PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot personally ordered the killing and burning of four Western prisoners who were captured while sailing in Cambodian waters, a former prison chief on trial for crimes against humanity testified Wednesday.
Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, who commanded the communist group's S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, said the prisoners were an American, an Australian, a New Zealander and a Briton.
He also testified that several days before the Khmer Rouge were ousted by invading Vietnamese troops in early 1979 he was ordered to kill all inmates at the prison.
"The purpose was to have no prisoners left at S-21" when Vietnam's troops arrived, he said.
As many as 16,000 men, women and children were tortured at S-21 before being sent to their deaths during the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 rule.
Duch is being tried by a U.N.-assisted tribunal for crimes against humanity, war crimes, murder and torture. About 1.7 million Cambodians died from forced labor, starvation, medical neglect and executions under the radical regime.
Duch (pronounced Doik) testified that Pol Pot, who died in 1998, personally ordered that the four Westerners be executed and then burned, and that the order was conveyed by Nuon Chea, the regime's No. 2 leader and chief ideologue, who has also been charged by the tribunal.
"I received an order from my superiors that the four Westerners had to be smashed and burned to ashes. It was an absolute order from my superiors," Duch said. "Pol Pot, not Uncle Nuon, personally ordered to burn the bodies."
In response to questioning from Judge Dame Silvia Cartwright of New Zealand, Duch dest scores, can tap the entire $4,000 after two years. Students must maintain a 2.5 grade-point average in college to earn the money.
The state faces a general fund budget shortfall of about $1.8 billion for the fiscal year that starts in October. The projected deficit tops $2.5 billion if expected deficits in the state's K-12 schools budget are included.
Federal stimulus money will eliminate some of Michigan's budget deficit, particularly in the school aid budget, but not all of it.
That has led the Republican-led Senate to vote to slash spending. For instance, it has cut revenue sharing payments that local governments use to pay for police, fire and other services by 12 percent. The Democrat-led House also is examining cuts.
Granholm said Wednesday that the budget talks are far from finished and that there are a variety of solutions, ranging from less painful to very painful. She has suggested lawmakers end about $200 million in tax breaks she said give special treatment to certain businesses.
"There are some ... [cuts] that are extremely painful, and we saw that happen yesterday" when some senators voted to eliminate the Promise Scholarship, she said. "I think looking at loopholes is less painful, because all we're asking for is tax fairness. But obviously it's a product of negotiation."
She added that she hopes the House and Senate pass their versions of budget bills by next week so the bills can be sent to conference committees and differences worked out soon.