Date of this Version

1-1-2010

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Submitted Version.

Wilson, P. (2010). Do normal people commit genocide? Observations from the Cambodian trial of 'Duch'. Psychiatry, psychology and law, 17(4), 495-502.

Access the publisher’s website.

2010 HERDC submission. FoR Code: 170100

© Copyright The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 2010

Abstract

This article is written from the perspective of a forensic psychologist and criminologist who observed the recent trial of Duch, the commandant of S-21, the prison where up to 14,000 men, women and children were systematically interrogated, tortured and then murdered during the reign of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime. It focuses on what the trial revealed about Duch's personality and notes the absence of any form of psychopathology or mental illness in his psychological profile. Duch, however, like many other middle-ranking officials involved in major human rights abuses, may well have distinct personality characteristics. This finding lends weight to the view that an individual's involvement in genocide and other related crimes is best understood as a complex interaction between the situation in which people find themselves during times of war or civil conflict and their personality characteristics.

Share

COinS
 

This document has been peer reviewed.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.