Documents and Excerpts:
S-21 Interrogator's Manual
The Khmer Rouge

When the Khmer Rouge Cambodian communist rebels overthrew their country's government in the wake of the western withdrawal from Vietnam, they instituted a Chinese-inspired agrarian socialist revolution, which obliged the entire population to live as peasants in rural villages. Around 1.5 million people perished of a population of 7.5 million. One main target for torture and execution was the intellectuals, a category which included anyone who spoke a foreign language or wore glasses.

In the S-21 Interrogation Facility, over 30,000 people, including men, women, little girls and boys and the elderly, were tortured and killed. Only seven prisoners ever entered the facility and lived - because their administrative skills were required to run the facility and maintain its meticulous records.

The S-21 Interrogator's Manual is a chilling example of the ruthless utilitarianism of Khmer Rouge Communism.

The purpose of doing torture is to get their responses. It's not something we do for the fun of it. Thus we must make them hurt so they will respond quickly. Another purpose is to break them psychologically and make them lose their will. It's not something that is done out of individual anger or self-satisfaction. Thus we beat them to make them afraid but absolutely not to kill them. When torturing them it is necessary to examine the whip. Don't greedily want to kill them. Politics is very important whereas torture is secondary. Thus the question of doing politics takes the lead at all times. Even when questioning it is always necessary to do constant propaganda.

At the same time it is necessary to avoid any question of hesitancy or half-heartedness, of not daring to do torture, which makes it impossible to get answers to our questions from our enemies, which slows down and delays our work. In sum, whether doing propaganda or torturing or bringing up questions to ask them or accusing them of something, it is necessary to hold steadfastly to a stance of not being half-hearted or hesitant. We must be absolute. Only thus can we work to good effect. We torture them but forget to give the reason first. Only then do they become totally helpless.

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