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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."

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