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'No Panic' in Dwindling UN Funds for Tribunal

The UN side of the Khmer Rouge tribunal could run out of funding as early as the end of October and definitely by the end of the year, a spokesmen said Thursday, but he expressed confidence donors would continue to support the courts.

"We know the funds we have will only last through the fourth quarter of 2008," said Peter Foster, a spokesman for the UN side of the tribunal. "That means it could run out of money in October or September, or it could last all the way through December, depending on how much we spend each month. With the money we have, it's almost impossible for us to continue beyond the end of the year, no matter what adjustments we make. Then we are truly out of money."

However, tribunal administrators were "very confident" of getting the funding necessary to continue proceedings against five jailed leaders of the regime, Foster said.

"There is no panic about us not receiving the money," he said. "The donors have expressed their approval over the revised budget, and it's just a matter of finding out when and who will be providing funds."

The UN has enlisted the aid of special expert David Tolbert, who spent the last two weeks in Cambodia and left Thursday. Tolbert, who met with Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on his visit, is traveling from country to country to seek additional funding from donors.

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said Thursday the UN side of the courts did not have more funding from the international community to meet new budget requirements for continued operation through the end of 2009.

The new requirements seek $40 million for the UN side and $10 million for the Cambodian side.

There has been little contribution from the international community since fresh allegations of kickbacks arose

France has so far donated $1 million to the courts, including $250,000 to the Cambodian side earlier this year.

The Cambodian side is still looking for more than $6 million to complete its requirement, following donations from Japan, Australia and France and $1 million from the Cambodian government.