Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cambodia / Genocide Tribunals

"Ieng Sary denied charges including war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity." (Associated Press)
Former Khmer Rouge Leader Ieng Sary Dies
The Telegraph, March 14, 2013
"Former Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary, who was on trial for genocide and war crimes, has died in hospital on Thursday at the age of 87. The oldest of three former leaders on trial, he was foreign minister in Pol Pot’s murderous regime in Cambodia, and was known as Brother Number Three. The death of the former student radical, who emerged as one of the few public faces of the Khmer Rouge during its brutal rule in the late 1970s, has heightened fears the remaining defendants may not survive to see justice at the court. Ieng Sary, along with Brother Number Two Nuon Chea, 86, and one-time head of state Khieu Samphan, 81, denied charges including war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Both Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are frail with high blood pressure, and have suffered strokes. Born to a poor ethnic Khmer family in south Vietnam, Ieng Sary, the former foreign minister repeatedly denied knowledge of the mass executions that came to define the Khmer Rouge regime, and claimed he had no powers of arrest. His wife Ieng Thirith, the regime's former social affairs minister, was also supposed to be in the dock but she was deemed unfit for trial last year after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Led by Brother Number One Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge wiped out nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population through starvation, overwork or execution in a bid to create an agrarian utopia during their rule. Ieng Sary's death was no surprise given his age and ailing health, said Ou Virak, who heads the Cambodian Center for Human Rights. But 'given the fact that the other two defendants are also in their 80s, it should act as a wake-up call to all concerned -- the Cambodian government, the UN, the international donors and the tribunal itself -- that these cases need to be expedited urgently so that justice can be served.'"
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

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