One of the leaders of the former Khmer Rouge regime will be set free after a court in Cambodia ruled Thursday that she was medically unfit to stand trial for genocide, a decision survivors called shocking and unjust.
Cambodia's U.N.-backed tribunal issued a statement saying that 80-year-old Ieng Thirith suffers from a progressive, degenerative illness that is likely Alzheimer's disease and which diminishes her mental capacity.
"There is no prospect that the accused can be tried in the foreseeable future," the tribunal said. "Experts have confirmed that all treatment options have now been exhausted and that the accused's cognitive impairment is likely irreversible."
She is "unfit to stand trial," the statement said. Thursday's decision upheld an earlier ruling that was put on hold pending the opinion of medical experts.
A tribunal spokesman, Neth Pheaktra, said Ieng Thirith would be freed Friday from the tribunal's detention facility if prosecutors do not appeal.