Archive for September, 2009

Whether the Economy Has a Plus or a Minus Is Not Important, but What Is Important Is that the People Have Enough Food to Eat – Tuesday, 29.9.2009

Posted on 30 September 2009. Filed under: Week 632 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 632

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen dismissed yesterday, Monday, forecasts by major banks of the world which had said that the Cambodian economy has contracted different from their former forecast, saying, ‘We do not care about those forecasts; what is important is that our Khmer people have enough food to eat.’

“A Report of the International Monetary Fund had predicted that the Cambodian economy will decline in 2009 by up to 2.75% – but different from that prediction it now predicted that it will drop by only 0.50%. Also, the Asia Development Bank and the World Bank had predicted a lower decline.

“The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, said as he presided over an inauguration ceremony of a building of the Ministry of Tourism, ‘Now, I would just like to say that whatever kind of forecast it is, whether there is a plus or a minus, this is not important, because these are only figures, but the most important thing is to observe the living conditions of the people in order to see whether they have enough water and food to eat or not. This is it.’

“The economic analyst of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, Dr. Kang Chandararath, said that these assessments should be conducted at the end of the year so that they are accurate, even though now the report showed that there was a decline. But based on three sectors, the garment sector comprises of about 15% of the GDP, tourism about 6%, and the construction sector about 4%. In total, these three sectors contribute 24% to 25% of the GDP. But agriculture is the biggest sector in Cambodia, covering as much as 30% and it has the most important role, besides the three sectors above.

“Dr. Kang Chandararath added, ‘Through the recent Pchum Ben Day holidays, Cambodia saw no serious impacts, because many people joined to celebrate the event actively. This showed that the Cambodian people still possess a strong economy. He added that recently, the three sectors above, the garment sector, tourism, and the construction sector, are recovering gradually.

“During the inauguration of a building of the Ministry of Tourism, the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, said that according to an assessment of the World Tourism Organization in 2009, the global tourism will drop by about 4% to 6%. In Cambodia, within the first six months of 2009, the number of tourists declined by about 1.1%, compared to the corresponding period in 2008, in which it declined by 13% in Siem Reap and by 11.90% in Sihanoukville, but it increased by 9% in Phnom Penh. But recently starting from May to August 2009, the number of tourists has risen again by 7% to 10% in each month. The Minister of Tourism added, ‘This report showed that tourism increased by 1.37%, compared to the same period in 2008.'” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #297, 29.9.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #297, 29.9.2009

  • Whether the Economy Has a Plus or a Minus Is Not Important, but What Is Important Is that the People Have Enough Food to Eat
  • [The Minister of Information] Mr. Khieu Kanharith Asked Leaders of Radio Free Asia to Coordinate with Staff Members [four staff members have been dismissed – but the Minister asked if the dismissals could be avoided]
  • Fourteen Least Developed Countries Meet in Phnom Penh to Talk about Reforms to Encourage Investment and Economic Growth [from 28 to 30 September 2009]
  • A Man Raped His Three Daughters Since a Long Time, and when a Policeman Arrested Him, He Said that It Was because He Was Drunk and Could Dot Resist His Daughters’ Beauty [Sihanoukville]
  • It Is Incredible that the Boxer Vy Savuth Could Take the World Boxing Council Belt from the Philippine Boxer Paul Apolinario [he is the first Cambodian boxer to win a world-class belt]

Note:

Least Developed Countries: Criteria for identification of LDCs

In its latest triennial review of the list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in 2006, the Committee for Development Policy used the following three criteria for the identification of the LDCs:

  • a low-income criterion, based on a three-year average estimate of the gross national income (GNI) per capita (under $745 for inclusion, above $900 for graduation);
  • a human capital status criterion, involving a composite Human Assets Index (HAI) based on indicators of: (a) nutrition: percentage of population undernourished; (b) health: mortality rate for children aged five years or under; (c) education: the gross secondary school enrollment ratio; and (d) adult literacy rate; and
  • an economic vulnerability criterion, involving a composite Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI) based on indicators of: (a) population size; (b) remoteness; (c) merchandise export concentration; (d) share of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in gross domestic product; (e) homelessness owing to natural disasters; (f) instability of agricultural production; and (g) instability of exports of goods and services.

To be added to the list, a country must satisfy all three criteria…

=

Least Developed Countries in Asia

  1. Afghanistan #
  2. Bangladesh
  3. Bhutan #
  4. Cambodia
  5. Kiribati *
  6. Lao People’s De mocratic Republic #
  7. Maldives *
  8. Myanmar
  9. Nepal #
  10. Samoa *
  11. Solomon Islands *
  12. Timor-Leste *
  13. Tuvalu *
  14. Vanuatu *
  15. Yemen

Some of these countries are LandLocked Developing Countries (#), or Small Island Developing States (*).

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2058, 29.9.2009

  • The First Cambodian Death from Swine Flu Is Confirmed [a woman died, Phnom Penh]
  • Cambodia Hopes that the Number of Tourists Will Rise by 2% to 3% in 2009 [as the number has already increased by 1.37% within eight months; in the first six months of 2009, there were 1,086,518 tourists, which is a decline by 1.10% compared to the corresponding period in 2008]
  • Iran Tested Missiles despite Pressure [from the United States and its allies]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6765, 29.9.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The People’s Problems Are Not Small – and the Bad Activities of Police and of Custom Officials in Poipet Have to Stop [he warned to dismiss officials from their positions if they extort money from citizens]
  • Because Her Son-in-Law Is the Murderer [who raped and killed her daughter, a Cambodian Muslim woman], a Woman Was Horrific and Died from a Heart Attack [Kompong Cham]

Meatophum, Vol.53, #746, 28-30.9.2009

  • Three Robbers Fell into a Police Trap in Sen Sok District [Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5007, 29.9.2009

  • A Journalist in Siem Reap Drove a Car to Chase a Car Loaded with Wood, but Hit Two People to Death [the offending driver escaped immediately after the accident]
  • The Government Declares an Emergency because of the Approaching Typhoon Ketsana
  • Ms. Angela Merkel Won New Term Elections [to become again Chancellor of Germany for four more years]
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Denied that There Is a 4.6 km2 Buffer Zone with Thailand [at the Preah Vihear temple area]; if Thailand Dares to Use a Unilateral Map for Negotiations, Samdech Hun Sen Will Tear That Map to Pieces in Front of Thai Leaders

Note:

This statement indicates hat there is a change in the position of the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia. During the exchanges between the Royal Governments of Cambodia and of Thailand, in the official Cambodian document pepared by the Council of Ministers, proposing the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List presented to UNESCO (in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic), as well as in the final Joint Communique – signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An for the Kingdom of Cambodia, and by the [then] Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, and witnessed by an Assistant Director General of UNESCO in June 2008 – to finally prepare the decisive session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in July 2008, the term of “buffer zones” is used, referring to their geographic location in relation to the temple itself, specifically adding that the inscription of the temple itself “shall be without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works” – mutually acknowledging that the borderline in this area has not been finally agreed upon. See the following Documents 1 and Document 2.

Document 1

The Kingdom of Cambodia
The Temple of Prah Vihear
Proposed for the inscriptin on the World Heritage List (UNESCO)
Edited by the Council of Ministers
June 2008

(continuing in this document:)

CAMBODIA AND THAILAND ENHANCE THEIR COOPERATION FOR THE INSCRIPTION
OF THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR

In a spirit of friendship, neighborliness and mutual understanding between the two countries, the Royal Government
of Cambodia and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand have been working together in recent months to
strengthen dialogue and consultation in a number of areas of mutual interests…

5) And finally, during a meeting in Paris (France) on 22 May 2008 between a Cambodian delegation led by His
Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers and a
Thai Delegation led by His Excellency Mr. Noppadon Pattama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the
Kingdom of Thailand in the presence of a number of UNESCO eminent members, led by Her Excellency the Deputy
Director General of UNESCO for Culture, Mrs Françoise RIVIERE. The Kingdom of Thailand reconfirmed its
support for the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List at the 32nd
Session of the World Heritage Committee to be held in Quebec, Canada in July 2008. For it part, the
Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spririt of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of
Preah Vihear on the List of the World Heritage, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and
west of the Temple.

[The boldfaced secion is also boldfaced in the original.]

Sources:

(English) 4.24 MB, (French) 6.52 MB, (Español) 3.86 MB, (العربية ) M4.51 MB.

Document 2

JOINT COMMUNIQUE

[beginnig abbreviated]

The meeting was held in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.

During the meeting both sides agreed as follows:

  1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.
  2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.
  3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;
  4. [tThis referns to the maps of 1904 and 1907, used by the International Court of Justice in 1962.]

  5. Pending the results of the work of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) concerning the northern and western areas surrounding the Temple of Preah Vihear, which are identified as N. 3 in the map mentioned in paragraph 1 above, the management plan of these areas will be prepared in a concerted manner between the Cambodian and Thai authorities in conformity with the international conservation standards with a view to maintain the outstanding universal value of the property. Such management plan will be included in the final management plan for the Temple and its surrounding areas to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre by 1st February 2010 for the consideration of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.
  6. [We are not aware that drafts of, or information about this joint Cambodian-Thai management document, due in 4 months for submission to UNESCO, have been published.]

