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Japan Provides Emergency Tribunal Funds

The Japanese government on Friday announced urgent funding to the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, which had been facing a money crisis.

Japan will provide $200,000 in funds to keep the side of the court going, as the tribunal approaches its first trial, for prison chief Kaing Kek Iev, better known as Duch, on March 30.

The trial will be a hallmark for the tribunal, which took years of negotiation before it was started in 2006 and has yet to try any of five detained former leaders of the ultra-Maoist regime.

The funds were a grant in response to a request from the Cambodian government, the Japanese Embassy said in a statement.

The national side of the UN-Cambodian hybrid tribunal saw funds frozen from other donor countries in the wake of corruption allegations in 2007.

The contribution will specifically fill funding needs for operations of the Cambodian side of the courts, to encourage peace, democracy, the rule of law and good governance, the embassy said.

Japan “hopes strongly that the trials will provide justice for serious crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime and [that the funds] will be applied fairly and urgently without any delay, because former leaders of the Khmer Rouge in custody are very old.”

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said the courts appreciated the funds, and hoped that Cambodian staff within the court will avoid any eventual problems from an end of funding.

“This contribution arrived at the moment when we are preparing to try Duch,” he said.