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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Money matters, but so do fonts at ECCC

Money matters, but so do fonts at ECCC

5-nuon-ceah.jpg
5-nuon-ceah.jpg

TANG CHHIN SOTHY/ AFP

Former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea appears for a hearing at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) in Phnom Penh, March 20.

Court seeks $600,000 for

medical care

One of the

big expenses up for debate in the ECCC’s newly revised budget is the quality of

medical care to offer the elderly Khmer Rouge defendants.

Some of the

prisoners suffer from multiple ailments and, with them in and out of the

hospital over the past few months, the Cambodian government is seeking to shift

the costs of their care over to the court’s donors.

The revised

budget proposal submitted to donors at the end of January included more than

$600,000 for projected medical expenses – or about $120,000 a year if the

tribunal is capped at five years.

“The

existing budget has no medical expenses,” said ECCC spokeswoman Helen Jarvis.

She said

that under the current arrangement the government of Cambodia has paid for taking care

of the five defendants since their arrest. That includes providing such items

as food, TVs, newspapers and health care.

Jarvis said

the whole issue of medical care is now “under discussion.” Among the issues is

whether the defendants could be evacuated to a hospital outside Cambodia if

Calmette can’t handle an emergency.

The court

already provides a 24-hour doctor and nurse rotation at the court along with an

ambulance.

But Ieng

Sary’s condition has required several lengthy hospital stays as well as visits

from international medical specialists. The court wouldn’t release details.

 

Note to

attorneys: you used the wrong typeface

Lawyers for

the defense were a bit peeved with the lawyers for the civil parties, the group

consisting of Khmer Rouge victims and survivors, over their petition to

intervene in the pre-trial hearings of defendant Nuon Chea.

All seven

attorneys representing Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith signed a motion

objecting, among other things, to the civil parties using a “nine point, single

spaced typeface of the Arial Helvetica style.”

“The

defense was careful to limit its own filing to the stated 10-page limit,” says

the March 6 motion. “This document essentially amounts to a 15-page submission.

This attempt to circumvent the page limit is unacceptable.”

Indeed.

Besides writing too long, the motion said the intervention by civil parties

will violate defendants’ rights to an expeditious trial and a presumption of

innocence.

Civil party

intervention is not permitted by Cambodian law in a pre-trial detention

hearing, it said, adding that if the pre-trial judges decide to allow civil

parties to participate, they must place limits on them.

The

prosecution, on the other hand, noted in its filing that criminal codes differ

from country to country, but Cambodia

does not address the issue as to whether civil parties may participate in

pre-trial detention hearings.

 

Cutting the cloth 

The ECCC is

continuing to wait for an answer on its request for $114 million more funding

from the United Nations and donors, but donors are giving no indication what

they will do with the request.

The big

increases in the revised projected budget go for the judiciary side of the

court, raising its budget to about $44 million from about $12 million. Due to

some changes in the way pre-trial hearings are being handled, the judges

proposed that the pre-trial chamber judges work nearly fulltime.

Other big

increases would go for

  • a

    victims unit

  • improvement of audio

    visual services

  • tripling the number of translators

    and interpreters who are working in Khmer, French and English.

  • adding a court transcription or court

    reporting system

  • bus services for transportation to the

    court

  • medical costs
  • more

    staff

 

The court staff now comprises about 230 Cambodians and about 100

foreigners, but the new budget projects “a number of increased positions,” said

court spokeswoman Helen Jarvis.

Jarvis said

the court will be prepared if donors decide to trim the proposed revised

budget.

“These

figures are definitely not set in concrete. What was given to the donors was a

projection of funds should the court be required to function into the first

quarter of 2011, and that is not known,” she said.

“It was

considered wiser to give a longer term projection than to possibly come back

and have to another appeal later.

“The donors

have responded to those initial projections with requests for clarifications.

The numbers may well change. Of course, ultimately it’s up to the donor system

what they do and we have to cut the cloth, work within the budget that we are

given.”

Meanwhile,

Cambodian administrator Sean Visoth told the Cambodian staff on March 14 that

the Cambodian side of the court will run out of money at the end of April, not

March as previously suggested. The UN-supported side of the tribunal is funded

for several months more.

Originally

budgeted at $56.3 million (or about $11 million for each of the five defendants),

the revised budget seeks $169 million over five years (about $34 million per

defendant).

Even with

the budget woes, “I think it’s unlikely that we will stop midstream,” said

chief co-prosecutor Robert Petit, adding that the existing budget may not be

sufficient to carry out the prosecution of the five defendants arrested.

“We have made a good case

why we need that money and I think everybody is on board that this is an

important process. Most people are reasonably optimistic,” he said.

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