UNDP Audits the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s Expenditure

Posted by khmernews on March 15, 2007

An agency from the UN is checking the expenditure of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to find out whether there is corruption or not.

“The final report of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal at the end of the year 2006 leads to apprehension over the transparency of employment practices in this special tribunal,” said the United Nation Development Program(UNDP) on February 21st, 2007.

It should be remembered that the Open Society for Justice Initiative (OSJI) on the 14th of February, 2007 accused Khmer Rouge Tribunal officials, including Cambodian judges, of paying kickbacks to the government officials for their position in the tribunal. Moreover, OSJI, which is based in New York, insisted on an immediate and thorough investigation in order that the tribunal could progress with transparently.

However, Khmer Rouge Tribunal officials totally overruled the accusation and cut off their relationship with OSJI, who had trained the Khmer Rouge Tribunal officials.

NGO workers, civil society, and Cambodian opposition parties have been very worried about the effects of the fragile relationship between the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and OSJI on the progress of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal since OSJI gave the tribunal legal support.    

Since OSJI requested an investigation on the Cambodian Khmer Rouge Tribunal officials, Sean Visoth, Director of the Office of Administration of the Extraordinary in the Courts of Cambodia, has forbidden them to enter the Khmer Rouge Tribunal office.

A non-Cambodian observer said on the 21st of February, 2007 that the Cambodian ECCC judges would loose face if it was found that corruption had occurred and that the perpetrators they should be punished by law. “This is against one of the legal regulations officially written down in the rules of conduct of judges which states that judges need to be morally fair and honest with their profession,” said the observer.

However, Sean Visoth reacted that OSJI had no sources or evidence to accuse the Khmer Rouge Tribunal officials.

“All kinds of salary need to be transferred through the bank. There has not been any problem before,” said the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Administrative officials.

James Goldstone, OSJI executive director, pointed out that the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) would not be just and capable of finding justice for victims of the mass crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime if corruption was revealed. “We will not stop our relationship with the tribunal. What is important is that we work with the tribunal to check progress and to give information of the tribunal to the public,” he said.

UNDP has already audited the expenditure of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal already, but it did not include the investigation on the corruption.

“We want the clarification for this problem as soon as is possible,” said Pius Fischer, German ambassador.

However, the report of the audit has not been revealed yet and the relationship between the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and OSJI is not as close since the Khmer Rouge officials are obeying Sean Visoth’s order.

Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer,Vol.14, #3093, Friday, February 23rd, 2007.      


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