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Cash crunch at KR tribunal

Cash crunch at KR tribunal

120119_03

The Khmer Rouge tribunal is in a financial crisis, with Cambodian staff being told they will not receive their salaries for January and Cambodian judges remaining unpaid since October 2011, court officials said yesterday.

Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post
Visitors exit the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in Phnom Penh last year.

Three weeks into the new financial year, no donor countries have yet committed any new funds to the tribunal, which is trying the senior and most responsible perpetrators of the mass atrocities of the Khmer Rouge regime, tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said.

“The lack of funding has become a crisis of funding,” Neth Pheaktra said, adding that all Cambodian staff at the tribunal received a letter this week that payment of their January salaries would be delayed. “All national staff from drivers to judges to administration will face ongoing delayed payments this year.”

The tribunal establishes an annual budget that is usually submitted to donors in November or December to raise operations money for the following year, spokesman Neth Pheaktra said, but this year, the budget submission is late.

“The budget plan for 2012 has already been established, but not yet submitted to donor countries,” Neth Pheaktra said. “No pledging has been made by donor countries as yet.

“The Cambodian side at the court has run out of cash,” he said. “It is not good for staff morale in general – people need the money to support their families.”

The Cambodian side of the tribunal finalised its budget in November, Neth Pheaktra said, but must wait for UN approval of the international budget

before it can be submitted to donor countries.

He said tribunal administrative staff are scheduled to fly to New York at the end of this month or early February to request further financial assistance from UN headquarters, and submit the tribunal budget plan for 2012-2013.

Since the tribunal began operations in 2006, it has spent a total of US$149.9 million, with $34 million being allocated to the Cambodian side and $115 million to the international side.

Of the $149.9 million, Japan has been the most generous donor, contributing a total of $70.57 million to the courts operations between 2006 and 2011. The Royal Government of Cambodia is the second largest donor, pledging a total of $13.4 million over the past five years, as well as additional costs associated with the tribunal’s detention facility.

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