  7. The inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List shall be without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) of the two countries;…

Phnom Penh, 18 June 2008
For the Royal Government of Cambodia
H.E. Mr. SOK AN
,
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers

Bangkok, 18 June 2008
For the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand
H.E. Mr. NOPPADON PATTAMA
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Paris, 18 June 2008
Representative of the UNESCO
Françoise Rivière
Assistant Director-General for Culture

Source:

The text of the Joint Communique, including the map presented by the Cambodian side), can be found here:
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/pdf/jointcommunique.pdf

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1796, 29.9.2009

  • Civil Society Organizations [and the Ministry of Information] Held a Workshop about a Network to Legally Protect Journalists

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Report: Land Policy of the Government Affects Most Vulnerable People – Monday, 28.9.2009

Posted on 28 September 2009. Filed under: Week 632 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 632

“According to a 81-page report issued on Monday last week [21.9.2009 – “Untitled: Tenure Insecurity and Inequality in the Cambodian Land Sector”], most vulnerable communities countrywide still encounter land ownership insecurity and forced evictions, even though a project has been implemented for seven years, spending millions of dollars to reform the land ownership sector.

“This report was made by a trio of national and international housing rights organizations, and it said that a Land Management and Administration Project was created in 2002 with funds from international donors, including from the World Bank, with the goal to create a ‘transparent and efficient land administration system’ within five years. This 81-page report recognized that this project has issued land titles covering more than one million plots countrywide. But it said that there is little success in several sections.

“This reported said, ‘Though this project has achieved significant success in some places, it has not improved land ownership security in Cambodian society, resulting in an increasing number of vulnerable people as a result of evictions. In general, vulnerable people who have the right to demand their land are not accepted to receive land ownerships and to participate in procedures to address disputes, resulting in a reduced efficiency of programs to alleviate poverty and to increase social stability.

“Some major shortages shown in the report are that the land titling system of the Land Management and Administration Project reserves areas where ‘disputes are likely’ or ‘where there is no clear situation,’ or [in one example] it excluded 10 families among thousands of families by not providing land titles according to the 2001 Land Law of the Kingdom of Cambodia. More than 4,000 families living in the area around the Boeng Kak lake in Phnom Penh cannot apply to ask for ownership documents for their land, because that lake is located in an ‘area for development.’ The report expressed also concern over the low level of protection of land ownerships of ethnic minority people, saying that procedures to address disputes in the Land Management and Administration Project do not provide just, efficient, and non-biased solutions for disputes.

“The director of Bridges Across Borders, that is involved in this report, Mr. David Pred, said, ‘If this system does not include vulnerable people, the advantages of the ownership will be affected by obstacles, and according to our experience with the Land Management and Administration Project, most goals of the provision of land ownership cannot be achieved if there is no rule of law and no procedures to settle disputes based on the intention to protect citizens’ rights.’

“The executive director of the Community Legal Education Center, Mr. Yeng Virak, said, ‘Actually the land titling program of the Land Management and Administration Project was not implemented in areas facing obstacles like at the Boeng Kak lake region, at Group 78, and at the Dey Krahom region in Phnom Penh.’

“The Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Mr. Im Chhun Lim, could not be reached for comment on Sunday, but a Phnom Penh Deputy Governor, Mr. Mann Chhoeun, denied the content of the report, claiming that mechanisms to solve disputes at district and provincial levels have been implemented successfully. He told Phnom Penh Post, ‘Both institutions [the Ministry of Land Management and the Municipality?] have helped to establish adequate actions. Therefore, there will be improvements, and this will respond more effectively to the needs of people.'” Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #13, 28.9.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 28 September 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #296, 27-28.9.2009

  • Many Casinos [at border crossing points] Still Allow Khmers to Enter [to gamble]
  • Citizens Gathered to Stop Sand Dredging at Koh Prak Island [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2057, 27-28.9.2009

  • Because the Authorities Take Bribes, the Illegal Transport of Wood Continues [Stung Treng]
  • [About 1,000] Students of the University of Health Science [who failed the national exams] Plan to Hold a Big Demonstration while the Government Prepares to Take Strict Actions against Them
  • Military Police Arrested Two Policemen for Anarchic Shooting [driving drunk on a motorcycle – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #497, 27-29.9.2009

  • Ms. Ya Sok Nim [actress In Soklida’s aunt who had been attacked by acid] and Her Husband Asked the Appeals Court to Cancel the Municipal Court’s Judgment [to drop all charges against former military police Brigadier General Ms. Chea Ratha and her accomplices over the acid attack]
  • Mr. Rong Chhun Asked for Participation [from different institutions and from the public] to Celebrate the World Teachers’ Day on 5 October 2009

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6764, 28.9.2009

  • The Road to the Preah Vihear Temple Is in Khmer Territory; the Spokesperson of the Council of Ministers Rejected [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Suthep Thaugsuban’s Words [who said that the road to the Preah Vihear Temple crosses overlapping Cambodian-Thai territory]
  • A Cambodian Muslim Woman Was Raped while She Was Picking Coffee in a Mangrove and Stabbed Several Times to Death [perpetrators have not yet been identified – Kompong Cham]

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #13, 28.9.2009

  • Report: The Land Policy of the Government Affects Most Vulnerable People
  • [Four dismissed] Staffs Members of Radio Free Asia Ask for Intervention by the US Embassy [Phnom Penh]
  • The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology Warns about a Coming Typhoon and Flood [resulting from the typhoon Ketsana now in the South of Vietnam]
  • Typhoon Ketsana Killed Nearly 100 People in the Philippines, and Many Others Are Missing in the Flood

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5006, 27-28.9.2009

  • Cambodia Is among the Countries That Might Be Easily Affected by Climate Change [as it depends mainly on agriculture – according to the Asian Development Bank]
  • A Truck Loaded with Containers Hit Two Motorbikes, Killing Two People and Injuring One Seriously [Phnom Penh]
  • Typhoon Destroys 98 Houses [in Kompong Chhnang]

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The Highlight of the Past Week – Sunday, 27.9.2009

Posted on 28 September 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 631 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 631

In some weeks, there is some important event attracting the attention of many people – a kind of theme of the week. In other weeks, there are even several items which compete for top attention – though different people are interested, or even affected differently, and it may not be easy to agree what can be considered for special attention.

During the past week there were no such spectacular events – but there way a holiday: Constitution’s Day. Though it is a National Holiday, it is obvious that it is not placed highly on the agenda of the citizens enjoying a free day. Before Pchum Ben, many families discussed what to do together – and not only government institutions and different organization’s offices were closed – also big and small businesses were not operating. But it was quite different for Constitution’s Day: while government and many organizations gave their staff a free day, many shops were operating, even more intensely compared to normal days, as it turned into a convenient day for many people in town to go shopping, or to meet with friends. It is quite natural to enjoy such opportunities, away from the regular daily obligations which determine our lives. It seems that not much time was spent by many people to consider the reasons why this was a free day.

But the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia is the basic and most important law of the country. We took already the opportunity to share some sections of its text on The Mirror on Thursday, 24 September 2009.

It is under the framework of this law that guidance has to be sought for everybody’s life in society, as this law was created with some basic assumptions and convictions to be considered and observed, monitored, and where necessary enforced, to constantly work towards the achievement of the goals set in the Preamble of the Constitution, which says, that after a glorious past, and after having endured sufferings and destructions,

“We, the people of Cambodia… stood up with a resolute determination… to restore Cambodia into an ‘Island of Peace’ based on a multi-party liberal democratic regime with guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law, and responsible for the destiny of the nation always evolving toward progress, development, prosperity, and glory”

That is the spirit of the Constitution. We highlight here, for easy reading, again some sections about how this spirit is to be lived and put into practice.

  • Cambodia is a Kingdom with a King who shall rule according to the Constitution and to the principles of liberal democracy and pluralism.
  • The Kingdom of Cambodia shall be independent, sovereign, peaceful, permanently neutral and non-aligned country.
  • The King shall have the right to grant partial or complete amnesty.
  • The Kingdom of Cambodia shall recognize and respect human rights as stipulated in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human rights, the covenants and conventions related to human rights, women’s and children’s rights.
  • Every Khmer citizens shall be equal before the law, enjoying the same rights, freedom and fulfilling the same obligations regardless of race, color, sex, language, religious belief, political tendency, birth origin, social status, wealth or other status. The exercise of personal rights and freedom by any individual shall not adversely affect the rights and freedom of others.
  • The exercise of such rights and freedom shall be in accordance with the law.
  • Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to participate actively in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the nation.

