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Cambodians Pray at Prison Before Historic Genocide Verdict

Hundreds of victims of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge gathered Sunday for a Buddhist prayer ceremony, on the eve of the first verdict from the country's U.N.-backed war crimes court.

Survivors of the regime's notorious Tuol Sleng prison prayed along with the relatives of the more than 14,000 killed there.

Prison commander Kaing Guek Eav, better known as "Duch," is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as murder and torture.

He is the first of five senior Khmer Rouge leaders to stand trial for his part in the genocide committed in the 1970s. More than 1.7 million people, a quarter of Cambodia's population, died by starvation, disease, torture and execution.

Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died in 1998.

Duch has admitted guilt but has said he should be acquitted because he was not a senior leader and was just following orders. A verdict is expected Monday.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.