PHNOM PENH - American war photographer Al Rockoff concluded two days of testimony at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal on Tuesday, describing a “stream of refugees” fleeing areas where US bombardment occurred prior to the communist regime’s rise to power.
Rockoff described to the court a tense situation in Phnom Penh in the weeks before the Khmer Rouge took over the capital and how he found the ever-shifting battle fronts by hitching rides with outgoing ambulances.
Prosecutors at the UN-backed tribunal say defendants Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary were responsible for many of the crimes committed by the regime and have sought to tie them in a joint criminal conspiracy.
Rockoff’s two days of testimony provided an eye-witness account to the wartime environment Cambodia found itself in ahead of the Khmer Rouge’s rise.
On Monday, he described in detail what he witnessed as the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh in April 1975. He described young Khmer Rouge soldiers entering the city, some in flip-flops, some in combat boots, starting on the morning of April 17.