  • Any suggestions from the people shall be given full consideration by the organs of the State.
  • The law guarantees there shall be no physical abuse against any individual.
  • The law shall protect life, honor, and dignity of the citizens.
  • Confessions obtained by physical or mental force shall not be admissible as evidence of guilt.
  • Any case of doubt, it shall be resolved in favor of the accused.
  • Khmer citizens shall have the right to denounce, make complaints or file claims against any breach of the law by state and social organs or by members of such organs committed during the course of their duties. The settlement of complaints and claims shall be the competence of the courts.
  • Khmer citizens shall have freedom of expression, press, publication and assembly. No one shall exercise this right to infringe upon the rights of others, to effect the good traditions of the society, to violate public law and order and national security.
  • The right to confiscate properties from any person shall be exercised only in the public interest as provided for under the law and shall require fair and just compensation in advance.
  • All forms of discrimination against women shall be abolished.
  • The Kingdom of Cambodia adopts a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism.
  • The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country.
  • All power belongs to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, The Senate, the Royal Government and the Judiciary.
  • The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be separate.
  • The health of the people shall be guaranteed. The State shall give full consideration to disease prevention and medical treatment. Poor citizens shall receive free medical consultation in public hospitals, infirmaries and maternities.
  • The State shall establish a social security system for workers and employees.
  • The deputies in the National Assembly shall represent the entire Khmer people, not only Khmers from their constituencies.
  • Any imperative mandate shall be nullified.
  • The Judicial power shall be an independent power.
  • Judicial power shall not be granted to the legislative or executive branches.
  • The National Congress shall enable the people to be directly informed on various matters of national interests and to raise issues and requests for the State authority to solve.
  • Khmer citizens of both sexes shall have the right to participate in the National Congress.
  • The National Congress shall meet once a year in early December at the convocation of the Prime Minister.
  • It shall proceed under the chairmanship of the King.
  • This Constitution shall be the Supreme law of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

There is ample reason to remember these words, and to reflect on the Constitution, not only on Constitution’s Day.

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Dr. Lao Mong Hay Criticized that Mr. Hun Sen Breaks the Constitution by Violating the King’s Powers – Saturday, 26.9.2009

Posted on 27 September 2009. Filed under: Week 631 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 631

“A senior researcher of the Asian Human Rights Commission, based in Hong Kong, Dr. Lao Mong Hay, commented in an article via UPIAsia.com in late October last year, mentioning some points to claim that the Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, is abusing the Constitution, the supreme law of Cambodia.

“The comment was quoted and aired on Radio Free Asia yesterday [25 October 2009] as an example to describe how Prime Minister Hun Sen is violating the Constitution, the supreme law of Cambodia.

“To support this claim, Mr. Lao Mong Hay mentioned the Khmer-Siamese [Thai] border dispute at the Preah Vihear Temple, quoting a statement of Prime Minister Hun Sen on 14 October last year when he gave an ultimatum to Thailand, to withdraw the Siamese [Thai] troops by the next day, and ordered the Khmer troops to prepare for armed clash with the Siamese [Thai] troops. On 15 October 2008, Cambodian and Thai troops engaged in a brief battle, resulting in deaths and injuries on both sides. Hun’s action violated the Cambodian Constitution, according to which only the King of Cambodia, the supreme commander of the Cambodian armed forces, can make a declaration of war after both Houses of Parliament approve it. Hun Sen usurped the King’s power.

“With this, Dr. Lao Mong Hay explained, regarding an announcement of war by Prime Minister Hun Sen, that the Prime Minister does not have the right and the power to do so, but according to the Constitutions of Cambodia, only the King has power to declare war after there has been ab agreement by both the National Assembly and the Senate of the country.

“He pointed to Articles 7 and 24 in Chapter 2 of the Constitution of Cambodia which state that only if there is agreement from the National Assembly and from the Senate, the King has the rights to declare war, but not the Prime Minister.

Note:

For reference, we quote here the text of this article from the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia:

Article 24:

The King shall serve as Chairman of the Supreme Council of National defense to be established by law.

The King shall declare war after approval of the Assembly and the Senate.

Radio Free Asia’s broadcast recounted that members of the Cambodia People’s Party in both the National Assembly and in the Senate had given different explanations about the Constitution, different from what parliamentarians from the opposition parties, the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, had said, as the Constitutional Council, dominated by a majority of the Cambodian People’s Party, always agrees with the [ruling] party or does not make any clarifications.

“Also other words used as background to show that the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Mr. Hun Sen, violated the Constitution were quoted.

“They refer to Article 80 of Chapter 7 of the Constitution, which states that parliamentarians have immunity and must not be punished for expressing their opinion fulfilling their duty.

Note:

Again, for reference, we quote here the text of this article from the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia:

Article 80:

The deputies shall enjoy parliamentary immunity.
No assembly member shall be prosecuted, detained or arrested because of opinions expressed during the exercise of his (her) duties.
The accusation, arrest, or detention of an assembly member shall be made only with the permission of the National Assembly or by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly between sessions, except in case of flagrante delicto. In that case, the competent authority shall immediately report to the National Assembly or to the Standing Committee for decision.
The decision made by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly shall be submitted to the National Assembly at its next session for approval by a 2/3 majority vote of the assembly members.
In any case, detention or prosecution of a deputy shall be suspended by a 3/4 majority vote of the National Assembly members.

“However, in the meantime, a statement of Prime Minister Hun Sen was reported, warning those who had criticized the government and his performance.

“Also this intimidating statement was broadcasted, quoting Mr. Hun Sen as saying, ‘Do not insult the government calling it a dictatorial regime. Be careful. When you then face legal action, you will say that the freedom of expression is suppressed.’

Note:

As the statement under reference had been taken up in different ways in the press, we quote here three instances from past Mirrors.

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #255, 6.8.2009

  • The Prime Minister Warned He Would Take Legal Action against Those Who Call the Government a “Dictatorial Regime,” after He Won the Court Case against Ms. Mu Sochua

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #463, 7.8.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian and spokesperson] Mr. Yim Sovann Said that Mr. Hun Sen Creates a New Obstacle for the Freedom of Expression [Prime Minister Hun Sen recently warned to take legal action against those calling the government a dictatorial regime]

And finally an interesting clarification in detail:

Khmer Amatak, Vol.17, #635, 10.8.2009

  • On 6 July 2009, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that he will file an accusation with the court against anybody who calls the present regime, which is a ‘constitutional monarchy’ a ‘dictatorial regime.’ Mr. Hun Sen said that if ones call an individual or the Royal Government a dictator or a dictatorship, that is alright. The Prime Minister had previously said publicly that there had been accusation that he gathers power for himself alone, and he had agreed with it, because many fellow officials do not act according to their roles and just wait, until there is an order from the Prime Minister.

“And even members of the US parliament, experts in legal affairs, denounced publicly the leadership of Mr. Hun Sen on 10 September 2009, calling it dictatorial, walking towards the track of the Burmese junta that suppresses and restricts the freedom of expression and of opposing politicians, and also of its own citizens.

“It is Ms. Mu Sochua’s case that most clearly is noticed by national and international observers and the Khmer people in general, but also by diplomats, non-government organizations, and senior politicians of the European and the US parliaments, as restriction of the freedom of expression by Mr. Hun Sen’s rule in Cambodia.

“Ms. Mu Sochua, a parliamentarian from the Sam Rainsy Party, the biggest opposition party in Cambodia, becomes a target of psychological suppression politics of the Cambodian People’s Party and the government of Mr. Hun Sen. Mu Sochua was prosecuted by the Phnom Penh Municipal court, which is criticized to be a tool of the Cambodian People’s Party, because she dared to lodge a complaint to seek justice related to a speech by Mr. Hun Sen, in which she saw some words as insulting her.

“Also, Ms. Mu Sochua raised human rights violations in Cambodia and the way of ruling of Mr. Hun Sen’s government suppressing anti-government politicians psychologically during a meeting with members of the US congress, ‘US parliamentarians have the same position. They do not have doubts and do not need us to explain. They criticized that no Khmer parliamentarian should be suppressed by those who rule in Cambodia by trying to arrest and to restrict them.’

“The Asian Human Rights Commission issued a statement on 14 August 2009, CAMBODIA: Appointment of judges and prosecutors is unconstitutional, noticing that Mr. Hun Sen’s government violates many articles of the Constitution, as there are especially problems occurring in the organization of the court system. Here, examples of the violation of the power of the King’s rights occur by the Cambodian government, with reference to the Articles 14, 51, 128, 134, 135, and 150 of the Constitution. Article 128 in Chapter 11 of the Constitution of Cambodia states that the court’s power is independent; however, it is seen that courts are under the power and political pressure of rulers which is noticed as violating the Constitution by the rulers in Cambodia.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #496, 26.9.2009

And one more final note:

For reference to the source quoted, two paragraphs of the Asian Human Rights Commission statement of 14 August 2009, distributed by e-mail, are reproduced here:

  • The AHRC has further noticed that the appointment of judges and prosecutors, as shown in the king’s successive appointment decrees, has not respected the principle of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary as enshrined the country’s Constitutions (Arts 51 and 128). In these appointments, the Minister of Justice, a cabinet member and also a member of the SCM, has made nomination proposals, received the approval of the SCM and submitted them to the king for signing. For some appointments, the SCM has been bypassed altogether and the proposals directly submitted to the king for signature.
  • This practice contravenes Art 134 of the country’s Constitution which says, among other things, that “The Supreme Council of the Magistracy shall make proposals to the King on the appointment of judges and prosecutors to all courts.” It should be declared unconstitutional when, according Art. 150 of the same Constitution, “Laws and decisions by the State institutions shall have to be in strict conformity with the Constitution.”

