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Home arrow Asia-Pacific arrow Japan gives 21 mln dlrs to secure Khmer Rouge trial
Japan gives 21 mln dlrs to secure Khmer Rouge trial PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 12 January 2009
The future of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge trial is secure after Japan's foreign minister pledged funding of 21 million dollars during his visit yesterday, a Japanese official said.
Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone told Cambodian premier Hun Sen of the donation during a meeting in his day-long trip to the country, Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Takeshi Akamatsu said at a press briefing.
The money will double the amount Japan has given to the war crimes tribunal and cover half of the operating budget this year at the formerly cash-strapped court, Akamatsu said.
"If the money runs out again, we will certainly think of another contribution to this process," he said. "We see this as a portion of the Cambodian peace process — a completion of it."
Last year the Khmer Rouge tribunal faced a 43.8-million-dollar funding shortfall, prompting court officials to draw up a new budget and travel to New York in June to petition UN members for more funds.
International backers appeared hesitant to pledge more money because of allegations of political interference and mismanagement.
The UN launched an investigation into allegations that Cambodian workers had been forced to pay for their jobs and withheld at least 300,000 dollars in July funding and court salaries.
The investigation's findings were never made public but last week lawyers for Khmer Rouge "Brother Number 2" Nuon Chea, one of five former leaders due to stand trial, filed a corruption complaint against at least two top Cambodian officials at the tribunal.
Akamatsu said neither Hun Sen nor Nakasone raised the corruption allegations during their Sunday meeting but they both agreed that proceedings against Khmer Rouge suspects should begin as quickly as possible.
The tribunal opened in 2006 after nearly a decade of wrangling between the United Nations and Cambodia.
It is expected to hear its first case in March, against former Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav.
Up to two million people were executed or died of starvation and overwork as the communist Khmer Rouge dismantled modern Cambodian society during its 1975-1979 rule in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia.

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