Press release

Khmer Rouge Tribunal Is a Step Closer but Much Remains to Be Done

Date
March 29, 2005
Contact
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NEW YORK—Yesterday a United Nations donor conference secured pledges of US $38.48 million towards the establishment of the long awaited Khmer Rouge Tribunal. But much work remains before the tribunal's operation is assured. Most immediately, governments must raise the remainder of the three-year $56.3 million budget, and ensure the highest quality appointments to judicial and prosecutorial posts.

The conference signified a weighty international commitment to ending impunity and securing justice for the approximately two million Cambodian victims of Khmer Rouge violence. This international effort was spearheaded in large part by Japan, which funded half the UN's portion. Other donors yesterday included Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. The Cambodian government, due to pay $13.3 million toward the tribunal's total cost, has pledged $1.5 million and another $5.2 million in-kind. Donor governments will likely have to cover the rest.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told reporters last night that the pledges had "moved us an important step closer" to making the tribunal a reality. He was confident the balance could be raised, saying "we can get it started."

The Open Society Justice Initiative, which is working to secure the tribunal's creation and promote fair and independent trials, welcomed yesterday's achievements. The Justice Initiative also underscored the need for the United Nations to take the lead in ensuring the long-term integrity of the tribunal process.

"The United Nations and the broader international community cannot stop now," said Justice Initiative executive director James A. Goldston. "Continued engagement at the highest levels will be essential to prevent political interference, ensure broad public participation, and maximize the tribunal's demonstration effect on Cambodia's weak legal system."

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