Japan has donated more than $1.2 million to the Khmer Rouge tribunal and urged the court to continue prosecuting controversial cases against Khmer Rouge leaders, after the court’s investigating judges proposed halting those proceedings for the “sole reason” of “lack of funding”.
The latest donation from the court’s biggest donor comes a week after the EU announced it had pledged 10 million euros to the same cause.
In a statement released yesterday, the Japanese Embassy noted that progress had been made in trials against former leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, “whilst encouraging the ECCC to proceed with the remaining cases in a fair, efficient, and expeditious manner”.
A decision on whether to continue cases against Meas Muth, Yim Tith and Ao An – cases the government has long publicly opposed – was initially due at the end of June, but court spokeswoman Hayat Abu-Saleh yesterday said no new date had been fixed.
“The cases are therefore progressing as set out in rules of procedures,” she said in an email, adding all staff contracts had been extended until the end of the year for 2017, and budgeting for 2018 is “on track”.
“While future funding traditionally is not expected prior to approval of the budget, important financial support is already secured for the coming years.”
International Co-Prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian said yesterday that “recent financial pledges confirm the commitment of the international community to see that the process of seeking justice at the ECCC will be based on law and evidence”.
Youk Chhang, of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said yesterday that “a ‘lack of funds’ should be a matter for the court administration”, not the co-investigating judges.