Open Society Institute's Program Officer Panhavuth Long: "We Should Consider the Progress of the Tribunal" (22 February, 2008)
UNDP: Government Won't Probe Tribunal Allegations
By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer Phnom Penh21 February 2008
The government has declined a request from the UNDP to probe corruption allegations against the Khmer Rouge tribunal, a spokesman for the development program said Thursday.
The UNDP made a formal request in January to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An urging that the government to investigate allegations tribunal personnel paid for their positions.
"The government has underscored that the investigation is not appropriate at this time, if we take into consideration the progress of the tribunal," UNDP spokesman Men Kim Seng said. "The UNDP maintains its support for the [tribunal], if the court completes its task of bringing to court those most responsible for crimes during the Democratic Kampuchea regime."The UNDP found in a 2007 audit high salary scales for tribunal staff, significant staff increases and staff that did not meet minimum requirements.
The Open Society Justice Institute has reported allegations that Cambodian staff had to pay government officials in order to work at the tribunal.
"I regret [that the government won't investigate], but the main points are that I think we should consider the progress of the tribunal, and the tribunal must take action to prevent or stop what has happened, like to eradicate corruption," said Long Panhavuth, program officer for OSJI in Phnom Penh.
The corruption allegations could be exploited by lawyers of accused Khmer Rouge leaders and affect international funding contributions to the court, he said.
Tribunal spokeswoman Helen Jarvis deferred questions to government spokesman Khieu Kanharith. Khieu Kanharith could not be reached for comment Thursday.