Accessibility links

Khmer Rouge Child Survivor Speaks Out

On the eve of the first ever trial for crimes committed under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, a previously unknown survivor from a notorious torture camp has emerged, 30 years on, to tell his story.

Norng Chan Phal: "Because they (the S-21 guards) were in a rush one Khmer Rouge soldier came back to find us but because he was in a rush he could not find us. I hid there and hoped my mum would come and find us there."

Norng Chan Phal was one of five children found by a Vietnamese camera team who stumbled upon the abandoned S-21 prison in January 1979, following the Vietnamese invasion that overthrew the Khmer Rouge. Ho Van Tay, was the Vietnamese cameraman who discovered the torture camp.

Ho Van Tay: "We were really shocked when we entered some of the cells. We saw women's bodies which were still shackled to a very large iron pole. This showed the brutality of the Khmer Rouge."

At a news conference in Phnom Penh on Monday (February 16 2009) he wept as he recalled seeing his mother kicked and pushed by the camp guards- he did not see her again.

Norng Chan Phal: "Whenever I go to Tuol Sleng I think of my mum and I am shocked because I see the place where she was kicked. The guard kicked her from behind and pushed her hard. Whenver I remember I am still so shocked."

Duch, who converted to Christianity, has asked for forgiveness from his victims. His trial is expected to last up to 4 months.

Information for this report was provided by APTN.