Friday, 19.9.2008: The United States Expects that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will No Longer Be Involved in a Corruption Scandal

Posted on 20 September 2008. Filed under: Week 578 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 578

“The United States expects that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will no longer be involved in a corruption scandal in the future, after the US pledged to grant US$1.8 million to the mixed tribunal to seek justice for the victims who died during the Killing Field regime. This information is based on statements of the spokesperson of the US Department of State Sean McCormack during a press conference in Washington on Tuesday, 16 September 2008 [see the full text at the end].

“Mr. Sean McCormack stated, ‘We believe that the court is now capable of meeting international standards of justice, and our decision at this time to identify funds reflects our belief that the court has the capacity to respond effectively and appropriately to these allegations.’ He said that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal still has more to do, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have made significant strides to overcome international concerns about corruption, mismanagement, and political influence, including adding a new international deputy administrator from the United Nations side, strengthening management practices, and establishing procedures to deal with allegations of wrongdoing.

“It should be remembered that previously, employees of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal had repeatedly raised the problem of kickbacks in exchange for getting employed, but it was never officially announced that there were any perpetrators or who they are. As a result of suspicion, the UN Development Program office had suspended more than US$300,000 for a period of time, suspending the payment of salaries for Khmer staff in July. Then, the head of the Khmer Staff Department was removed from his position, as a big corruption leader at the Khmer side of the court, but it seems that nobody really dares to touch him.

“The international community and many donor countries, especially the United States, hesitated to grant more funds to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, because of the [not yet clarified allegations of a] corruption scandal. However, the United States, through its Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. John Negroponte, who visited Cambodia recently, pledged to grant US$1.8 million to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, so that it can proceed smoothly. Mr. Sean McCormack added that the US Department of State had already shared information about this attempt to help Cambodia to try the former Khmer Rouge leaders.

“Mr. Reach Sambath, the spokesperson of the [Cambodian section of the] Khmer Rouge Tribunal, said that the granting of US funds is mainly a political sign, and the tribunal welcomes this decision by the United States as a correct one. He went on to say that although this grant is small, it is better than nothing, and though it comes late, it is better than nothing. Mr. Reach Sambath boasted that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is strongly committed and has created clear plans to deal with corruption, like by the nomination of two ethics monitoring officials, and the reassignment away of the director of personnel.

“This spokesperson hinted that the trial of Kang Kek Iev – called Duch, the former Tuol Sleng Prison chief – might happen in October or in November, after some procedural problems between the co-investigating judges and the co-prosecutors will have been clarified. Some officials of civil society organizations and observers are keenly observing this problem, because they want to see that the trial of the suspects to happens soon, in order to find justice for the victims. However, if there is more delay, the funds from the United States will be spent wastefully, and the Khmer citizens still do not see the light of justice.

“The Khmer Rouge Tribunal, which has suffered from allegations of a corruption scandal, needs approximately US$50 million in addition, to cover expenses until 2010, out of which approximately US$10 million are to come from the Cambodian side, and approximately US$40 million are needed from the United Nations. At present, many observers are waiting to see whether the trial – which is planed to take place this late October – of Khiev Samphan, who had filed an appeal to be temporarily released from detention, will proceed smoothly or not. If the trial of Khiev Samphan in October faces complications and is delayed again, like it happened already on 23 April 2008, it is not easy for the tribunal to seek additional millions of dollars.

“Although the US government announced to ask for parliamentary approval for a grant of US$1.8 million to the [UN, not the Cambodian section of the] Khmer Rouge Tribunal budget during the recent visit by the US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, some observers of the processes of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal do not expect that this mixed tribunal can find justice for the victims who were killed during the killing filed regime, because previously, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal had spent already millions of dollars wastefully, while Khmer citizens in general have been waiting for justice nearly 30 years. Furthermore, irregularities and a corruption scandal at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have not yet been clarified.

