The ECCC funding crisis must be swiftly resolved

Press release

The Government of Cambodia and the international community should immediately work to resolve the funding crisis of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), in order to effectively complete the proceedings against former Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, and respect the rights of victims to justice and reparation, according to FIDH and its Cambodian member organisations, ADHOC and LICADHO.

Unpaid since June 2013, a majority of the ECCC national staff has been on strike for nearly a month. At the same time, FIDH, ADHOC and LICADHO are calling for the swift and effective completion of proceedings in the ongoing first segment of Case 002 (Case 002/01) against former Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea [1]. Both the Cambodian government and the United Nations are responsible for ensuring that this hybrid court renders justice and provides for reparation measures for the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime. However, the Cambodian government has consistently failed to uphold its obligation to pay the national staff of the court. On 18 September, it was announced that the UN were allocating a loan to the Cambodian government to cover the costs of the unpaid last three months’ salaries of ECCC national staff, in order to bring an end to the strike.

"Cambodian authorities’ failure to respect their commitment is damaging the already shaken confidence the Cambodian people and the international community have put into this hybrid UN-backed tribunal" , declared Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President and legal representative of Civil Parties in Case 002. "The latest United Nations’ financial support can be welcomed in a context where the trial-phase of Case 002/01 is almost completed. However, it does not represent a lasting solution to a serious problem that could seriously damage the accountability process in Cambodia" , he added.

"This funding crisis also has an impact on victims’ reparation proceedings. The burden of designing, collecting funds, and implementing reparation projects now lies with the Civil Parties, their lawyers and supporting NGOs. This is not the way it should be" , said Thun Saray, ADHOC President.

Closing statements in the first trial of Case 002 (Case 002/01) are planned to start in mid- October 2013. FIDH, ADHOC and LICADHO call on the Cambodian authorities and international donors, particularly those who support reconciliation and the promotion of peace in the region, to increase financial and diplomatic efforts to ensure that Case 002/01 completes the final trial phase successfully. In addition, funding must be secured so that all other proceedings in Cases 002, 003 and 004 are carried out genuinely and in full respect of victims rights to truth, justice and reparation.

Read more