News24

K Rouge: Man forced to kill dad

2009-07-09 14:05

Phnom Penh - A woman who said she survived the Khmer Rouge's main torture centre told Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes court on Thursday that one of her brothers was forced to kill their father at the prison.

Nam Mon, 48, was testifying at the trial of prison chief Duch, who is accused of overseeing the torture and execution of around 15 000 people who passed through Tuol Sleng prison during the regime's terrifying 1975-1979 rule.

Nam Mon told the court her two elder brothers were guards at the notorious Tuol Sleng, while she initially lived and worked there as a medic before being interrogated herself.

"My first brother, Nuon, killed my father and later on he was executed," Nam Mon said. "They accused him of hesitating to kill my father."

Recognised as a civil claimant in the case against Duch, Nam Mon was revealing her story in public for the first time, said her lawyer Silke Studzinsky.

However, judges have cast doubt on the authenticity of several civil claimants who have this week testified that they were at Tuol Sleng, castigating their lawyers for not being sufficiently prepared.

Nam Mon described to the court how her father was brought into the prison blindfolded before being stripped, tortured and killed, and said the rest of her family was later rounded up and executed.

"My mother also died at Tuol Sleng with my younger brother but they died at different times," she said, adding she was then interrogated there for three months in 1978.

The 66-year-old Duch, real name Kaing Guek Eav, begged for forgiveness from the victims near the start of his trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity after accepting responsibility for his role overseeing the jail.

But he has consistently rejected claims by prosecutors that he held a central leadership role in the Khmer Rouge, and says he never personally executed anyone.

Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge emptied Cambodia's cities in a bid to forge a communist utopia. Up to two million people died of starvation, overwork, torture and execution.