Archive for June 11th, 2009

Son Soubert States that Judges Must Resign from Their Positions at the Courts before They Leave to Work for the Government – Thursday, 11.6.2009

Posted on 11 June 2009. Filed under: Week 616 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 616

“A member of the Constitutional Council – the supreme legal institution of Cambodia – Mr. Son Soubert, said that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia states, ‘The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be separate’ [Article 51].

“Mr. Son Soubert said so after three judges had been appointed as advisors to [the President of the National Assembly] Mr. Heng Samrin, and to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

“Also a parliamentarian from Phnom Penh and the spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said, ‘There must be a separation among the legislative, executive, and judicial powers.’

“It should be noted that the appointments of these three senior judges as advisors to the President of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, and to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, was described to be against the Constitution by a member of the Constitutional Council, as this affects the independence of the legislative, because the executive power of the government interferes.

“Mr. Son Soubert said, ‘If a person is a judge and works for the government, this is not right. The Constitution states that the three powers shall be separate.’ He added that judges must resign from their positions at the courts before they accept another position [in the legislative or executive]. A publication by the well-known Khmer language newspaper Rasmei Kampuchea on Friday applauded the president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Chiv Keng, for his recent appointment as an advisor of the council of legal experts at the Council of Ministers, administered by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

“The publication, on behalf of judges and prosecutors of this court to welcome Mr. Chiv Keng with his new position, displays the photo of the president of the Municipal Court standing next to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, with a note saying that this position is equal to the position of a minister.

“The president of the Kandal Municipal Court, Mr. Khieu Samet, said on Tuesday that he and the president of the Sihanoukville Municipal Court, Mr. Sin Dim, were appointed early this year as advisors to the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin. Mr. Khieu Samet added that this position is not a salaried one.

“Mr. Son Soubert said that court officials should resign from their positions. He said, ‘Mr. Chiv Keng should resign from any positions at the courts – that means he cannot be a judge at a court, because he is in the government. For positions at the courts, one must be neutral and not related with anyone.’

“Mr. Son Soubert went on to say, ‘Mr. Chiv Keng can work in his new position, but he has to resign from his position as a judge.’ He added that the presidents of the Kandal and Sihanoukville Municipal Courts have to do the same.

“He continued to say that the courts cannot interfere into the function of other powers… Doing so is against the Constitution.

“The executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said on Tuesday that even though there is no law against such nominations, judges must be independent and should know that they have to be independent from the executive power of the government.

“Mr. Sok Sam Oeun said, ‘Courts are independent, and if judges start to work in the executive body, that means they lose their independence. They might try much to protect their independence, but however hard they try, they will still be criticized.’

“He added, ‘If we want the courts to be independent, the government should not assign judges as its advisors. Being judges, they cannot even provide advice.’

“The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Mr. Yim Sovann said, ‘If the three bodies are mutually related, officials from the courts will work in the government, and government officials will work at the courts. And if the courts fall into such a situation, the Khmer citizens are the victims.’

“Yesterday, we could not reach Mr. Chiv Keng, Mr. Khieu Samet, and Mr. Sin Dim for comments regarding their roles as advisor to the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, and to Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #422, 11.6.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 11 June 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #207, 11.6.2009

  • [The president of the National Assembly and honorary president of the Cambodian People’s Party] Samdech Heng Samrin, Agrees with the Request by [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay to Invite [the Minister at the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An, to Clarify to the Assembly the Drilling of [holes to fix electric lamps at] Angkor Wat
  • The Number of Found Passengers of the [crashed] Airbus-330 Increased to 41

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1967, 11.6.2009

  • Cambodia Asks the United States of America to Cancel the Debt of Cambodia [of more than US$300 million]
  • Germany Registers [ousted Thai prime minister] Thaksin in the Blacklist for Arrests [after there is information that Mr. Thaksin holds a document with the permission to live in Germany]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #422, 11.6.2009

  • Son Soubert States that Judges Must Resign from Their Positions at the Courts before They Leave to Work for the Government
  • The Court Announces Not to Accept and Handle [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua’s Defamation Complaint against [Prime Minister] Hun Sen
  • Lights Installed to Lit Angkor Wat Temple during the Night Are Removed Quietly

