Charged by the ECCC for crimes against humanity; arrested on 12 November 2007; first court appearance on 21 May 2008. On 16 September 2012, the President of the Supreme Court Chamber decided to release her on provisional conditions.
Minister of Social Affairs under the Khmer Rouge regime
Khieu Thirith was born in northwestern Cambodia' s Battambang Province in 1932. She comes from a relatively privileged family, and is the second daughter of a judge. Her older sister, Khieu Ponnary, is the wife of Pol Pot, who was the leader of the communist movement.
After graduating from the Lycée Sisowath in Phnom Penh, Khieu Thirith studeied then went to study English Literature, majoring in Shakespeare, at the Sorbonne University in Paris. She was the first Cambodian to obtain a degree in English Literature. She married Sary Ieng in 1951, one of the founding members of the Marxist Circle of Khmer students in Paris, and adopted her husband's name, Ieng.
In 1957, Ieng Thirith returned to Cambodia where she worked as a professor before founding a private English school in Phnom Penh in 1960. She also became a senior member of the Democratic Kampuchea regime.
When the Khmer Rouge took over control of the government in 1975, Ieng Thirith became Minister of Social Affairs and Head of Democratic Kampuchea's Red Cross Society. In this position, she allegedly had a sizeable influence on the leadership of the Democratic Kampuchea regime, notably on the massive purges within the Khmer Rouge movement. Being in charge of the social policy of the (Khmer Rouge) regime, she is considered to be responsible for much of the suffering of the people, and is reported to have participated in a policy causing the death of approximately two million Cambodians.
On 12 November 2007 Ieng Thirith was arrested along with her husband, Ieng Sary, on a warrant, issued by the Co-Investigating Judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), which charged her with crimes against humanity.