Cambodian legal officers from the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Office of the Co-Prosecutors have requested leave from their positions to find alternate employment until the United Nations-backed tribunal starts paying their salaries, court officials said yesterday.
Press Officer Neth Pheaktra told the Post that the prosecution’s legal officers were looking to secure other jobs because they had not been paid since October last year.
“It is a very difficult situation – while the UN staff at the Court never face late payment of salaries, the Cambodian side is facing this kind of situation for the fourth time,” Neth Pheaktra said.
“It is very demoralising for the court.”
Cambodian court officials, including Acting Director of Administration Tony Kranh, have requested that “funding for the entire ECCC should be made available on a timely basis, and simultaneously to both the United Nations and Cambodian sides of the court to ensure sustainability and efficiency”.
The court’s management team, including Tony Kranh, are due to fly to UN headquarters in New York this month to seek funds and submit a budget plan for the court, but as yet no date for the trip has been set.
Under the framework established by the UN and the Cambodian government, the government is responsible for paying salaries of Cambodian staff at the court, but in practice, this has not been the case.
“The funding source for covering the national side’s staff salary relies totally on the voluntary funding from Friends of the ECCC,” Neth Pheaktra said.
International co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley said that his Cambodian counterpart, Chea Leang, informed him on Friday that six staff members would take a temporary leave of absence due to lack of payment.
“The six of them are highly valued members of our office and they need to be paid,” Cayley said. “The OCP will still be able to function, but of course not as effectively.”
National co-prosecutor Chea Leang could not be reached for comment.