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Youth No Defense Against Death: Duch

Not even a child at his mother’s side was safe from the Khmer Rouge killing machine, the regime’s chief torturer told tribunal judges Monday.

Kaing Kek Iev, better known as Duch, said his communist superiors, pushing class struggle, “recommended…I must be strong.” “And then I accepted, yielded to the principles of the party, that I must destroy children,” Duch told the UN-backed court.

The former chief of Tuol Sleng prison, the regime’s main torture center, Duch, 66, is facing charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and murder.

“There is noting to gain by keeping them,” Duch said of children, “and they might take revenge on you.”

When babies and children arrived in Tuol Sleng prison, he killed them because a principle of the party was this fear of retaliation, he said, adding that he believed his subordinates killed child victims by swing them against tree trunks.

“I am criminally responsible for the murders of babies, young children and teenagers,” he said.

Duch stressed on Monday that if one of the four groups of leadership inside Democratic Kampuchea accused someone as the enemy, security guards would have to arrest the accused. When the accused were sent to S-21, they had to be interrogated and then smashed, he explained.

“If you dared to sneak the release [of the accused], you would have had guilt,” he said.