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 26 September 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #295, 26.9.2009

  • Official [the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Khieu Sopheak]: Cambodia Spends about US$6 Million Annually on Prisoners’ Food

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2056, 26.9.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua Dodged Journalists after Getting Down from the Plane [returning from a visit to the United States of America]; The Appeal Court Summoned Her to Appear on 2 October 2009 [over her appeal against the rejection by the Municipal Court of her complaint against Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • The US Embassy Will Organize a Conference about Energy Development in the Greater Mekong Sub Region [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #496, 26.9.2009

  • Dr. Lao Mong Hay Criticized that Mr. Hun Sen Breaks the Constitution by Violating the King’s Powers
  • [The president of the Supreme Court] Dith Munty Told Judges to Be Careful in Releasing Suspects [after there had been criticism that there are irregularities countrywide over releases of accused or of suspects]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6763, 26-27.9.2009

  • Thai Deputy Prime Minister [Suthep Thaugsuban]: Maritime Overlapping Zones [of Cambodian and Thailand] Should Be Jointly Developed
  • There Are Nearly 20,000 Convicts in Prisons Countrywide
  • From 2006 to September 2009, 8,689 Teenage Gangsters Have Been Intercepted

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5005, 26.9.2009

  • Radio Free Asia Dismissed Four Reporters [claiming to be a reform, but it is said to be the result of conflicts at the headquarters in Washington]
  • Cambodia Will Create a Law to Control Juvenile Gangs [according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Khieu Sopheak]
  • The National Election Committee Announced to Check and Register the Electoral Name Lists Annually [which will happen from 1 to 20 October 2009]
  • Three Persons Were Imprisoned [from 2 to 5 years] for Selling Children for Prostitution [Phnom Penh]
  • A Big Bank of China [the Bank of China – 中国银行] Plans to Open a Branch in Phnom Penh
  • There Have Been More Than 6,000 Drug Abusers in Cambodia [according the General Secretariat of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, but the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime claims that there are up to 46,000 drug abusers]

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Heng Samrin Agrees with Son Chhay to Ask So Khun to Explain Telecommunications Conflict – Friday, 25.9.2009

Posted on 26 September 2009. Filed under: Week 631 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 631

“Uncertain management rules of the Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Mr. So Khun, for mobile phone companies motivated a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian to ask for explanations, a move which later on was also supported by the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin. Requested from the minister is only an explanation in writing, but not a direct verbal clarification at the National Assembly.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Son Chhay, wrote on 14 September 2009 to request the Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Mr. So Khun, to clarify some conflicts in the telecommunications sector. Mr. Heng Samrin agreed to Mr. Son Chhay’s request on 23 September 2009, as two mobile phone companies are having a dispute with each other, while they now seek for a solution through the courts. Mr. Son Chhay’s request was made in accordance with Article 96 of the Constitutions [see The Mirror of yesterday], and also to take care of some difficulties that the people who are mobile phone users encounter.

“Mr. Son Chhay wrote, ‘Seeing severe confusion in telecommunications, while it is the obligation of the government to improve telecommunications, so that operations function with good and cheap services to earn much resources for the state – which is not implemented now, and in contrast, the accessibility of mobile phone systems in Cambodia became worse, when making a call to another system, communication is much more expensive than in neighboring countries, and the state cannot control the income from this sector.’

“Mr. Son Chhay added in his letter, ‘To provide more time for Your Excellency to present your clarifications to the National Assembly at a later time, I would like now to ask for a written clarification of the following questions:’

“’1. So far, how many companies has the Ministry licensed to invest in the mobile phone sector? How much has to be paid for each license? And how many companies are actually operating after having received a license?

“’2. How many VoIP [voice over Internet protocol] licenses has the Ministry provided or sold to individuals or to private companies? How much income can a license earn for the state? Does the ministry take any action against those who have received licenses, but do not operate the related services, and keep the licenses to sell them for gain?

“’3. Does the Ministry have the tools to properly manage the income earned from the telecommunications sector, while the Ministry does not have the technical possibility to clearly monitor the volume of service activities in this sector, because the Ministry has always to wait until the companies come with their own information about how much they have to pay to the state? This procedure is leading to a great loss of national income.’

“At the end of the letter, Mr. Son Chhay asked the Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Mr. So Khun, to respond to all the above questions, as well as to provide other relevant documents to the National Assembly soon, according to Article 96 of the Constitution.

“Mr. Son Chhay’s letter was written while the Mobitel company of Oknha Kit Meng is having a sharp dispute with the Beeline company, which provides the services to its clients cheaply. The Mobitel company of Oknha Kit Meng, that has served its clients for many years, wants the Beeline company to charge – from its clients – its services also more expensively.

“The dispute leads to calls for intervention by Mr. So Khun, but some observers have the impression that Mr. So Khun has the intention to protect the benefits of the Mobitel company, which charges high fees for its services from its clients. It is the biggest mobile phone service provider, but it is also the company with the reputation to provide poorer inter-systems calls, compared to other mobile phone companies in Cambodia.

“However, it is not expected that Mr. So Khun will really explain some of the claimed irregularities, which Mr. Son Chhay called ‘anarchic.’

“It should be remembered that, at present, there are many mobile phone companies in Cambodia, including Mobitel, also known as ‘the 012 company,’ which has the most clients in the country, as it was the first company to operate mobile phones in Cambodia. It is reported that Mobitel provides services for some government officials without charging them.

“Analysts said that because this company allows some Khmer senior officials to call free of charge, Mobitel tries to earn income from many clients by charging them high fees, in order to continue the free use by high ranking officials.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #494-495, 24-25.9.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 25 September 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #293-294, 24-25.9.2009

  • Minister of Defense [Tea Banh]: Robert Gates Came to Greet Me at the Stairs, Much Different from 1995 (24.9.2009)
  • Siamese [Thai] Court Sentenced Seven Khmer People to Serve Six to Nine Years in Prison [for cutting and stealing trees and for entering Thai territory illegally – Cambodia continues to appeal] (24.9.2009)
  • An Anti-Corruption Law Will Be Adopted during the First Six Months of 2010 at the Latest [according a parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party] (25.9.2009)

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2054-2055, 24-25.9.2009

  • Cambodia’s Minister of Defense Visits the United States of America and Achieves Bright Success [Cambodia plans to place a defense attaché to its embassy in Washington] (24.9.2009)
  • The Number of People Confirmed with A/H1N1 Flu Rose to 87 [three cases were newly confirmed in Battambang] (25.9.2009)

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #652, 25.9.2009

  • An Oknha [name not given] Drove a Car and Hit a Woman to Death, and Paid US$4,000 Compensation so that He Is Free [Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #494-495, 24-25.9.2009

  • Heng Samrin Agrees with Son Chhay to Ask So Khun to Explain Telecommunications Conflict
  • [The Minister of Interior] Sar Kheng Explained to [Prime Minister] Hun Sen that the Ministry of Interior Will Not Interfere with the Courts’ Affairs [he explained so after there had been criticism from legal experts over the creation of a working group to review court actions] (24.9.2009)

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6762, 25.9.2009

  • Nearly US$40,000 of a Private Bank [the Cambodia Asia Bank] at the Phnom Penh International Airport Was Robbed; the Robber Is a Car Driver Employed by the Bank
  • Cases Relating to the Deaths Caused by Drivers: The Municipal Court Decided to Impose Imprisonment Sentences, Suspended Penalties, and Ordered Fines for 24 Cases, and 16 Other Cases Have Not Yet Been Solved [Phnom Penh]
  • [About 100] Medical Students Continued to Demonstrate to Protest to the Ministry of Health [because the content of their tests considered “failed” have not been made public – but they were blocked by police – Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post, Vol.1, #12, 25.9.2009

  • Opposition Sam Rainsy Party President Dismissed Statement of the Council of Ministers that He Accused Mr. Hun Sen to be a Khmer Rouge [Mr. Sam Rainsy said during a press conference that some government officials, who were former Khmer Rouge leaders, still use their previous mindset]
  • The Authorities Delay Evicting Citizens [from 26 families] from the Railway B Community [Phnom Penh]
  • Cambodia Will Stop the Domestic Flights [in Cambodia] of the Thai Bangkok Airways [when their present contract ends on 25 October 2009, to promote Cambodia Angkor Air]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5003-5004, 24-25.9.2009

  • A Thai Deputy Prime Minister [Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban] Warned Thai Extremists Not to Inflame the Preah Vihear Border Dispute to Develop into War (24.9.2009)
  • The National Assembly of Vietnam Will Develop Human Resources in Information Technology among Cambodian Officials (24.9.2009)
  • The Former Minister of Foreign Affairs [? – present Ambassador to France] of Bulgaria [Ms. Irina Bokova] Becomes Director-General of UNESCO (24.9.2009)
  • Vaccines to Reduce AIDS Infections Were Applied for the First Time [to more than 16,000 people in Thailand, and it reduced infections by 1/3] (25.9.2009)
  • Two Sisters Riding on a Motorbike to Work Were Killed in an Accident [they were hit by a mini-truck – Phnom Penh] (24.9.2009)

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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Cambodia National Holidays: Constitution’s Day – Thursday, 24.9.2009

Posted on 25 September 2009. Filed under: Week 631 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 631

The public holidays of Cambodia as announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, designate 24 September is designated as “Constitution’s Day.”

