Historian Michael Vickery has joined the currently hospitalized former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary’s defense team at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Vickery, whose books on Cambodia include Cambodia: 1975 to 1982 and Kampuchea (Marxist Regimes) told the Post on February 4 that he had been working with Sary’s defense team but said he was “not attached [to the team] long term.” He declined further comment.

Tribunal officials confirmed Vickery was working with the Sary defense team but said he is not allowed to speak to the press.

Ieng Sary’s foreign lawyer, Michael Karnavas, declined comment on the specifics of the arrangement but said that Vickery – who he described as a “respectable and trustworthy old Cambodian hand” – was assisting the Sary defense team.

He said Vickery’s role was that of an analyst and historical expert who could help the defense with an understanding of the events relevant to the jurisdictional period of the ECCC.

Karnavas added that he believes the jurisdictional period of the ECCC “unquestionably predates 1975 and goes well beyond 1979.”

He said, “…what happened in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 cannot be understood, examined, or appreciated in a court of law, by conveniently ignoring the historical facts which shaped the events and which give true meaning to what happened, why did it happened and, most importantly, who are those responsible, be they individuals, states or organizations.”