Ieng Sary will go before the Khmer Rouge Tribunal tomorrow, just two days after his wife launched an angry tirade at the UN-backed court. During her own appeal hearing Tuesday, Ieng Thirith insisted she had no role in mass killings under the Khmer Rouge and warned that those who accused her of murder would be "cursed to the seventh level of hell." The outburst may lend credence to the defense's claim that Ieng Thirith's mental health is failing.
Meanwhile, Ieng Sary's lawyers will argue that their client is too sickly to remain in provisional detention. The 83-year-old has spent 46 days in the hospital during his pre-trial detention and was admitted once again Monday night after passing blood in his urine.
"The deteriorating health of Mr. Ieng Sary has a clear impact on his continued detention," the defendant's lawyers wrote in their appeal to the court.
Monday, judges rejected a defense request that various doctors be allowed to give oral testimony at Ieng Sary's upcoming hearing. But the court may allow Dr. Paulus Falke, chief doctor for detainees at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, to testify via remote VideoLink Thursday.
In a letter posted to the defense team's website, Paulus wrote that it was unclear whether Ieng Sary is healthy enough to stand trial. He said he had reviewed Ieng Sary's medical records, and because they did not offer a complete picture of the defendant's health, he would recommend additional testing and evaluation.
"Experience over the years with ICTY detainees, in The Hague The Netherlands, showed a significant increase of both physical and mental stress with significant health problems due to extraordinary long trial proceedings and long imprisonment," Paulus wrote. "Taking into account the statistic life prognosis of 83-year-old -- which is three years -- and an expected increased frailty with Mr. Ieng Sary, his health and life expectations will probably be very much limited.
"More clarity concerning Mr. Ieng Sary's frailty and actual cardiac condition can help in assessing whether he can attend Court and actively participate in his defense and to what extent. It can also help in finding the most optimum situation for custody."
Ieng Sary's appeal hearing will begin at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
* Pictured: Former Khmer Rouge "Social Minister" Ieng Thirith at the ECCC Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Reuters.