UN Meeting To Appeal for KR Trial Funds

The UN will formally appeal to the international community for money to fund a Khmer Rouge tri­bunal at a conference in New York scheduled March 28, officials said.

“The commencement of the tribunal will depend on the pledging conference,” taskforce Secretariat Sean Visoth said on Wednes­day. “I am optimistic.”

While several countries have al­ready promised to contribute $26.7 million for the $56 million tribunal, the government is hoping that the conference will see other countries step forward to make up the shortfall.

Australia, Britain and France have already pledged $5.2 million, while Japan committed $21.5 million. The Cambodian government said it will pay $13 million.

Sean Visoth would not say when a tribunal could commence if the full funding was secured at the UN conference.

Task force adviser Helen Jarvis said she believes many countries have been waiting for the conference to say how much they will contribute.

Jarvis also countered statements made two weeks ago by several human rights NGOs, which claimed money for witness and victim security had not been budgeted. The groups also said that protection of witness identities could be needed and urged for a reparation trust fund for Khmer Rouge victims.

“The details of these safety and security arrangements are under ac­tive planning and budgeting by both sides,” Jarvis wrote in a statement dated Monday.

As for monetary compensation to victims, Jarvis called for caution.

“How the [court] will manage these rights in a situation where every Cambodian citizen could potentially claim to have suffered damage is a matter that will need careful consideration,” she wrote.

“Money is not the only, not necessarily the most valued, form of reparation that could be awarded to the victims,” she said.

Sean Visoth said there are plans to protect victims and witnesses and details are being worked out as to how to fund those measures.

“We will take care of them even after the trial,” he said Wednesday.


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