UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will ask for voluntary contributions in early February to finance a joint UN-Cambodian tribunal for senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge after negotiators agree on an operating budget, a UN statement said Thursday.
The National Assembly still must ratify a June agreement with the UN establishing the tribunal with a mixed panel of Cambodian and international judges. And Annan said last week that before the tribunal opens, funds for one year of operations and pledges to fund two additional years must be received.
Last week, officials from a UN assessment mission said the tribunal could open a couple of months after the Assembly ratifies the agreement. UN officials reached a “tentative agreement” with the government on a concept of operations, an implementation plan with timelines and staffing issues, the UN statement said.
It also said the UN and the government agreed on a site for the trials, but government and local UN officials denied any agreement was reached.
“Nothing has been confirmed in terms of location,” Christelle Chapoy, a UN spokesperson, said Thursday. “Unless they made up their mind in New York, which is possible, but we haven’t received any confirmation.”
Government lawyer Heng Vong Bunchhat also said no agreement on the court’s location has been reached. He added that officials are looking for a location that has about 10,000 square meters of office space. “There are many options,” he said.
The government has looked at a range of sites for the tribunal and is conducting more studies to narrow the choices, Helen Jarvis, an adviser to the government’s tribunal task force, said Thursday.
No specific trial locations were discussed at a meeting last Friday at the Council of Ministers between government officials, the UN assessment mission and foreign diplomats, said Pierre Tami, special consul to the Swiss government and executive director of the NGO Hagar, who attended the meeting.
“The meeting was short and sweet,” he said Thursday. “There was nothing of major concern to report.”