The U.N. and the Cambodian government should immediately solve the funding crisis at the hybrid Khmer Rouge tribunal, which has led to two staff strikes since early 2013 and affected the court’s proceedings, NGOs said Friday.
On Wednesday, the U.N. announced that it had allocated a loan to pay the outstanding salaries of the national staff who the government had not paid in June, July and August, local human rights groups Adhoc and Licadho said in a joint statement released by the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).
“Cambodian authorities’ failure to respect their commitment is damaging the already shaken confidence the Cambodian people and the international community have put into this hybrid U.N.-backed tribunal,” Patrick Baudouin, honorary president of FIDH, said.
Despite a severe lack of funding to the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s national side, a radio program funded by and focusing on the hybrid court resumed after a more than six-month pause on Thursday, officials said. The program, which airs every Thursday between noon and 1 p.m., was dropped in early 2013 due to a shortage in funding, said Lars Olsen, legal communications officer at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
“This [radio show] has been a planned activity all along, the fact that it was canceled was because of the financial constraints at the beginning of the year,” Mr. Olsen said.
Funding for the radio program, which is broadcast on Bayon FM, came from the international side of the court, he said, adding that he couldn’t recall the production costs.
“We have funding for the radio at the moment…. The funding for national side is not secured but the radio program is based on international budget,” he said.
The radio show was designed to give updates on the tribunal, which is currently not in session, and to provide an opportunity to listeners to call in to ask experts questions.
The show will air for at least the next three months, Mr. Olsen said. Closing statements for Case 002’s first “mini-trial” are scheduled for a nine-day period in October.
“The intention is to continue it [the radio show] after three months—provided we have funding,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Mech Dara)