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Psychiatric exam ordered for Ieng Thirith

Experts will conduct further medical examination of former Khmer Rouge Social Action Minister Ieng Thirith next week in order to assess her fitness to stand trial, according to a court order released yesterday.

The Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Trial Chamber has scheduled medical assessments on September 12 and 13 for Ieng Thirith, one of four suspects facing charges including genocide and crimes against
humanity for her alleged role in the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from 1975 to 1979.

Phat Pouv Seang, defence counsel for the 79-year-old, said four experts – one each from Singapore and England and two Cambodians – would examine his client’s health.

“The fitness [to stand trial] hearing late last month is proof that my client is unwell and has lost her memory. Her health situation remains fragile,” he said, adding that a report on the examination would be submitted to the Trial Chamber by September 30.

Court spokesman Lars Olsen said yesterday that psychiatric experts had been appointed to assess Ieng Thirith, but he had “no information” about when the court would schedule hearings to assess reports of the medical examination.

A geriatrician who examined Ieng Thirith testified in hearings last month that she had “significant cognitive impairment” and an “underlying dementing illness” due “most likely” to Alzheimer’s disease. He also said Ieng Thirith would have “great difficulty” testifying in her own defence.

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