Ieng Thirith, Member of the Khmer Rouge​


Mrs. Ieng Thirith | Photo: Wikipedia

Ieng Thirith was born on March 10, 1932, in Sangkat 5, Phnom Penh. She attended Preah Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh and then received a degree in English Literature in France.

Mrs. Ieng Thearith | Photo: RFA

She got married to Ieng Siri in 1951. Ieng Thirith returned to Cambodia in 1957 to work as an English teacher. In Democratic Kampuchea, she was a senior member of the government and held the position of Minister of Social Affairs and Health. She was sent to investigate and report on a number of health problems in the Northwest Zone, and it is likely that many Cambodians were starving to the point of Democratic Kampuchea. She was also charged in connection with the assassination of members of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in 1996. Ieng Thirith and Ieng Sary were expelled from the Khmer Rouge.

Alleged crimes
In the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Ieng Thirith has been charged with international crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, murder, detention, persecution, genocide, war crimes, and other inhumane acts. Ieng Thirith was also charged with premeditated murder, torture, and persecution of religion under the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) arrested Ieng Thirith in 2007 and have remanded her in custody ever since.  

Middle life
She returned to visit her relatives in Cambodia in 1957 and became a professor of English at a private school in 1960. She became the second member of Democratic Kampuchea from 1975 to 1979. Thirith is the Minister of Social Affairs and Head of Democratic Kampuchea’s Red Cross Society.

Later Years
Ieng Thirith lived with her husband, Ieng Sary, in a luxury villa on 21st Street, south of Phnom Penh. On February 19, 2006, she published a book for document research. In 2006, Mrs. Thirith and her husband were retained foreign legal counsel to assist with their defense as the Cambodia Tribunal made progress with courtroom preparation and judge selection.

She was taken into custody with Leng Sari on November 12, 2007, in Phnom Penh. She has been remanded in custody on charges of crimes against humanity, "planning, direction, coordination, and ordering of widespread purges… and the awful killing or murders of highly educated people and the unlawful killing or murder of staff members from within the Ministry of Social Affairs."

On November 17, 2011, Mrs. Thirith was ruled to be unfit for trial due to having Alzheimer’s disease. On 13 December 2011, appeals judges reversed the ruling to release Thirith and ordered new medical exams to see how mentally fit she was to stand trial. In September 2012, the November 2011 ruling of her mental incompetence was put back into place, and she was released from prison.

Source: Wikipedia | By: Moy Sareth

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