KR Tribunal Should Not Only Wait for Donations, Critics Say.

Posted by khmernews on January 18, 2008

Chan Chamnan

According to Helen Jarvis, Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s chief of public affairs, the tribunal is going to announce in January 2008 the amount of funds it needs to continue its process and that the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders will be extended through 2010. The claim has been made while sources from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal hinted that the special tribunal is going to call on interested countries to inject more funds up to more than $100 million or twice of the planned budget of $56.3 million.

Helen Jarvis did not state the exact amount of money the tribunal needs, but claimed that the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia were discussing about the funds and how long the mandate of the tribunal should be extended. She said that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal had also contacted some donors to consider the funding. “The needs for additional funds are due to the expansion of the role of the Pre-Trial Chamber. The Pre-Trial Chamber, that is to say, will have to work 11 months per year, instead of working only a month per year,” she explained.

Other reasons [the Khmer Rouge Tribunal needs more funds] include the operation of Victims Support Unit, needs for more interpreters and translators, expenses on meetings of Internal Rules Review Committee and Legal Committee, and expenses on the Record Unit which will be established.

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal was firstly planned to finish its mandate within 3 years in 2009 and consume $56.3 million. However, an amount of $8.1 million out of $56.3 has not been completed by the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia yet. The funds for Cambodian side will have run out in April 2008 while for the UN side in August 2008.

According to Japanese Embassy’s third secretary in Cambodia, the Embassy has not received any financial request from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal yet, but the Embassy is aware of the needs of the tribunal.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the United States will reveal its decision whether or not to fund the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in January 2008. If the ECCC increases its budget from $56.3 million up to more than $100 million, fundraising will be conducted soon.

Concerning the issue, Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), he criticized the Khmer Rouge Tribunal should not only wait for donation, but ought to use its human resource effectively. […]

In spite of facing the budgetary crisis, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal has planned to hold its first trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders in mid-2008 by scrutinizing. However, the corruption scandal broken out in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal has not been clearly [explained] to national and international communities yet. In spite of widespread criticism, both the UN and Cambodian sides seem to be trying to conceal the alleged corruption in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

The Khmer Rouge regime has been condemned for the mass murder of over 1.7 million Cambodians from April 17, 1975 to early January 1979.

Now, five former Khmer Rouge leaders and people most responsible for the regime are being detained in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s detention facility awaiting trial- Nuon Chea, former president of the National Assembly of Khmer Rouge regime, Khieu Samphan, former Head of State Presidium, Ieng Sary, former vice prime minister, minister for foreign affairs, Ieng Thirith, former minister of Social Action, and Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, former director of Khmer Rouge Tuol Sleng prison. Those have been accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On 20-21 November 2007, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal heard appeal case of Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, against the order for his provisional detention, and on 3 December 2007, the Pre-Trial Chamber’s Judges announced a verdict to affirm Duch’s detention.

On 4 February 2008, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will hear another appeal case by Nuon Chea against the order for his provisional detention. However, [it is presumed that] the Pre-Trial Chamber’s Judges will not allow Nuon Chea’s release on bail since he has been accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Observers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal always want the trial of former senior Khmer Rouge leaders to get underway as soon as possible in order that those people could reveal the reasons of mass killings during the “Killing Fields” regime. If the trial is still further delayed, those people may die before the trial takes place as they are aging and menaced by serious illnesses.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol. 14, #3349, Friday, December 28, 2007


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