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.

Monday, August 18, 2008

KRT forms new anti-corruption committee

By: Neth PheaktraPosted date: 18-08-2008

The Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT) last Friday the announced the establishment of a new anti-corruption committee that will hear and resolve any graft allegations raised by staff.

KRT spokesman Reach Sambath said Saturday that the new body will be head by senior official Kong Srim, director of Cambodian Supreme Court, and Helen Jarvis, the KRT’s chief of public affairs.

He adds that the mechanism has been established to prevent corruption on the KRT’s Cambodian side, which has suffered fresh allegation of salary kickbacks despite giving the clean bill of health by a UN Development Program (UNDP) approved audit in May.

In the last few week KRT officials have confirms that more than one member of staff have come forward of graft with allegations, and that the accusations are currently being reviewed by an UN oversight committee in New York.

Reach Sambath said the new mechanism was announced to over 250 KRT officials at a Friday meeting.

He quoted Prak Kimsan, the director of the Pre-Trial Chamber, as saying: “When I came to work here. I heard the accusations of corruption. This is disgrace for our tribunal. We should have this mechanism.”

Prak Kimsan added that anyone found accepting or offering bribes at the KRT could be jailed.
Reach Sambath quoted Kong Srim as saying he is committed to success in the fight against corruption. “[If] any person sees or hears of any corruption they are report it to me by letter, which can be anonymous or not. I will punish those who commit transgressions,” said Kong Srim.

While the corruption allegations are being reviewed the UNDP has withheld salaries for the Cambodian side of the court, which amount to US$300,000 just for July. Funds recently donated by Japan have been used to pay Cambodian staff.

Meng Kimseng, UNDP spokesman, said Saturday that the UNDP has no new information on when it will be able to release the salary funds.

The anti-graft mechanism has been welcomes by civil society leaders, albeit with some skepticism.

Youk Chhang, the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, praised the establishment of the committee saying it could help boost donor confidence in the tribunal.

However, he added that the problem may not be as big as first thought and that, to some donors, the establishment of such a mechanism could convince donors that graft at the tribunal is a bigger problem than the reality.

Sok Sam Oeun, director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said: “The creation of an anti-corruption mechanism could make donors countries a little bit more confident, but I don’t believe that it will be effective in fighting corruption.”

Kek Galabru, president of local human rights group Licadho, said: “The establishment of the mechanism is good, but it is not enough. Further investigations should be conducted to recapture donor confidence and let the KRT get on with the real work of sentencing former Khmer Rouge leaders.”

Extracted from: The Mekong Time Vol 01, No 135, Monday, August 18, 2008.
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