Development Policy and International Relations
In 1997, Royal Government of Cambodia requested the United Nations to generate a trial to prosecute the senior leaders of Khmer Rouge. Therefore, a special court was established by joint efforts of Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations based on a compromising agreement which was reached in June 2003.
ECCC, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia is a special court for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea, or Pol Pot regime known by most Cambodian. ECCC is also called “Hybrid tribunal” which it has special features comprising of Cambodia court system and international standard of justice. The court can only prosecute two categories of alleged perpetrators for alleged crimes committed between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979:
1) Senior leaders of Democratic Kampuchea; and
2) Those believed to be most responsible for grave violations of national and international law.
Trace back the origin of ECCC, it is reminded that there were numerous stakeholders who encourage the establishment of the court. For Cambodian people who support the establishment of the above said court, they believe that a true justice is finally found and brought to those who were killed and those who have survived. Obviously, most of Cambodian keen on getting the answers from those Senior leaders on the reasons of the mass-killing of its own innocent citizens, so that it can ease the burden that weighs on the survivors. Furthermore, the trials will also nurture the new generation about the darkest chapter in our country’s history by judging the accused in fair and open trials and by punishing those most responsible. The trials will deter cruel people and strengthen the rule of law in Cambodia. More importantly, the success of the trials will indicate the new chapter and the new turning point of national development since it will announce to the world that genocide in Cambodia was ended and justice are now found and brought to people. Therefore, from these points of views, the ECCC must be established and the Senior Leaders shall be accountable for these crimes.
However, there are now a lot of troubles on the ECCC process which is currently handling case 002. The most outstanding challenges that the ECCC are facing now are the crisis of financial support and the health condition of those defendants – Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea, and Ieng Thirith. The trial could not conduct due to Ieng Sary hospitalized on March 04, 2013, said by Khmer RFI. According to the ECCC, the cost of the ECCC obviously is quite similar to the court’s budget of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and much lower than those for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the Rwanda. Among of all donors, there are more than 35 countries have joined the Cambodian government in funding the court. Japan has donated almost 50 percent of all international contributions to the court, with other major donations coming from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States of America. However, the ECCC still needs an urgent funding in order to carry on the work of the court for providing premises, paying for detention, and other related. Right now, there are at least 270 Cambodia employees are demanding their monthly wages which have been delayed for almost three months, otherwise they won’t go to work. The ECCC spokesman said that they are waiting for an urgent funding form EU promised to provide approximately USD 300 000.
There are numbers of questions regarding to the inequalities of financial support between the international and national employees whether it is the accountability of Royal Government of Cambodia or the United Nations or ECCC itself or someone else? Why donors provide funds only for International, but not Cambodian employees? Since the budget of the court is much lower than other International Criminal Tribunal, but the ECCC still face challenges on financial support or it is no longer needed? What are the logic behind?