Phnom Penh: The Washington’s government will assess the positive developments of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in weeks to come, according to the head of U.S. diplomats in Cambodia.
“There will be a final assessment on the recent developments of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to determine the [U.S.’s] ability to fund the Khmer Rouge Tribunal,” Joseph Mussomeli, U.S. ambassador in Cambodia, told journalists at the U.S. Embassy after a ceremony was held to give certificate to journalism trainees on December 21, 2007.
In late November 2007, Williamson, U.S. ambassador-at-Large, visited Cambodia and met Cambodian senior government officials, ECCC’s officials, and NGOs’ representatives to discuss the progress of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
“Both U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Williamson, who has recently visited Cambodia to learn about the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and I myself are really optimistic with the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal,” said Joseph.
“We think that the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia itself have made remarkable progress in this year and shown positive outlooks in accordance with international standard,” he said.
However, although the U.S. ambassador has expressed his optimism about the process of the tribunal, he has not shown clearly whether or not his government will fund the tribunal. It needs to be waited until there is the final assessment on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal by the U.S. government in two weeks.
Joseph did not claim what had made him think the ECCC had done something, but the noticeable thing is that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal has brought five former senior Khmer Rouge leaders to the detention centre of the hybrid court.
The former Khmer Rouge leaders who are being detained provisionally are former president of Democratic Kampuchea National Assembly Nuon Chea, known as Brother Number 2, former vice Prime Minister Ieng Sary, also minister of foreign affairs, his wife former social and women affairs minister Ieng Thirith, former head of state Khieu Samphan, and Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, former chairman of Tuol Sleng prison.
ECCC’s Spokesman Reach Sambath welcomes the U.S.’s interest in funding the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal by telling Rasmei Kampuchea on Friday.
“We welcome all consideration of UN’s member states concerning the developments of the tribunal,” he said, adding that up to the present time a special committee of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was studying the time and expenses of the tribunal.
“Up to the present time, we have not known clearly, and the day that they (the “Internal Review Committee”) will let us know has not been informed too,” he said.
So far, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal has appealed the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations to immediately complete their budgetary shortfalls in which the government is lacking $3.2 million and the UN is short of $4.9 million for the planned three-year tribunal.
The United States has not provided any funds to the hybrid Khmer Rouge Tribunal. According to the ambassador, the U.S. will not fund the tribunal unless it can notice that the tribunal is moving forward and “stable” first.
Unofficial Translation-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 15, #4469, Saturday, December 22, 2007