Ex-foreign minister charged with war crimes by UN-backed Cambodia court

12 November 2007

The United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia trying Khmer Rouge leaders accused of mass killings and other crimes three decades ago announced today that a former foreign minister of the South-East Asian country and his wife have been arrested and charged.

Ieng Sary, who was foreign minister under the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s, and his wife Ieng Thirith, who served as social affairs minister, were arrested after a warrant was issued by the co-investigating judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

Ieng Sary faces charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes while Ieng Thirith is charged with crimes against humanity, the ECCC said in a statement, adding that the pair has been brought to the Court’s facilities in Phnom Penh, the capital.

The husband and wife are the third and fourth people to be charged by the ECCC’s co-investigating judges, joining Nuon Chea (aka Brother Number Two) and Kaing Guek Eav (aka Duch).

Under an agreement signed by the UN and Cambodia, the ECCC was set up as an independent court using a mixture of Cambodian staff and judges and foreign personnel. It is designated to try those deemed most responsible for crimes and serious violations of Cambodian and international law between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.


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