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UN studies KR trial budget

United Nations officials returned to Phnom Penh this week to further agree on details

of the Khmer Rouge Trials.

"The purpose of the visit [is] to finalize the budget," said the coordinator

of the UN team, Karsten Herrel. The United Nations and Cambodia were expected to

appeal for international funding for the trials in early February. The budget has

been estimated at $40 million, but officials have declined to comment on this figure.

Dr Helen Jarvis, an advisor with the Council of Ministers, said daily work has continued

since the UN team's last visit in December to discuss details of ancillary costs.

"We've done an enormous amount of work," she said. "Many different

parameters have to be decided."

Much of the operating budget will depend on the choice of premises for the Extraordinary

Chambers. The venue remains unconfirmed, but the team yesterday made a lengthy visit

to Chaktomuk Theatre, a venue suggested by Prime Minister Hun Sen in 2000. The team

also has to identify suitable office space to house the estimated 300 support staff.

The Mekong River Commission premises is one option under consideration.

Who will be tried remains uncertain. On March 10, The Bangkok Post listed six names

expected to stand trial: Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary and his wife Ieng Thirith,

Ta Mok and Kang Kek Ieu (Duch). Of those six, only Ta Mok and Duch are currently

incarcerated.

While these seem obvious choices, Dr Jarvis said no such official list exists. "It's

for the court to decide. It is not the role of the UN or the Cambodian Government

to suggest who will stand trial."

The trials cannot go ahead until the plans are ratified by the Cambodian National

Assembly, but as logistical issues are dealt with, Cambodia inches ever closer to

finally meting out justice to those remaining leaders responsible for the murderous

1970s regime.

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