International justice - new investment opportunity?

07 February 2008 by Adèle Waugaman & Anne-Laure Porée

Recent gifts by Microsoft to the UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia and a project reintegrating former paramilitaries in Colombia may signal a new era of private sector philanthropy. The burgeoning field of international justice is certainly in need of additional sources of funding, but would corporate contributions come at a hidden cost?

In mid-January the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), that will try Khmer Rouge leaders, announced that it had received a $100,000 gift from Microsoft. That news followed reports in October of a Microsoft pledge worth over $300,000 to fund a training program designed by the Organization of American States' Trust for the Americas to help reintegrate Colombian former paramilitaries into mainstream society. 

Microsoft declined a request to discuss the policy behind these specific projects, referring instead to the mission driving its broader corporate social responsibility work. "Governments tell us they need help to look for ways to help their citizens, local industries, and communities to accelerate social and economic development," a Microsoft statement said. 

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