Legal Strategy Fails to Hide Torturer’s Pride (Cambodia)

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He is deceptively unassuming, a small man in a neat white shirt, sometimes wearing reading glasses as he studies the stack of legal documents he brings with him every day from his cell to the courtroom.

He gives the judges a humble greeting, both palms pressed together, an obsequiousness that has begun to be annoying to some who once suffered at his hands and now sit across the courtroom from him.

But in nearly three months of trial proceedings, a harder man has emerged — alert, vigorous, with a self-confidence that has begun to shade into condescension as he corrects a lawyer or a witness about details of his life as the chief torturer of the Khmer Rouge.

This is Kaing Guek Eav, 66, known as Duch (pronounced DOIK), the first person to go on trial in the deaths of 1.7 million people from 1975 to 1979 when the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia.

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