Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov't blames KR Trial delay on the Sam Rainsy Party

Gov't blames KR Trial delay on the Sam Rainsy Party

Gov't blames KR Trial delay on the Sam Rainsy Party

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

June 6.

"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

soon."

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