Khmer Rouge trial will be bankrupt by September, officials say
Apr 25, 2008, 12:57 GMT
Phnom Penh - The tribunal set up to try surviving leaders of Cambodia's disastrous Khmer Rouge reign will be bankrupt by September without a new cash injection, officials said Friday.
Up to 2 million Cambodians perished under the 1975-79 regime and victims have waited nearly 30 years for justice up to an international standard, but although five former leaders have been arrested by the court, hearings are yet to commence.
Originally budgeted at 56 million dollars, UN and Cambodian representatives of the joint UN-Cambodia tribunal told a press conference Friday that it needed at least 117 million dollars more to continue past September.
'We hope and believe the international community will help,' government tribunal coordinator Sean Visoth said at a Friday press conference.
It was unclear what would happen to the elderly defendants currently in jail awaiting trial if the money does not appear, but they also face civil cases over their alleged crimes.
Due a post-war baby boom, most Cambodians were born after the Khmer Rouge era and allegations of graft, corruption and money problems within the court have shaken local confidence in the legal proceedings.
Due to Cold War politics, the United Nations recognized many of the five currently detained as legitimate leaders of the country until the end of the 1980s rather than the Vietnamese-backed government which overthrew them, further undermining local confidence in the process in some quarters.