[JURIST] The Japanese government on Thursday pledged to donate USD $4.17 million [press release, PDF] to assist the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) [official website], the tribunal set up to try former members of the Khmer Rouge [BBC backgrounder]. The funding comes at an opportune moment for the ECCC, which projected a $4.3 million dollar shortfall [budget] for 2009. According to the Japanese Embassy in Cambodia [official website], the funding is in response to a request from the Cambodian government [press release, PDF] because Japan:
strongly support[s] the role of the ECCC created by the international agreement between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations in delivering justice to the Cambodian people for the atrocities committed under the Khmer Rouge regime.The ECCC is in the midst of the first trial of a former Khmer Rouge leader, Kaing Guek Eav [TrialWatch backgrounder, JURIST news archive], also known as "Duch." In late April, Kaing admitted to training prison staff to use torture [JURIST report] to obtain confessions from prisoners, after he accepted responsibility [JURIST report] for the deaths of 12,000 Cambodians in the S-21 prison camp [backgrounder]. Kaing's trial is the first of eight [JURIST report] that the ECCC hopes to hear against former members of the Khmer Rouge, which has been accused of murdering 1.7 million Cambodians during its nearly four-year reign.