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Ieng Sary’s recovery ruled out: doctors

Former Khmer Rouge regime deputy prime minister Ieng Sary’s health would not improve and “stabilising” him was the best that could be hoped for, doctors told judges at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday.

During brief proceedings that were adjourned mid-morning, Ieng Sary remained in the detention facility, recovering from a bout of bronchitis that required five days of treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital.

“We [medical specialists] diagnosed him and found that his condition cannot improve. He can only be stabilised, and his health condition will deteriorate,” treating doctor Lim Sivuth told the court.

Lim Sivuth recommended two days of bed rest for the former foreign affairs minister, after which the octogenarian will spend a week participating in proceedings remotely from the holding cells below the court.

“He is closer to the doctor there, and it is easier to monitor his condition,” Lim Sivuth said.

Ieng Sary’s defence counsel, Michael Karnavas, was particularly perturbed at the state of his client’s mental health following his hospitalisation.

“He [Ieng Sary] informed us, and I would tend to value his assertions, that more than five minutes or so [after sitting up], he begins to feel dizziness, he is unable to physically be here and he has indicated he thinks he cannot concentrate for more than five minutes without feeling dizzy,” Karnavas said.

When asked by civil-party lawyers how long this dizziness could be expected to last, Lim Sivuth replied that it was hard to say.

“He will frequently experience this dizziness, given his health and his age,” the doctor said, adding that Ieng Sary’s heart disease dated back to 1992 and the chronic illness appeared to be deteriorating.

Ieng Sary’s wife, Ieng Thirith, has already been severed from Case 002 proceedings, as doctors concluded she did not have sufficient mental faculties to participate in the trial.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at bridget.dicerto@phnompenhpost.com

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