Cambodia genocide tribunal releases former Khmer Rouge leader

[JURIST] The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website] on Sunday released the former "First Lady" of the Khmer Rouge [JURIST news archive] regime, Ieng Thirith. The court ruled that due her degenerative illness, said to likely be Alzheimers, she should be released from detention [Phnom Penh Post report, PDF]. Thirith, the sister-in-law of former leader Pol Pot [BBC backgrounder], has continued to deny any wrongdoing. While she was released with few conditions, the court reiterated that "a finding of unfitness to stand trial is not a finding on the guilt or innocence of the Accused Ieng Thirith, nor does it have the effect of withdrawing the charges against the Accused." It was requested that Thirith remain in Cambodia and refrain from speaking to the media or anyone else related to the trial.

Thirith was ruled unfit to stand trial [JURIST report] on Thursday. The week before that the ECCC announced [JURIST report] that it would declassify more than 1,700 war crimes documents. The ECCC has only convicted one former Khmer Rouge leader, Kaing Guek Eav [JURIST news archive]. Ieng Thirith was indicted [JURIST report] in September 2010 along with Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea. The ECCC ruled in November that Ieng Thirith was unfit to stand trial, but the Supreme Court Chamber ordered that she remain in detention [JURIST reports] and that the Trial Chamber exhaust all measures so that she can stand trial. The other three went on trial [JURIST report] in November.

 

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