Khmer Rouge torture survivor talks

A child survivor of the Khmer Rouge’s largest torture centre has emerged from obscurity to tell his story...

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A child survivor of the Khmer Rouge’s largest torture centre has emerged from obscurity to tell his story on the eve of a crimes against humanity trial in <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Cambodia</country-region>.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>


Norng Chan Phal, now a 39-year-old father of two, said he was eight when the Vietnamese stormed into <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Phnom Penh to end the Khmer Rouge reign of terror.

He was held at the notorious S21 prison where some 16 000 men, women and children were brutally tortured and executed.

Phal came forward last week after a film from <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Vietnam</country-region> was screened showing Vietnamese troops entering the prison, also known as Tuol Sleng.

The man who ran the prison, Kaing Guek Eav, is due to go before a United Nations-backed tribunal on Tuesday.

Better known as Duch, he will be the first of five former Khmer Rouge leaders to stand trial for crimes against humanity.

He faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and homicide while he ran the centre.

It comes 30 years after the fall of Cambodia’s Killing Fields regime, where nearly every Cambodian family lost loved ones during the 1975-79 period of Khmer Rouge rule that claimed an estimated 1.7 million lives.

"I haven’t presented myself before because I felt hesitant, the Khmer Rouge tribunal has been delayed and left victims to feel hopeless about justice."