Cambodia: Khmer Rouge honcho not so senile after all


Former Khmer Rouge official Ieng Sary, who was foreign minister under the regime, appears in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on November 22, 2011 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.



There are plenty of reasons why plotters of horrific atrocities shouldn't get to wait more than three decades before facing their day in court.

But here's the most obvious one: once on trial, they're prone to dementia and have few years left to mete out in bleak cells.

Cambodia's Khmer Rouge trials have already seen one top-tier figure argue, via her legal team, contend that she's too senile to stand trial. That would be Ieng Thirith, the regime's so-called "first lady," who occupied senior positions while the Maoist forces went about bludgeoning, shooting, starving, overworking and generally robbing life from more than 1.5 million people.

The good news is that, despite his lawyers' best efforts, core Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary (Thirith's husband) has just been deemed sane enough for trial, according to the Phnom Penh Post.

This is a refreshing development for a trial that, as I reported in August, has recently teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.