A Change of Guard

សូមស្តាប់វិទ្យុសង្គ្រោះជាតិ Please read more Khmer news and listen to CNRP Radio at National Rescue Party. សូមស្តាប់វីទ្យុខ្មែរប៉ុស្តិ៍/Khmer Post Radio.
Follow Khmerization on Facebook/តាមដានខ្មែរូបនីយកម្មតាម Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/khmerization.khmerican

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Paying for Three Tribunals: The Hague, Lebanon, and Cambodia

The aftermath of the Hariri bombing.
The aftermath of the Hariri bombing.

The three international tribunals making headlines around the world remind us that internationalism is an expensive and not terribly efficient project.

Lebanon: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon commences this coming Sunday. The court was created in 2007 by the United Nations to investigate the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Consider the following from The Washington Times:

The tribunal is expected to cost about $51 million in its first year and as much as $45 million in subsequent years. When fully operational, the tribunal will have 11 judges, including four Lebanese ones.

The Hague: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)has issued its first rulings on alleged Serbian war crimes in Kosovo in the late 1990s. Voice of America summarizes the verdicts:

The court sentenced former Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic, General Nebojsa Pavkovic, and Serbian police General Sreten Lukic to 22-year terms for crimes against humanity and violation of the laws or customs of war. It gave former Yugoslav Army Chief-of-Staff Dragoljub Ojdanic, and General Vladimir Lazarevic terms of 15 years each for the deportation and forcible transfer of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo.

And how much has all this cost?


If you add it all up, the total comes to just under $1.6 billion — and this counts only the regular budget. Granted, the ICTY covers more than just Kosovo; it has sentenced 57 people.

Cambodia: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia began its first trial last Tuesday. The tribunal was created in 2003 by the United Nations and Cambodia to bring to trial former leaders of the Khmer Rouge for crimes against humanity.

From Voice of America earlier this week:

According to a revised budget forecast, the courts established to try surviving leaders for the deaths of 1.7 million people will need an additional $44.1 million, on top of the original $56.3 million, if it is to last until the end of 2009…The United States, Japan, the European Union and Australia have all contributed to the tribunal, which is expected to last at least two years. But diplomatic sources say they will be careful in handing out money for the trial after witnessing cost overruns at other war crime tribunals - especially in Rwanda.

The tribunal came under media scrutiny a year ago:

Donor skepticism surged last year after reports revealed severe problems in hiring and management on the Cambodian side of the court. Allegations that Cambodian staff had to give money in exchange for their jobs have yet to be put to rest.

For the record, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda cost over $1 billion. It has only convicted 29 people and the first trial began in 1997.

So what?

The costs of international criminal justice largely escape under the radar, but these are not tiny sums. Surely there are ways to improve the efficiency of this process.

No comments: