>Ailing Khmer Rouge leader leaves hospital: court

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Former Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary seen at the Extraodinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia in Phnom Penh in June 2008.

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Ailing Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary has been discharged from hospital after one week of treatment and returned to the custody of Cambodia’s genocide tribunal, a court official said Sunday.

The 82-year-old former foreign minister of the ultra-communist regime was rushed to Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital on August 1 after he found blood in his urine.

He was taken back to the court on Friday afternoon, said tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath.

“He is getting better now. However, the doctors are still taking care of him because he has many illnesses,” he told AFP.

Ieng Sary is one of five top Khmer Rouge leaders currently detained by the United Nations-backed court for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during their 1975-79 rule.

Up to two million people died of starvation and overwork or were executed by the Khmer Rouge, which dismantled modern Cambodian society in its effort to forge a radical agrarian utopia.

Ieng Sary was previously hospitalised in late January for treatment of a chronic heart condition. He was in hospital again in February, spending a week there after he began urinating blood.

Ieng Sary has suffered from deteriorating health since his arrest last November, highlighting the fragile condition of the tribunal’s likely defendants, who are mostly in their 70s and 80s.

Their age and failing health has increasingly raised fears that some will not live long enough to be brought to trial.

Tribunal officials have said they expect the court’s first trial to begin in September with proceedings against Kaing Guek Eav, also known as “Duch,” who ran a notorious torture centre in Phnom Penh.

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