World

Ieng Thirith, top woman in inner circle of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, dies at 83

  • FILE - In this file photo taken, Feb. 15, 2010 Ieng Thirith, right, the Khmer Rouge's former Social Affairs Minister and wife to Ieng Sary, the communist group's former Foreign Minister, looks on inside the courtroom of the U.N.-backed tribunal during a hearing, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Ieng Thirith, a Khmer Rouge leader who was the highest-ranking woman in the genocidal regime that oversaw the death of nearly 2 million Cambodians in the late 1970s, has died on Aug. 22, 2015. She was 83 years old. (AP Photo/Henh Sinith, FILE)

    FILE - In this file photo taken, Feb. 15, 2010 Ieng Thirith, right, the Khmer Rouge's former Social Affairs Minister and wife to Ieng Sary, the communist group's former Foreign Minister, looks on inside the courtroom of the U.N.-backed tribunal during a hearing, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Ieng Thirith, a Khmer Rouge leader who was the highest-ranking woman in the genocidal regime that oversaw the death of nearly 2 million Cambodians in the late 1970s, has died on Aug. 22, 2015. She was 83 years old. (AP Photo/Henh Sinith, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this file photo dated Feb. 15, 2010, Ieng Thirith, center, the Khmer Rouge's former Social Affairs Minister and wife to Ieng Sary, the communist group's former Foreign Minister, looks on inside the courtroom of the U.N.-backed tribunal during a hearing, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Ieng Thirith, a Khmer Rouge leader who was the highest-ranking woman in the genocidal regime that oversaw the death of nearly 2 million Cambodians in the late 1970s, has died on Aug. 22, 2015. She was 83 years old. (AP Photo/Henh Sinith, FILE)

    In this file photo dated Feb. 15, 2010, Ieng Thirith, center, the Khmer Rouge's former Social Affairs Minister and wife to Ieng Sary, the communist group's former Foreign Minister, looks on inside the courtroom of the U.N.-backed tribunal during a hearing, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Ieng Thirith, a Khmer Rouge leader who was the highest-ranking woman in the genocidal regime that oversaw the death of nearly 2 million Cambodians in the late 1970s, has died on Aug. 22, 2015. She was 83 years old. (AP Photo/Henh Sinith, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this file photo dated Feb. 15, 2010, Ieng Thirith, the Khmer Rouge's former Social Affairs Minister and wife to Ieng Sary, the communist group's former Foreign Minister, looks on inside the courtroom of the U.N.-backed tribunal during a hearing, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Ieng Thirith, a Khmer Rouge leader who was the highest-ranking woman in the genocidal regime that oversaw the death of nearly 2 million Cambodians in the late 1970s, has died on Au. 22, 2015. She was 83-years old. (AP Photo/Henh Sinith, FILE)

    FILE - In this file photo dated Feb. 15, 2010, Ieng Thirith, the Khmer Rouge's former Social Affairs Minister and wife to Ieng Sary, the communist group's former Foreign Minister, looks on inside the courtroom of the U.N.-backed tribunal during a hearing, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Ieng Thirith, a Khmer Rouge leader who was the highest-ranking woman in the genocidal regime that oversaw the death of nearly 2 million Cambodians in the late 1970s, has died on Au. 22, 2015. She was 83-years old. (AP Photo/Henh Sinith, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

Ieng Thirith, a Khmer Rouge leader who was the highest-ranking woman in the genocidal regime that oversaw the death of nearly 2 million Cambodians in the late 1970s, has died. She was 83 years old.

Ieng Thirith was a sister-in-law of the movement's late supreme leader, Pol Pot. A Sorbonne-educated Shakespeare scholar, she served as minister of social affairs and was married to Ieng Sary, the regime's former foreign minister, who died in 2013 at age 87.

Her son, Ieng Vuth, said she had been suffering from dementia, heart troubles and other health problems.

Ieng Thirith was put on trial by a United Nations-backed tribunal seeking justice for crimes committed by the radical movement, but freed in September 2012 before its conclusion after being declared mentally unfit.