UN Audit of KR Trial Stays Under Wraps

The UN Development Program-commissioned audit of the Cambo­dian human resources section of the Khmer Rouge tribunal continues to progress behind closed doors, with no indication as to whether or when its final results might be made public, officials said Tuesday. 

Tribunal Public Affairs Chief Hel­en Jarvis said the UNDP had sent a draft of the audit to the tribunal’s Di­rector of Administration Sean Vis­oth, and that he has given a preliminary response, though she de­clined to reveal details.

“It’s a discussion between UNDP New York and the director of ad­ministration,” Jarvis said of the au­dit. “It’s not a public document.”

Circulation of the draft report has been tight.

Officials on the UN side of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have not re­ceived an official copy, said the tribunal’s UN Public Affairs officer Peter Foster.

“It’s a UNDP issue,” Foster said. “It’s up to them to decide how they want to distribute the report,” he said.

The UNDP has given no indication that the final version of the report might be made public.

Requests for comment to the UNDP in New York have gone un­answered and the UNDP’s Phnom Penh office has declined to answer specific questions about the audit.

On Tuesday, UNDP spokesman Men Kimseng did not respond to requests for comment.

The UNDP commissioned the audit in response to concerns rais­ed late last year over Cambodi­an hiring practices at the tribunal.

The UNDP oversees more than $6 million in funds donated to the Cambodian side of the court, most of which came from leftover Un­tac funds and the European Commission.

In February, the Open Society Justice Initiative, a New York based legal group monitoring the tribunal, publicized allegations that Cambo­dian staffers, including judges, were paying kickbacks to government officials in return for their jobs. Cambodian government officials and tribunal staff strongly denied the allegations.

Similar allegations surfaced at the international criminal courts of Rwanda and the former Yugosla­via. In a March memo, OSJI said allegations that defense lawyers at those courts—almost all of whom were paid with UN funds—agreed to share fees with their clients in exchange for the opportunity to represent them were promptly investigated and publicly discussed.

“The ECCC can similarly benefit from applying the lessons of these tribunals to its own practices,” the memo said.

“[T]he experience of other tribunals has shown that the institution will be stronger if the matter is dealt with head on and publicly,” it added.

 

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