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Strike is over... for now

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With the death of a defendant, budget woes and a walkout on the national side, the Khmer Rouge tribunal is going through a difficult time.

But a small piece of good news came out of the court yesterday, as striking staffers said they had agreed to temporarily return to work on Monday.

One of the strikers said that during a meeting yesterday, the Court Management Section “strongly assured” them their December salaries would be disbursed next week, meeting a key demand of the 16 employees who are refusing to work.

“On top of that, the office appeared to have treated us with more respect and dignity,” one of the strikers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

“We were also assured our salary for March would not be ded-ucted, despite the fact that by Monday, we will have boycotted work for almost two weeks.”
The striker said the death yesterday of Khmer Rouge tribunal defendant Ieng Sary and the “dire need for interpreting services during the investig-ation of the death” had also influenced the decision.

But the salary fight is not over. It was not immediately clear what would happen if pay cheques for January, February and March fail to go out by the end of March. One striker said the boycott would resume, but a transcriber was not so sure.

“The transcribers have not yet deci-ded [what to do] if money doesn’t come through,” he said.

The development, though temporary, effectively ends a stand-off that began on March 4 when members of the Interpretation and Translation Unit — later joined by a group of transcribers — walked out of the booth demanding three months of unpaid wages.

Two hundred and seventy Cambodian employees on the court’s national side have not been paid since November.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Freeman at and Justine Drennan at



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