PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (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 recognizable face internationally. The regime claimed it was building a pure socialist society by evicting people from cities to work in labor camps in the countryside. Its radical policies led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.
The Khmer Rouge retreated to the jungle in the 1980s and 1990s, and Ieng Sary defected in 1996. The trial for top regime leaders began in 2011.