On October 8, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Cambodian Court added charges of mass murder to the trial of three former Khmer Rouge leaders.

They include Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan.

The move to expand the scope of the trial comes as ex-foreign minister Ieng Sary, 86, is in hospital with a string of serious ailments.

The plaintiff wanted three more crime scenes to be included in the trial, however the
judges said that they did not want to risk the trial being extended further and approved just one - the alleged murder of up to 3,000 former military officers at an execution site in western Cambodia .

All the three former Khmer Rouge leaders have denied charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, for their roles in a regime blamed for up to 2 million deaths in the late 1970s.

The court, which is backed by the UN, has so far jailed just one man, former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch. He was sentenced to life imprisonment this year for his role in the deaths of some 15,000 people.

Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge wiped out nearly a quarter of the population through starvation, overwork and execution./.