The final working budget for a three-year Khmer Rouge tribunal has been set at just over $56 million, UN and government representatives announced Friday, before informing reporters that the trial’s site will likely be moved to the newly constructed RCAF headquarters on the outskirts of the capital.
The UN team, which arrived Wednesday, will now return to New York to present the new budget numbers to Secretary-General Kofi Annan before the world body begins fundraising, UN task force coordinator Mohammed Said told reporters gathered at the Council of Ministers.
Sean Visoth, secretary of the government’s tribunal task force, said Cambodia will shoulder about $13 million of the budget, a significantly larger portion than the $7 million the government had been bargaining for.
“It is hoped that a successful outcome of the appeal [for funds] will allow us to move onward to the actual implementation of the extraordinary chambers, hopefully within the first half of 2005,” he said.
This week the budget was whittled down from $57 million for to its current amount of $56.272 million, which Said called “peanuts” in comparison to the cost of other international tribunals.
Some of those savings may result from a government-proposed change of venue for the trial, which was originally slotted to take place at Phnom Penh’s Chaktomuk Theater and the National Cultural Center.
The new site is RCAF headquarters on National Road 4, which has sufficient facilities to house all of the proceedings, Sean Visoth said.
The decision to move the trial was made for logistical reasons, he stressed, saying security and communications would be improved, and by holding the event under one roof, planning would be simplified.
In response to questions about the potentially daunting nature of legal proceedings at a military installation, Said explained that the tribunal would be completely isolated from RCAF operations and that he believed the government’s suggestion was a positive one.
“I think there’s no intimidation intended,” he said.