ECCC Reparations

This blog is designed to serve as a repository of analyses, news reports and press releases related to the issue of RERAPATIONS within the framework of the Extraordinary Chambers in Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a.k.a. the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cambodia requests more funds for genocide tribunal

Cambodia requests more funds for genocide tribunal

International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press

Published: October 25, 2007

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Cambodia appealed Thursday for more money to fund a U.N.-assisted genocide tribunal, saying the trials of former Khmer Rouge leaders would likely drag on longer than originally expected.

The appeal follows international pressure for greater transparency at the tribunal, a hybrid court jointly run by Cambodian and United Nations staff, amid accusations of mismanagement and kickbacks.

The trials, which have been plagued by delays, are expected to start next year.

The tribunal was originally projected to complete its work by 2009.

"There is a budget shortage for the operation of the tribunal, which could extend into 2010," Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters Thursday.

The tribunal's head of public affairs, Helen Jarvis, said the US$56.3 million (€39.5 million) originally budgeted for the tribunal would not be enough, mainly because of delays in adopting rules at the tribunal.

"The original budget was just for three years until mid-2009 and we need to envisage going a bit longer than that," Jarvis said. "The extra funding and time we will need ... will be fully justified in our budget appeal."

She said fundraising meetings would take place in Cambodia and New York by the end of the year.

Of the US$56.3 million budgeted for the tribunal, there was still a US$7.5 million shortfall, she said. She declined to say how much more money would be needed, over and above the amount already budgeted.

She said the Cambodian tribunal funds will last until the first quarter of 2008 while the U.N.'s portion will last until later that year.

The radical policies of the Khmer Rouge, when in power from 1975 to 1979, led to the deaths of 1.7 million people from hunger, disease, overwork and execution.

The tribunal has so far detained only two senior former Khmer Rouge officials on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

U.S. Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli said Washington was mulling over whether to donate funds for the tribunal but that no decision would be made until the tribunal has properly addressed the "serious" allegations of mismanagement and corruption in its administration.

"No one is going to want to spend American taxpayer money on an administrative process which is not transparent," he said, adding the tribunal's "administrative problem is so huge and so obvious."

A U.N.-commissioned audit last month slammed the Cambodian side of the tribunal for mismanagement, including hiring unqualified staffers.

Earlier this year, the New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative alleged that Cambodian judges and other court personnel had paid off government officials for their positions at the tribunal — claims the Cambodians dismissed as groundless.

"The bottom line is that the Khmer Rouge tribunal needs more money," Mussomeli said. But "even those donors who have been most generous in the past will have a difficult time giving more funding to the Khmer Rouge tribunal unless the administrative issues are fixed."

Copyright © 2007 the International Herald Tribune All rights reserved


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