Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cambodia Tribunal Defendant "Brother Number Two" Dies

The trial chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has terminated the proceedings against former foreign minister Ieng Sary, who died this morning after being hospitalized since March 4, 2013. He was on trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s.  He had been hospitalized several times since being detained by the Court, and an assessment of his fitness to stand trial by local and international medical experts was scheduled for later this month, according to a statement by the Court.

The ECCC has terminated all criminal and civil actions against him, the ECCC Trial Chamber stated in its decision.

Mr. Sary, former so-called Brother Number Two Nuon Chea, was on trial along with his wife, Ieng Thirith, who formerly served as Social Affairs Minister for the Democratic Kampuchea – as Cambodia was known during the Khmer Rouge regime’s leadership of the country – as well as former head of State Khieu Samphan.

Last September, the Court found Ms. Thirith unfit to stand trial owing to medical reasons and granted her a provisional release. Expert psychiatrists who examined diagnosed her with clinical dementia, most likely Alzheimer’s, which would hinder her participation in court hearings.

Nearly two million people are thought to have died during the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979.

(mew) (adapted from a UN Press Release)

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