Tribunal’s New Budget Is All But Approved

Donor countries have until Tues­day to express opposition to the propsed budget of the Khmer Rouge tribunal; otherwise, it will be approved, a Japanese government official said Thursday.

Presented to donors in New York last month, the revised budget called for $87 million in additional funding over the court’s initial $56.3 million budget of 2004. A version circulated in January, calling for a $114 million increase, was widely rejected as vague and unjustified.

A European diplomat close to the UN said by telephone from New York on Thursday that $11 million in contingency costs in the June budget have been halved, reducing the new request to about $80 million.

According to the Japanese official, a four-nation “steering committee” of the court’s most attentive financial backers—Japan, Australia, France and the UK—has already unanimously approved the budget.

In a Wednesday letter to donors, Japan, which chairs the steering committee, asked to cancel a donor meeting originally meant to be held July 16 in New York in favor of a “silent procedure,” the Japanese official said.

As of Monday, silence on the part of donor countries will mean approval, said the official, who asked not to be named.

“If there is no objection or comment from other members of the group of interested states, it means endorsement by the group of interested states,” he said.

The European diplomat said the wider Group of Interested States, made up of all the court’s donors and potential donors, will likely follow the steering committee’s lead.

“Since the steering committee unan­imously approved it, it’s hard to see the others opposing it,” he said.

The latest budget revisions, which won donor plaudits last month, were largely attributed to Da­v­­id Tolbert, UN Secretary-Gener­al Ban Ki-moon’s adviser on the tribunal.

Tolbert will arrive in Phnom Penh on Saturday for 10 days of consultations with diplomats and court officials, a tribunal spokes­man said Thursday.

“He’s going to be meeting donor country representatives here, various ECCC officials, and then moving on,” said Peter Foster, who called the visit “purely technical.”


Related Stories

Latest News