[JURIST] Former Cambodian Foreign Minister Ieng Sary [JURIST news archive], accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the Khmer Rouge [JURIST news archive] communist regime of the 1970s, was hospitalized Monday for a urinary tract problem. A spokesman for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] said that this was the second time in 10 days that Sary had been taken to the hospital. Sary has a history of heart trouble and has appealed his detention [JURIST report] on grounds of ill health in December 2007. The ECCC's pre-trial chamber has not yet heard the appeal. Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, who served as Minister for Social Affairs under the Khmer Rouge, were arrested in November 2007 and subsequently charged [JURIST reports]. AP has more.
The ECCC was established by a 2001 law [text as amended 2004, PDF] to investigate and try surviving Khmer Rouge officials. The Khmer Rouge is generally held responsible for the genocide of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians [PPU backgrounder] who died between 1975 and 1979. To date, no top Khmer Rouge officials have faced trial. Sary and Thirith are two of five former Khmer Rouge leaders in custody of the court. Sary is suspected of perpetrating and facilitating murders as well as coordinating Khmer Rouge's policies of forcible transfer, forced labor and unlawful killings. Thirith allegedly directed and planned widespread purges and the killings of members within the Ministry of Social Affairs. Both have maintained their innocence.