Khmer Rouge leader fit to stand trial

April 1, 2013 at 11:06 AM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, April 1 (UPI) -- A high-ranking member of the Khmer Rouge regime is fit to stand trial for crimes allegedly committed in Cambodia in the 1970s, a U.N.-backed tribunal said.

The U.N.-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia ruled that Nuon Chea, known also as Brother No. 2, is fit to stand trial for alleged crimes against humanity.

"Notwithstanding the advanced age and frailty of the accused, Nuon Chea, and the accused's precarious physical health, the recent report and testimony of the court-appointed medical experts clearly indicate that the accused remains capable of meaningful participation in his own defense," the president of the court, Nil Nonn, said through an English translator.

The 86-year-old leader is accused of crimes, including genocide.

Former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister leng Sary died last month at age 87 in a Cambodian hospital. He was on trial for crimes against humanity committed by the regime that ruled the country from 1975-79.

Surya Subedi, U.N. special envoy on the rights situation in Cambodia, called on the tribunal to expedite its work after the foreign minister's death.

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