5 Sep 2013

Khmer Rouge court under threat

12:05 pm on 5 September 2013

The United Nations is warning that the survival of the Cambodian court that was set up to deal with the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge era, is under threat.

On Monday, 200 Cambodian staff stopped work, saying they have not been paid since June, and the Cambodian government is asking for international donors to cover their wages.

Australia is one of the largest donors supporting the court, but the ABC reports the Australian government says it's not in a position to provide further funding.

Australia has contributed $A23 million so far. The last payment was $A3.25 million in June this year, when trials which began in 2006 looked like falling over for financial reasons.

The ABC reports the court has convicted only one Khmer Rouge leader so far. One of the four defendants in the second trial has died and another has been excluded due to senile dementia.

A verdict on the case of the remaining defendants is expected in mid-2014, if the court can survive that long.

A spokesman for Foreign Minister Bob Carr said further funds cannot be committed before this weekend's election.

He said it will be up to a newly elected government to give consideration to further funding the court.