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Last updated at 15:30 BST, Monday, 26 July 2010

Khmer Rouge prison chief found guilty

Summary

26 July 2010

A UN backed tribunal in Cambodia has found a former Khmer Rouge prison chief guilty of crimes against humanity. The man best known as Comrade Duch had admitted he oversaw the torture and murder of thousands of people in the late 1970s.

Reporter:
Guy de Launey

Kaing Guek Eav, also known as "Duch" sits in the courtroom

Kaing Guek Eav, also known as "Duch" sits in the courtroom

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Report

Comrade Duch had painted himself as a man who was only following orders. He said his family would have been killed if he hadn't carried out his gruesome work at the S-21 detention centre. But the judges ruled otherwise. They said he was personally responsible for the atrocities at S-21.

Thousands of supposed enemies of the Khmer Rouge revolution were tortured and murdered there. The judges reiterated the details: pulling out toenails, water torture, electric shocks.

Hundreds of Cambodians who lived through the horrors of the Pol Pot era were in court. It's the first time a significant Khmer Rouge figure has been held to account. As many as two million Cambodians died because of forced labour, starvation and summary executions.

Guy de Launey, BBC News, Phnom Penh

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Vocabulary

painted himself

presented a certain public image of himself

gruesome

very unpleasant or shocking

ruled otherwise

came to a different conclusion

atrocities

extremely violent actions

supposed

this word is used to show that the speaker does not believe the following word to be true. Here, that the people were enemies of the Khmer Rouge revolution

reiterated

said something several times

era

a period of time when certain events took place

significant

important

held to account

forced to take responsibility for

forced labour

a lot of tiring physical work which people were made to do against their will

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