The Khmer Rouge tribunal on Saturday said that contrary to what a government official suggested Friday, Cambodia and the UN have not created an independent team to review the budget and timetable of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.
“The United Nations is unaware of any such agreement and there are currently no plans to set up any ‘team of experts’ to review the budget and time scale of the ECCC,” a statement from the UN side of the tribunal said.
Phay Siphan, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, told reporters Friday that the government had agreed to an independent review of the ECCC to “evaluate time and money.”
Neither Phay Siphan nor Information Minister Khieu Kanharith could be reached Sunday.
“There was some confusion in the office of the Council of Ministers between the special review being discussed by the Project Board, which of course will have an impact on the issue of funding,” said Helen Jarvis, ECCC Public Affairs chief.
In October, the European Commission asked for an independent review of the ECCC to determine how successful court reform efforts have been in the wake of a hiring and management scandal that came to light last year.
In November, the Project Board, which oversees UNDP-managed funds for the Cambodian side of the ECCC, agreed to that review, which will assess whether new internal controls are enough to prevent future tribunal irregularities.
Donors have said they are awaiting the results of that review, which could come in this month, before deciding whether to provide additional funds for the ECCC.
The ECCC, originally budgeted at $56.3 million for three years, is now asking for $170 million to continue its work into 2011.
Foster, spokesman for the UN side of the court, said there is no other review panel pending.
“I can only assume he misunderstood,” Foster said of the government official’s Friday comments.