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Third charged with genocide

091221_04
Khieu Samphan appears in court during his pretrial hearing in Phnom Penh.

Charges coincide with request for 18 percent budget increase

FORMER Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan has been charged with genocide, a spokesman for Cambodia’s UN-backed war crimes court said Friday, the same day the court announced that it had asked donor countries for an 18 percent budget increase for 2010.

Lars Olsen said Khieu Samphan had been notified of the charge in a meeting with investigating judges Friday morning.

The tribunal said last Wednesday that Khmer Rouge Brother No 2 Nuon Chea and foreign minister Ieng Sary had been charged with genocide, marking the first time the charge had been brought against regime leaders by an internationally sanctioned court.

As with Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary, the genocide charge against Khieu Samphan stems from the regime’s treatment of Vietnamese and the Cham Muslim minority group, Olsen said.

All three men, who had previously been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, were also informed last week that they are now facing charges of homicide, torture and religious persecution under the 1956 Cambodian penal code, which was in effect during the regime.

Prosecutors in September requested that judges clarify the charges against the five regime leaders being held at the tribunal, including Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, whose trial ended in November and is awaiting verdict. Olsen said Sunday that a meeting with former minister of social action Ieng Thirith would take place today.

Budget request
Acting Director of Administration Tony Kranh and Deputy Director of Administration Knut Rosandhaug presented the budget request in New York last week during meetings with the steering committee of the UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials and donor countries, according to a press release issued Friday.

The court had requested US$39 million in funding for 2009, a figure that included contingency funding, which has not been utilised, Olsen said. The proposed budgets for 2010 and 2011 are $46 million and $47.3 million, respectively, figures that also include contingency funding.

The request for an increase reflects, in part, the possible cost of “legal representation related to potential additional cases”, according to the press release. The prosecution filed introductory submissions for five additional suspects in September.

But the increase “can mainly be attributed to” the fact that the Pre-Trial Chamber will be operating full-time next year, and that the Supreme Court Chamber may do the same beginning in mid-2010, according to the release.

Court spokesman Reach Sambath said he did not know when a decision on the budget would be made, but that the court is “optimistic that we will be able to get sufficient funding for the next two years as requested”.

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