Khmer Rouge Chief Admits Smashing Babies

'Duch' accepts blame for killing babies, children, teens
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2009 5:13 AM CDT
A child views the human skulls display at Choeung Ek memorial outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia.   (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
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(Newser) – The former chief jailer of the Khmer Rouge told a war crimes tribunal yesterday that it was standard policy to kill babies and children by smashing their heads against trees, the Independent reports. The commander, known as  Duch, accepted full responsibility for his actions. He told the tribunal that he ordered babies who arrived at the detention center he ran be killed out of fear they would someday seek revenge.

"I am criminally responsible for killing babies, young children and teenagers," said Duch, who fell to his knees and wept during a court-ordered visit to the old regime's "killing fields" last year. Duch is the first of five senior Khmer Rouge cadres to go on trail for war crimes, and will face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.