Senior government and UN officials said Monday they were concerned the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge tribunal is again running out of funding for its operations, as the UN-backed court moves toward trials of four jailed leaders.
An urgent meeting will take place between tribunal officials and donor representatives in Phnom Penh this week to find a way to fund the Cambodian side of the hybrid court, officials said.
Council Minister Sok An met with Patricia O’Brien, UN undersecretary general for legal affairs, on Monday, after which both said they were concerned “over the financial situation in the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Cambodian side,” said Ek Tha, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers. “The Cambodian side lacks the budget for the salaries of 294 staff members.”
The Cambodian side now has only $200,000 in hand, which will fund operations for the next two weeks, he said. The Cambodian side of the court spends $500,000 per month in general expenses, he said.
Dim Sovannarom, a spokesman for the tribunal, said Monday that the $200,000 would only pay 30 percent of the salary of the Cambodian staff.
Tribunal officials have said they need more than $87 million over the next two years to fund the trials of at least five jailed Khmer Rouge leaders. The Cambodian side of the court has struggled with allegations of corruption and mismanagement, as well as continual under-funding.
The tribunal is working toward the trial of four more jailed leaders, following the completion of its first trial, for prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, better known as Duch.