At this occasion, access is made available to the text of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, as presented on the website of the Embassy of Cambodia, Washington D.C., which points out: “It is not an official translation.” The following selections were made considering issues on which the Khmer press touched over the years. Still, the text presented here is much longer than a normal daily publication. While selecting sections of text, only full articles, or full paragraphs, have been omitted; all full sentences presented here, including wording and spelling, are kept as found in the source quoted.

CONSTITUTION OF THE KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA

PREAMBLE

WE, THE PEOPLE OF CAMBODIA, Having known a grand civilization of a prosperous, powerful, and glorious nation whose prestige radiates like a diamond,

Having endured sufferings and destructions and having experienced a tragic decline in the course of the two decades,
Having awakened, stood up with a resolute determination to strengthen the national unity, to preserve and defend Cambodia’s territory and its precious sovereignty and the prestige of Angkor civilization, and to restore Cambodia into an “Island of Peace” based on a multi-party liberal democratic regime with guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law, and responsible for the destiny of the nation always evolving toward progress, development, prosperity, and glory,

WITH THIS RESOLUTE WILL

We inscribe the following as the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia:

CHAPTER I: SOVEREIGNTY

Article 1: Cambodia is a Kingdom with a King who shall rule according to the Constitution and to the principles of liberal democracy and pluralism.
The Kingdom of Cambodia shall be independent, sovereign, peaceful, permanently neutral and non-aligned country.

Article 2: The territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia, shall absolutely not to be violated within its borders as defined in the 1/100,000 scale map made between the year 1933-1953 and internationally recognized between the years 1963 – 1969.

Article 3: The Kingdom of Cambodia is an indivisible state.

Article 4: The motto of the Kingdom of Cambodia is: “Nation, Religion, King”.

Article 5: The official language and script are Khmer.

Article 6: Phnom Penh is the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

CHAPTER II: THE KING

Article 7: The King of Cambodia shall reign but shall not govern.

The King shall be the Head of State for life. The King shall be inviolable.

Article 8: The King of Cambodia shall be a symbol of unity and eternity of the nation.
The King shall be guarantor of the national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the protector of rights and freedom for all citizens and the guarantor of international treaties.

Article 11: In the case that the King cannot perform His normal duties as Head of State owing to His serious illness as certified by doctors chosen by the President of the Senate, the President of the Assembly and the Prime Minister the President of the Senate shall perform the duties of Head of state as “Regent.”

In the case of the President of the Senate cannot perform his duties as the acting Head of State replacing the King as “Regent” when he is ill seriously as provided in the above paragraph the President of Assembly shall take them over.
In the case as stated in the above paragraph, other dignitaries as following hierarchy can perform Acting Head of State as Regent:

A. First Vice-President of the Senate
B. First Vice-President of the Assembly
C. Second Vice-Presiednt of the Senate
D. Second Vice-President of the Assembly

Article 12: In case of the death of the King, the President of the Senate shall take over the responsibility as Acting Head of State in the capacity of Regent of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

In the case that the President of the Senate cannot perform his duties of the acting Head of State as “Regent” in the place of the King on the death of the King the responsibilities of Head of State in the capacity of regent shall be exercised in conformity with the second and third paragraph of new Article 11.

Article 17: The provision as stated in the first clause of Article 7, “the King of Cambodia shall reign but shall not govern”, absolutely shall not be amended.

Article 20: The King shall grant an audience twice a month to the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers to hear their reports on the State of the Nation.

Article 21: Upon Proposals by the Council of Ministers, the King shall sign decrees (Kret) appointing, transferring or ending the mission of high civil and military officials, ambassadors and Envoys Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
Upon proposals by the Supreme Council of Magistracy, the King shall sign decrees (Kret) appointing, transferring or removing judges.

Article 23: The King is the Supreme Commander of the Royal Khmer Armed Forces. The Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Khmer Armed Forces shall be appointed to command the Armed Forces.

Article 26: The King shall sign and ratify international treaties and conventions after a vote of approval by the National Assembly and the Senate.

Article 27: The King shall have the right to grant partial or complete amnesty.

Article 28: The King shall sign the law promulgating the Contstitution; laws adopted by the National Assembly and laws completely reviewed by the Senate and shall sign the Royal decree presented by the Council of Ministers.

Article 30: In the absence of the King, the President of the Senate shall assume the duties of acting Head of State.

In the case that the President of the Senate cannot perform his duties as the acting Head of State replacing the King due to his absence, the responsibilities as the Acting Head of State shall be exercised in conformity with second and third paragraph of new Article 11.

CHAPTER III: THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF KHMER CITIZENS

Article 31: The Kingdom of Cambodia shall recognize and respect human rights as stipulated in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human rights, the covenants and conventions related to human rights, women’s and children’s rights.

Every Khmer citizens shall be equal before the law, enjoying the same rights, freedom and fulfilling the same obligations regardless of race, color, sex, language, religious belief, political tendency, birth origin, social status, wealth or other status. The exercise of personal rights and freedom by any individual shall not adversely affect the rights and freedom of others. The exercise of such rights and freedom shall be in accordance with the law.

Article 32: Every Khmer citizen shall have the right to life, personal freedom, and security.
There shall be no capital punishment.

Article 35: Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to participate actively in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the nation.

Any suggestions from the people shall be given full consideration by the organs of the State.

Article 36: Khmer citizens of either sex shall receive equal pay for equal work.

The work by housewives in the home shall have the same value as what they can receive when working outside the home.

Every Khmer citizen shall have the right to obtain social security and other social benefits as determined by law.

Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to form and to be member of trade unions.

Article 37: The right to strike and to non-violent demonstration shall be implemented in the framework of a law.

Article 38: The law guarantees there shall be no physical abuse against any individual.

The law shall protect life, honor, and dignity of the citizens.

The prosecution, arrest, or detention of any person shall not be done except in accordance with the law.

Coercion, physical ill-treatment or any other mistreatment that imposes additional punishment on a detainee or prisoner shall be prohibited. Persons who commit, participate or conspire in such acts shall be punished according to the law.

Confessions obtained by physical or mental force shall not be admissible as evidence of guilt.

Any case of doubt, it shall be resolved in favor of the accused.

The accused shall be considered innocent until the court has judged finally on the case.

Article 39: Khmer citizens shall have the right to denounce, make complaints or file claims against any breach of the law by state and social organs or by members of such organs committed during the course of their duties. The settlement of complaints and claims shall be the competence of the courts.

Article 40: The rights to privacy of residence, and to the secrecy of correspondence by mail, telegram, fax, telex and telephone shall be guaranteed.

Any search of the house, material and body shall be in accordance with the law.

Article 41: Khmer citizens shall have freedom of expression, press, publication and assembly. No one shall exercise this right to infringe upon the rights of others, to effect the good traditions of the society, to violate public law and order and national security.

Article 42: Khmer Citizens shall have the right to establish associations and political parties. These rights shall be determined by law.

Khmer citizens may take part in mass organizations for mutual benefit to protect national achievement and social order.

Article 43: Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to freedom of belief.

Freedom of religious belief and worship shall be guaranteed by the State on the condition that such freedom does not affect other religious beliefs or violate public order and security.

Buddhism shall be the religion of the State.

Article 44: The right to confiscate properties from any person shall be exercised only in the public interest as provided for under the law and shall require fair and just compensation in advance.

Article 45: All forms of discrimination against women shall be abolished.

The exploitation of women in employment shall be prohibited.

Men and women are equal in all fields especially with respectt to marriage and family matters.

Marriage shall be conducted according to conditions determined by law based on the principle of mutual consent between one husband and one wife.

Article 46: The commerce of human beings, exploitation by prostitution and obscenity which affect the reputation of women shall be prohibited.

A woman shall not lose her job because of pregnancy. Woman shall have the right to take maternity leave with full pay and with no loss of seniority or other social benefits.

The state and society shall provide opportunities to women, especially to those living in rural areas without adequate social support, so they can get employment, medical care, and send their children to school, and to have decent living conditions.

Article 47: Parents shall have the duty to take care of and educate their children to become good citizens.
Children shall have the duty to take good care of their elderly mother and father according to Khmer traditions.

Article 48: The State shall protect the rights of children as stipulated in the Convention on Children, in particular, the right to life, education, protection during wartime, and from economic or sexual exploitation.

