IENG Thirith (Former Accused)

IENG Thirith (Former Accused)


Ieng Thirith graduated from the Lycée Sisowath in Phnom Penh then went to study in Paris, where she majored in Shakespeare studies at the Sorbonne. She became the first Cambodian to receive a degree in English Literature. Returning to Cambodia in 1957, she worked as a professor before founding a private English school in 1960. On 9 October 1975, at a meeting of the CPK Standing Committee, Ieng Thirith was allegedly appointed Minister of Social Affairs in Democratic Kampuchea. She allegedly remained with the Khmer Rouge until her husband Ieng Sary was granted a Royal amnesty and pardon in 1996. Thereafter, they lived together in Phnom Penh until being placed in pre-trial detention by the ECCC in November 2007.

Alias Phea
Date of Birth 12 March 1932
Place of Birth Phnom Penh
Arrested Date 12 November 2007
Defence counsel Phat Pouv Seang (Cambodia) & Diana Ellis (United Kingdom)
Position in Democratic Kampuchea Minister of Social Affairs
Status of case Ieng Thirith passed away on 22 August 2015. She had been found unfit to stand trial, and the Trial Chamber has stayed the proceedings against her. She was released from provisional detention on 16 September 2012.

Ieng Thirth was indicted and sent to trial for crimes against humanity, Grave Breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and genocide; offences which are defined and punishable under Articles 4,5, 6, 29 (New) and 39 (New) of the Law on theEstablishment of the Extraordinary Chambers as amended 27 October 2004. The Trial Chamber found Ieng Thirith unfit to stand trial and order her release On 17 November 2011. The order for release was overturned by the Supreme Court Chamber who ordered that an new assessment of her fitness to stand trial should be conducted within six months following medical treatment. In a decision issued on 13 September 2012, the Trial Chamber unanimously found that Ieng Thirith remains unfit to trial. The Chamber consequently ordered a stay of the proceedings and ordered the release of Ieng Thirith. The Supreme Court Chamber subsequently imposed a regime of judicial supervision.
Key allegations
Ieng Thirith is alleged to be directly responsible for having planned, instigated, and
aided and abetted:
  • Crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation,imprisonment, torture, persecution on political and racial grounds, and otherinhumane acts)
  • Genocide, by killing members of the Vietnamese community
  • Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (willful killing, torture orinhumane treatment, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to bodyor health, willfully depriving a prisoner of war or civilian the rights of fair andregular trial, unlawful deportation or unlawful confinement of a civilian)
Ieng Thirith is alleged to be directly responsible by virtue of superior responsibility or
for having ordered:
  • Crimes against humanity (other inhumane acts and persecution on racial grounds)
Ieng Thirith is also alleged to be indirectly responsible, through her alleged participation in a Joint Criminal Enterprise, for the commission of Crimes against humanity, Genocide and Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. 
Case No.


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