Search

 

Cablegate: Ambassador Meets with Eccc Co-Prosecutor; Funding

VZCZCXRO5776
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #1691/01 2611019
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 181019Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7323
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2173

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 001691

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, S/WCI, AND DRL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KJUS EAID CB PREL
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH ECCC CO-PROSECUTOR; FUNDING
SHORTFALLS HIGHLIGHTED


1. (SBU) Summary. On September 15, the Ambassador and
A/DCM met with ECCC international co-prosecutor Robert Petit,
who discussed latest developments of the Tribunal staffing as
well as funding shortfalls. Specifically, the Tribunal lacks
money for public outreach, a proper detention facility, and
victim/witness protection and other services. UN
Administrative officials have noted the initial budget is now
widely acknowledged to be inadequate, and that some
readjustments will need to be made as well as a future
request to donors for additional support. The international
co-investigating judge, Marcel Lemonde, has arrived in Phnom
Penh and begun assembling his office staff. Petit welcomed
the upcoming visit by INR and S/WCI staff, although noted he
would be in The Hague during the first week of October. End
Summary.

ECCC's Money Woes
-----------------

2. (SBU) At the latter's request, the Ambassador met with
Robert Petit, the Canadian co-prosecutor of the ECCC, on
September 15. Petit said that his office is functioning
well, staff are on board, and work is progressing. He
expressed optimism that the ECCC's outcome would be
successful prosecutions and a sense of justice; otherwise, he
underscored, he would not be in Cambodia. Petit is aware of
the political backdrop around which the ECCC's work is taking
place, but assured the Ambassador that what happens in the
courtroom will be according to international law. He added
that he is personally committed to ensuring the defense teams
are equally up to the task; if not, the prosecution will not
stand and proceed to trial.

3. (SBU) Petit encouraged the USG to play a stronger role
in support of the ECCC's work, citing the importance of USG
assistance to other international tribunals in which Petit
has worked. The Ambassador explained current Congressional
funding limitations, but noted that the USG is seeking ways
to support NGOs in areas, e.g., public outreach, media
support, where the ECCC lacks adequate funds. A/DCM outlined
Department initiatives to address both areas, but cautioned
that funding was not yet guaranteed. Petit confirmed that
both areas are underfunded or nonexistent in the current ECCC
budget. He noted that he would like to do outreach and
address Cambodian audiences outside Phnom Penh, but there is
no money to do so. The security budget is also inadequate,
although Petit said that an international security official
has recently come on board. (Note: The Japanese Embassy has
informed us separately that they plan to fund the
construction of a temporary detention facility on the ECCC's
grounds to house suspects who are on trial. While not
envisaged in the orginal budget, the Japanese believe it can
be done for USD 30,000, and plan to pay for the building out
of existing bilateral development funds. End Note.)

4. (SBU) Victim and witness protection is the most urgent
need, in Petit's opinion. It is unrealistic to expect the
Tribunal's proceedings to move forward without any thought
given to the needs of victims and witnesses, both in terms of
personal security but also in terms of medical/psychological
support. (Note: This was an area identified early on by UN
deputy administrator Michelle Lee as a notable oversight in
the ECCC's overall budget. End Note.) While it may not be
necessary, Petit said that he needs the capacity to safely
secure victims and witnesses in Phnom Penh but also have the
option of moving them to a third country if the situation
dicates. At present, there is no budgetary provision for
doing so.

5. (SBU) Other than financial woes, the ECCC's work is
moving apace, said Petit. The rehabilitation of the court's
administrative offices is progressing, international
co-investigating judge Marcel Lemonde has arrived and is
assembling his staff. The Ambassador explained that USG
officials from INR and S/WCI would be coming to Cambodia
shortly to discuss with the ECCC future document and image
requirements. Petit welcomed the visit, but added that he
would be in The Hague during the first week of October. His
staff, however, are well versed in what is required and would
be prepared to meet with the USG visitors.

6. (SBU) In a separate meeting with A/DCM, an international
administrative official from the UN noted that the ECCC's
budget office has concluded that the original USD 56.3
million three-year budget for the ECCC is now widely believed
among UN and Cambodian staff to be inadequate. Presently,
budget analysts are looking at three possibilities. First,
an internal readjustment of year one money will likely take

PHNOM PENH 00001691 002 OF 002


place to better rationalize current needs now that the ECCC's
work is underway. Secondly, there likely will be additional
outreach to donors for more funds. The Japanese have already
indicated a willingness to be helpful, as evidenced by the
commitment to build a detention facility on the ECCC grounds.
Finally, Michelle Lee has the option of going back to New
York and asking for more funds from the UN central budget,
but has not done so.

Comment
-------

7. (SBU) Petit is receiving high marks from his staff and
outside observers for his dedication and no-nonsense approach
to the work ahead. While aware of the limitations of his
Cambodian counterparts, Petit nevertheless believes the ECCC
process will be successful and in keeping with international
standards. He sidestepped our questions about any "surprise"
defendents, as expected, but we understand from other sources
that he has not ruled out an expansion of the list of likely
indictees. The issue of finances was discussed at length at
the most recent ECCC "Friends" meeting on August 31, and will
likely continue to be a topic of discussion over the next
year as actual budget needs are identified versus the
original projected needs that existed on paper. End Comment.
MUSSOMELI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

OECD: COVID-19 Crisis Puts Migration And Progress On Integration At Risk, Says

Watch the live webcast of the press conference Migration flows have increased over the past decade and some progress has been made to improve the integration of immigrants in the host countries. But some of these gains may be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic ... More>>


Pacific Media Watch: How Pacific Environmental Defenders Are Coping With The Covid Pandemic

SPECIAL REPORT: By Sri Krishnamurthi of Pacific Media Watch Pacific Climate Warriors - creative action to trigger better responses to climate crisis. Image: ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>

OHCHR: Stranded Migrants Need Safe And Dignified Return – UN Migrant Workers Committee

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers has today called on governments to take immediate action to address the inhumane conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to ... More>>