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Victims Applaud UN Tribunal Stance

Members of civil society and survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime welcomed the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said this week the international community must play a role in helping a hybrid tribunal close one of history’s “darkest chapters.”

The tribunal is facing growing financial difficulties, as donor countries evaluate whether the courts can meet international standards and deserve funding.

“Now is a good chance to find enough money to try Khmer Rouge leaders,” said Seng Theary, executive director of the Center for Social Development, who has filed suit against jailed leader Nuon Chea in tribunal proceedings. “That’s why I support and appeal to any country to fund the Khmer Rouge tribunal and participate.”

The tribunal has faced allegations of corruption and mismanagement, but it is now asking donors for up to $114 million over the original $56 million budget.

Ban said Tuesday, on the 10th anniversary of Pol Pot’s death, that the UN and the government are “actively engaged” in bringing five jailed former Khmer Rouge leaders to trial.

“With the support of the international community, it is my hope that the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia will soon deliver long-overdue justice for the people of Cambodia,” he said, referring to the tribunal by its official name.

Van Nath, a survivor of the infamous Tuol Sleng prison, whose chief, Duch, is awaiting trial in tribunal detention, said Friday he supported more funding for a speedy tribunal.

Kek Galabru, founder of the rights group Licadho, said she hoped the coming of the new year would help donors change their minds to help finish the tribunal proceedings.

“If it stops, we have to release the Khmer Rouge leaders,” she said.