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Former Khmer Rouge Leader Ieng Sary Dies
The former Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary, who was on trial for genocide and war crimes, has died at the age of 87, a spokesman for Cambodia's UN-backed court said.
"We can confirm that Ieng Sary died this morning after being hospitalised since March 4," court spokesman Lars Olsen said.
The oldest of three former Khmer Rouge leaders on trial, Ieng Sary was the minister of foreign affairs under the regime of Pol Pot.
Along with "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, 86, and one-time head of state Khieu Samphan, 81, he had denied charges including war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
Ieng Sary was arrested in 2007, and was tried in lengthy proceedings that began in late 2011.
He declined to participate in the trial, demanding that the tribunal consider the pardon he received from Cambodia's king when he defected in 1996.
The tribunal, formally known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, previously ruled that the pardon does not cover its indictment against him.
Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge wiped out nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population through starvation, overwork or execution in a bid to create an agrarian utopia during their rule.
Ieng Sary had emerged as one of the few public faces of the regime during its brutal rule in the late 1970s.
Born to a poor ethnic Khmer family in south Vietnam, he repeatedly denied knowledge of the mass executions that came to define the regime, and claimed he had no powers of arrest.
The communist regime, which ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, claimed it was building a pure socialist society by evicting people from cities to work in labour camps in the countryside.
The regime's policies led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.
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