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KRT suspects set to appear

Former Khmer Rouge Brother No 2 Nuon Chea and head of state Khieu Samphan are set to appear before Cambodia’s war crimes tribunal tomorrow, the first time defendants in the court’s second case have appeared alongside one another in a public hearing.

The pair are appealing their provisional detention, alleging that the court has not met the conditions required to continue holding them in custody ahead of their trial.

Former KR social action minister Ieng Thirith, another Case 002 defendant, has also appealed against her continued detention, though she has waived the right to appear at today’s hearing.

On Friday, judges at the court rejected a motion by lawyers for former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary to have Trial Chamber president Nil Nonn removed based on statements he allegedly made to a filmmaker in 2002 discussing his acceptance of bribes at the Battambang provincial court.

The judges ruled that because no misdeeds were alleged to have been committed by Nil Nonn at the tribunal, there was no scope for his removal by court officials.

Determinations on “individual fitness to serve as a judge” are to be handled, by law, by Cambodian authorities, the judges added.

New funding from Japan

Also on Friday, the tribunal announced that the Japanese government had pledged US$11.7 million to fund court operations in 2011.

Some $8.8 million will go towards the hybrid tribunal’s international side, while $2.9 million will go to the national side.

Following the donation, the international side is still short approximately $20 million for 2011 under the approved budget, while the Cambodian side is short about $6 million.

Last week court staff met with donor representatives in New York to brief them on the tribunal’s revised budget for this year, United Nations court spokesman Lars Olsen said.

He said he could not provide exact figures for how much the budget has been reduced.

The latest donation from the Japanese will cover “about 25 percent” of the tribunal’s 2011 operating costs, the court said in a statement.

Japan has been the court’s single largest donor to date, contributing about $67 million, or nearly half of all donor funding. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY VONG SOKHENG

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