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6673, 11.6.2009

  • Cambodia Sends 52 Deminers to Sudan
  • Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief ‘Duch’ Says that All Vietnamese Captives Arrested Were Smashed [killed]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3781, 11.6.2009

  • An Assessment [by the Economist Intelligence Unit] Is Embarrassing for [Phnom Penh governor] Kep Chuktema [it ranks Phnom Penh 128th among 140 cities based on five criteria: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure; however, Deputy Governor Pa Socheatevong said that the assessment is not accurate]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4917, 11.6.2009

  • Special Economic Zones Proceed to Be Set Up but Are Slow Due to the Lack of [investment] Partners
  • The Cambodian and Vietnamese Border Committees Agree to Solve [three] Unsolved Points [the Ou Ya Dav border crossing at Ratanakiri, the Phnom Den border crossing in Takeo, and the border marker number 313, the final marker in Kampot]
  • The Federation of Unions [with the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association and the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers as members] Announced to Demonstrate during the Visit of the Thai Prime Minister [who will arrive in Cambodia on 12 June 2009, to demand Thailand to stop invading Cambodia, and pay compensation for the burning down of the market at the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • Motorbike Drivers with a Driving License Operate Only About 2% of the Number of Motorbikes [20,110 drivers have driving licenses, while the number of motorbikes is 943,660]

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The Way the New Era Dictatorship Is Being Implemented to Shut Up Critics and Opponents – Wednesday, 10.6.2009

Posted on 11 June 2009. Filed under: Week 616 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 616

“Recently [4 June 2009] there had been a discussion [on Undermining Democracy – 21st Century Authoritarians] organized by the research organization Freedom House and international radio stations such as Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe, and Radio Liberty at the US House of Representatives, evaluating the activities and ways of new-era dictatorships implemented to shut up critical voices and opponents. According to the discussion, it was said that strengthening dictatorship in this 21st century includes the providing of aid to poor countries and not caring about corruption. This disrupts the task of international organizations like the United Nations, and cheats the eyes of the public about the meaning of democracy, and their controlled broadcasts try to change history.

“Some non-government organizations see another means that dictators use – it is the use of the court system which is controlled by them to intimidate political critics through suing them for defamation. The Chief of Mission of the Cambodian Action Committee for Justice and Equity, based in the USA, Mr. Sourn Serey Ratha, noted this in their statement of 8 June 2009 about the court cases against journalists and opposition party politicians as a strategy used in communist countries which does not benefit the Khmer nation at all. What Mr. Sourn Serey Ratha said clearly shows problems happing in Cambodia, especially the court actions against parliamentarians from the Sam Rainsy Party, the opposition party.

“Mr. Sourn Serey Ratha said that now Cambodia is stepping backward to the era of the socialist leadership and regime, following communism where the three institutions of the state [legislative, executive, and judiciary] are used to restrict citizens’ freedom.

First, they use the court system to shut up the voice of opposition politicians, journalists, and civil society organizations who dare to express opinions to protect the benefit of the citizens, and who dare to publish real information for the readers, learners, and researchers concerned with the national interest.

Secondly, they use the local authorities to press civil society organizations and politicians to do things in accordance with the policy of the communist politicians.

“Third, as for religion, they restrict the freedom of nationalist monks and make them serve the policy of the monks of the 7th January Association [commemorating the toppling of the Khmer Rouge by the Vietnamese military intervention in 1979], created by the communist party of Cambodia to serve the policy of the Ho Chi Minh Yuon [Vietnamese] group that is conducting the Vietnamization in Cambodia. Some observers agree with Mr. Sourn Serey Ratha, because at present, the ruling party of Cambodia controls all power – the legislative body, the executive, and the court system – and it seems to be walking out of the track of democracy. Obviously, expressions of opinion by opposition party parliamentarians are used against them to sue them by government officials for defamation, and civil society officials, who dare to do activities against corruption are under threat.

