UN: Anticorruption Progress Needed at ECCC

Responding to last week’s $4.2 million Japanese donation to the cash-strapped Khmer Rouge tribunal, the UN said Monday that an agreement on anticorruption measures would help “normalize” the flow of financial support to the court.

Last week’s bilateral Japanese donation effectively relieved the tribunal’s Cambodian side of a budget crisis that arose after the UN Development Program froze funding due to kickback allegations in July.

“We take note that one Govern­ment has made a financial contribution to the national side of the ECCC to ensure that the ECCC does not run out of funds,” UN spokes­man Farhan Haq wrote in an e-mail.

“The United Nations believes that to normalize the flow of funds to both the national and international sides of the Court, progress needs to be made on agreeing on an anticorruption mechanism for the ECCC,” he wrote.

Donors to the court Thurs­day called on the UN and the government to reach an agreement after negotiations on an anticorruption program failed last month. But even before the conclusion of last month’s failed negotiations be­tween the UN and the government on the anticorruption reporting mechanism, Australia informed the Cambodian government that it was ready to unfreeze funds held by UNDP, a request UNDP declined.

Besides the Japanese contribution, all other current funding to the Cambodian side of the court re­mains frozen with UNDP.

In a statement released Saturday, Cabinet Minister Sok An said UN and Cambodian court officials were continuing to discuss how to enact the outline of an anticorruption proposal produced during talks with the UN in February.

That outline was the basis of the talks that failed last month.

Council of Ministers spokes­man Phay Siphan said Tuesday that he could not provide information on whether the government was continuing talks with the UN in New York, but that the Cambodian position has not changed.

 

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