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Former Khmer Rouge leader asks for forgiveness

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A former Khmer Rouge leader claimed responsibility on Tuesday for crimes committed during the regime's cruel rule. Kaing Guek Eav, widely known as "Duch," is the first Khmer Rouge leader to face a tribunal. He is accused of torture, crimes against humanity, and premeditated murder. His testimony in the ongoing proceedings is expected to implicate four other senior figures of the Khmer Rouge who are currently in custody and awaiting trial.

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), Duch asked for forgiveness from the families of his victims when admitting to his crimes.

The indictment against Duch, read out before the tribunal on Monday, included gruesome details, reports the BBC.

But AFP adds that even while Duch acknowledged responsibility for his crimes and expressed regret, "he insisted his role was more minor than that portrayed by prosecutors," saying, "I am just a scapegoat and a person who played a role in the killing of the regime."

Duch's confession will not, however, end the trial, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Al Jazeera explains that "Duch, who was a teacher before becoming the Khmer Rouge's chief torturer, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted. Cambodia has no death penalty."

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