The proposed $60.5 million budget for the next two years of operations at the perennially cash-strapped Khmer Rouge tribunal has been accepted and endorsed by a group of donor countries at the U.N. in New York.
“The budget for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) for the period 2014 to 2015 has been endorsed by the Group of Interested States,” the court said in a statement Wednesday, referring to a group that includes major donors to the tribunal such as Japan and Australia.
“The total budget amounts to $31.6 million for 2014 and $28.9 million for 2015,” the statement said, adding that the national component would need $6.4 million this year and $6 million next year.
The international side of the hybrid court needs $25.2 million for this year and $22.9 million for 2015, with $1.8 million and $1.6 million being held in contingency, respectively.
The national budget does not include a contingency fund.
The number of Cambodian staff at the court has also fallen from 269 in 2013 to 168 this year, and will drop again to an expected 157 for 2015. The budget is also lower, having dropped from $89.6 million for the previous two-year period from 2012 to 2013.
However, that time was blighted by the national side frequently falling short in its ability to pay staff—a problem exacerbated by the government’s refusal to honor its agreement to cover the salaries of Cambodian staff.
Staff twice went on strike over the issue, which further delayed court proceedings that had already been hindered by the poor health of the defendants in Case 002.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also made a number of appeals for donor countries to step in and provide critically needed funds.
“I welcome the endorsement of the new budget, and strongly appeal to the donor community to provide necessary financial support to the ECCC,” said Tony Kranh, acting director of the court’s Office of Administration, in a statement sent out by the court.
The Trial Chamber is currently in the process of establishing a schedule for Case 002/02.
crothers@cambodiadaily.com
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