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$45 Million for Tribunal Under Consideration

A Cambodian court spokesman Huy Vannak, left, delivers court documents at the court entrance of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011.
A Cambodian court spokesman Huy Vannak, left, delivers court documents at the court entrance of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011.
Sok KhemaraVOA Khmer

International donors to the Khmer Rouge tribunal are currently considering more funding for the UN backed court, officials said Wednesday.

A diplomat from one donor country said the package under consideration was $35 million for the international side and $10 million for the Cambodian side of the hybrid court, which has had continuous financial troubles that threaten its longevity, even as it puts three leaders on trial.

“As you know, the court is funded from voluntary contributions from member states,” said Martin Nersirky, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. A budget proposal “is being considered by the donor states,” he said. “And that’s where we are at the moment.”

The court has so far tried one Khmer Rouge cadre, prison chief Duch, and is undertaking the trial of three former top leaders—Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary. Two more cases are before the court, but they would require the indictment of five more suspects, and their completion remains in doubt.

A meeting on funding is scheduled at the UN for Feb. 24, according to a donor country diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said Wednesday the court’s budget proposal is confidential, but he confirmed that a court delegation will travel to New York next week to discuss it with donors.

“We are optimistic that donors will pledge more financial assistance for the Khmer Rouge tribunal in order to allow the court to fulfill its work and mission in seeking truth and justice,” he said.

The proposed budget reportedly covers costs for the current trial, pursuit of two more cases and administrative work.

The court has so far spent at least $150 million on investigations and trials, but it has been dogged by allegations of mismanagement, corruption and political interference from Cambodian leaders who oppose further cases going forward.

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