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Japan To Help Funding Woes on Cambodian Side of Tribunal

FILE - In this file photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, court officers of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal are seen through windows during a hearing of former Khmer Rouge top leaders in Phnom Penh.
PHNOM PENH - The government of Japan could allow the Cambodian side of the cash-strapped Khmer Rouge tribunal to spend some of its contributions to the international side of the court, officials said Tuesday.

The announcement comes a day after some 200 Cambodian staff at the UN-backed court went on strike over the absence of pay. A tribunal spokesman said Tuesday the striking staff have yet to return to work.

The Cambodian side of the court is short some $2.9 million for operations and has been dogged since the tribunal’s 2006 inception with allegations of mismanagement, corruption and kickbacks. Cambodian staff, including judges, have not been paid since May, court officials said.

“Japan might allow the Cambodian side to take some of its $3 million contribution to the UN side,” Ek Tha, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said Tuesday, following talks between Cabinet Minister Sok An and Japanese Ambassador Kumamaru Yuji. “This is to ensure the operation of the [tribunal] without any suspension.”