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Monday, March 02, 2009

Cambodia war crimes court unable to pay employees due to donation shortfall
Jay Carmella at 8:08 AM ET

[JURIST] A judge from the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website; JURIST news archive] announced on Monday that the ECCC's Cambodian employees will not be paid in March. The UN-backed tribunal is staffed by both local and international workers, and the funding shortage is expected to cause some employees to stop working [AP report]. The ECCC has seen a reduction in funding following questioning of its credibility and allegations of corruption [JURIST reports]. An ECCC employee has alleged that the court's kickback system [Phnom Penh Post report] required workers to remit 70 percent of their salaries for the first four months of employment, and 10 percent thereafter. The UN stopped funding the Cambodian side of the ECCC last July due to the corruption allegations, forcing the court to rely on international donations. The ECCC judges have denied participation [JURIST report] in any of the alleged corruption.

Last week, UN assistant secretary general for legal affairs Peter Taksoe-Jensen met with [JURIST report] Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An [official profile] to discuss the allegations of wrongdoing in the ECCC, including a possible anti-corruption mechanism for the court. Fears of the ECCC's bankruptcy come despite a pledge from Japan [JURIST report] to donate an additional $21 million. The ECCC, which was created in 2006 to try former Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder, JURIST news archive] leaders, announced last June that it planned to end its operations [JURIST report] a year early because of limited funding.

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