The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA70 - 19 June 2003

(revised version)

Further Australian Contribution To Khmer Rouge Tribunal

I am pleased to announce an additional funding commitment of $A1.5 million over three years to the establishment of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Recovery from the Khmer Rouge period represents a significant challenge for Cambodia and will take many years.  Australia has put its political weight behind international efforts to establish a Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

I welcomed the agreement signed on 6 June between the United Nations and Cambodia for a Tribunal to try Khmer Rouge leaders for atrocities committed between 1975 and 1979.  Australia was among a handful of countries which actively assisted in ensuring that the Tribunal would be established, after many years of negotiations.

We have already provided $266,000 to facilitate the Tribunal’s establishment.  This has included grants to the Documentation Center of Cambodia to collect evidence of Khmer Rouge atrocities; support for an independent research and policy adviser to the Cambodian Government’s Khmer Rouge Tribunal Task Force; and technical assistance to the UN Cambodia Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The establishment of the Tribunal will demonstrate Cambodia’s commitment to the principles of justice, which must be the foundation of any stable democracy.

I met yesterday with the Foreign Minister of Cambodia, HE Hor Namhong.  During our discussions, I emphasised that Australia remains committed to Cambodia’s development and integration into the region.  Australia has committed over A$44 million in aid to Cambodia in 2003-04. 

Mr Downer is in Cambodia for the ASEAN Regional Forum and Post Ministerial Conference.

Media enquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 - Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) 02 6261 1555