The UN Development Program is considering how to proceed with its audit of the human resources section on the Cambodian side of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the UNDP said in a Friday statement.
A draft audit report, based on two rounds of investigation, has been given to the Cambodian side of the court, which submitted its comments on the report to the UNDP. The UNDP has not publicly released its findings, and it reiterated Friday that audit reports are not, as a matter of course, made public.
“We are considering options and actions, taking into consideration the response from ECCC, as is the practice with all audits,” the statement said, though it did not elaborate on what options are being considered.
“We believe in the importance of the work of the ECCC, and at the same time, we want to ensure the correct utilization of donor funds. Our aim is to move forward with the work of the tribunal, without sacrificing the integrity of the funds supporting it,” the UNDP concluded.
The UNDP commissioned the audit in response to concerns raised late last year over Cambodian hiring practices at the tribunal. In February, the Open Society Justice Initiative publicized allegations that Cambodian staffers, including judges, were paying kickbacks to government officials in return for their jobs. Cambodian government officials and tribunal staff have denied the allegation.
Some tribunal watchers have started to call for greater disclosure of the audit findings.
“The lack of information and lack of disclosure only feeds into the high suspicion that has been built up around the Khmer Rouge tribunal,” Theary Seng, executive director of the Center for Social Development, said Sunday.
“It’s in the best interests of the UNDP, Cambodian court officials and Cambodian government officials to disclose as much as possible,” she added. UNDP spokesman Men Kimseng could not be reached for comment.
ECCC Press Officer Reach Sambath said the court works to be as transparent as possible, though he added that there may be times when information needs to be withheld.