PHNOM PENH - Aging Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary worked closely together throughout the 1970s to build support for their Maoist movement, a witness told the UN-backed tribunal on Thursday.
Suong Sikoeun, 75, who had been an official for the foreign ministry, headed by Ieng Sary, told the court both former leaders were part of a delegation in April 1974 seeking international support for the Khmer Rouge, in Albania, Romania and Yugoslavia.
Suong Sikoeun, who traveled with the men, said they also visited Algeria, Egypt and Mauritania.
This was done to “seek their support in regards to the struggle of the Cambodian people,” he said.
By then the communist movement was a year away from its takeover of the country and its institution of Year Zero, the beginning of nearly four years of failed policies that aided in the deaths of some 1.7 million people.
Court prosecutors are seeking to show joint criminal action by the two men and Nuon Chea, the regime’s chief ideologue, who are all on trial together for atrocity crimes committed by the regime under their leadership.