Hide and Seek in the Killing Fields

Száva Adél Tar


Humanity has witnessed wide-scale, often systematic terror throughout its history. Ordinary people subjected to extraordinary circumstances have become perpetrators, bystanders or victims of crimes – these distinctions not always being crystal clear. Among the most notable of such examples is the approximately three decade long conflict in Cambodia, under the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot’s name is what most people would think of when discussing Khmer Rouge rule, however, he was but one of the several key figures responsible for the orchestration of mass cleansing and political reformation within the country. Journalist Nic Dunlop journeys into the depth of Cambodia to find prison commandant ‘Comrade Duch’ who alone was responsible for the death of tens of thousands of people. Dunlop’s aim in the book is thus to shed light to three largely important questions: to discover “how” and “why” the ordinary person Duch was had come to be one of the most infamous mass murderers of the 20th century; and last but not least, how the world could have allowed this atrocity to happen on their watch.


international criminal law; international tribunals; United Nations; dictatorship; perpetrators; Khmer Rouge

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