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Ieng Sary Stable, But Still in Hospital

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)
PHNOM PENH - Former Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary is in stable condition in a Phnom Penh hospital, but his diagnosis will not be made public, officials said Friday.

Ieng Sary, the former foreign affairs minister for the regime, has been in the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital since Monday, breathing from oxygen and mostly unable to speak, according to his lawyer.

He is in the midst of an atrocity crimes trial alongside two other aging leaders at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal, but his most recent hospitalization raises concern over whether he will see the trial through to the end.

Tribunal observers say his diagnosis will likely remain confidential, as the court prepares to hold a hearing later this month on the fitness of Ieng Sary and the regime’s chief ideologue, Nuon Chea, to stand trial.

“We can only learn they came in and went out of the hospital,” said Latt Ky, a court observer for the rights group Adhoc.

Lao Mong Hay, an independent political analyst, said Ieng Sary’s true condition will not be known until a March 25 hearing on his health.

Lawyer Ang Udom told VOA Khmer he does not have an official diagnosis for Ieng Sary’s condition. Sources close to Ieng Sary said he remains on oxygen.

Lao Mong Hay said Ieng Sary’s hospitalization means the court must now decide whether he can continue to stand trial. He is accused of atrocity crimes, including genocide, with Nuon Chea and former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan.