The Cambodian side of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia has released its first annual report, detailing the tribunal’s accomplishments through December 2006 and making plain the imminent budget crisis the Cambodian side faces.
Last year, the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge tribunal spent only 12.7 percent of its three-year, $13.2-million budget, according to the report, which was released July 2.
Expenditures are expected to rise sharply in 2007, however, only $6.8 million in committed funds have actually been delivered. The result, according to the report, is that the Cambodian side of the court will run out of money at the end of January 2008.
ECCC Public Affairs Chief Helen Jarvis said July 4 that the court will launch a joint appeal for additional financing.
“We are optimistic the donors will see that progress has been made,” she added.
Canadian Ambassador Donica Pottie said that the adoption in June of a crucial set of procedural rules, coupled with the court’s willingness to enact key recommendations made by the UN Development Program following its Cambodian human resources audit, would ease the next round of fundraising.
“The court has achieved considerable results in its first year,” Pottie said. Her main concern for the court today, she said, is money.
“It may be difficult to raise additional funds, though I do think there is a great deal of sympathy for the Khmer Rouge tribunal,” she added.
“It may take reaching a critical point before funds are forthcoming from donors. I just don’t know.”
A second diplomat said on condition of anonymity that he was pleased with the momentum the ECCC has gathered, though he too said it was impossible to tell how much new financing will be forthcoming.
“The cleaner the process appears, the easier it will be to find additional money,” he said, adding that nearly one year into the court’s three year budgetary mandate, it has become clear the tribunal will not finish its work on time.
“They’re not on schedule, but they’re on the way.”
The annual report, which was finalized in February and discussed with donors in March, was greeted with skepticism by several NGOs, who criticized it for revealing too little, too late.
“It’s too formal and superficial,” said Hisham Mousar, who monitors the tribunal for rights group Adhoc.
Too few details are given about hiring practices at the court and how money was actually spent, he said, adding that 2006 was most notable for the work that the ECCC did not get done.
Failure to adopt internal rules as planned, in November, meant that judges could not begin judicial work, he said.
“What is the progress of the court? Just administrative tasks,” he said. “The sole working sections were the office of the prosecutors and the internal rules committee,” he added.
The report said some 5,500 pages of evidence compiled by the office of the co-prosecutors has been scanned and stored in a secure room.
Jarvis said the report was a voluntary exercise that demonstrated the court’s commitment to transparency.