Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cambodia Tribunal Borrows Money to Pay Its Employees

The United Nations has secured a loan from major donors to meet the salaries of national staff working for the tribunal responsible for trying genocide suspects in Cambodia.  The loan to the national component of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the payment of arrears of national salaries is being made on a strictly reimbursable basis, according to Lars Olsen, spokesperson for UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials. 

“The United Nations continues to work with major donors to try to identify additional funding to meet the salaries of national staff for the remainder of 2013,” he said in a statement. “We hope that the national staff of the ECCC will now be able to return to work on this basis.”

More than 100 of the court’s local employees reportedly went on strike in early September after not being paid for a month.

“The United Nations underlines that the only sustainable solution to the lack of funding for the salaries of national staff is for the Royal Government of Cambodia to meet its obligation to pay them,” said Mr. Olsen. “Any further strikes could risk delaying the judicial proceedings and jeopardise the court’s ability to function.”

The ECCC, established in 2003 under an agreement between the UN and Cambodia, is tasked with trying senior leaders and those most responsible for serious violations of Cambodian and international law committed during the Khmer Rouge rule. It is staffed by a mix of Cambodian and international employees and judges.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

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