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PRESS BRIEFING ON THE MEETING OF THE GROUP OF INTERESTED STATES Held in New York, 20 June 2008

Posted by khmernews on June 25, 2008

PRESS BRIEFING ON THE MEETING OF THE GROUP OF INTERESTED STATES held in New York, 20 June 2008

by the Director and Deputy Director of the Office of Administration

24 June 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the Press

We are pleased to be able to give you a briefing on the meetings held in New York last week — namely the Steering Committee held at the Permanent Mission of Japan on Monday 16 June and the full meeting of the Group of Interested States on Friday 20 June at the United Nations headquarters — to discuss the new revised budget for the ECCC.

The ECCC sent a delegation of four including the Director and Deputy Director of Administration and the Chiefs of Public Affairs and the national Budget and Finance Section. Participating from the United Nations Secretariat were the Controller, Mr Warren Sach and Ms Marie Oveissi; representatives from the Office of Legal Affairs; and the Special Expert to the Secretary-General on United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, Mr David Tolbert.

Recent Progress
We reported to the Group of Interested States that since our delegation met with the GIS in March, the ECCC has continued to make steady progress as follows:

In the judicial area, appeals against Provisional Detention have been lodged by all five Charged Persons, and four of these have been heard (one of which was adjourned), with the fifth due to be heard on 30 June. The Co-Investigating Judges announced on 15 May that they had concluded the judicial investigation on Case No. 1, and that they are hoping to issue the Closing Order in July. We are preparing for the trials to be able to commence in September.

The alterations to the main court room are now complete, and it is being readied for its first use in the upcoming appeal scheduled for 30 June.

The Victims Unit is moving forward with the processing of over 1,300 complaints and applications for admission as civil parties, and 11 have so far been admitted to Cases 1 and 2. The path-breaking nature of the ECCC’s inclusion of victims as civil parties has attracted wide interest and support in the press and public opinion.

A series of new publications have recently been produced by the Public Affairs Section – two issues have now been produced of a monthly newsletter entitled The Court Report, and the 3rd edition of the Information Booklet has been published for the first time in French as well as in English and Khmer. In addition the popular posters have been reprinted (with support from Australia and Norway and the French Embassy).

I would draw your attention to an item in the June issue of The Court Report in which a recent survey conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) of 2,000 Cambodians relating to their perceptions on a wide range of issues is reported. We are pleased to see that the public continue to give strong support for the idea of trials for top Khmer Rouge leaders – this figure now stands at 89%. And of particular importance for us is that for the first time an in depth sounding has been made of public awareness of the ECCC – the figure of  71% awareness is most encouraging, reflecting the positive outreach work done by the ECCC itself as well as the NGO community and the press.

This reminds us that one of the principal reasons for establishing the hybrid model we are following in Cambodia was to hold the trials in a context that is close to the people, offering them the opportunity to visit the court, sit in the public gallery which holds 500 people, and watch the process broadcast live on radio and television throughout the country. It is in such a way that we can achieve the transitional justice objectives of the court.

Budget needs
It is in this context of positive progress on the ground that we went to New York to meet the Group of Interested States to discuss our financial needs and to present  the overall revised budget following the review undertaken over the past few months. Let me highlight some of the key features and changes when compared to the draft revised budget presented to the GIS in January 2008.

Following the actual experience of the ECCC and lessons from other courts (especially the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina), we have made projections, taking into particular account the additional activities required by the ECCC Internal Rules and other decisions made by the judicial officers during plenary session; and recommendations made by various court experts regarding the ECCC’s readiness.

The revised budget is presented in three different parts:

•    Part I: Court Operations until December 2009;
•    Part II-A: In the event of possible continuation of Case 2, Court Operations are supported up to October 2010; and
•    Part II-B: In the event of a possible 2nd Introductory Submission by the OCP, Court Operations are supported up to December 2010.

At the present time we are actively seeking funds for Part I: To December 2009. I would refer you to the table “Status of Budget Requirements and Contributions 2005-2009” which gives a precise indication of the original budget, contributions to date, and the present requirements for funding for Part I.

We are pleased to be able to inform you that some pledges have already been received for which we express our profound thanks. The Government of Japan has announced almost $3 million towards the Cambodian share of the budget. This indicates the continuing strong support from Japan for the process. The Royal Government of Cambodia has agreed to contribute a further $992,622, or some 10% of the required funding, for the Cambodian component. This is in addition to its continuing commitment for extra-budgetary support.

Following all pledges received to date (including recent bridging grants from Australia and France) the Cambodian component of the ECCC budget needs further funds to continue its work to the end of 2009 of $6.1 million, while the international requirement is for $37.7m

To give a complete picture, I would refer you to the paper Annex 1, which presents in tabular form the requirements for all parts of the budget. Should there be a need to fund both possible extension of case 2 up to October 2010, and a possible 2nd Introductory Submission by the Office of the Co-Prosecutors, the total budget requirements for the ECCC from 2005 to 2010 would be $142.6m ($105.7m for the international component and $25.7m for the Cambodian component, plus an amount of $11.2 as 15% for contingency).

It should be noted that the budget presented to the Group of Interested States includes an amount of 15% for contingency (as mentioned above) to allow for unforeseen additional expenses. Some donors have proposed that this item be removed from the budget, preferring that the ECCC request further funds at the time they may be required. This matter is now under discussion in New York between the Group of Interested States and the UN Secretariat.

Thank you for your attention.

(May I now hand over to my counterpart, Mr Knut Rosandhaug, who is meeting you for the first time since he took up his position as Deputy Director of Administration on 1 June 2008).

Reach Sambath
Presss Officer
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
Tel: (855) 12 891 567
Fax: (855) 23 219 841
Email: reach.sambath@eccc.gov.kh, reachsambath@hotmail.com
Web: http://www.eccc.gov.kh

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