he added.
70-year-old was found responsible for torture and murder at the
notorious Tuol Sleng prison, known as S-21, in Cambodia's capital during
the communist regime's brutal 1975-1979 rule.
"It is the end of
his life journey with the Khmer Rouge. He ends up in jail for life,"
said Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia which
researches Khmer Rouge atrocities.
"Comrade" Duch begged for
forgiveness during his trial for crimes committed under his command at
the jail, where prisoners were tortured into denouncing themselves and
others as foreign spies.
Last week, the Khmer Rouge's former
number two Nuon Chea for the first time expressed remorse for the
actions of a regime blamed for the deaths of up to two million people in
the late 1970s.
The regime former head of state Khieu Samphan
also expressed a "sincere apology" in court last Thursday and said that
he was not aware at the time of the "great suffering" of the Cambodian
people under the regime.
Nuon Chea, the most senior surviving
leader of the "Killing Fields" era, is currently on trial alongside
Khieu Samphan, 81. Both deny charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes
Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, who died in
1998, the Khmer Rouge was responsible for one of the worst horrors of
the 20th century, wiping out up to two million people through
starvation, overwork and execution.
Regime co-founder Ieng Sary died
in March at the age of 87, escaping a court judgement over his role in
the regime's reign of terror, and adding to doubts about whether other
top leaders would live to face verdicts.