Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge court wins loan to pay staff

Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge court wins loan to pay staff

PHNOM PENH - The United Nations said Wednesday that it had secured a loan to pay Cambodian employees at the Khmer Rouge war crimes court who are striking over unpaid wages.

The UN-backed tribunal's 250 local workers, including judges and prosecutors, have not been paid since June because of a cash shortage. Most of them have been on strike since September 1.

UN spokesman Lars Olsen said in an emailed statement that the world body had successfully worked with major donors to secure their authorisation to make a further loan to the Cambodian side of the court for "the payment of arrears of national salaries".

Olsen said the loan to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) was being made on a strictly reimbursable basis. "We hope that the national staff of the ECCC will now be able to return to work on this basis," he said.

The UN also called on Cambodia to "meet its obligation" to pay salaries for the national staff.

"Any further strikes could risk delaying the judicial proceedings and jeopardise the court's ability to function," Olsen added.

Neth Pheaktra, a Cambodian spokesman at the tribunal, said the striking staff were expected to return to work on Thursday.

The hybrid court has been frequently short of cash since it was set up in 2006 to seek justice for the deaths of up to two million people under the brutal communist Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s.

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