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Circulation Problems Keeping Ieng Sary Hospitalized

Cambodian military officials line up in front the top leaders of Khmer Rouge portraits, from right, former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, and former Deputy Secretary Nuon Chea, during the second day of trial of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. Three senior leaders of Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge regime on Tuesday continue to be questioned at the U.N.-backed tribunal over their roles in the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people when their movement held power in the 1970s. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Ieng Sary, 86, the former foreign minister of the regime, has been hospitalized since Sept. 7.

PHNOM PENH - Jailed Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary is suffering from circulation problems that are preventing him from leaving the hospital, a medical expert told the UN-backed tribunal Friday.

Ieng Sary, 86, the former foreign minister of the regime, has been hospitalized since Sept. 7.

He is suffering from poor circulation to his brain, due to pressure in his vertebrae, giving him vertigo and causing his fingers to go numb at the ends, Lim Sivutha, head of the intensive care unit at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, told the court Friday.

The condition will require Ieng Sary’s hospitalization for at least a month, Lim Sivutha said. “We cannot predict when he might return to the hearings.”

Ieng Sary is on trial for atrocity crimes, alongside regime ideologue Nuon Chea and its nominal head of state Khieu Samphan. His wife, Ieng Thirith, former social affairs minister of the regime, was released Sunday, after the court found her mentally unfit for trial. Ieng Sary’s defense team has said they want him released to house arrest, and have asked he be excused from upcoming hearing dates, due to his hospitalization.

Ieng Sary’s hospitalization and his wife’s release from custody underscore the ongoing worries that the aging leaders of the brutal regime will escape justice. The Trial Chamber will now have to reschedule some of its proceedings, to accommodate Ieng Sary’s absence.

Lim Sivutha told the court Friday that Ieng Sary is now on 17 different types of medication and could need surgery, which would be “very risky for him.”