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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Past Post: KR torturer: What I've said is enough

Past Post: KR torturer: What I've said is enough

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

Vol. 8; No. 2 January 22- February 4 1999

HIM Huy is known in his village as a kind man. When he has the

opportunity, he says he does good work and helps out his neighbours.

But 20 years ago his assistance was the touch of death.

The

44-year-old farmer is the side of the Khmer Rouge regime that has

almost become overlooked recently as the focus concentrates on debate

over international tribunals for KR leaders.

Huy joined the KR

in the beginning of 1973. He was later transferred to Tuol Sleng as a

prison guard and was soon made head of a security group. Purges within

the torture center meant rapid promotion was possible and by 1977 he

was appointed deputy chief of security.

He says he tried to keep

his past hidden from neighbours, but they found out in 1984 when he was

arrested for his involvement in the KR.

Historian and KR expert

Steve Heder, speaking about the lower-level cadre generally, says many

of them may have a defense of being forced in their actions.

"Most of the KR were recruited under a false flag. They didn't join up to commit crimes against humanity," he says.

Huy says his job was to receive prisoners, record their names, then transport them to the killing fields.

He

then checked the names and waited while the prisoners were killed,

usually with a blow to the head with an axle from an ox cart. The

corpses were dropped in a pit.

He says sometimes he and the

other guards recognised friends or relatives among the prisoners but

they could do nothing to help them.

"I saw the killing with my own eyes and I knew if I was arrested they would also kill me."

He believes it is not a bad idea to put the KR leaders on trial, saying they are the people truly responsible for the crimes.

But

for him that is someone else's problem and he has no intention of

getting involved. "I'm not going to be the witness at the KR trial

because what I have said is enough."

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