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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ECCC wants $167 million for more staff

ECCC wants $167 million for more staff

ECCC wants $167 million for more staff

As the judicial side of the court creaked slowly forward,

the court revised its own budget upwards to $169.7 million, covering an

additional two years and the trials of eight defendants, according to January

30 court documents.

There was no immediate reaction from tribunal funders. If

the revised budget is approved by tribunal donors, the Extraordinary Chambers

in the Courts of Cambodia would last until 2011.

 

“It is broadly acknowledged that there have been problems at

the ECCC in terms of management of this project and we would be grateful for

any help we can get.”

– Rupert Skilbeck, head of ECCC defense support

 

The Japanese are the largest contributor to the tribunal

budget. Others are Britain, France, the European Union and India.

According to the new documents, the budget for the UN side

of the tribunal has leapt from an original $43 million to $134 million with the

vast majority of it, some $99 million, going on administration.

The Cambodian side of the tribunal would get $35 million

with the lion’s share again going to administration.

According to Rupert Skilbeck, head of the ECCC defense

support section, there are many different ways to run a hybrid tribunal, some

expensive and some cheap. The cheapest example of a UN hybrid tribunal was in East Timor, where the initial budget was just $6 million.

 

Another more cost-effective example of a hybrid tribunal is

the court of Bosnia and Herzegovina where, with a budget of some $10 million

per year, they are currently trying 400 individuals for war crimes and serious

crimes to a standard of justice that has to satisfy the European Court of Human

Rights.

“That budget was difficult to achieve but it was done by

excluding all unnecessary costs that were secondary to the judicial process and

by setting local salaries at competitive levels,” Skilbeck said. “For example,

all staff, including judges in the court, have to catch the bus to work. The

court has no vehicles.”

Moreover, at the Bosnia and Herzegovina tribunal it

was determined there was no need for security.  

Skilbeck said one other way the Bosnia trial kept costs down was by

having a very streamlined administrative staff – for example, a personnel department of two to manage a staff of 400.

The vast majority of the new revised budget, however, would

go on staffing. The number of staff in the ECCC’s judicial offices has doubled,

and overall the court will be adding 28 UN posts.

The revised staffing rates for the UN side of the tribunal

are now estimated at 168 posts of which 65 are in the judicial offices and 103

in the Office of Administration. The Cambodia side of the tribunal is

estimated to need 362 posts with 62 of those being in the judicial offices and

300 in the Office Administration. 

This estimate does not include a salary for the proposed

Special Advisor, a position many donors are eager to see established as soon as

possible.

The Cambodian government is not in favor of the idea. According

to several sources, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An told the UN last week the

position was not necessary.

“It is broadly acknowledged that there have been problems at

the ECCC in terms of management of this project and we would be grateful for

any help we can get,” said Skilbeck.

“Any international court needs expert advice on how to

operate. And now, with six international tribunals under its belt, there are

individuals with a broad range of experiences on how best to run hybrid

tribunals. It would be silly not to take advantage of that expertise in order

to make the ECCC as efficient as possible.”

The original budget of $56.3 million for three years was to

pay for five to ten persons to be tried.

The revised budget has been calculated on the basis of eight

accused.

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