The State shall protect children from acts that are injurious to their educational opportunities, health and welfare.

CHAPTER IV: ON POLICY

Article 51: The Kingdom of Cambodia adopts a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism.

The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country.

All power belongs to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, The Senate, the Royal Government and the Judiciary.

The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be sepatrate.

CHAPTER V: ECONOMY

Article 56: The Kingdom of Cambodia shall adopt the market economy system.

Article 58: State property notably comprises land, mineral resources, mountains, sea, underwater, continental shelf, coastline, airspace, islands, rivers, canals, streams, lakes, forests, natural resources, economic and cultural centers, bases for national defense and other facilities determined as State property.

The control, use and management of State properties shall be determined by law.

Article 59: The State shall protect the environment and balance of abundant natural resources and establish a precise plan of management of land, water, air, wind, geology, ecological system, mines, energy, petrol and gas, rocks and sand, gems, forests and forestry products, wildlife, fish and aquatic resources.

CHAPTER VI EDUCATION, CULTURE, SOCIAL AFFAIRS

Article 65: The State shall protect and upgrade citizens’ rights to quality education at all levels and shall take necessary steps for quality education to reach all citizens.

Article 71: The perimeter of the national heritage sites as well as heritage that has been classified as world heritage, shall be considered neutral zones where there shall be no military activity.

Article 72: The health of the people shall be guaranteed. The State shall give full consideration to disease prevention and medical treatment. Poor citizens shall receive free medical consultation in public hospitals, infirmaries and maternities.

Article 75: The State shall establish a social security system for workers and employees.

CHAPTER VII: THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Article 76: The National Assembly consists of at least 120 members.

The deputies shall be elected by a free, universal, equal, direct and secret ballot.

Khmer citizens able to stand for election shall be the Khmer ctitizens of either sex who have the right to vote, at least 25 years of age, and who have Khmer nationality at birth.

Article 77: The deputies in the National Assembly shall represent the entire Khmer people, not only Khmers from their constituencies.

Any imperative mandate shall be nullified.

Article 79: The National Assembly mandate shall be incompatible with the holding of any active public function and of any membership in other institutions provided for in the Constitution, except when the assembly member(s) is (are) required to serve in the Royal Government.

Article 80: The deputies shall enjoy parliamentary immunity.

No assembly member shall be prosecuted, detained or arrested because of opinions expressed during the exercise of his (her) duties.

The accusation, arrest, or detention of an assembly member shall be made only with the permission of the National Assembly or by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly between sessionst, except in case of flagrante delicto. In that case, the competent authority shall immediately report to the National Assembly or to the Standing Committee for decision.
In any case, detention or prosecution of a deputy shall be suspended by a 3/4 majority vote of the National Assembly members.

Article 88: The National Assembly sessions shall be held in public.

The National Assembly shall meet in closed session at the request of the Chairman or of at least 1/10 of its members, of the King or of the Prime Minister.

Article 90: The National Assembly is an organ which has legislative power, and performs its duties as provided for in the constitution and laws.

The National Assembly shall approve the national budget, State planning, loans, financial contracts, and the creation, modification and annulment of tax.

Article 91: The members of the Senate, the members of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister have the right to initiate legislation.

Article 93: Any law approved by the assembly and finally reviewed by the Senate and signed by the King for its promulgation shall go into effect in Phnom Penh ten days after its signing and throughout the country twenty days after its signing.

Article 96: The National Assembly shall establish one day each week for questions and answers. There shall be no vote during any session reserved for this purpose.

CHAPTER VIII: THE SENATE

Article 99: The Senate is a body that has legislative power and performs its duties as determined in the constitution and law.

Article 100: The king shall nominate two Senators.

The Assembly shall elect two Senators by majority Vote.

Others shall be universally elected.

Article 103: The mandate of senators shall be incompatible with the holding of any active public function, with the functions of members of the National Assembly, and of any membership in other institutions provided for in the constitution.

Article 104: The Senator shall enjoy parliamentary immunity.

Article 111: The Senate sessions shall be held in public.

CHAPTER IX: THE ASSEMBLY AND THE SENATE

Article 116: In the special case, the Assembly and the Senate can assemble as the congress to resolve the important issues of the nation.

CHAPTER X: THE ROYAL GOVERNMENT

Article 118: The Council of Ministers is the Royal Government of Cambodia.
The Council of Ministers shall be led by one Prime Minister assisted by Deputy Prime Ministers, and by State Ministers, Ministers, and State Secretaries as members.

Article 120: The functions of members of the Royal Government shall be incompatible with professional activities in trade or industry and with the holding of any position in the public service.

Article 122: Members of the Royal Government shall not use the orders, written or verbal, of anyone as grounds to exonerate themselves from their responsibility.

CHAPTER XI: THE JUDICIARY

Article 128: The Judicial power shall be an independent power.

The Judiciary shall guarantee and uphold impartiality and protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens.

Article 129: Only judges shall have the right to adjudicate. A judge shall fulfill this duty with strict respect for the laws, wholeheartedly, and conscientiously.

Article 130: Judicial power shall not be granted to the legislative or executive branches.

Article 131: Only the Department of Public Prosecution shall have the right to file criminal suits.

Article 132: The King shall be the guarantor of the independence of the Judiciary. The Supreme Council of the Magistracy shall assist the King in this matter.

Article 133: Judges shall not be dismissed. The Supreme Council of the Magistracy shall take disciplinary actions against any delinquent judges.

Article 134: The Supreme Council of the Magistracy shall be chaired by the King. The King may appoint a representative to chair the Supreme Council of the Magistracy.

The Supreme Council of Magistracy shall meet under the chairmanship of the President of the Supreme Court or the General Prosecutor of the Supreme Court to decide on disciplinary actionts against judges or prosecutors.

CHAPTER XII: THE CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL

Article 136: The Constitutional Council shall have the duty to safeguard respect of the constitution, interpret the Constitution and laws adopted by the National Assembly and reviewed completely by the Senate.

Article 137: The Constitutional Council shall consist of nine members with a nine-year mandate. 1/3 of the members of the Council shall be replaced every three years. 3 members shall be appointed by the tKing, 3 members by the National Assembly and 3 others by the Supreme Council of the Magistracy.

Article 141: Khmer Citizens shall have the right to appeal against the constitutionality of any law through their representative or President of National Assembly or member of the Senate or President of the Senate as mentioned in the above articles.

CHAPTER XIII: THE ADMINISTRATION

Article 145: The territory of the Kingdom of Cambodia shall be divided into provinces and municipalities.

CHAPTER XIV: THE NATIONAL CONGRESS

Article 147: The National Congress shall enable the people to be directly informed on various matters of national interests and to raise issues and requests for the State authority to solve.

Khmer citizens of both sexes shall have the right to participate in the National Congress.

Article 148: The National Congress shall meet once a year in early December at the convocation of the Prime Minister.

It shall proceed under the chairmanship of the King.

Article 149: The National Congress adopts recommendations the Senate the National Assembly and to the Executive branch for reflection.

The organization and operation of the National Congress should be determined by law.

CHAPTER XV: EFFECTS, REVISIONS AND AMENDMENTS OF THE CONSTITUTION

Article 150: This Constitution shall be the Supreme law of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Article 153: Revision or amendment affecting the system of liberal and pluralistic democracy and the regime of Constitutional Monarchy shall be prohibited.

CHAPTER XVI: TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Article 154: This Constitution, after its adoption, shall be declared in full force immediately by the King of Cambodia.

Article 155: After the entry into force of this Constitution, the Constituent Assembly shall become the National Assembly.

Article 158: Laws and standard documents in Cambodia that safeguard State properties, rights, freedom and legal private properties and in conformity with the national interests, shall continue to be effective until altered or abrogated by new texts, except those provisions that are contrary to the spirit of this Constitution.

This Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Assembly in Phnom Penh on 21 September 1993 at its 2nd Plenary session.

Phnom Penh, 21 September, 1993.

The President,
Signed: SON SAN

[[Revision statement]]

This Constitutional law was adopted by the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia on the 4th March, 1999 in its 2nd plenary meeting

Phnom Penh, 6 March 1999

National Assembly President
Norodom Ranariddh

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Asian Development Bank: The 2009 Cambodian GDP Growth Will Decline by Only 1.5% to 5.2% Compared to 2008 – Wednesday, 23.9.2009

Posted on 24 September 2009. Filed under: Week 631 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 631

“Phnom Penh: The Asian Development Bank has predicted that, due to the global economic crisis, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Cambodia in 2009 will achieve little growth, but next year, it will be a bit better, because when the world economy will start to recover, and Cambodia will resume good growth.

“According to the Asian Development Bank Outlook 2009 Update [Broadening Openness for a Resilient Asia], released on 22 September 2009, the downturn in garment exports, construction activities, and the decline in the number of foreign tourists have led to a forecast that the GDP of Cambodia in 2009 will contract by about 1.5% compared to 2008.

