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Tribunal Officials Have Reduced Budget for Donors

Cambodian military officials line up in front the top leaders of Khmer Rouge portraits, from right, former Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan, and former Deputy Secretary Nuon Chea, during the second day of trial of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - The financially troubled Khmer Rouge tribunal typically needs about $32.4 million for its international side and $9.7 million for its Cambodian side to run each year. But court officials say they are looking for ways to trim both figures before requesting more funding from international donors.

A funding meeting will be held in New York at the end of the year to settle on a figure, as the UN-backed court moves forward.

So far the court, established in 2006, has cost more than $200 million and has successfully tried just one former Khmer Rouge leader, Comrade Duch, supervisor of the Tuol Sleng prison and torture center, who plead guilty.

Three more aging leaders—Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary—are currently on trial for atrocity crimes. Former social affair minister Ieng Thirith has been remanded to house arrest and found mentally unfit to stand trial. Two more cases that would indict five more suspects remain in doubt, fervently opposed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and other top government leaders, some with ties to the Khmer Rouge themselves.

The tribunal has struggled with funding for years, and court officials say about 300 local Cambodian staff soon may see a delay in their salary disbursement, up to two weeks. New Zealand recently announced it would provide another $200,000 to the court, bringing its own total to $1.2 million over six years.

Court officials say the latest budgets have been revised and passed on to donors like the US and Japan, but they declined to say by how much the budget has been reduced.