Man or Monster?: The Trial of a Khmer Rouge Torturer
Alexander Laban Hinton is Founding Director, Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights and Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University. He is coeditor of Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America, also published by Duke University Press, and author of the award-winning Why Did They Kill?: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide.
This chapter commences the ethnodramatic-style part of the book, which follows Duch’s trial from beginning to end. The chapter opens with Duch’s apology, before turning to the opening arguments of the prosecution and the defense, introducing key personnel from these court units and from the Trial Chamber. The chapter also discusses the civil parties, including S-21 survivors and painters Vann Nath and Bou Meng, along with mechanic Chhum Mey. Along the way, the chapter suggests that the prosecution sought to portray Duch as a “man,” while the defense homed in on the argument that he was a scapegoat and an ordinary man seeking redemption.