“Khmer citizens inside of the country and abroad want that the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders should occur soon, as long as they are still alive, so that the real reasons that led to the killing of more than 1.7 million people during their time in power from 1975 to early January 1979 can be revealed. Therefore, if there is further delay, those former Khmer Rouge leaders might die before the trial takes place, because already at present, they became older, and some of them had been suffering from serious illness and had often been sent to Calmette Hospital.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3569, 19.9.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 19 September 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1750, 19.9.2008

  • Samdech Hun Sen and Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Extend Friendly Wishes to Each Other; Amnesty Letter for Samdech Krom Preah Arrived at the Royal Palace on 18 September 2008
  • The Ministry of Economy and Finance Has Not Taken Any Action to Decrease the Price of Fuel Following Samdech Hun Sen’s Order
  • The Murder Case of the Journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer [Mr. Khim Sambo and his 21-year-old son] Reaches a State to Call Those Who Know Much to Be Asked [medical doctors of Calmette Hospital, editor of The Cambodia Daily, Mr. Dam Sith, editor-in-chief of Moneaksekar Khmer, staff of ADHOC and of LICADHO]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #247, 19.9.2008

  • [Opposition party President] Sam Rainsy Affirms that on 24 and 25 September 2008, There Will Be No Opposition Party Parliamentarians Present to Satisfy the Face of the Cambodian People’s Party


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #102, 19.9.2008

  • The Head of the Government Affirmed His Final Position Regarding some Political Issues Related to the Opposition Parties [he warns to sue Sam Rainsy for insulting the new National Assembly by saying that it is a thief, ghost, wind, and a Yuon (Vietnamese) National Assembly]
  • Vendors of the New Market Plan to Protest in Front of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s House [related to the plan to narrow their stalls]
  • US Military Medics [from the US Tripler Army Medical Center] for Smile, Sound, and Sight, Treat Khmer Citizens Free of Charge [from 10 to 19 September 2008]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6454, 19.9.2008

  • Thai Prime Minister [Somchai Wongsawat – สมชาย วงศ์สวัสดิ์] Responds Positively to Continue to Negotiate with Cambodia [after Prime Minister Hun Sen’ request for negotiations]
  • Delegations from Hong Kong and from [South] Korea Look for Development in Sihanoukville [with plans build new towns, casinos, hospitals, stadiums, hotels, a public zoo, golf courses, resorts, and seashore and on-the-sea recreation sites, and also preserving a natural forest park]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #34, 19.9.2008

  • The United States Expects that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will No Longer Be Involved in a Corruption Scandal
  • [Sam Rainsy Party Deputy Secretary General] Mu Sochua: 20% or 21% of Khmer Citizens Lack Food [she raised this problem, based on a survey by the Cambodia Development Resource Institute]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4698, 19.9.2008

  • Cambodia Criticizes Thailand for Lying to the World by Announcing that the Ta Krabei Temple [located in an unmarked border region] Belongs to Them
  • Vietnam Sends Seventeen Khmer Citizens Home, Whom They Rescued from a Leaking Ship
  • Digging up of Khmer Ancestral Graves Happens Again in Thma Pouk [probably by artifact plunderers – Banteay Meanchey]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3411, 19.9.2008

  • The Court Summons Representatives of the Citizens and of the Company over the Boeng Kak Lake Land Dispute Today [after citizens had filed a complaint, requesting to stop the dredging of sand to fill the lake]

Cambodia related section of the press conference at the US Department of State on 16.9.2008
Source:
http://useu.usmission.gov/Article.asp?ID=B76C5503-996F-4F03-AAC0-749F4312BA5D

QUESTION: Did you manage to get answers to the two questions that I had at the end of the briefing yesterday,…[on] the Cambodia issue?

MR. MCCORMACK: As a matter of fact, we did. And I have on Cambodia – I have some –…
I’ll just read – I have a few points on this. I’ll read them off to you and see if they’re useful.

We are committed to helping Cambodia in its efforts to hold Khmer Rouge leaders accountable for their crimes. The State Department has notified Congress of our intention to provide $1.8 million to help the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the E-triple-C, complete its task. We believe that the court is now capable of meeting international standards of justice, and our decision at this time to identify funds reflects our belief that the court has the capacity to respond effectively and appropriately to these allegations.

While the court still has more to do, the ECCC has made significant strides to overcome international concerns about corruption, mismanagement, and political influence, including adding a new international deputy administrator, strengthening management practices, and establishing procedures to deal with allegations of wrongdoing.

Nonetheless, the court must still take appropriate steps to address the current allegations and hold responsible those involved.

QUESTION: And this was – a similar message was conveyed by the Deputy [Secretary of State Negroponte] when he was there?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, the issue was discussed by the Deputy in Phnom Penh.

QUESTION: Yeah, but, I mean – but he told them that they were going to get the money.

MR. MCCORMACK: I have not spoken with the Deputy, so I can’t vouch firsthand for his message. But the issue was raised.

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – how the whole Khmer press withholds the final, decisive document from the public, before the Preah Vihear Temple was listed as a World Heritag Site.

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