Australian support for Khmer Rouge trials

Media release

18 June 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Australia will contribute a further $3.25m to the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), supporting war crimes trials against Khmer Rouge leaders implicated in the deaths of up to 1.6 million people in the 1970s.

Senator Carr said the Australia was a long-standing supporter of the ECCC and its second largest international donor after Japan.

"This new contribution brings Australia's support for the ECCC to $23 million and will help ensure its continued operation," Senator Carr said.

"The ECCC hearings play a vital role in delivering justice for the Cambodian people, who endured unspeakable suffering at the hands of the Khmer Rouge.

"In Phnom Penh last year I welcomed the closure of the ECCC case against Comrade Duch, the former head of the notorious Tuol Sleng prison from which 15,000 people were sent to the killing fields.

"The ECCC is now focused on cases against other senior survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime, including Pol Pot's "brother number two" Nuon Chea.

"Defendants before the Courts have been charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"I look forward to the ECCC continuing its efforts to hold Khmer Rouge leaders to account for the atrocities committed in their names.

"Australia will also encourage Cambodia to lobby current and potential donors to ensure the ECCC is fully supported through its remaining court proceedings.

"We look to the Cambodian Government to ensure that its share of the ECCC budget is fully funded and salaries paid for all national staff, consistent with Article 15 of its agreement with the United Nations."

The Khmer Rouge controlled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. An estimated 1.6 million people – or one fifth of Cambodia's population – are believed to have died as a result of the regime's policies.

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