Millions more requested to fund Khmer Rouge genocide trials
The Associated Press
Published: March 24, 2008
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Officials from Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal traveled Monday to the United Nations in New York to request US$114 million (€74 million) in additional funds for trying the Khmer Rouge's surviving leaders.
The tribunal told donor countries in January it would need US$170 million (€110 million), a sharp increase from the originally budgeted US$56.3 million (€36.5 million).
A three-person delegation from the tribunal planned to answer questions about funding during meetings Thursday, said Helen Jarvis, the tribunal's chief spokeswoman.
The long-delayed trials are expected to start this year, but many fear the Khmer Rouge's aging leaders could die before facing justice.
The Khmer Rouge is accused of responsibility for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians during its 1975-1979 rule. So far, none of the regime's senior leaders has gone on trial.
The tribunal opened its offices in early 2006 after years of wrangling between the Cambodian government and the U.N. Trials were originally projected to end by 2009, but are now expected to run through March 2011.
The funds currently allotted for the tribunal are projected to run out by the end of this year, Jarvis has said. The tribunal's revised budget proposal says it needs more money to expand its services and nearly double its staff to some 530 to allow it to operate through March 2011.
"It's crucial (since) the deadline for continuing funding, especially on the Cambodian side, is very close," she said.
The tribunal's originally budgeted US$56.3 million (€36.5 million) was split into US$43 million (€28 million) for the U.N. and US$13.3 million (€8.6 million) for the Cambodian side.
But the situation has become somewhat critical for the Cambodian side as its operational funds will run out at the end of April. Jarvis said the US$13.3 million (€8.6 million) budgeted for Cambodia was still short US$4.9 million (€3.2 million).
Five former senior Khmer Rouge leaders are under detention awaiting trial. They have been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The major donors to the tribunal so far are Japan, France, Germany, Britain and Australia.
Donors have called for reforms to address allegations of corruption and lack of transparency at the tribunal.