Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - S-21 child survivor testifies

S-21 child survivor testifies

S-21 child survivor testifies

Duch challenges testimony, saying no children survived.

AFORMER child detainee at Tuol Sleng prison told the Khmer Rouge tribunal Thursday how he passed lifeless bodies as he ran through the prison looking for his mother in the final days of the regime.

Norng Chan Phal, who was only 8 or 9 when he arrived at the secret detention facility with his mother and brother, cried as he told judges how the boys were separated from their mother and forced to sleep near a pig pen.

Describing the last time he saw his mother, he said, "I could see her in the second floor holding the bars and looking at us. She did not say a single word."

But the prison's former chief, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, attempted to rebut Norng Chun Phal's testimony, saying there was not enough evidence to suggest the survivor was ever sent to the prison.

"Yes, children were detained there, but none of them survived," Duch said. "This is just my clarification."

He added: "If we can find the S-21 biography of his mother, then I would accept his full testimony.... But probably his mother suffered at a different security centre."

Researchers from the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam) in February identified Norng Chan Phal and his brother Norng Chan Ny as two of the five children who appear in recently obtained video footage shot by Vietnamese soldiers when they arrived at the prison in 1979.

Though judges rejected a request by prosecutors to show the video footage in full, they showed a still image of the two boys from the film after Norng Chan Phal's testimony was challenged.

"The older boy with his shirt off, it's me," Norng Chan Phal, now 39, said.

Prior to Duch's remarks, Norng Chan Phal described how the children hid under a pile of clothes as the last remaining prisoners were slaughtered.

One of the five children, an infant who needed to be breastfed, died from hunger.

Norng Chan Phal missed the tribunal's deadline to become a civil party and applied to be a witness instead. His younger brother still lives in Cambodia but has not applied to be a witness.

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release