EU Pledges $4M to KRT, but Unpaid Staff Threaten to Strike

The European Union (E.U.) has pledged $4 million to the international component of the cash-strapped Khmer Rouge tribunal amid renewed threats from unpaid national staff that they will go on strike on September 1 if they do not receive their salaries.

The funds will go toward paying salaries for the international judg­es, prosecutors and legal support staff at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cam­bodia (ECCC), the E.U. delegation to Cambodia said in a statement.

“This new contribution to the ECCC, the first to its international component, is a renewed proof of the commitment of the European Union to deliver justice for the Cambodian people,” said E.U. Ambassador Jean-Francois Cautain.

“This contribution comes at a crucial time for the work of the Court, when the Trial Chamber is about to conclude the evidence hearings in Case 002/01 and investigations on Case 003 and Case 004 are well under way,” he added.

Tony Kranh, acting director of the court’s Office of Administration, said he was “grateful” for the financial assistance.

Court spokesman Neth Pheaktra, however, said that the national component of the court is struggling to meet a $3 million shortfall that has left staff unpaid for June and July.

“National staff of the ECCC, especially from General Service Section and Court Management Section including the Interpretation and Translation Unit and transcribers—a total of about 100 staff—plan to boycott their work from September 1, 2013,” Mr. Pheaktra said in an email.

Separately, the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC), a consortium of NGOs, has applauded the body’s Supreme Court Chamber (SCC) for a July ruling it made that called for the establishment of a second trial panel to get Case 002/02 underway as soon as the present “mini-trial” is finished.

“In the interests of transparency and justice we call the Office of Administration…to report publically on what precise progress has been made in the month since the SCC’s unambiguous instruction directed to the office of the Ad­ministration in carrying out that direct, clear and exact instruction,” CHRAC said in a statement.

“We would require to know what (if any) excuse there would be for any delay in carrying out such an unambiguous and clear-cut instruction.”

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