“The report quoted the US Department of Commerce data which shows that Cambodian clothes exports to the US dropped by 27% in the first 5 months of 2009 from the corresponding period of 2008. As for tourism during the first four months of 2009, there was a decline by 3%, and the construction sector also faced a downturn as a consequence of falling Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), notably from Korea.

“As the global economy starts to recover, Cambodian textile exports and tourism might resume to grow again, leading to the expectation that in 2010, the Cambodian economy will achieve a 3.5% growth. However, Cambodia is encountering rising inflation – just 0.8% at present – but it will increase up to 5% in 2010. The current account deficit will be lower than forecast in March 2009 at about 5% and in 2010 at less than 7%.

“It should be remembered that according to a forecast in March 2009, when the global economic crisis was serious, it was predicted that the current account of Cambodia will decline by as much as 16% in 2009 and about 10% in 2010.

“The GDP of Cambodia achieved 10.8% growth in 2006, 10.2% in 2007, and 6.7% in 2008. According to the above forecast, Cambodia will achieve just 5.2% growth in 2009.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5002, 23.9.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2053, 23.9.2009

  • The King Returned to the Country [after having been in China for a medical checkup]
  • The Garment Sector of Cambodia Suffers from the Global Economic Crisis, Making About 50,000 Workers Unemployed
  • The Minister of Agriculture: Food Security in Cambodia Is Not Threatened [as 96% of the plan to grow paddy rice has been achieved so far]
  • Banteay Meanchey Governor Orders Withdrawal of All Illegal Check Points from Banteay Meanchey
  • Seven Suspects Were Arrested over a Rape-Murder Case [of a 13-year-old girl – Kompong Cham]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #493, 23.9.2009

  • The US Department of State Confirmed that Ms. Hilary Clinton Had Accepted to Meet [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua in an Official Meeting
  • Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek [also known as Dr. Kek Galabru, the director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights]: Human Rights Violations in Cambodia Are True, as the World Knows

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6760, 23.9.2009

  • [Opposition party] Parliamentarian Ho Vann Is Free from Charges [of defamation and disinformation for criticizing degrees of military officers received from Vietnam], but the Editor-in-Chief and the Writer of The Cambodian Daily Were Both Ordered to Pay Riel 4 Million [approx. US$970.-] Each, as a Fine [for defamation – The Cambodia Daily had – in 7 short lines at the and of a full length colums from top to bottom, on 25.4.2009 – briefly reported critical words about the degrees, allegedly quoting Mr. Ho Vann – but on the following day, Mr. Ho Vann denied in a letter to the editor that he had made the statement ascribed to him]
  • The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology Provided Five More Pumps to Pump Out Flood Water from Russey Keo District [Phnom Penh]
  • The United States of America Grants Cambodia US$7.79 Million [through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support priority economic growth projects: 1. To expand USAID activities to develop small, medium, and large-scale enterprises, and 2. To improve the conditions for the developments of jobs which reduce poverty among the rural population through increased productivity of family jobs]
  • Australian Navy Ship Docked at the Sihanoukville Port [to visit Cambodia from 22 to 26 September 2009]
  • The International Monetary Fund Sells 403 Tonnes of Gold to Help Poor Countries
  • Afghanistan: If There Will Not Be More Forces Deployed, the Allied Forces Will Be Defeated [by the Taliban; said the new NATO forces commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1466, 22.9.2009

  • Four Top Khmer [traditional] Boxers [Out Phoutang, Chey Kosal, Pich Seyha, and Pich Sophan] Were Dismissed and Banned from Boxing Forever [by the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Federation, after they went to box in Australia without asking for permission from the federation]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5002, 23.9.2009

  • Asian Development Bank: The 2009 Cambodian GDP Growth Will Decline by Only 1.5% to 5.2% Compared to 2008
  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Mr. Hor Namhong Will Discuss Possible Solutions to the Debt from the Time of General Lon Nol’s Regime [the Khmer Republic] of More Than US$300 Million That Cambodia Owes America
  • Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh Appeared at the Municipal Court over his Divorce Case with Princess Marie
  • Cambodia Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vietnam to Invest in Rubber Plantations on 100,000 Hectares of Land in Cambodia [10,000 hectares have already been planted with rubber trees in Kompong Thom, Kratie, Mondolkiri, Preah Vihear, and Ratanakiri. An additional 20,000 hectares are to be planted in 2010, and 30,000 in 2011. By 2012, rubber trees will have been planted on all of the 100,000 hectares]

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Cambodia Has Not Achieved to Produce Enough Silk to Meet the Demand – Tuesday, 22.9.2009

Posted on 23 September 2009. Filed under: Week 631 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 631

“Phnom Penh: To develop silk production of Cambodia, which is still weak, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) had decided to support a two-year project with US$470,000 (2009-2011). This project aims at improving the technical capacity to produce silk, to reproduce silk worm eggs and mulberry trees to feed the silk worms, to organize training courses, and to introduce new techniques to farmers. The signing ceremony for this project was organized on 17 September 2009 at the Council of Ministers, and the documents were singed by the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and the FAO representative to Cambodia, Mr. Ajay Markanday.

“Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said during the signing ceremony that the raising of silk worms to produce silk in Cambodia has not been successful so far, as Cambodia uses 400 tonnes of silk per year, while only 50 tonnes of silk are produced in the country. Therefore, Cambodia has to import up to 350 tonnes of raw silk per year. Mr. Sok An added that each year, Cambodia exports more than 200 tonnes, and the remaining 100 tonnes are used in Cambodia.

“Mr. Sok Ann went on to say that, globally, there is not much silk from silk producing countries such as Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Each country tries to produce silk by offering its achieved products, with quantity and quality. Thus, it is seen that most silk is costly and has good quality, making the demand of silk to increase, like in Cambodia, where 400 tonnes of silk are used, but the local production of raw silk is only 50 tonnes. The production of silk is a production which already has markets and buyers, and it is related to other sectors such as agriculture, industry, and commerce which create more jobs for the citizens.

“The secretary-general of the National Committee One Village One Product, Mr. Son Kunthor, said that Cambodia has the potential for silk production and has a tradition to produce silk since the Angkor era, but this tradition was lost. According to studies in other East Asian countries like China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam, the Cambodian government recognizes the silk sector as a really important strategic field to help increase income and to create jobs in rural areas. Therefore, the government considers the development of silk as a priority.

“The demand for raw silk countrywide is about 400 tonnes per year, while at present less than 50 tonnes can be produced in the country. Thus, Cambodia has to import silk from China and Vietnam with a price of US$25,000 per tonne. To sum up, Cambodia is losing about US$10 million per year to foreign farmers. At present, some development partners have helped providing technical assistance in Cambodia only about the methods to improve silk weaving, and to develop the silk markets. In 2001, there were about 10,000 silk-weaving families in Cambodia.

“The major problems in the silk sector relate to the production of the raw material – raw silk; they include: 1. Diseases of silk worms; 2. Low productivity of silk worm cocoons; 3. Not-so-good quality of the silk due to a lack of proper systems to untangle silk threads; and 4. technical shortages.

“This project will support the creation of a Silk Egg Center which can produce 5,000 cases of disease free silk eggs per year (with 20,000 silk worm eggs/case), the development of improved measures to untangle the silk threads from small silk cocoons using more efficient modern techniques and testing, and the creation of eight farms at the existing areas and at other potential regions, to introduce new technologies to study silk thread production, which includes also land for mulberry cropping (in Banteay Meanchey, Kampot, Kompong Cham, Kompong Speu, Pursat, Siem Reap, and Takeo, and we will expand it to other provinces if we have more resources). The training in techniques will help build up the capacity of officials and of producers, in order to enlarge productivity and to improve the quality of silk cocoons and threads for future stages of expansion.

“The silk sector is really important for the rural economy and for reducing poverty in Cambodia, because first, it helps to achieve higher prices compared to other crops such as rice; second, it creates more jobs for women; and third, it forms a regular flow of income for rural families.

“To assure the long term benefits, the import of 400 tonnes of silk will be replaced by local production, where 5,000 mulberry plants are planned to be planted, creating jobs for about 25,000 people in rural areas, and Cambodia can earn US$10 million per year. The silk sector provides an important support for the government policy to diversify the agriculture, which is currently focused mainly on paddy rice.

“As for the implementation, the National Committee One Village One Product is administered by an office of the Council of Ministers, it has sufficient qualification to coordinate the sharing of knowledge and to check the quality of silk. This office is administered by the project director, and it will check the implementation of the whole project, to share knowledge about silk, and monitor the progress of the project, together with other relevant ministries and agencies that work with the silk sector.

“The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery is the project leader, because it is in control of basic measures to be applied, and it has expert officials who can offer training for very cheap fees. This project will be implemented by the director-general of agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture, closely cooperating with the project director.

