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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Funding Shortfall Causes Tension within Corruption-Ravaged KRT

Source: Moneaksekar Khmer
By: Chuob Braha
Posted date: 27-08-2008

UN special expert David Tolbert arrived in Cambodia on 24 August to help find solutions for fund-raising to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT) which is facing off around $80 million for a KR leaders’ trial resumption.

UN court’s spokesman Peter Foster said Daivd Tolbert, who has experiences in numerous international courts and deep relations with international community, has begun his job fulfillment for the KRT since 24 August until mid-next week in order to offer consultation and spirit assistance over the budget amount the tribunal needs before lobbying donor counties.

“The special expert was invited by the KRT general secretary. In one of his jobs, he hold a trip around the world then submits the tribunal’s budget needs to the countries which he stops, expecting that he will be able to lobby the counties to make contribution for the tribunal’s crucial term,” Peter Foster said. “I expect that he will seek clues for the fund-raising.”

Initially, the tribunal set its term for three years with the budge amount of $56 million. Now the tribunal has been proceeding for over two years. Among the five jailed and trial-awaiting defendants, no one has been officially put on trial. In addition, the previously set budgets are almost exhausted and any remarkable results have not been produced.

Court public affairs official Helen Jarvis said Cambodian side has just received additional funds amounting to around $4 million in which $3 million is provided by Japan; nearly $1 million by the Cambodian government’s pledge. The UN side’s budget will be completely exhausted at the end of 2008.

Meanwhile, observers said the budgetary crisis is a tension question in the KRT process in the quest for justice for victims tortured and brutally killed by the Khmer Rouge.

However, tribunal irregularity and corruption are viewed as factors in which the donors must set condition before plowing more money.

The donors are taking consideration on the tribunal budget proposal and the new grant is likely to be on the decision next years, said Peter Foster and Helen Jarvis.

U.S. ambassador to Cambodia Josep Mousolmeli, whose term has just ended, said the U.S. will directly grant assistance to the fund-short tribunal if the tribunal deals with corruption allegation.

“I think we need to see a Cambodian side’s concrete commitment in eliminating corruption inside the court’s administration in order to be sure that no such as allegation takes place in the future,” the ambassador said. “I think in Washington now everyone is waiting ahead for budget seeking to directly support the tribunal if the last issue is addressed.”

The U.S. government is beginning its decision on granting direct funds to the tribunal. The U.S. is known for having already offered millions of dollars to some of civil societies in Cambodia to find truth of the killing fields. But the U.S. warned that it will fund direct budget as long as the tribunal applies with international standard and transparency.

The UN-backed tribunal is facing budgetary crisis and trying to seek some more $80 million for its proceedings until 2010. But international community and donors are reluctant to throw more money into the tribunal on the ground of the Cambodian side’s repeatedly-erupting corruption. Especially, the newly erupting corruption has prompted nationals and internationals to distrust on the tribunal though administration head Sean Visoth has formed anti-corruption team.

The tribunal monitors do not expect that the court will make the over 30-year long justice-awaiting victims gain ‘real’ justice. Apparently, for over two years, the Khmer Rouge tribunal has uselessly spent millions of dollars as no former senior Khmer Rouge leaders and those most responsible have officially stood trial. Instead, the corruption allegation subsequently erupts, critically embarrassing the tribunal.

Observers and civil societies’ officials said if the tribunal is willing to find justice of people massacred in the killing fields, the trial of former Tuol Sleng prison director Kaing Guek Eav aka Duch should begin in September or as early as October as scheduled.

Unofficially Translation-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer – Vol 15, #3549 – Wednesday, 27 August 2008.
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