by Stan Starygin
The most recent talks between the US Department of State and the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have sparked somewhat of a controversy as statements were made following this event alluding to the US "requesting" the creation of a "special advisor" position within the ECCC to consider whether funding can be recommended by the US Department of State to the US Congress. Following these statements, other statements were made overturning the message of the original statemenets and this time claiming that "the issue of a special advisor is actually not a US idea or proposal" but merely "might be useful and [...] easier for [the US] to consider funding". The Cambodian Foreign Ministry's Secretary of State was quoted as saying that "it is not a condition for funding [but] if funding were to be considered in some way, this is something they would like to see". Put all of the above into one sentence will sound as 'not a condition but something a potential donor would like to see while it is considering the possibility of funding which at this stage cannot come from any other source but the United States'. This, to some, might sound like a condition but we, of course, are talking semantics here then. It is important to note that none of the court's present contributors have ever made such "a request" prior to its legislature's consideration of releasing funding to the court. Is there a possibility that should such a framework of cooperation between the court and the US be approved and the position in question created other states-contributors to the ECCC will want to have their "special advisors" planted into the court?
(quotes in the text are from the Cambodian Daily's "US: ECCC Post Not a Condition for Funding")