Khmer Rouge’s Ieng Thirith dies aged 83

Khmer Rouge regime’s former foreign minister’s wife dies at the age of 83

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

One of the most high-ranking women in Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970’s died at the age of 83 before facing trial for her role in the regime's leadership .

Ieng Thirith was Sorbonne educated and became minister of social affairs from 1975 to 1979. She was appointed when the Khmer Rouge movement was in power.

In November 2007, she was arrested for crimes against humanity during the regime period during which she was reportedly involved in the deaths of ministry of social affairs members. Among others, she was also charged with torture and homicide which she never admitted.

"I don't have many words to say, but we lost a good mother today," her son Ieng Vuth said regarding her death.

"Her body will be cremated on Monday evening," he added, stating that his mother died of cardiac arrest.

Thirith, who was charged by the war crimes court supported by the UN, was set free in September 2012 after it was indicated that she was mentally ill and she could not stand to a trial. It had been said that she was suffering by Alzheimer's disease.

Her death came after she was hospitalised in Thailand with heart, bladder and lung problems.

As her death came before she was properly tried for the accused crimes, people believe that justice was not served.

"Now that Ieng Thirith has died, a little part of justice has also died with her," said Ms Chum Mey, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge's regime.

Although Thirith was set free, the charges of her role in the death of two million people were never dropped.

TRTWorld and agencies