Australia Pledges $1.5 Million for KR Tribunal

Australia will contribute $1.5 million to help fund a Khmer Rouge tribunal supported by the UN, Australian Justice Minister Chris Ellison said Friday.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Phnom Penh, Ellison said he hoped that the long-anticipated trial of Khmer Rouge leaders would happen soon.

“The Australian government has been committed to the pro­cess to deal with” the organization of the tribunal, he said.

After nearly six years of negotiations, the Cambodian government and the UN signed a deal in June to set up the tribunal. The deal calls for donor countries to help fund it. A UN mission earlier this month said it has not agreed on the financing, though the government proposed a $40 million budget in October.

The agreement for the tribunal still must be ap­proved by the Na­tional Assembly.

Ellison deflected questions about whether Australia would dispatch some of its judges and prosecutors to the UN legal panel that will be charged with carrying out the tribunal.

The tribunal is expected to be held under Cambodian law with a mix of Cambodian and international judges.

Meanwhile on Friday, Ellison and Minister of Justice Neav Sithong signed an agreement aimed at combating sex trafficking. During the signing ceremony, Neav Sithong said their “Mem­o­randum of Subsidiary Agree­ment” will help police and other agencies collaborate to support trafficking victims as they seek justice through the courts.

He added that the deal marked their commitment to “improve victims’ access to justice, increase security in society and end im­punity for traffickers and their accomplices.”

Neither Neav Sithong nor El­lison mentioned any financial com­mitments related to the agreement.

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