Norway pledged to give one million USD to Khmer Rouge tribunal

The Khmer Rouge tribunal runs out of money at the end of this month. Several governments who have pledged funds have yet to make deposits, but even if they do so, they would only sustain the international budget through October, leaving a US$4 million shortfall for the rest of 2012, writes Phnom Penh Post.

Trying to fill the gap, David Scheffer, the UN-appointed Special Expert for the Khmer Rouge tribunal, has been on an intensive fundraising drive and is optimistic. He believes that the tribunal will get through this cash crisis, at least temporarily.

“Several donor states have pledged funds which have not been paid in yet, and until they are paid in, the cash shortage remains very serious,” he said.

He expects donating countries such as Norway, which Scheffer said pledged $1 million to the court on 15 August 2012, and Australia, which announced a $1.4 million donation in July, to make good on their offers soon. Japan has traditionally contributed the most to the tribunal followed by Australia.

Some donor countries, like the United States have tried to keep up with the court’s needs.

“In the last three years, the US government has contributed a total of approximately $11.2 million to the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia,” said US Embassy spokesman Sean McIntosh, adding that the US upped its donation from $1.2 million in 2010 to $5 million in 2011 and 2012.

All the same, financial constraints have become routine for the court, according to tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen.

“This is not a new trend, but this year we are even shorter than usual,” he said.

As it gradually expanded to take on all of its functions, the court’s expenditures rose almost 300 per cent since 2007 to an estimated $45.7 million, according to court figures with a large part of that increase coinciding with the global financial crisis.

“We experienced that the global financial crisis makes it more difficult to raise funds as many countries are forced to cut their public spending,” Olsen said.

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