The European Union yesterday articulated its concern over the sluggish pace and climbing expense of the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal.
According to government spokesman Ek Tha, the issue was brought up during a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and a visiting EU delegation led by Pierre Amilhat, directorate-general for international cooperation and development for Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
“Both Cambodia and the EU want the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s process to speed up,” he said. “However, the EU will continue to support and contribute to the [Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia].”
He added, however, that both sides could not interfere with the tribunal process. The EU was unable to respond before press time.
Money has been a key ongoing concern of the tribunal, particularly on the national side, which has been plagued by funding issues and saw staffers briefly walk off the job in 2013.
ECCC spokesman Neth Pheaktra yesterday said the national side will again face financial shortfalls with regard to staff salaries from July 1 onward.
“We call upon all stakeholders to provide the funding to ensure that the judicial proceedings can move forward without interruptions,” he said.
The EU was the tribunal’s seventh largest donor last year, contributing $9.2 million.
Senior Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan face charges of genocide in the second part of their trial at the tribunal. They were found guilty of crimes against humanity related to the forced evacuation of Phnom Penh last year and sentenced to life in prison.