PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia's U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal said Wednesday that it has secured a loan to pay the overdue salaries of its Cambodian staff, 140 of whom have been on strike since the start of the month.
Spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the U.N. had secured the $1.15 million loan from international donors to cover unpaid salaries from June through August.
He said he was optimistic the staff would agree to return to work at the tribunal, which is tasked with seeking justice for atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.
The Cambodian-run section of the tribunal still lacks an additional $1.8 million needed for operations from September through the end of the year, he added.
Budgetary shortfalls, along with the defendants' advanced age and poor health, have raised concerns the trials may grind to a halt before verdicts are reached for cases it is still hearing.
"The United Nations continues to work with major donors to try to identify additional funding to meet the salaries of national staff for the remainder of 2013," Lars Olsen, a spokesman for U.N. assistance to the tribunal, said in a statement.
"Any further strikes could risk delaying the judicial proceedings and jeopardize the court's ability to function," Olsen said.
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