Second of 3 aging defendants at Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal sent to hospital

The former head of state of Cambodia's notorious Khmer Rouge regime, now facing trial for crimes against humanity, has been sent to a hospital. He's the second defendant in the case to be hospitalized this week.

Tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said 81-year-old Khieu Samphan was hospitalized Wednesday suffering fatigue and shortness of breath. Co-defendant Nuon Chea, chief ideologist for the Khmer Rouge, was hospitalized Sunday and is being treated for acute bronchitis, causing temporary suspension of the trial.

The U.N.-assisted tribunal is trying the pair and former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary for crimes against humanity and other offenses. The communist group's fanatical efforts to realize a utopian society led to the deaths of some 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution from 1975 to 1979.