The European Commission intends to contribute about $1.3 million to the Khmer Rouge tribunal, Winston Mc Colgan, European Commission Charge d’Affairs said Friday.
The international community is expected to provide $43 million through the UN toward the $56.3 million tribunal. With the European Commission’s contribution, the amount pledged by the international community will reach about $39.9 million.
The government has stated that it will only contribute $1.5 million in cash and will seek bilateral partners to cover the rest of its share.
“There are still some funds to be raised and the tribunal must be prepared thoroughly, but I very much hope we will see [it] start by the end of the year,” Mc Colgan said.
Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, welcomed the announcement, adding that it may now be time for Asean member countries to contribute.
“Neighboring Asian countries can also chip in because the shortfall is getting very small,” Youk Chhang said. “Human rights are not just about Europeans.”
He added that he hoped both Finland and New Zealand will also step forward to help fund the long-awaited trial.
Kek Galabru, founder of local rights group Licadho, said she had expected the European Commission to pledge between $2 million and $3 million. “Now they need $3 million more. I don’t think New Zealand will pay that much,” Kek Galabru said.
Scandinavian countries are reluctant to contribute to the trial because they believe it will not meet international standards, she said.
The US also reiterated on April 21 that it will not fund the trial until such standards are assured.
Although the figure to be provided by the international community is almost met, the small amount of money that remains to be raised may be used to further delay the trial, Kek Galabru warned.
Sean Visoth, secretary of the government’s Khmer Rouge task force, said he was too busy to discuss the tribunal on Friday.