The government has promised to cover the $1.8 million shortfall in the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s national side budget, allowing this month’s closing arguments to proceed unimpeded and theoretically ensuring that the court will continue to function through to the end of the year.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary of State Kao Kim Hourn made the announcement on Wednesday night, but officials at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia said yesterday that they have yet to receive confirmation of the disbursement.
Court spokesman Neth Pheaktra said yesterday that “until now I have not received any official letter or confirmation”. But he maintained that the funding would cover the court’s costs through to the end of the year.
The government has long deflected calls for more funding to the court, saying it lacked the money, and government spokesman Ek Tha yesterday declined to comment on the matter.
Panhavuth Long, a program officer for the Cambodian Justice Initiative, called the donation “a very positive step”, but added that the new money “only guarantees the court proceedings until the end of the year”, when new funding demands will need to be met.
“We worry that the court may not be able to proceed, particularly with the new panel [of judges] to sit on [the remainder of] Case 002, and in Case 003 and Case 004,” he said. “So we call on the government to put more money in so that the funding crisis can be averted … and as an indication of their commitment to ending impunity.”
Spokesman Pheaktra said yesterday that the court’s two halves are scheduled to draft a new budget plan to be submitted to donor countries.