Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister, detained for trial, taken to hospital
By Sopheng Cheang
7:20 p.m. February 4, 2008
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – One of the five former Khmer Rouge leaders being held for trial by Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal was hospitalized for treatment of a urinary tract problem, officials said Tuesday.
Ieng Sary, the former Khmer Rouge foreign minister, was rushed from his detention cell at the tribunal to a hospital Monday after urinating blood, said his lawyer, Ang Udom.
It was the second time in the past 10 days that the 82-year-old Ieng Sary, who has a history of heart trouble, has been taken to a hospital, said tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath.
Many victims of the Khmer Rouge have long feared that some of the defendants, now aging and infirm, could die before facing trial. The 1975-1979 communist Khmer Rouge regime is widely considered responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people though execution, overwork and starvation.
“We try our best to take care of all the defendants without thinking about the costs ... so that they remain healthy to confront the law,” Reach Sambath said.
Ieng Sary's children declined to comment when reached by telephone Tuesday.
Ieng Sary was taken to a hospital just hours after another former Khmer Rouge leader demanded “international standards” of justice and asked for release on bail in his first appearance before the tribunal Monday.
Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge's former ideological leader, has been detained since Sept. 19 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The tribunal earlier said detention was necessary to prevent him from pressuring witnesses, destroying evidence or escaping. The judges said the safety of the 81-year-old Nuon Chea could be at risk if he was released.
His Cambodian lawyer, Son Arun, claimed the tribunal's investigating judges did not have sufficient grounds to detain him and asked the court to postpone the hearing so a foreign lawyer could join him. He was given until Wednesday to explain how much time was needed.
In December, the pretrial chamber judges ruled against a similar appeal for release by Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, who headed the Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison and torture center.
The tribunal is expected to begin holding trials later this year.
The other defendants are Ieng Sary's wife Ieng Thirith, who was minister for social affairs in the Khmer Rouge government, and Khieu Samphan, the former Khmer Rouge head of state.
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