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Tribunal Interpreters Return To Work After Strike

"Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea (4th L) and former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary (2nd R) sit at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - Interpreters and translators at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal returned to work Monday, following a walkout over salaries more than two weeks ago.

They have been promised at least part of their salaries, which have not been paid since December, though tribunal officials did not say when that would happen.

The tribunal is seeking to try two men—Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan—following the death of a third former leader, Ieng Sary, last week.

The tribunal, which operates in English, French and Khmer, continues to face funding woes, with most of the nearly 300 Cambodian staff going without salaries for months.

The interpreters and translators halted hearings earlier this month, when they made the surprise announcement they were walking off the job until their salaries arrived.

Tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the 30 staff members would return to work, awaiting payment. If they are not paid by the end of the month, they will cease working again, he said.

Latt Ky, a tribunal monitor for the rights group Adhoc, said the return of the interpreters would help the tribunal continue its work. But he said the strike had already worried many victims of the regime, who want to see international standards of justice applied to the two remaining defendants.