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Tribunal Seeks to Lower Budget Proposal

Khmer Rouge tribunal officials are seeking to reduce a proposed budget to international donors, as it cuts expenses in an effort to prolong operations.

Tribunal spokeswoman Helen Jarvis said Tuesday the courts were looking at ways to lower a request to donors for $114 million, to extend court proceedings against five jailed Khmer Rouge leaders through 2011.

"Everybody recognizes it's a large increase, and we recognize that we have to justify such a large increase," Jarvis said. "We are currently trying to see if we can reduce that figure. So we are discussing this in much more detail with judicial officers and the administrative staff of the court."

The tribunal is also cutting expenditures in order to continue operations on the Cambodian side of the hybrid courts through May, she said.

The administrative budget for the Cambodian side of the courts was expected to run out in April, including salaries for staff.

The cost-cutting measures follow a trip by tribunal administrators to New York last week to brief more than 20 donor representatives on the progress of the courts.

The tribunal should be careful in reducing its estimates, to ensure the process of the tribunal is not hurt, said Seng Theary, executive director of the Center for Social Development.

Civil society should also be consulted in the reduction of the estimate, she said.