Prime Minister Hun Sen is scheduled to meet U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday to appeal for help for the financially beleaguered Khmer Rouge tribunal, which is in the last stages of a key case and has no money to pay its national staff.
Mr. Hun Sen and Mr. Ban are both in Brunei for the 23rd Asean Summit, according to the prime minister’s personal adviser, Sry Thamrong.
“Samdech will meet with the U.N. secretary-general to discuss cooperation between Cambodia and the U.N. and the financial issues at the Khmer Rouge court, in order to ensure that it will successfully finish,” Mr. Thamrong said.
But Mr. Hun Sen has made no secret of the fact that he does not want the hybrid U.N.-Cambodian court—which has completed one case and is currently hearing its second out of four—to see all of its cases through, and has even gone so far as to tell Mr. Ban this personally.
In October 2010, on a visit to Cambodia, Mr. Hun Sen informed Mr. Ban that Case 002 would be the court’s last, saying instability could occur if Cases 003 and 004 went to trial.
In spite of this and the fact that the Cambodian government is legally obliged to fund the national component of the tribunal, Mr. Ban has already made two personal appeals for U.N. member states to step forward and provide funding after unpaid staff went on strike for the second time this year.
Court spokesman Neth Pheaktra declined to comment when asked about Mr. Hun Sen’s reticence to see the court fulfill its mandate, but said he welcomed talks between the prime minister and Mr. Ban.
“The shortfall is $1.8 million from September to December,” he said. “Salaries for national staff were paid for the three months from June to August but we haven’t been paid for September yet. We hope they can find a solution.”