Upon returning from UN headquarters in New York on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong said that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has offered to drum up funds for the long-anticipated Khmer Rouge tribunal.
Annan asked to be notified once the agreement to prosecute surviving Khmer Rouge leaders, signed in March 2003 by then-senior minister Sok An and UN legal counsel Hans Correl, is adopted by the National Assembly, Hor Namhong said.
The secretary-general said he would then call together representatives of potential donor nations to pledge funds, according to Hor Namhong, who is also Cambodia’s foreign minister.
The National Assembly is scheduled to consider the tribunal accord today, and numerous government officials have predicted it will be ratified quickly.
Before leaving for the 59th session of the UN General Assembly last month, Hor Namhong joined Prime Minister Hun Sen in sternly warning donor countries that foreign funding will be required to bring the Khmer Rouge leadership to justice.
In addition to the government’s inability to ratify its agreement with the UN, more than a year and a half after signing it, funding has been a major point of conflict, with some donors shying away from high budget estimates.
Hor Namhong also said that Cambodia will face a tough rival in its bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2006-07 term.
Qatar is also vying for the spot, he said.
“In 50 years, Cambodia has never had any special position in the UN, so now we think that Cambodia has closely cooperated with the UN, so that is why we think that Cambodia should have the position in the UN,” Hor Namhong said.