UN Seeking New Coordinator for KR Tribunal

The UN is seeking a new coor­di­nator to be the world body’s co­or­dinator and main point-person for the Khmer Rouge tribunal, ac­cor­ding to a UN job posting ob­tain­­ed this week.

Applications for the position of co­ordinator for the UN’s opera­tion­al assistance to the Khmer Rouge tribunal, a position which be­­came vacant in October, were to have been submitted by May 8.

It was unclear this week whe­ther a new coordinator has been cho­sen or when he or she might ar­­rive in Cambodia to begin working on the tribunal’s logistics.

UN Development Program me­dia officer Meng Kimseng de­clin­ed to comment on the job posting, and UNDP Country Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Douglas Gardner did not re­ply to telephone calls re­questing comment placed with the UNDP of­­­­fice on Tuesday and Wednes­day.

Helen Jarvis of the government’s Khmer Rouge tribunal task force said she believed the posting to be for a replacement for the UN’s former coordinator, Karsten Her­rel, who briefly replaced be­lea­guer­ed for­mer UN coordinator Hans Cor­­ell.

“I understand it will be the same thing,” Jarvis said Wednesday, ad­ding that the government’s taskforce welcomed the news.

“Everything’s going ac­cording to the way we were ex­pecting,” she said. “We’re into the operational phase, and we’re working closely with the UN.”

Herrel was posted to a new as­signment in Burundi last Octo­ber after a year as coordinator.

During that time he had com­plain­­ed about a dearth of communication with his Cambodian counterparts and was faced with concern from donor nations who wan­ted to slash the tribunal’s then-estimated budget of more than $50 mil­lion.

Corell, Herrel’s predecessor, was roundly criticized by the government and the international com­mu­nity for withdrawing from tri­bu­nal negotiations in February 2002 af­ter four years. He had indicated the decision to withdraw was the re­­sult of Cambodia’s lack of will to de­liver a credible tribunal.

Youk Chhang, executive director of the Documentation Center of Cam­bodia, said while the UNDP has fil­led in since Herrel left, a new coordinator would help move the tribunal forward

“The work will go faster,” he said.

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