A former female Khmer Rouge leader was ruled unfit to stand trial and was granted a provisional release by the United Nations-backed court in Cambodia.
Ieng Thirith, once called the “First Lady’ and the the aging sister-in-law of former Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot is ruled unfit to stand trial for genocide because of a degenerative illness, likely Alzheimer’s disease.
Reports say the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a mixed court set up under a 2003 agreement signed by the UN and the Government, ruled that Ieng Thirith be released.
Conditions were given provided that Ieng Thirith inform the Court of the address where she will live and not change residence without prior authorization.
In addition, Ieng Thirith must also surrender her passport and any other travel documents, and remain in the territory of Cambodia.
Ieng Thirith was charged with crimes against humanity, genocide, homicide, torture and religious persecution related to the 1975-1979 rule of the Khmer Rouge.
Reports say psychiatrists have examined Ms. Thirith in 2011 and diagnosed her with clinical dementia. The psychiatrists said her disease would hinder her participation in court hearings.
In September 201, the United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia dealing with mass killings and other crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge three decades ago had indicted four of the regime’s top officials.
Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea were the four most senior members of the Democratic Kampuchea regime who are still alive were tried before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia ( ECCC) for crimes against humanity, genocide, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.
As many as 2.2 million people are believed to have died during the 1975-79 rule of the Khmer Rouge. The event was then followed by a civil war in Cambodia.
Under an agreement signed by the UN and Cambodia, the ECCC was set up as an independent court using a mixture of Cambodian staff and judges and foreign personnel. It is designated to try those deemed most responsible for crimes and serious violations of Cambodian and international law between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.