Duch wraps up fourth week of trial, as Japan donates $4.1m to cover salaries at Cambodia’s cash-strapped side of court
A tourist looks at torture equipment in Toul Sleng prison in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.
KHMER Rouge leader Pol Pot was more cruel than China's "Gang of Four", Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav told Cambodia's war crimes court Thursday, saying that the regime's hardline communist ideology was far more extreme than that which guided China through its bloody Cultural Revolution.
"Pol Pot was a step beyond the four people of the great revolution of China. These four went one step forward but Pol Pot went 10 steps forward," Kaing Guek Eav, who is better known as Duch, testified, again admitting responsibility for the atrocities committed at the prison.
"I was rather cowardly in that I did not contest, but went on carrying out their orders ... to ensure that myself and the lives of my family would be out of danger," he said. "Therefore, I committed all kinds of crimes, serious crimes."
Staff working for the near-bankrupt national side of the Khmer Rouge tribunal will receive their April salaries this month, due to a US$4.1 million donation from Japan, according to an Japanese embassy statement Thursday.
The donation is Japan's third and will again cover the shortfall of the Cambodian side's budget. According to a circular distributed to court staff, the donation will not reach staff until the "third or fourth week of May". Court spokesperson Reach Sambath said it would be enough for the Cambodian side to "fulfill its mandate until the end of the year".
The national side of the war crimes court has gone in and out of insolvency since the UN Development Program froze donor funds reserved for the court last July amid a graft scandal.
Japan provided an "emergency" donation for salaries last month and has been the only donor country to give money to the Cambodian side since the UNDP funding was frozen.
In a joint statement also released Thursday, the French and Japanese governments said they "welcomed the progress achieved" by the UN and government on anti-corruption measures at the court.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP