Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Guard tells of killing fields

Guard tells of killing fields

Guard tells of killing fields

090717_02
Former Tuol Sleng prison guard Him Huy, 54, testifies at the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Thursday.

Surviving Tuol Sleng guard says prison chief Duch visited the killing fields twice, contradicting the defendant's testimony.

AFORMER guard at Tuol Sleng prison described Thursday for the UN-backed war crimes court how he had been instructed to execute prisoners at the Choeung Ek killing fields.

Him Huy, 54, who was called to testify against his former boss, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, said the instructions were given by [S-21 interrogator] Hor, but that execution decisions were made by Duch.

"Before we did the killing, we received instructions on how to execute them, so we just followed what we were instructed to do," Him Huy told Judge Jean-Marc Lavergne, adding that he was in charge of checking off prisoners from a list of those that were to be killed.

"The executioners were instructed to ask prisoners to kneel down near the edge of the pit.... Later on, they would use knives to slash the throat, and when [the prisoners] were dead they would remove their handcuffs and their clothes," he said.

Wearing a black jacket and glasses, Him Huy told the court that he saw Duch visit the killing fields two times, though he said he never saw the prison chief abuse a prisoner.

"I saw [Duch] twice at Choeung Ek. He stayed there until all detainees were executed, and then he would leave," Him Huy said.

Duch, who has maintained that he never went to Choeung Ek except once to greet a superior at the gate, sat quietly as Him Huy continued.

"I had to rush to finish my job, and he asked me whether I was absolute or not, and I responded yes, I was absolute."

Answering a question from Presiding Judge Nil Nonn, Him Huy said no prisoners detained at S-21 were released.

"They only waited to be interrogated and executed," he said," he said.

Him Huy said up to 100 prisoners were taken at a time to be executed at the Choeung Ek killing fields, and that he had personally driven them in trucks to the site.

"They were handcuffed and masked, and we lied to them that they were being transferred to a new house," said Him Huy, who was told several times by Presiding Judge Nil Nonn that it was important to speak the truth.

Him Huy told the tribunal that roughly one or two weeks lapsed between when detainees were forced to make "confessions" and when they arrived at Choeung Ek.

Pol Pot's relative visits trial
Tan Chhiv Hot, 53, a relative of Pol Pot from Kampong Thom's Stung Sen district, told reporters at the tribunal that she had never met Pol Pot personally and had only recently learned of his role in the regime.

"My mother was Pol Pot's cousin," she said. "But I dislike him, and I dislike the regime because one of my brothers-in-law was murdered."

MOST VIEWED

  • Government denies claims former Thai PM Yingluck issued Cambodian passport

    Government officials on Thursday denied claims that a Cambodian passport was issued to former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who reportedly used it to register a company in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based English language South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday reported Hong Kong

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading