29 March 2005

Secretary-General, in Message to Pledging Conference Calls for Assistance to Cambodia in Pursuit of Justice, National Reconciliation, Peace and Security

Contributions Would Send Message that Impunity Will Not Go Unchallenged

NEW YORK, 28 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the Pledging Conference for United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, delivered in New York today by Warren Sach, Director, Programme Planning and Budget Division, Department of Management:

I am pleased to welcome you to this pledging conference, and I thank you for your attendance today.

After many years of negotiations, the legal framework to establish Extraordinary Chambers within the existing court structure of Cambodia for the prosecution of crimes committed during the period of Democratic Kampuchea is now in place.

If that framework is to be put into practice, Member States will need to be generous with voluntary contributions.

We in the Secretariat have done a great deal of careful planning and costing, about which we have kept the General Assembly informed.  We have, throughout, consulted with the Government of Cambodia, and sent a number of technical missions to the country.  We have also consulted with other key governments, and held some informal meetings with the Group of Interested States.

As a result of these consultations, I am pleased to inform you that the budgetary requirements for the anticipated three-year life of the Chambers and their related institutions have been agreed between the Government of Cambodia and the United Nations.

The estimated total budget for the three years is $56.3 million.  Of that amount, the share of the United Nations, through voluntary contributions, would be $43 million.  The Government of Cambodia would provide the remaining $13.3 million.

The process of setting up the Extraordinary Chambers can only begin once enough money has been raised to fund their staffing and operations.  That condition would be met when pledges for the full three years have been received, along with actual contributions for the first year.

I, therefore, ask you to support the United Nations in assisting the Government and the people of Cambodia in the pursuit of justice and national reconciliation, stability, peace and security.  Your generous support for this important endeavour will solidify the international commitment to protect and promote human rights in Cambodia.

The crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge were of a character and scale that it is still almost impossible to comprehend.  The victims of those horrific crimes have waited too long for justice.  By your generous contributions today, you can send a message that the international community will do its part to ensure that, however late, and however imperfect, impunity will not remain unchallenged, and a measure of justice will be done.  That will be a precious and important gift to Cambodia.

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