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Hearing Postponed for Weakened Ieng Sary

Khmer Rouge tribunal judges postponed a hearing for Ieng Sary Monday, after the ailing former leader became dizzy and weak and doctors said his life could be in jeopardy.

Ieng Sary, 82, was able to answer simple questions from pre-trial chamber head Judge Prak Kimsan early Monday. But after lunch, defense lawyer Ang Udom said he wished for doctors to examine his client before continuing the pre-trial release hearing.

Ieng Sary had not eaten much lunch and was overcome with dizziness, Ang Udom said.

Tribunal doctors examined Ieng Sary and determined his oxygen count was low, his pulse was weak and his heart was beating with irregularity. A continued hearing could put his life in immediate jeopardy and deteriorate his overall condition, doctors told the court.

After a 10-minute deliberation, judges postponed the hearing, but did not give a date for its resumption.

Ieng Sary is also scheduled for a hearing Tuesday, on whether a 1979 court that found him guilty of war crimes can be considered legitimate, and whether the former foreign minister is being tried for the same crime twice.

Critics of a slow tribunal process have repeatedly voiced fears that aging Khmer Rouge leaders could die before they see trial.