[JURIST] The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Monday charged former Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] leader Ieng Thirith [Trial Watch profile; case materials] with genocide, torture, and persecution, adding to previous charges that include war crimes and murder. Ieng Thirith, the wife of ECCC defendant Ieng Sary [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive], served as social affairs minister [Reuters report] for the regime that allegedly caused the death of 1.7 million people between 1975 and 1979. The latest charges stem from the deaths of thousands of Vietnamese and ethnic Cham Muslims. Known as the "Khmer Rouge First Lady," Ieng Thirith was originally arrested [JURIST report] in 2007, along with her husband.
Ieng Thirith is the fourth former official to be charged with genocide. Last week, the ECCC brought genocide charges against former head of state Khieu Samphan, former deputy leader and chief ideologist Nuon Chea, and former foreign minister Ieng Sary [JURIST reports] in connection with the same events. Last month, the court heard final arguments [JURIST report] in its first trial, that of Kaing Guek Eav [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive], also known as "Duch." Kaing was the first of eight [JURIST report] ex-Khmer Rouge officials to be tried before the ECCC. A verdict is expected in March.