Khmer Rouge insider Ieng Sary dies while on trial
PHNOM PENH (AP) - Ieng Sary, co-founder of the Khmer Rouge regime responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million Cambodians in the 1970s, has died. The 87-year-old had been in the middle of a lengthy trial over the regime's atrocities.
Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen confirmed his death Thursday morning.
As foreign minister, Ieng Sary was perhaps the regime's most recognisable face internationally. The regime claimed it was building a pure socialist society by evicting people from cities to work in labour camps in the countryside. Its radical policies led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.
In 1996, years after the overthrown Khmer Rouge retreated to the jungle, he became the first member of its inner circle to defect, bringing thousands of foot soldiers with him and hastening the movement’s final disintegration.