Khmer Rouge minister and his wife to face genocide charges

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The former Khmer Rouge foreign minister has been arrested with his wife and brought before Cambodia's genocide tribunal to face charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, who served the regime as minister for social affairs, are believed to be two of five unnamed suspects listed by prosecutors for the United Nationsbacked tribunal. Two others have already been detained.

The Khmer Rouge, which held power from 1975-79, were responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution. None of the group's leaders has yet faced trial.

Police detained the couple at their home in Phnom Penh at dawn yesterday. Ieng Sary, thought to be 77, has repeatedly denied responsibility for any crimes.

He is said to have "promoted, instigated, facilitated, encouraged and/or condoned the perpetration of the crimes". His wife, who is believed to be 75, is accused of participation in "planning, direction, co-ordination and ordering of widespread purges".