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.
The Accused: (Trial Chamber Judgment)
This chapter examines the culminating act in the trial: the pronouncement of the verdict. Building on chapter 8, this chapter examines how a verdict is produced using a particular calibration/articulation of “fact” within the “thick frame” of law, a frame that, as the larger argument of this book suggests, edits out much. Illustrating the redactic, the chapter discusses some of the controversies that emerged immediately after the verdict (Duch was found guilty), including controversies over the potentially short length of his sentence and the denial of the applications that some of the civil parties who had been participating throughout the trial had submitted. The chapter also includes a discussion of the spatial matrix and symbolism of the court, including notions of “the dock” and “the well” and their connection to juridical power. Here, as before, the articulation-redaction dynamic echoes the dynamic that took place at S-21 and is more broadly part of our everyday ways of thinking (the banality of everyday thought).