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UN chief says Khmer Rouge tribunal needs funding

August 29, 2013

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — The U.N. secretary general says Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge tribunal is running out of money and its “very survival” is now under threat.

Ban Ki-moon said contributions to the U.N.-backed court have run dry and some staff have not been paid for months. He urged international donors to provide badly needed financial support.

“Financial failure would be a tragedy for the people of Cambodia, who have waited so long for justice,” Ban said in a speech in the Hague on Wednesday.

The tribunal, which began in 2006, has faced frequent budgetary shortfalls. Some unpaid staff went on strike in March, and a court spokesman says about 100 staffers plan to strike again on Sept. 1 if they remain unpaid.

The court is tasked with seeking justice for atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died under the Khmer Rouge regime due to forced labor, starvation, medical neglect and execution.

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