Kaing Guek Eav (a.k.a. “Comrade Duch”)
Date of Birth: February 15, 1945
Profession: Teacher of Math(s) — Kampong Thom province
Kaing Guek Eav was one of the leaders of the Khmer Rouge, and is best known for heading the Khmer Rouge special branch – the Santebal – as well as running the infamous Tuol Sleng (S-21) prison in Phnom Penh.
After the Khmer Rouge victory in April 1975, Duch and his men set up prisons throughout the capital, including the Tuol Sleng prison, the site where thousands of people were imprisoned, tortured and killed. These prisons were created to cleanse the ranks of the Khmer Rouge of suspected enemies of the revolution. By May 1976, his superiors were so impressed with his work that they appointed him the head of Democratic Kampuchea’s “special branch” – the Santebal. The Santebal was in charge of internal security and running of the prison camps. Duch was indicted pursuant to a Closing Order dated 12 August 2008. On July 26, 2010, Duch was convicted of the crimes against humanity of persecution on political grounds, extermination, enslavement, imprisonment, torture, one instance of rape, and other inhumane acts. He was convicted of the war crimes of willful killing, torture, willfully causing great suffering and injury, depriving civilians and prisoners of war of the right to a fair trial, and the unlawful confinement of civilians. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Nuon Chea (a.k.a. “Brother Number Two”)
There is substantial evidence that Nuon Chea played a leading role in devising and implementing the Khmer Rouge’s execution policies.
When the full-fledged Cambodian Communist Party was established in 1960, Nuon became Deputy Secretary of its Central Committee and a member of its Standing Committee, the most senior bodies responsible for Party policy, and held those posts continuously thereafter. These positions made it possible for him to play a leading role in devising policies, along with Pol Pot and Son Sen. Khang Khek leu (a.k.a. “Comrade Duch,” see below).
Additionally, he has been identified as one of the key decision makers at a meeting in which it was decided to conduct a massive purge of the East Zone. The purge was carried out on May 25, 1978.
Ieng Sary held senior positions within the Khmer Rouge as the deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Democratic Kampuchea from 1975 to 1979, among others until his defection to the government in 1996.
There is significant evidence that Ieng repeatedly and publicly encouraged arrests and executions within his Foreign Ministry and throughout Democratic Kampuchea. There is also evidence that he facilitated or failed to prevent the mass arrests and transfers to S-21 of Foreign Ministry personnel.
Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk officially pardoned Ieng Sary in 1996.
Ieng Thirith (a.k.a. Sister Phea, Khieu Thirith)
Ieng Thirith, wife of Ieng Sary and sister-in-law of Pol Pot, was a senior member of the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime. Thirth graduated from the Lycée Sisowath in Phnom Penh and became the first Cambodian to receive a degree in English Literature. Later she was educated in Paris, majoring in Shakespeare studies at the Sorbonne. While studying In Paris, she met Ieng Sary, who she married 1951. Thirith took her husband’s name and became Ieng Thirith.
In 1960 Thirith established an English-language high school in Phnom Penh. In April 1967, Thirith was spotted at Samlaut, at around the beginning of the outbreak of fighting. As early as 1971-1972, Ieng Sary and Thirith had established their political authority over the Khmers living in Hanoi. Thirith was in charge of the radio and in 1972, she ordered Pen Sovan, a CPK resident in Hanoi, to compile a list of those Khmer communists who had spent the Sihanouk years in Hanoi. On October 9, 1975, at a meeting of the CPK Standing Committee, Thirith was placed in charge of culture, social welfare, and jointly responsible with her husband, Ieng Sary, for foreign affairs. She was sent to the Northwest Zone by Pol Pot in 1976 to investigate health, diet, and housing of workers, which was reported to be inadequate.
Khieu Samphan was the chairman of Democratic Kampuchea State Presidium (Cambodia) from 1976 until 1979. He served as the country’s head of state and was one of the most powerful officials in the Khmer Rouge movement, though Pol Pot was the group’s true political leader and held the most extensive power.
The evidence discovered in connection with Samphan points to his knowledge of Khmer Rouge atrocities and suggests that he personally contributed to those crimes by making public statements supporting the underlying policies and by monitoring the manner in which regional and other authorities implemented them. Also, several documents suggest that he was well aware of the existence and implementation of the Party’s execution policies.