KR Tribunal Steps into [Financial] Predicament, the US Has No Plan to Provide Fund

Posted by khmernews on April 4, 2008

Sralanh Khmer, vol. 03, #650, Friday, March 28, 2008
By Sambo

The US ambassador to Cambodia said March 26, 2008 in Mondolkiri province that the US government has had no funding package for the process of the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders yet. He said that both houses (the upper house and the lower house) do not give approval as there has been no request for funding for the tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders. He has made the assertion while Mr. Sean Visoth is leading a delegation of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to the UN. It is believed to be a part of an effort to seek fund for the continuing process of the tribunal.
Ambassador Joseph A. Mussomeli told journalists in Koh Nhek, Mondolkiri near the Vietnamese border that the US does not have funding package to help the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders. He said that the US does not have any policy or plan to reserve fund for the trial. The US, however, will continue to observe the process of the trial, he said, adding that the international community including Japan and some countries in Europe are interested in this trial and expected to continue providing fund to the tribunal.

At the moment, ECCC’s officials, led by Mr. Sean Visoth, are visiting the UN, which Helen Jarvis, also a member of the delegation, called a part of the effort to find fund for the process of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, which is in need of more $114 million.

The ECCC will run out of fund in early April. If there is no fund from the international community, it will face termination. The concerning issue is whether the five former Khmer Rouge leaders being detained at the ECCC will be released. If trial is still delayed awaiting fund, the aging Khmer Rouge leaders whose health is deteriorating might die before the trial takes place.

Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea, and Ieng Thirith, who are very old, are worriedly menaced by many illnesses. These former Khmer Rouge leaders are often sent to hospital to have their illnesses treated and health checked.

Last week, Ieng Sary was brought to Calmette Hospital and then Nuon Chea. Earlier this week, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith met with their family in the ECCC, the first family meeting after their arrest in November last year. Ieng Sary’s lawyer Ang Udom said that it was only a family reunion and a normal visit. “There was no talk about the work or tasks related to the court,” he pointed out.

The ECCC needs at least $144 million to complete its process. The results of the visit of the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s officials to the UN are still unknown while the ECCC is only able to afford the last salary of its staff. If there are no positive results from the visit of Mr. Sean Visoth and his colleagues, the Khmer Rouge trial might lead to an end. Khmer Rouge tribunal’s officials do not hope to receive enough funds as needed by the tribunal.

Observers of the progress of the Khmer Rouge trial have very little hope that the tribunal can proceed. Corruption allegations in the Khmer Rouge tribunal have caused the international community hesitate to continue the funding. Meanwhile, the US lacks interest in funding the Khmer Rouge trial. Therefore, there is little hope that the process of the court can be completed as what Cambodian victims of Democratic Kampuchea want.


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