Culture of Impunity, Caused by Armed Persons, Spreads Seriously – Saturday, 01.11.2008

Posted on 2 November 2008. Filed under: Week 584 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 584

“Officials of human rights organizations noticed the spread of the culture of impunity, where perpetrators are not brought to be prosecuted, and where cases are not investigated to the end. Things go differently related to crimes committed by powerful officials, who have weapons, and for innocent people, where the perpetrators of killings are not punished, while the victims die uselessly.
“This is called impunity – when perpetrators are not prosecuted. According to civil society organizations, there were killings caused by armed persons during the last months, for which nobody has been punished. This worries people, while perpetrators became freer to shoot innocent people.
“An investigating official of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – said that during the last five months, gunmen who are military officials shot dead people in five different cases, and those gunmen have not yet been brought to be prosecuted.
“An investigating official of LICADHO, Mr. Am Sam’ath, said that on 29 October 2008, the Cambodian government announced to strengthen the rule of law, but the culture of impunity still exists, and police should not let those armed persons go free, whatever position they hold.
“Mr. Am Sam’ath added, ‘In every of these crimes that happened, there is no perpetrator being prosecuted according to the law; there is only one case that happened near the riverside some days ago, where the judge Chhay Kong issued an arrest warrant, but the perpetrator has not been arrested and brought to court. It is seen that most shootings are ‘settled’ out of court by compensation money – criminal cases, which cannot be settled by paying a compensation as if they were civil cases.’
“The following case was reported to have already been ‘settled’ by compensation money. The victim’s family is poor and lacks legal support; therefore they decided to accept the compensation quietly, without confronting the criminal with the law. It is said that this is an agreement where the victim’s family accepted already a monetary compensation.
“According to the report of LICADHO, the shootings which killed and seriously injured many people include the case where a military official of the Constructing Unit 70 shot dead a woman, a garment worker on 31 July 2008. Another case is that a military official of the Construction Unit 70 shot a man after a traffic accident. Another case is that a police officer killed a driver of a remorque moto [a long vehicle pulled by a motorcycle] on 5 May 2008, and a case where a bodyguard shot dead a waitress at a restaurant on 4 September 2008.
“An investigating official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Chan Soveth, stated that there are some criminal cases caused by military officials or by bodyguards without prosecution.
“Mr. Chan Soveth went on to say, ‘If criminals are not prosecuted, it means that there is impunity, and if their cases are not resolved, it encourages other people, especially armed persons who use weapons, not to be afraid, so more crimes will happen. This might happen because some armed persons use their weapons without being checked in any way, and they are free from any prosecution, because they are backed by powerful officials in the government.’
“Officials of human rights organizations criticized such neglect, letting perpetrators go free from prosecution; it shows the decrease of the implementation of the law in the country.
“He continued that not to implement laws not only make people lose confidence in the judicial system, it also makes investors to hesitate, or not to come to invest in Cambodia.
“It is expected that the judicial system in Cambodia will be strengthened, and the culture of impunity will be reduced little by little, building up a Cambodian society that properly follows the rule of law. Otherwise hundreds of people’s lives will suffer from shootings by powerful people who have weapons and who kill people just as they like. It is expected that the government will not let this problem spreading any more.” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3435, 31.10.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 01 November 2008

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2823, 31.10.2008

  • Bomb Explosion in Bangkok Killed One Anti-Government Demonstrator and Injured Ten [according to Thai TV]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1782-#1783, 31-1.10-11.2008

  • A [seventeen year-old] Khmer Worker Was Shot by a Thai Police in His Head [while he and other workers tried to escape from the police
  • Siamese [Thai] Troops Busy to Cut down Trees near the Preah Vihear Temple

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #275, 1.11.2008

  • A Siamese [Thai] Army Commander Told Khmers to Stop Constructing a Road to the Preah Vihear Temple [claiming that it is in a contested zone, but a Khmer army commander disagreed]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #131, 31.11.2008

  • The United Nations and the Cambodian Side Reject Request by Lawyers of Nuon Chea [a former KR leader] for Information about Corruption Accusations [that some persons hand over part of their salaries to higher ranking officials, in order to have a position at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, because some lawyers are afraid that such information might endanger their rights at the court]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6487-#6488, 31-2.10-11.2008

  • Cambodia Plans to Clear Mines in the Preah Vihear Region [to construct a road to the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • For the coming Water Festival, 5,449 Members of the Military and Police Are Prepared to Protect Security and Order
  • Citizens [with the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] March to Strengthen the Will of the Authorities to Implement Orders to Eliminate the Cutting down of Forest [in Ratanakiri]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3602-#3603, 31-2.10-11.2008

  • Official of the Opposition Party [Mr. Son Chhay] Demands that the Government Shows the National Budget Draft of Nearly US$2 Billion for 2009 [before it is adopted, in order to know it’s basic intention, expanding the national budget, and to know where the state takes the money from to expand expenses]
  • A Human Rights Organization [Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO] Considers Courts to Be ‘Weapons’ [serving businesspeople and powerful officials] to Evict People to Seize Their Land
  • The UNDP Has Not Provided Held Back Money [more than US$750,000, not released because of corruption allegations] to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4730-#4731, 31-1.10-11.2008

  • Former Siamese [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affairs [Noppadon Pattama]: Siam Will Not Be as Weak as Cambodia if the Border Dispute Reaches the Untied Nations [he says so in his book ‘I Did Not Sell the Nation’]
  • Fuel Distributing Companies Promise to Reduce Price of Fuel to 4,000 Riel [per liter] on Monday [according to a meeting between the Ministry of Economy and Finance and all fuel companies in Cambodia]
  • Man Was Killed to Robb his Car, and His Body Was Thrown into a Channel [two perpetrators were arrested – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]
  • The Number of People Who Died from an Earthquake in Pakistan Increases to More Than 300

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3435, 31.10.2008

Culture of Impunity, Caused by Armed Persons, Spreads Seriously

  • Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror. – And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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