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Ex-Khmer Rouge deputy found fit for trial

March 26, 2013 at 10:46 AM   |   Comments

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, March 26 (UPI) -- A former top official of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge is physically and mentally fit to stand trial for crimes against humanity, two medical experts have testified.

The experts, from New Zealand and Britain, said they had not found any decline in the overall health of 86-year-lld Nuon Chea, the Phnom Penh Post reported Tuesday.

Chea, also known as "Brother Number 2," was second-in-command to Pol Pot, the leader of the Cambodian Communist party between 1975 and 1979.

During that period, tens of thousands died from execution, starvation or disease. The number of Cambodians who died from execution alone has been estimated at between 1.4 million and 3.4 million.

In a hearing at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, John Campbell, a professor of geriatrics in New Zealand, described Chea as a "frail and elderly man" who "spends most of the day lying on his bed."

He said Chea could improve his health with exercise and recommended the defendant leave his cell to travel to court in enough time to recover from the trip.

Dr. Seena Fazel, a forensic psychiatrist from the University of Oxford, said Chea had scored a 28 out of 30 on a test of cognitive ability. A score of 23 or below would have indicated some mental impairment.

After interviewing Chea, Fazel described the mental health and cognitive functions of the former political leader as 'good."

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