Friday 23 March 2018

Co-founder of Khmer Rouge dies

Ieng Sary, who co-founded the communist Khmer Rouge regime responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians in the 1970s and decades later became one of its few leaders to be put on trial, has died at the age of 87.

The brother-in-law of late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, Ieng Sary died before any verdict was reached in the trial, which began in 2011 with four defendants and now has only two.

His death dashed hopes among survivors and prosecutors that he would be punished for his alleged crimes against humanity during the darkest chapter in his country's history.

Lars Olsen, a spokesman for the joint Cambodian-international tribunal where Ieng Sary had been on trial, confirmed his death. Chea Leang, a co-prosecutor for the tribunal, told the press that he died of "irreversible cardiac failure".

Ieng Sary had suffered from high blood pressure and heart problems and was admitted to a Phnom Penh hospital on March 4.

Today, his body was being taken to Malai in western Cambodia, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold where his family lives, for his funeral.

Ieng Sary was being tried along with two other former Khmer Rouge leaders, both in their 80s, and there are fears that they, too, could also die before justice is served.

Irish Independent

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