The United Nations may be forced to withdraw from the Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal if funds from the international community are not forthcoming, according to the U.N. envoy to the tribunal.
The court, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), which was created jointly by the U.N. and the Cambodian Government, is currently trying three leaders of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
David Scheffer, United Nations special expert to the court, says the budget for the international component in the trial is at an all-time low.
“We have enough cash for the international budget to the end of August. Even our contingency fund is being drained right now to pay just essential expenses of the court,” he told Australia’s national broadcaster, ABC, Aug. 16.
Kelly Askin, who heads international justice work for the U.S.-based Open Society Justice Initiative has just returned from the trials in Cambodia.
She described the present situation as “untenable.”
“Courts have to go begging every few months in order to keep their doors open and fulfill their mandates,” she told The Epoch Times by text message.
Scheffer said funding shortages were occurring at a critical time in the trials.
“We are right in the middle of our Nuremberg trial of the last surviving leaders of the Pol Pot regime,” he said.