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Group Urges Donors to Use Money for Justice

Any country looking to add money to the Khmer Rouge tribunal should seek to ensure justice for victims, a leading tribunal monitor group said.

Robert Vanerik, acting president of the Open Society Justice Initiative, said Friday donors should tie their contributions to increased transparency and efficiency in the courts.

"Specifically, donors should insist on the appointment of an expert who can advise the United Nations on ways to ensure the effective operation of the ECCC," he said, referring to the tribunal by it's official name, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

"Donors should also insist on the implementation of greater safeguards and oversight to prevent corruption at the court," he said. "It is critical for donors to support the ECCC to ensure it can deliver justice for the Cambodian people. The Cambodian government and the international community simply cannot let the court fail due to a lack of funds."

The tribunal is seeking an additional $114 million to put on top of its original $56-million price tag, in order to run trials through 2011.

Tribunal administrators told Cambodian staff last week they could pay them through April, but funds were drying up.

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said the courts had been cooperative with donors, and that a too-long delay could deny the five detained Khmer Rogue leaders their right to trial.