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No timeline for Ieng Sary recovery

Former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary attends a hearing at the ECCC in 2010. Photograph: ECCC/POOL/Mak Remissa

Ieng Sary’s doctors established no definite time frame for his recovery at the Khmer Rouge tribunal today, only saying that it could take “a rather long time.”

According to Dr. Lim Sivutha and Dr. Ky Bousuor, two physicians involved with Sary’s treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, the former Khmer Rouge foreign minister is suffering not only from osteoporosis and a heart condition that is “serious, but stable,” but also from a condition known as vertebrobasilar insufficiency—caused in Sary’s case by a misaligned vertebra in the neck, which is restricting blood flow to the brain.

Materials published by the United States National Library of Health list numbness, vertigo, nausea and weakness among the condition’s symptoms, all of which are evident in Sary, said Sivutha.

“We have to avoid side effects and complications as a consequence of this surgery,” said Sivutha, when asked about potential surgical intervention. “Given his other conditions and his advancing age, surgery is a very remote possibility, but if we choose medication, it would take a rather long time to see the effects.”

Though Sary is currently capable of responding to questions, said Sivutha, he is unable to do so for more than roughly 15 minutes at a time before becoming exhausted.

When asked by Sary’s co-counsel Michael Karnavas if the ailing co-defendant—who has been hospitalized since September 7—could be faking, Sivutha said that doing so would be “almost impossible.”

In the afternoon, the court held a hearing to discuss calling expert Philip Short.

Karnavas has said that his client will not waive his right to be present for Short’s testimony, and that hearing the testimony without him would “violate Mr. Ieng Sary’s unqualified right to assist in his own defence and be present at the proceedings.”



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