“There is criticism that there is political interference at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and now, foreign lawyers had received dependable information that the Khmer co-prosecutor, Ms. Chea Leang, had been instructed by the government not to indict more people who were involved in the crimes of the Khmer Rouge regime. According to a local newspaper published last week, defense lawyers of a former Khmer Rouge high ranking leader claimed that they have evidence to prove that the government prevent judges to interview Prime Minister Hun Sen and some other former Khmer Rouge cadres. This shows that political influence interferes in the affairs of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal strongly, which can make this special tribunal lose its independence in finding justice for the victims of the Khmer Rouge Regime.

“Observers said that the political situation in Cambodia at present is not different from what the Freedom House and Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe, and Radio Liberty had mentioned recently. Obviously, recently, high ranking officials of the Hun Sen government as well as Prime Minister Hun Sen himself had sued Mr. Sam Rainsy and other Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians for defamation and provocation. Even Ms. Mu Sochua’s defense lawyer, Mr. Kong Sam On, is under the threat that his profession as a lawyer may be terminated, because he dares to defend Ms. Mu. Sochua, who is a parliamentarian from the opposition party.

“Some politicians with long experience criticized that senior military officials of the Cambodian People’s Party sued Mr. Ho Van, a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh. But Mr. Ho Vann had already clarified that journalists had quoted his speech wrongly. In the case that Prime Minister Hun Sen sued Ms. Mu Sochua for defamation, it seems an extreme action, since Ms. Mu Sochua is the real victim, but she is accused of defamation. The act of Prime Minister Hun Sen seems to be trying to hide his embarrassment using the court system, which is known as a tool of powerful officials and of the ruling party. It is said that it can be a means by which the Prime Minister uses the court system to silence Ms. Mu Sochua so that she does not dare not sue him while he his in control of the power.

“Some observers said that in this 21st century, there is a new dictatorship that uses the court system to silence critics and opponents. The court system of Cambodia is being used by the powerful to conceal their evil acts and to silence critics and opponents, so that they cannot disclose their bad acts. However, at present, democracy is stronger than dictatorship in many countries, even though now in Cambodia, democracy is still weaker than communism. That means democracy, or good deeds can really overcome dictatorship or bad deeds, because dictatorial leaders of some countries eventually fell from their power, because people needed real democracy and freedom.”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3780, 0.6.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #206, 10.6.2009

  • Cambodia Sends 19 Soldiers to Train in Indonesia
  • The World Health Organization Presents Its Last Report Saying that 73 Countries Have Been Affected by the A/H1N1 Virus

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1966, 10.6.2009

  • The Government Deploys Soldiers to Stop Cars, Belonging to Traders, Loaded with Goods for which no Tax is Paid
  • Rebels in Thailand Open Fire on a Mosque, Killing 11 Worshippers and Wounding 12 in a Southern Province
  • A Big Piece of the Crashed Air France Plane Is Found, and the Number of Bodies Recovered Increased to 24

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6672, 10.6.2009

  • A Truck Loaded with a Crane Broke Down and Stopped on the Road without Giving Any Sign [during the night] and a Bus Hit It from Behind, Killing Two People and Injuring Five [Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3780, 10.6.2009

  • The Way the New Era Dictatorship Is Being Implemented to Shut Up Critics and Opponents
  • Duch Accepts the Responsibility for Killing Children at the Tuol Sleng Prison, because He Wants Forgiveness

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4916, 10.6.2009

  • Mr. Ky Tech Asks the Council of the Bar Association to Take Legal Action [against Ms. Mu Sochua’s defense lawyer, Mr. Kong Sam On, for violating the ethics of the Bar Association by analyzing the fact of the defamation of Prime Minister Hun Sen before he filed the complaint]
  • Cambodian Prime Minister Encourages Vietnam and Cambodia to Strengthen Religious Cooperation
  • By 2015, 80% of People in the Country Will Have Access to Clean Water
  • The World Bank Sees China as an Encouraging Force of the Global Economy

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.16, #1725-1726, 9-10.6.2009

  • Civil Society Is Concerned with the Use of Judicial System by Powerful People to Suppress Their Opponents
  • The Opposition Party Demands the Government to Adjust the Demonstration Law [which limits the number of demonstrators to be under 200]
  • The Current Thai Government Tries to Build Good Diplomatic Relations with Cambodia

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