Tuesday, April 3, 2012

KRouge jailer says ex-leader called him 'very bad'

A convicted ex-Khmer Rouge jailer told a Cambodian war crimes court Monday that a top leader accused him three decades ago of being "very bad" for failing to destroy evidence at a torture prison.

Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, was in February sentenced on appeal to life in jail by the UN-backed court for overseeing the deaths of some 15,000 people at the notorious S-21 torture prison in Phnom Penh.
The former maths teacher is back on the stand this week to give evidence in the trial of three ex-leaders of the 1975-1979 regime, including his former boss "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea.
Duch told the judges that he informed Nuon Chea in the early 1980s that he had been forced to leave the S-21 documents behind during the chaotic final days of the regime, when Vietnamese forces ousted the Khmer Rouge.
Duch recalled that Nuon Chea then told him: "On my side, we destroyed them all, you were very bad that you could not manage this."
The documents included hundreds of confessions and photos of tortured prisoners and were later used as evidence against Duch, who said that he had been in a hurry to get out alive at the time.
"I left only with a pen and a handgun. None of my subordinates or people in my unit could manage to bring with them any piece of documents, I believe."

Nuon Chea and Duch, who are both being held at the same detention centre, are on notoriously bad terms, with the former deputy leader calling Duch "rotten wood" during a hearing last month.
Nuon Chea and his co-defendants -- ex-foreign minister Ieng Sary and former head of state Khieu Samphan -- deny charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for their roles in the deaths of up to two million people.Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge wiped out nearly a quarter of the population through starvation, overwork and execution in a bid to forge a communist "utopia".