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Graft allegations hit Cambodia's Khmer Rouge trial PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

PHNOM PENH, Tue Aug 12, (bdnews24.com/Reuters) - International donors have been withholding payments to Cambodia's Khmer Rouge `Killing Fields' tribunal because of concerns about corruption, officials said on Tuesday.

Helen Jarvis, an Australian working on the Cambodian side of the joint Cambodian-U.N. tribunal, said 250 Cambodians had not been paid a total of $700,000 since June, threatening the future of the long-awaited court, which is running over time and budget.  

"It is becoming increasingly difficult for Cambodian staff," Jarvis told Reuters.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which has been managing donor funding for the trial, said it had decided to freeze payments last week following a renewed series of allegations of kickbacks involving local staff.

"UNDP is taking the matter very seriously. We have met with donors to keep them informed," UNDP official Aimee Brown said.

The tribunal is in the middle of trying to secure an extra $87 million in funding to supplement the initial budget of $56 million, and allow the proceedings to run until 2010.

Five top Khmer Rouge cadres have been charged with war crimes or crimes against humanity for their part in the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people under Pol Pot's four-year reign of terror.

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