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Hinton, A. (2011). Genocide, Categorical Certainty, and the Truth: Questions from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. J. Anal. Psychol., 56(3):390-396.

(2011). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 56(3):390-396

Genocide, Categorical Certainty, and the Truth: Questions from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Alexander Hinton

For the last year and a half, I have been attending the trial of Duch, the first former Khmer Rouge leader to be tried in a new court that has been set up in Cambodia, where over 1.7 million of Cambodia's 8 million inhabitants perished of disease, starvation, overwork, and execution from 1975-1979 (Hinton 2005).

Survivors of S-21 (Tuol Sleng) Prison standing in fron of a Tuol Sleng building after Democratic Kampuchea: Reproduced by kind permission of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia

Duch was the commandant of Tuol Sleng, a former high school that the regime converted into an interrogation and torture centre. More than 11,272 people passed through its gates. Some, usually women and children, were killed relatively quickly. Others endured prolonged interrogation and torture until they ‘confessed’ their treason. Soon thereafter, the prisoners were executed and dumped into mass graves.

If I have learned one thing during this trial, it is that the truth is hard to find in this vortex of pain, suffering, trauma and destruction. Duch admitted his responsibility, offered an apology, and agreed to cooperate with the court.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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