How did the ECCC manage to trim its proposed budget by around $30-million?
There were no clear answers to this fundamental question during a press conference today.
Tribunal staff will operate "with more sweat," but end up with "the same product," Deputy Director of Administration Knut Rosandhaug told reporters who asked where sacrifices would be made. There will be efficiency increases "across the board."
Of course, given the reaction of donors to the budget they were presented in January, some might infer that version had its share of padding. In a Jan. 30 meeting, the court proposed upping its budget from an original $56-million to around $170-million and extending operations through early 2011.
In response, donors asked for additional clarification and cost-cutting measures.
What they were presented during meetings last week in New York is, seemingly, much more palatable. The ECCC managed to trim its proposed budget to around $143-million, with operations continuing through Dec. 2010.
This budget was much "better received," Director of Administration Sean Visoth said. "We're quite optimistic."
Plus, the court has broken up the budget request into stages.
"We've agreed with the donor community to focus on what is at hand," Rosandhaug said, since the future is difficult to predict.
Part I, for which the ECCC is currently seeking funds, would support operations through Dec. 2009. Taking into account current funding pledges, just this first stage is $43.8-million short.
"The money is not going to come easily," Rosandhaug said. "We have to work for it."
But court officials said they were confident donors would come through.
Rosandhaug added: "It's my mother's tax money ... I want to ensure her this will be spent wisely."
Budget Part II-A, which would bring court operations to Oct. 2010, and Part II-B, which would stretch proceedings through Dec. 2010, would require an additional $33-million.
In the budget breakdown, the greatest proportion of funding is earmarked for the Office of Administration. This division accounts for $87-million of the proposed $143-million.
* Pictured above: Sean Visoth speaks to journalists during a June 24 press conference.