Cambodia Genocide Tribunal Running Out Of Money

Plagued by
long delays and corruption allegations, the special court prosecuting Cambodia‘s
former Khmer Rouge leaders on genocide charges is running short of money months
before its first trial is set to start.
    “The
money is not going to come easily,” Knut Rosandhaug, the court’s Norwegian
deputy director of administration, told reporters. “We have to work for
the money.”
    The court,
which was set up by the United Nations and Cambodia‘s
government two years ago, needs $43.8 million to continue operating through
2009, administrators said Tuesday in Phnom
Penh
, the Cambodian capital.
    The
tribunal is holding five former Khmer Rouge officials on charges stemming from
the deaths of at least 1.7 million people during the Communist regime’s reign
of terror from 1975 to 1979. The charges include murder and crimes against
humanity.
    The
prisoners are elderly, and most are in failing health, so many Cambodians fear
that the suspects may die before survivors’ long wait for justice is over.
    After
almost a decade of bickering between the U.N. and Cambodia‘s government over the
court’s rules, the special court finally began work in 2006 with a combination
of foreign and local judges and support staffers.
    The
tribunal was originally expected to cost $56.3 million for three years. But the
estimated budget has ballooned to $143 million for a five-year term ending in
2010, the administration said Tuesday.
    So far, Japan is the
only country to answer the tribunal’s pleas for more funds. By far the court’s
largest foreign donor, Japan
pledged $3 million last week, raising its total donation to more than $24
million.
    Last year,
the Open Society Justice Initiative, a New
York
law reform organization founded by billionaire
George Soros, said judges and other tribunal staff were forced to pay kickbacks
to keep their jobs.
    The U.N.
said in April that an audit showed that management reforms had produced
“significant improvement” in the court’s administration. But many
Cambodians are losing faith in the promise that Khmer Rouge leaders will have
to answer for their crimes.
    Khmer Rouge
leader Pol Pot, whose real name was Saloth Sar, escaped justice when he died in
1998 in the northern Cambodian jungle.
    He was
Brother No. 1 in a ruthless revolution that emptied the cities, forcing
millions of people to work on collective farms where many died of starvation or
exhaustion.


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