Foreigners back Khmer Rouge court

Cash donations from foreign countries have bridged a financial shortfall facing the UN-backed tribunal trying former Khmer Rouge leaders for crimes committed in the late 1970s, the court's spokesman said on Thursday.

Neth Pheaktra, spokesman of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, told Kyodo News that in recent weeks donors have, one after another, pledged their financial support to the ECCC to run until the end of this year.

He said the financial situation of the international component of the ECCC "is now stabilised and can run until the end of this year, but there is still a shortage of funds for the national component of around US$2.4 million (80 million baht)".

The ECCC issued a statement on Thursday saying Sweden announced it will make a new contribution of SEK30 million (about 144 million baht) to the international component for 2014-2015, bringing contributions to the ECCC by Sweden so far to $10 million.

The ECCC also announced that on July 2, Australia pledged a new single contribution of A$3.25 million (about 96 million baht) to the international component.

According to Neth Pheaktra, Malaysia on Wednesday joined and supported the ECCC as a new donor by contributing $50,000 to the Cambodian side of the court.

Neth Pheaktra added that Ambassador David Scheffer, the UN secretary general's special expert on UN assistance to the Khmer Rouge trial, is working closely together with representatives of the Cambodian government to raise funds to meet the funding shortfall for the national side.

The ECCC, which began operating in 2006, is now trying two former Khmer Rouge leaders blamed for the deaths of at least 1.7 million Cambodians from 1975 to 1979.

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