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Ban calls for donors to support KR tribunal

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asked UN member states on Tuesday to provide donations to the Khmer Rouge tribunal during a conference at which donors reportedly pledged roughly US$17 million in new funding, short of the money required for the court’s 2010 budget.

UN court spokesman Lars Olsen said Wednesday that the hybrid tribunal had received $13.5 million for its international side and $3.4 million for its national side during the day-long pledging conference in New York. Dim Sovannarom, a press officer for the court, said the new donations had come from Japan, Australia and Germany.

“Without such support, the [tribunal] cannot function. It is as simple and stark as that,” Ban said at the conference.

For 2010, Ban added, “the international component [of the tribunal] faces a shortfall of $14.6 million, and the national component a shortfall of at least $6.5 million”. It was not clear on Wednesday whether those figures reflected the new pledges announced at the conference, Olsen said.

Court spokesman Reach Sambath said last week that the tribunal’s 290 national staff members would not be receiving their salaries this month after receiving halved salaries in April due to budgetary concerns.

Ban said the tribunal “urgently” needs funding, and called on donors to come forward with pledges either during the conference or in the months to come.

“Given the pressing need and the importance of this work, I appeal to you to maintain and increase your support,” Ban said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY NETH PHEAKTRA

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