Thursday, February 12, 2009

Japan to provide another $21 mil. for Khmer Rouge trial

By Puy Kea
PHNOM PENH , Jan. 11 KYODO -- The Japanese government pledged Sunday to provide another $21 million to the U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal, brining its contributions since 2005 to $45.5 million. Announcement of the new pledge was made Sunday by Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone during a one-hour meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh .
Eang Sophalet, a spokesman for Hun Sen, told reporters after the meeting that the $21 million pledged will be used by the U.N. side of the court, not the Cambodian side. He added that Hun Sen was also seeking financial assistance for the Cambodian side and that the request will be considered by the Japanese government. Japan is the top financial contributor to the Khmer Rouge trial process. It provided $21.6 million to the U.N. side in 2005 and $2.95 million to the Cambodian side in 2008.
According to sources close to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the Cambodian side of the court needs an extra of $5.3 million for its work from April through the end of this year. Of the current five suspects, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, who is accused of having a leadership role in the deaths of 14,000 people in Tuol Sleng prison during Khmer Rouge rule, is expected to be tried in the first quarter this year.
The four other former Khmer Rouge figures charged and detained at ECCC facilities are Nuon Chea, better known as Brother No. 2 in the Khmer Rouge hierarchy after leader Pol Pot; Khieu Samphan who was head of state; Ieng Sary who was the regime's foreign minister; and Ieng Sary's wife Ieng Thirith who was the social affairs minister.
The Khmer Rouge leadership is blamed for the deaths of at least 1.7 million Cambodians during its rule.
Also, during his visit to Cambodia , Nakasone signed agreements providing Cambodia grants of up to 255 million yen for a dam project and infectious disease control. He also attended a ceremony to deliver three Japanese demining vehicles to Cambodia . Nakasone is to visit Laos later Sunday before returning to Japan on Monday. Before arriving in Cambodia on Saturday, Nakasone met with Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya in Bangkok .
KyodoJanuary 11, 2009