Socheata Vong

My thoughts about beloved Cambodia

Duch, asking forgiveness by telling more truth?

By Socheata Vong

March 31, 2009 will not be only marked as one part of the beginning of the trial of former head of S- 21, Duch, but also remembered as a historic moment when one of the most Cambodian notorious criminal revealed his crimes and sought forgiveness committed in the darkest page of our history.

Should we ever truly forgive him as a point of closure at the end of this trial? That he was taken a hostage and he had no choice but to kill, as I am personally not convinced, would in no mean lead to acceptance of apology and forgiveness.

From a human personal emotional perspective, I seriously doubt if Cambodians should ever forgive him, especially at this stage of judicial process.  One thing that is clear is that his remorse will never wipe away suffering for the loss of our irreplaceable victims; however, at the end of the day, Duch should realize that his confession is not about an apology.  It is about revealing the truth and telling more what is beyond the pictures, testimony of survivors, and other discovered evidence.  He needs to tell his version of crime.  The truth will serve as a charity he does at the last part of his life so everyone will comprehend the reason of existence of such a crime and people involved.


  1. Its interesting to hear your view on this confession and seeking forgiveness. In Duch’s perspective as he is born-again Christain as Christain always does is to seek forgiveness from God if one person has sinned and as God (Jesus) hasl forgiven and will forgive all the sins human have made whom have followed his commands. In this Duch perhaps be forgiven.

    Now from a Buddhism way would be what goes around come around. It is a matter of Duch’s acts which he committed in the previous years. He is therefore should/must recieve the penalties. Which is fairly enough for Buddhism country to follow that norms. However, the judement of men on earth and God are different judement principles.

    Thanks for keeping us informed…

  2. Thanks for your comments. At this point in time where the judicial process has already begun, though, it is the matter of his standing before the trial revealing more truth. According to Lord Buddha, “Whenever we go, wherever we remain, the results of our actions follow us”, and I believe the results of Duch’s actions will follow him at the tribunal.

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