ECCC Funding Delayed Over Graft Claims

Funding for the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Cambodian side has been delayed while donors consider a re­sponse to kickback allegations leveled recently by staff at the court, UN and tribunal officials said Tuesday.

The court’s UN side revealed Monday that a UN oversight body in New York is now reviewing multiple allegations of kickbacks that Cambodian staff have made since the end of June.

The tribunal also said Tuesday that as a result of the new allegations, its approximately 250 Cam­bodian employees have not re­ceived their paychecks for the month of July. It is unsure when funding will re­sume, officials said.

The new allegations of financial impropriety emerge as the first in­dictment of a Khmer Rouge re­gime official and a first trial are both expected at the court within weeks.

International donors to the court’s Cambodian side, who channel their contributions via the UN, have decided to delay payment while they consider how to respond to the new allegations, the UN De­velopment Program said in statements Tuesday.

UNDP Country Director Jo Scheuer said the disbursement of a regular installment of UNDP-managed funds had initially been held up because the court had not yet provided a routine spending plan for the funds.

“Since then, and in light of the allegations of kickbacks, we are reviewing the implications with our donors in order to come to a decision as to what to do about the allegations,” Scheuer said in a statement.

“We are all aware and concerned about the impact of the delay and are committed to finding a solution as soon as possible,” he said.

The project board, a committee of representatives from the UN, European Commission and the tribunal, which governs the UNDP funding, was informed of this on Monday, according to Scheuer.

Tribunal Public Affairs Chief Helen Jarvis said Tuesday that the holdup in funding meant Cambodian staff salaries for July had not been paid.

The court’s entire Cambodian payroll amounts to $300,000 per month, she said, adding that word of an initial delay in payment was first given to the court on July 22 but no mention of kickbacks was made at that time.

Payment would normally have been expected by July 27 to allow the court to issue paychecks by the end of the month, she said.

“The director of administration informed the staff on the 29th of July that there was to be a delay but we were hoping that it wouldn’t be too long,” Jarvis said.

She said it was unclear how long the court’s Cambodian side could continue to function while unpaid.

“One would hope that the project board would come to a resolution and release the funds in time before people have to start leaving,” she said.

“I don’t think that any of us can contemplate that we’d have to close down the court at this time. It has to up because the court had not yet provided a routine spending plan for the funds.

“Since then, and in light of the allegations of kickbacks, we are reviewing the implications with our donors in order to come to a decision as to what to do about the allegations,” Scheuer said in a statement.

“We are all aware and concerned about the impact of the delay and are committed to finding a solution as soon as possible,” he said.

The project board, a committee of representatives from the UN, European Commission and the tribunal, which governs the UNDP funding, was informed of this on Monday, according to Scheuer.

Tribunal Public Affairs Chief Helen Jarvis said Tuesday that the holdup in funding meant Cambodian staff salaries for July had not been paid.

The court’s entire Cambodian payroll amounts to $300,000 per month, she said, adding that word of an initial delay in payment was first given to the court on July 22 but no mention of kickbacks was made at that time.

Payment would normally have been expected by July 27 to allow the court to issue paychecks by the end of the month, she said.

“The director of administration informed the staff on the 29th of July that there was to be a delay but we were hoping that it wouldn’t be too long,” Jarvis said.

She said it was unclear how long the court’s Cambodian side could continue to function while unpaid.

“One would hope that the project board would come to a resolution and release the funds in time before people have to start leaving,” she said.

“I don’t think that any of us can contemplate that we’d have to close down the court at this time. It has to be resolved,” she added.

For the court’s Cambodian side, UNDP manages almost $7 million in funds from the European Commission, France, Australia and the UN itself, though the funds are now nearly exhausted.

A recently announced Japanese donation of almost $3 million for the Cambodian side is to be made directly to the court, and not via the UN, officials said.

be resolved,” she added.

For the court’s Cambodian side, UNDP manages almost $7 million in funds from the European Commission, France, Australia and the UN itself, though the funds are now nearly exhausted.

A recently announced Japanese donation of almost $3 million for the Cambodian side is to be made directly to the court, and not via the UN, officials said.

 

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