In Cambodia, the international human-rights trial of the head of the
Khmer Rouge's most infamous prison has resumed. The court heard again
that no child survived the camp, contradicting testimony earlier this
month by a man who said he and his brother were held there as children.
A former guard and bookkeeper at the S-21 torture and
extermination center, Sos Thy, says up to 200 children were separated
from their parents who were brought to the camp during Khmer Rouge
It was the first time a number has been put on the
children killed at the camp, which was just one of hundreds used by the
communist government in the mid-1970s.
Not one survived, all
were killed, Sos Thy said in testimony before the Khmer Rouge
tribunal. The tribunal is conducting its first trial - of Kaing Guek
Eav, also known as Duch, who ran the S-21 prison in the capital, Phnom
Duch has also testified no children had survived the
prison. But earlier this month, a man testified that as children he
and his brother survived at the camp for a year before the Khmer Rouge
were toppled by Vietnamese forces.
Although the prison kept records of adults detained and executed there, details of the children were not kept.
Thy and another guard Kok Sros have told the court they lived in fear
at S-21. They said they had to carry out Duch's grisly orders or face
the same fate as the thousands who were sent to their deaths in
Cambodia's Killing Fields.
But Theary Seng from Cambodia's
Center for Social Development says their fears were an insult to the
victims of the genocidal regime.
"It is disgusting that a guard
of the detention center where 14,000 lives, at least, were killed
brutally under torture is now claiming to be a victim. He is
undermining and dishonoring genuine victims and their causes at this
tribunal," said Theary Seng.
Duch is the first surviving member
of the Khmer Rouge leadership to face trial. It took the Cambodian
government and the United Nations more than a decade to establish the
tribunal, and during that time, many of the aging Khmer Rouge leaders
Duch has accepted responsibility for the operation of the
prison, and has apologized to the families of its victims. But he
denies the prosecution's charges he was a senior leader of the Khmer
Rouge and says he never personally killed anyone.