The United Nations Secretary-General has announced that the agreement establishing
a Khmer Rouge tribunal has taken effect, despite a $14 million shortfall in funding
On April 28, Secretary General Kofi Annan notified Prime Minister Hun Sen in a letter
that the legal requirements of the UN had been met, meaning the long-awaited tribunal
Annan had previously stated that he wanted the pledges secured for the $56.3 million
tribunal and the first year's contributions deposited in the bank before the trial
Japan transferred its $21.5 million dollar pledge to the UN on March 30, fulfilling
the first year's contributions, but the remaining pledges have fallen short.
The $43 million to be covered by international donations to the UN is $4.4 million
short. The Cambodian contribution of $13.3 million is $11.8 million short.
The Cambodian government has begun its task of seeking bilateral assistance for the
remaining funds, and Hun Sen has said he will request further financial assistance
from Japan during a trip to the country this month.
The European Commission pledged $1.3 million on April 28, but it is unclear whether
this is to be allocated to the UN or to the Cambodian share of the funding, according
to Helen Jarvis, advisor to the government on the Khmer Rouge Trials.
The Cambodian government has pledged $1.5 million in cash from its national budget,
as well as an in-kind contribution of $5.3 million.
The in-kind component includes provision of the premises, security services, detention
facilities, public outreach and media, utilities, and medical support for witnesses
"Salaries [for civil servants] at national government rates [will be] from the
government payroll, [with] supplements from bilateral contributions to the Cambodian
side of the budget," Jarvis said.
The 2003 KR tribunal agreement - ratified in 2004 - stated that the UN would cover
salaries for the international judges, leading to concerns over inequitable pay.
Kek Galabru, a member of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, a coalition
of 18 local organizations, said she is concerned that lower salaries for Cambodian
judges could erode local commitment to high standards of judicial practice.
"Maybe the judges will ask, 'How come [international judges] have five or 10
times more money than us?'" Galabru said. "Maybe nobody will be willing
to be committed like the international judges."
"I don't think they will say it, but inside I think this will matter to them."