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UN, Cambodia Reaffirm Support for Khmer Rouge Tribunal

FILE - Khieu Samphan, left, former Khmer Rouge head of state, and Nuon Chea, Khmer Rouge's chief ideologist and No. 2 leader, before closing statements, U.N.- backed war crimes tribunal, Phnom Penh, Oct. 31, 2013.
The U.N. and Cambodia have vowed to provide the support necessary for the troubled Khmer Rouge tribunal to continue.

In high-level meetings this week between the U.N.’s top legal diplomat, Miguel de Serpa Soares, and Cambodian Cabinet Minister Sok An, the two sides agreed to continue to fund the court and cooperate on conducting trials.

The U.N.-backed court has faced ongoing financial woes in recent months, as it seeks to conclude the initial trial of two aging Khmer Rouge leaders.

U.N. spokeswoman Eri Kaneko said Wednesday the two sides focused on financial issues during their meeting.

“I believe both sides were able to reaffirm their commitments to ending impunity for the atrocities for the former Khmer Rouge regime," he said. "I believe the point of the meeting was to also address any funding challenges faced by the tribunal so as to avoid any delay in the judicial proceedings and to assure the welfare of both national and international staff.”

Cambodian spokesman Ek Tha told VOA's Khmer service that Phnom Penh agreed to provide $1.1 million to cover the salaries of Cambodian tribunal staff for the first quarter of 2014.

The Cambodian side of the hybrid court has faced ongoing criticism of mismanagement, corruption and political interference, and the court itself has only handed down one conviction since its inception in 2006.

Critics worry the court will not complete the trials of Noun Chea and Khieu Samphan, the only two defendants still in custody.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.