UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website] said Wednesday that Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website], is running out of money, threatening its survival. Ban urged [AP report] international donors to provide financial support to keep the tribunal running. Due to the financial strain, some staff have not been paid in months and are now threatening to strike [VOA report]. The Khmer Rouge tribunal is backed by the UN and receives its funding [official website] solely from voluntary contributions.
The Khmer Rouge have been blamed for the deaths of some 1.7 million people [PPU backgrounder] from starvation, disease, overwork and execution between 1975 and 1979. The ECCC was established in 2001 to investigate and try those responsible for the Cambodian genocide that resulted in the deaths of approximately one-third of the Cambodian population. In June 2011 the ECCC began hearings [JURIST report] for four former leaders of Khmer Rouge. Nuon Chea was arrested and charged in September 2007 and said that he was never in the position to order the deaths attributed to him but that he would cooperate with the ECCC [JURIST reports]. Ieng Thirith and Ieng Sary were also arrested and charged in September 2007, though Sary died while on trial and Thirith has been released [JURIST reports]. The other defendant Khieu Samphan [ECCC profile] is a former head of state. In 2010, the ECCC handed down its first and only conviction against Kaing Guek Eav [TrialWatch profile], better known as "Duch", who was in charge of the notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh.