Work Begins on New Cells for KR Trial Detainees

Work on a new, eight-cell permanent detention facility is underway at the Extraordinary Cham­bers in the Courts of Cambodia.

“The foundation is complete. Now we start building,” Heng Rathpiseth, director of Royal Me­kong Construction and Dev­el­op­ment, the Cambodian firm building the facility, said in an interview Wednesday.

The building will be paid for with $79,000 from the Indian government and is slated for completion in mid-May, ECCC Public Affairs Chief Helen Jarvis said in an e-mail Monday.

She added that Royal Mekong won the contract through an open bidding process.

The facility will be equipped with a communal dining area, an infirmary, a visitors’ area and eight cells, each with a toilet, Jarvis wrote. There is, however, no air conditioning. “The building is constructed to give natural ventilation,” Jarvis wrote.

This new facility will supplant three cabins constructed late last year at a cost of $45,000—paid for by the Japanese government—that have never been put to use, as no arrests have yet been made by the court.

“It’s waiting,” Jarvis said in an interview Wednesday. “There is nobody in detention at the moment.”

Once the new detention facility has been completed, Jarvis said the cabins will be used for other purposes. “The initial detention facility will be used if required during the time of construction of the new building,” she said “After­wards, it will be utilized for functions related to detention, such as ac­com­mo­dation for security guards.”

The new detention facility will lie just outside the fence that de­marcates the court’s territory, and the Cambodian government will be responsible for security, Jarvis said.

Heng Rathpiseth said his company had also previously won bids to do work for the UN Dev­elop­ment Program, the World Bank and the Asian Develop­ment Bank. ADB documents show that Royal Mekong won a $194,944 road rehabilitation contract in February 2006.

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