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New Budget Approved, Not Funded, for Khmer Rouge Tribunal

In this photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Khieu Samphan, left, former Khmer Rouge head of state, and Nuon Chea, right, who was the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist and No. 2 leader, sit in the court hall before they made closing statements at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, file photo.

Donors to the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal have approved a new budget for funding that could keep the court functioning for another two years.

Donors approved the $60.5 million budget this week, but tribunal officials say they now need the budget to be funded.

The court is currently undertaking a trial of former regime leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, but it has been beleaguered for months by financial shortfalls that have many questioning whether it can finish the work it began in 2006.

“In fact, after the endorsement over the budget plan, we’ve asked the donors to contribute as soon as possible,” tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said.

The national side of the court will run out of money for operations by the end of the month, he said. “So we’ve asked the donor community to provide contributions on time to avoid funding crises like in previous years.”