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More NZ cash for war crimes tribunal

17:54 Wed Nov 21 2012

New Zealand will commit an extra $200,000 to Cambodia's Khmer Rouge Tribunal to help find justice of the communist regime's bloody reign.

Prime Minister John Key announced the new funding during a visit to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on Wednesday.

The added funding takes New Zealand's contribution to a total $1.2 million over six years.

Former Khmer Rouge members accused of war crimes and genocide in the 1970s are facing trial in the tribunal.

The Khmer Rouge killed an estimated two million people, including New Zealander Kerry Hamill - brother of Olympic rower Rob Hamill - who was tortured and murdered alongside a group of Westerners in 1978.

"We recognise the people of Cambodia have looked to the tribunal to assist in the process of national reconciliation," Mr Key said.

New Zealand has provided financial support to the tribunal since 2006.

At the court, Mr Key also met with tribunal judge, former governor-general Dame Silvia Cartwright.

Mr Key said the visit to the court was to "show solidarity to Dame Silvia Cartwright for the work that she's been doing, for the importance of the process which is hugely significant for this country, and for a recognition of the task they have at hand".

Later on Wednesday, Mr Key flies to Myanmar (Burma), where he will meet with President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize-winning democracy activist who spent nearly 15 years under house arrest.

Mr Key will be the first New Zealand prime minister to visit Myanmar.

He has spent the past three days in Cambodia for the East Asia Summit, where he took part in talks with leaders, including US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, over the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which he is increasingly hopeful of concluding in 2013.

He also attended the launch of a new proposed trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which includes the 10 ASEAN countries, along with China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.