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Ieng Thirith’s mental health on Khmer Rouge court docket

The mental health of Khmer Rouge regime's “First Lady” Ieng Thirith will be debated in court at the end of August, judges announced yesterday.

In November, the Trial Chamber determined Ieng Thirith unfit to stand trial and ordered her unconditional release.

On appeal, however, the Supreme Court Chamber ordered six months of experimental medical treatment to address her “progressive, degenerative cognitive condition”, believed to be Alzheimer’s disease.

This treatment includes cognitive stimulation therapy, which the Trial Chamber was quick to point out has “no clinical evidence” it would assist Ieng Thirith’s condition.

Treatment will be concluded by the end of August and a hearing to assess her mental fitness to stand trial will be held immediately afterwards.

If Ieng Thirith is again found to be unfit to stand trial on charges of war crimes and genocide, under normal criminal procedure, she cannot continue to be detained indefinitely.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at



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