UN to pay KR trial staff

PHNOM PENH — The United Nations-backed tribunal trying former Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide says it will pay several months of overdue salaries for its Cambodian staffers.

An announcement from the tribunal's administrative office received on Saturday said the UN would provide funds covering January through April this year.

It did not specify how much would be given. Foreign and Cambodian personnel are paid under separate budgets.

Translators for the tribunal went on strike in early March over their pay complaint. They agreed to resume work after being paid their wages for December.

Salaries for the 280 local workers including about 30 translators are in arrears because the countries that have agreed to fund the tribunal have not contributed on time. The court had to suspend work ealier this month when the translators walked out.

The tribunal, established in 2005, has been given the mandate to seek justice for atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge during its 1975-79 reign, when an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died from forced labour, starvation, medical neglect and execution.

To date, the tribunal has achieved only one conviction, sentencing the former chief of Tuol Sleng prison, Kaing Guek Eav, to life in prison for overseeing the deaths of around 15,000 people during the regime.

Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, who was one of the three senior Khmer Rouge leaders being tried by the tribunal, died earlier this month at age 87 due to illness.

Two other ailing leaders facing trial are Nuon Chea, 86, also known as "Brother Number 2", former deputy secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, and Khieu Samphan, 81, the regime's former head of state.

Related search: Cambodia, Khmer Rouge, translators, tribunal, Ieng Sary

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Writer: Associated Press