UNDP Is Not Afraid of Phay Siphan’s Threat – Thursday, 23.4.2009

Posted on 24 April 2009. Filed under: Week 609 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 609

“A secretary of state and spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, told the media that the United Nations Development Programs – UNDP – is to be held responsible for anything, if staff of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (from the Cambodian side) cannot receive their salaries at the end of this April 2009.

“Mr. Phay Siphan said so after the UNDP reconfirmed that it will not release funds to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as long as the corruption allegations or the kickback issue have not been solved.

“It should be noted that all funds administered by the UNDP for the trials of former Khmer Rouge leaders were frozen last year after there had been allegations that the Cambodian staff of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal had to pay kickbacks in order to get employment at this tribunal.

“However, the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, reacted so that it sounds like a threat, saying ‘The government’s role is not related to this problem. It depends on the donors and on the UNDP.’

“Mr. Phay Siphan emphasized, ‘If there are irregularities resulting from the UNDP’s attitude, the UNDP must be held responsible alone.’

“It should be remembered that, regarding the funds for the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, it was said that even though there was a request by the Australian government, the UNDP still disagrees to released the funds for the Cambodian side, because the corruption allegations have not yet been solved.

“Australia, which granted US$456,000 to the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in April 2008, said last week that because of general developments to prevent corruption at the tribunal, it is prepared to release the funds frozen by the UNDP last year, after Cambodian staff reported to the UN about the kickback issue.

“Australia made this announcement immediately after a failed negotiation on 8 April 2009 between the United Nations and the government to create new programs against corruption at this tribunal.

“The UNDP said that it cannot release the Australian funds, because the kickback issue has not been solved.

“The UNDP said in a statement, ‘The UNDP received a request from the Australian government to release its funds to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia – ECCC. The position of the UNDP is that there must be solutions for these allegations.’

“After careful internal monitoring over the latest progress, and in accordance with accountability principles administering UNDP/government projects, the UNDP is not in a position to release the funds now.

“The Cambodian side of the ECCC must spend around US$300,000 per month for salaries of its 251 staff members. While this tribunal did not have sufficient money in previous weeks, Japan granted US$200,000 at the last minute to solve the problem of salary payments for March. Salary payments will be a problem again this month.

“The head of the Public Affairs Office of the ECCC, Ms. Helen Jarvis, said, ‘We are working on this problem, and that is all I can say.’

“The Japanese Embassy refused to comment whether it will provide funds to the tribunal for April as before or not, but a spokesperson of the embassy said via email, ‘Japan is observing the situation closely with other donor countries.’

“On Tuesday, the UNDP said that its stance is not changed, and while they are worrying about the Cambodian staff and their salaries, they cannot be held responsible for it alone.

“The UNDP said in its statement via email, ‘There are some allegations, and the UNDP cannot release the funds until those problems have been handled.”

“The statement of the UNDP added, ‘Anyway, the funds administered by the UNDP are not the only source of funds for the Cambodian side at the tribunal. Besides donors, who join in bilateral ways, also the Cambodian government itself had promised to provide support as their funds for the Cambodian side in the tribunal.’

“The request by Australia for its funds was made after the failed negotiation between Cambodian and the United Nations on 8 April 2009 about the creation of new mechanisms against corruption in the tribunal.

“The U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, who is also in charge of relations with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen, said that at that time, he left a request on the table [of the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sok An] and he will not return to conduct additional discussions.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #386, 23.4.2009

Note:

See the report in the Mirror of 10 April 2009, with the text of the statement of UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs:

“The United Nations continues to believe that for the ethics monitoring system to be credible, the staff should have the freedom to approach the ethics monitor of their own choice and put forward complaints without fear of retaliation. Such freedom of choice is an important element of a trustworthy ethics-monitoring system.”

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 23 April 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #166, 23.4.2009

  • Cambodia Prepares to Host the Asia-Europe Meeting [ASEM] in May 2009; Cambodia Supports Russia as a Candidate to Participate in ASEM
  • Fire Occurred on Four Consecutive Days and Destroyed 300 Hectares of Forest in the Ek Phnom District [Battambang]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1925, 23.4.2009

  • The Cambodian People’s Party Will Add Six New Members to Its Permanent Committee [Mr. Keat Chhon, Mr. Sao Sokha, Mr. Net Savoeun, Mr. Yim Chhay Ly, Mr. Kun Kim, and Mr. Meas Sophea – to the existing 30 members]
  • Orphans Cooperate to Create a Short Education Film for Publication around the World [Phnom Penh]
  • Another Section of the Riverbank Collapsed and Two Houses of Citizens Fell into the River
  • Tens of Thousands of Civil Sri Lankan Citizens Flee from Disputed Areas

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #386, 23.4.2009

  • UNDP Is Not Afraid of Phay Siphan’s Threat

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6631, 23.4.2009

  • “Duch” Recognizes Crimes at the Tuol Sleng Prison or “S-21 Center”, but Said that [the former president of the National Assembly] Nuon Chea and [the former Khmer Rouge leader] Son Sen Were His Superiors
  • Thailand: The Economy Drops by 5% in 2009

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3739, 23.4.2009

  • International Economic Experts [Asian Development Bank, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Economist Intelligence Unit] Assessed that Cambodia Is Vulnerable due to Growing Poverty

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4875, 23.4.2009

  • [483] Ethnic Minority People Sue Ratanakiri Deputy Governor [Mom Saroeun] for Taking More Than 400 Hectares of Forest Land in Andong Meas District
  • Netherlands Will Continue to Support the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Samdech Dekchor: Investments by Japan Do Not Yet Meet What Cambodia Wants [he encourages more Japanese companies to come to invest in Cambodia]
  • The Ministry of Tourism Prepares Working Team to Go to Advertise [Cambodian] Tourism in Kuwait

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1698, 23.4.2009

  • [The director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia] Chhang Youk: Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Shows that the Incompetent Administration Has to Be Changed
  • Citizens Suffering from Siamese [Thai] Shelling [which blazed their market stalls] at Preah Vihear Ask for Compensation [from Thailand]

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