Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Words won’t pay tribunal bills: UN

Words won’t pay tribunal bills: UN

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson stressed the importance of international contributions during a pledging conference for the ECCC in New York
UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson stressed the importance of international contributions during a pledging conference for the ECCC in New York last week. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Words won’t pay tribunal bills: UN

A top UN official has issued an urgent appeal to international donors and the Cambodian government to commit sustainable funding to the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said on Thursday that donors had an obligation to Cambodians to hold Khmer Rouge leaders to account and ensure the court does not fail.

“We all agree that there can be no impunity for crimes which tear at the very fabric of our common humanity. But we have to do more than agree – and more than speak out,” he said at a New York pledging conference for the court.

“Words do not pay the bills. If we do not pay the bills, we will fail to live up to our noble declarations. We will let down the millions of Cambodians who watched their relatives die, who survived atrocities, and who still live with a burning desire to see justice done.”

Eliasson said the court’s budget for next year reflected a “streamlined and scaled-back approach” to meet the financial constraints of donors.

Noting a stop-work strike by unpaid national staff in September, he called on Cambodia and donors to address the “chronic and increasingly disruptive financial crisis” the court is facing.

Last month, the government contributed an additional $1.8 million to cover staff costs on the national side of the court through the end of 2013.

“This additional financial support should not be a one-time occurrence. It should be sustained into the next year of the court’s operation and beyond,” Eliasson said.

Last week the Open Society Justice Initiative – a New York-based court monitor – called on donors to stop “dribbling out funding” to the court if they are willing to fund it through the second trial of Case 002.

Closing statements in the first trial – Case 002/01 – wrapped up on October 31.

The court has repeatedly said that despite funding woes, the second trial, which will hear charges relating to genocide, S-21 and work cooperatives, is not optional, given an order from the Supreme Court chamber to start evidentiary hearings as soon as possible.


  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • Protests planned in New York as Hun Sen to attend the UN

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. But US-based supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) plan to throw eggs at his car as part of a series of protests to coincide

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune