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No Funding Yet Found to Resolve Tribunal Staffing Crisis

A Cambodian police officer guards the Appeals Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as the judges read their verdict in front of an empty dock, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - Administrators for the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge tribunal met with international donors this week, seeking more funding to solve a staffing crisis at the UN-backed court but failing to find any, officials said Friday.

Around 200 of 287 Cambodian staff have threatened to boycott work unless they are paid their salaries for December, giving the court until Jan. 31 to come up with more money.

But meetings this week with Australia and Japan, two traditional backers of the court, brought no new infusion of funding, Ek Tha, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, which oversees the tribunal for the Cambodian government, said.

Japan will discuss the funding issue with Asean diplomats to seek a solution, and the government remains “optimistic” that more funding will be found, he said.

The court is currently undertaking only its second case, the trial of former senior leaders Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary for atrocity crimes. But it is currently $7 million short of a total $9.3 million needed for operations this year, officials said.

Tribunal spokesman Dim Sovannarom said that neither the international nor the Cambodian sides of the hybrid court have received new pledges for funding.