The Documentation Center of Cambodia wrote to former US president Bill Clinton on Dec 23, asking him to help raise money from private organizations to help pay for the Khmer Rouge tribunal.
Citing a lack of support from donor nations in funding the trial, DC Cam, the country’s largest repository of documentation on the Khmer Rouge, said they picked Clinton to raise funds privately because he signed the US’ Cambodian Genocide Justice Act in 1994.
“Only a few nations have pledged support thus far; promising $13 million of the $56 million required,” DC Cam Director Youk Chhang wrote.
“Even though [Clinton] is a private citizen he could help a lot,” Youk Chhang said this week.
The appeal to Clinton dovetails with his requested appearance by the World Bank at a conference on trade issues in Cambodia in February. Clinton’s participation, however, has not yet been confirmed, said Bou Saroeun, a spokesperson for the World Bank.
DC Cam hopes Clinton can also encourage people to donate office supplies, computers, cars and large television screens so the public can view court proceedings, Youk Chhang said.
“It would help reduce the burden for the international community and Cambodia,” he said, adding he does not want the tribunal delayed for lack of funds.
Clinton’s signing of the Cambodian Genocide Act during his time as president led to the establishment of DC Cam so evidence could be accumulated for the trial.
The letter was forwarded to Prime Minister Hun Sen, National Assembly President Prince Ranariddh and US Ambassador Charles Ray. Sean Visoth, the government’s tribunal task force executive secretary, welcomed Youk Chhang’s request Tuesday.
“Not only the former US president but any foundation or organization that can contribute to funding is welcome,” he said.
Funds for the tribunal were not provided for in the 2005 budget, which was approved by the Assembly on Dec 22. The Assembly attributed its lack of budget to the UN not setting a date for the trials to start.
(Additional reporting by Wency Leung)
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