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Birthday behind bars


Accused former Khmer Rouge Social Affairs Minister Ieng Thirith spent her 80th birthday yesterday under the medical treatment and supervision of experts working to improve her mental health and thus her fitness to stand trial.

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Ieng Thirith was found unfit to stand trial on the eve of the substantive hearings in Case 002 at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, with international Trial Chamber judges opining that she should be released.

However, on appeal, Supreme Court Chamber judges ordered she be treated for six months to see if her Alzheimer’s condition improved.

She is currently about halfway through this six-month treatment period.

Tribunal public affairs spokesman Neth Pheaktra said medical experts ordered to treat her filed a report on February 28, but the report has not been made public.

A memorandum from the senior legal officer at the Trial Chamber dated February 15 stated that “the experts performed a comprehensive updated examination of Ieng Thirith on the 2-3 February 2012”.

Ieng Thirith has been severed from Case 002, but the charges against her of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide have not yet been dropped.

Ieng Thirith’s  lawyers yesterday declined to comment about their client’s condition.

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