Despite a flurry of suggestions to help raise the $11.8 million outstanding for the
Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the government has discarded them all and blamed the opposition
Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) for the trial's delay.
Om Yin Teng, advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen, said the government would wait for
international donors to pledge the remaining funds rather than accept donations from
the local business community or public, as SRP spokesperson Un Bun-Ang suggested
"We don't think we should be cheated by [SRP] into spending a lot of money and
wasting time and delaying the trial," Yin Teng said. "It will cost more
than one dollar to collect one dollar from people."
Son Chhay, a SRP member of parliament said the government is contradicting itself.
"We do not understand why fund-raising would be further delaying the trial -
they are the ones delaying it," Chhay said. "The senior Khmer Rouge soldiers
are dying; the evidence is disappearing."
"The government has to be honest and reveal their hidden agenda. We don't believe
the money is the issue. It will be something else once this is solved."
The three-year tribunal is scheduled to begin when the total $56.3 million budget
is collected. The international community have so far raised $38.6 million of their
$43 million share. The Cambodian government agreed to cover $13.3 million, of which
they have contributed $1.5 million from the national budget.
Helen Jarvis, the tribunal task force advisor to the government, said the remaining
funds would be sought through bilateral agreements.
The Japanese government expressed interest June 10 in transferring bilateral funds
already allocated to the government for other spending to cover the Cambodian share,
but the offer has yet to be accepted by the government.
Japan has already pledged $21 million to the international account. The European
Commission offered $1.3 million, but according to Jarvis the cash is yet to be allocated
to the international or Cambodian side. India, Thailand and Singapore said last month
they were considering providing "in-kind" assistance to the tribunal.
In the same week Ung Bun-Ang suggested that the government organize a national fund-raiser,
several prominent Phnom Penh businessmen said they would offer financial assistance
if the government requested it.
Although the government has rejected both of these alternatives, Yin Teng said they
remain committed to holding the tribunal.
"We have made an effort for the tribunal for 20 years, so how can people ask
if we want the trial or not?" he said. "We think that the trial will proceed