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Asia-pacific

Japan announces funds for broke Khmer Rouge tribunal

Latest update : 2009-03-21

Japan has announced that it will grant the UN-backed tribunal charged with judging former members of the Khmer Rouge dictatorship an extra 200,000 dollars in funding, after donations dried up following corruption charges.

AFP- Japan announced an "urgent" 200,000 dollar donation to the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal Friday, allowing it to pay Cambodian staff after donations dried up following corruption claims.
   
A leading judge at the war crimes tribunal said earlier this month that the court did not have enough money to pay local staff after accusations of graft made donors wary.
   
"In response to the request from the royal government of Cambodia, the government of Japan has made an urgent decision to contribute 200,000 US dollars... to finance the Cambodian share of the trial budget," said a press statement by the Japanese embassy.
   
Under the complicated tribunal agreement, Cambodian and international staff have separate budgets funded by countries including Japan, France, Australia, Germany and the United States.
   
The court's first trial is under way, but the Cambodian side has been hit by claims of political interference and a scandal in which local staff were allegedly forced to pay kickbacks for their jobs.
   
Japan said it "places emphasis on progress of the Khmer Rouge tribunal, as it believes this process will promote peace, democracy, the rule of law and good governance in Cambodia."
   
The long-awaited first Khmer Rouge trial began last month when the regime's notorious prison chief, Kaing Guek Eav, better known by the alias Duch, went before the court.
   
He is one of five former Khmer Rouge leaders scheduled to be tried by the court.
   
Up to two million people died of starvation and overwork, or were executed by the Khmer Rouge, which dismantled modern Cambodian society in its effort to forge a radical agrarian utopia.

Date created : 2009-03-21

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