Pledging conference held at UN to raise funds for special Khmer Rouge court

Pledging conference held at UN to raise funds for special Khmer Rouge court

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today asked donors to support a special court set up in Cambodia with United Nations assistance to try ageing leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime accused of killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in the country during the 1970s.

The three-year budget for those trials is about $56.3 million, of which $43 million is to be paid by the United Nations and $13.3 million by the Government of Cambodia.

In setting up the two Extraordinary Chambers – one court will conduct trials and the other will hear appeals within the existing Cambodia justice system – the Security Council established that the UN funding would come from voluntary contributions.

Mr. Annan has previously said that voluntary financing for the tribunals must cover the three years of the courts' operation, and that actual receipt of funding for at least the first year must be in place before the courts can begin their work.

In a message today to the pledging conference, he said, "The crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge were of a character and scale that it is still almost impossible to comprehend. The victims of those horrific crimes have waited too long for justice. By your generous contributions today, you can send a message that the international community will do its part to ensure that, however late, and however imperfect, impunity will not remain unchallenged, and a measure of justice will be done.

"That will be a precious and important gift to Cambodia," he added.