“The implementation of the technical assistance project of the FAO has begun its first stage towards a long term effort to develop the silk sector, and this project specifically focuses on the exchange of techniques.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6759, 22.9.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6759, 22.9.2009

  • Cambodia Has Not Achieved to Produce Enough Silk to Meet the Demand
  • Sounds of Praying during the Pchum Ben Day at the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda Made Yellow-Shirt Demonstrator Leaders to Give Up Shouting to Demand Khmer Land [near the Cambodian-Thai border; Sisaket Province residents clashed with yellow-shirt demonstrators, 5 People Were Killed and 74 others wounding in Thailand]
  • More Than 50,000 Hectares of Forest Land and Bio-Diversity at the Northeast Are Planned to Be Protected and Conserved [according to the Forestry Administration – Ratanakiri and Stung Treng]
  • [Two] Motor Boats Crashed into Each Other on the Sea, Killing a Foreigner; the Price of Seafood Doubled to Welcome Tourists [during the Pchum Ben Day holidays – Sihanoukville]
  • Songs Were Played with Big Loudspeakers for Dancing during the Pchum Ben Day, but one Event Turned into Bloodshed where Seven People of Two Families Were Injured, Some of Them Seriously [after they were attacked by a group of about ten people, quarreling about a boat race – Phnom Penh]
  • The Foundation Stone Was Laid to Construct a [new] Building for the The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction [Phnom Penh]
  • A Wind Farm to Produce Electricity [at the sea] in Denmark Is the Biggest in the World [it costs approx. US$690 million with a production capacity of about 210 megawatt]

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Pchum Ben – Days of Gathering to Make Offerings for Those Remembered and for Those Forgotten – Sunday, 20.9.2009

Posted on 22 September 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 630 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 630 – Sunday, 20.9.2009

Though the present national holidays extend only over the final period of the fifteen days of commemoration of the living for the dead, it is one of the major events of observing traditional religious observances in Cambodia. What is interesting, is that these holidays of the Cambodian Buddhist community are not observed similarly in other Buddhist countries like Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, or Thailand. It is said that there are some pre-Angkorian and pre-Buddhist Cambodian origins of the Pchum Ben observances, which formed the basis for a later Buddhist interpretation. But it seems that not many people in Cambodia are aware that other predominantly Buddhist countries do not celebrate a similar cause.

Increasing international relations – not only relations for business and politics – lead, over the years , also to new ways of self-reflection, when some unquestioned assumptions about one’s own traditions and beliefs are meeting with people in other countries oriented to the same roots – but with quite different results.

Since a number of persons who claim to be Muslim have committed acts of violence and killings in many countries, there is a trend in the public opinion in many countries that Islam is a violent religion – which is not true. In Iran, at present a famous singer of traditional meditative religious songs is giving inspiration to the opposition movement with his songs of peace and non-violence. There are many different form of Islam. And there are many different forms of Buddhism. And of Christianity.

There are Buddhist traditions pointing to the Buddha denying that there is something like a soul, something existing even beyond a human being’s death, understanding our life as an unending processes of relations and changes, where there is no permanence. And there are other traditions also claiming to be Buddhist, like in the Cambodian Pchum Ben, concerned with the fate of those who died and whose souls may be trapped in a spiritual world if nobody in this world cares for them, to get them out from the misery of a bad spiritual world.

It is interesting to see how such belief is strong even in persons where one would not easily expect it.

When Vann Nath, the painter-survivor of the Tuol Sleng prison, said as a witness at the Khmer Rouge trial in June 2009 that life was “hell” in the prison, he is obviously using figurative language. But when the former Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Thirith, the Minister of Social Affairs and Education of the Khmer Rouge government – now in detention at the Khmer Rouge trial – “cursed those who accused her of killing people, to fall into the seventh level of hell” [in The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 602, Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #128, 1-2.3.2009] one may ask whether this is still figurative speech only, or more.

Also the Prime Minister used, recently, similar words – whether used figuratively or beyond – which are strong because of the alliterations to their meaning in religious language, when he is quoted with the following statements:

  • On 8 September 2009 he was quoted to have warned his critics that they would be struck by lightning, if they dared to suggest his leadership was plunging the country into poverty. – There have been already about 100 persons killed by lightning in Cambodia in 2009 so far, while there had been only 45 deaths reported in 2008.
  • And on 15 September 2009 he was quoted – maybe in response to reports about the statement of the member of the National Assembly, Mu Sochua, and what she was reported to have said in the USA, that people who go overseas to tell “lies” about Cambodia could end up in the lowest level of hell, adding that people in foreign countries now have access to television about Cambodia and they would not be tricked by “liars” [though electronic media present a wide spectrum of the Cambodian realities].

The Pchum Ben traditions want to provide an end of suffering for those is hell, not only for those who have descendants and relatives praying for them and making offerings to the religious community of monks for their liberation from hell. There are even general – anonymous – donations for the forgotten trapped souls for whom nobody cares. Maybe this spirit of calling those who failed back, can also help to heal the many painful tensions among the living.

Discussing this with Cambodian friends, it was said that this is a Cambodian tradition – probably it relates only to Cambodians – not even to all Cambodian: probably not to Cham people, because they are not Khmer. There is a lot of quiet reflection and talking in mutual trust to happen, before we seriously can try to share our different understandings of the deeper meaning of life and death, including Khmers and Cham, and even foreigners from far away. Globalization includes more than the economy and the ecology.

Note:

Because of the Pchum Ben holidays in Cambodia, the next publication planned is the normal edition for Tuesday, 22.9.2009.




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Civil Society and the Opposition Party Support Action to Create a Working Group to Reinvestigate Criminal Cases – Thursday, 17.9.2009

Posted on 18 September 2009. Filed under: Week 630 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 630

Note:

In view of the content of the article, the headline might be more precisely describing the content if it were to say:

One Civil Society Senior Staff and the Spokesperson of one Opposition Party Support Action to Create a Working Group to Reinvestigate Criminal Cases

There are also critical voices with a civil society background, as well as other voices from the opposition party quoted here, who expressed concern about the role of the special working group mentioned here: Does it infringe on the independence of the courts – well aware that some court actions have triggered the problem? They express the opinion that only a reform of the court system itself may bring lasting results.

“Phnom Penh: An opposition party parliamentarian and a civil society organization support the head of the government creating a mixed working group to work on criminal cases at different irregular law implementation units.

“Recently, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, released a decision dated 4 September 2009 to create a mixed working group to examine and take action on criminal cases at different law implementation units; the working group has 26 members from different sections of the government.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Khieu Sopheak, could not be reached for comment, as he was busy with meetings, but he had told journalists that the newly created working group will reinvestigate some cases suspected to be handled improperly. He added that previously, police had arrested suspects and sent them to court, but some court officials had released them, claiming a lack of evidence.

“Also, Mr. Khieu Sopheak mentioned the [acid attack] case related to Ms. Chea Ratha [and her accomplices] where [investigating] officers had worked very hard, but the court released them.

“An investigating official of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO], Mr. Oum Sam Ath, told Kampuchea Thmey on 16 September 2009 that it is time that the government reforms the judicial system, especially the court system.

“He added that the head of the Royal Government created this mixed working group because there had been some irregularities at the courts, and the group aims at investigating some irregular cases. He believes that it is part of a reform for the judicial system which ensures court transparency, to provide justice for victims and for the people in general. Also, if the working group can find irregularities and mishandlings of some judges and prosecutors, it will file complaints to the Supreme Council of the Magistracy to take action.

“Mr. Oum Sam Ath went on to say regarding Ms. Chea Ratha’s case, that after the court announced a verdict on 31 August 2009 to withdraw charges against her, the victims fear and hide themselves until now. Mr. Oum Sam Ath considers this case to be irregular, and it needs to be reinvestigated by the working group.

“Mr. Oum Sam Ath added that there are many cases that need to be reinvestigated like the case of Ms. Chea Ratha and of Mr. Born Samnang and Mr. Sok Sam Oeun. He said if the government takes action on those irregular cases, impunity will not continue.

“The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian and spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said, ‘The whole court system needs reform, especially relating to judges, and we praise judges who work properly, but judges who do wrong should be punished. Particularly, we need conditions for judges to check and monitor the work of judges so as to have long lasting solutions.’

“Some other police officials who asked not to be named welcome the decision of the head of the Royal government, considering it as a good measure.

“The decision of the head of the Royal Government stated that the working group has the duty to check criminal, human trafficking, and sex exploitation cases, and the actions taken by justice police units, prosecutors, courts, and prisons. If necessary, related case files can be copied for inspection and analysis, to evaluate the actions taken in each case. If any irregularities are found, there have to be reports sent for evaluation by the Minister of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Justice to take further action. In any instance of case files involving serious problems or complications, they must be reported to the head of the government for review and recommendation. The working group has to make reports, tallying the results, and send them to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Defense, and the Minister of Justice. The working group has the authority to involve other expert officials when necessary.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2051, 17.9.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 17 September 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #291, 17.9.2009

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Denies the Content of the Cambodian Diplomatic Note about Their Soldiers’ Cruelty [alleging that Thai soldiers burnt a Khmer citizen alive]
  • [Two] Economic Police Setting Up a Post to Extort Money at National Road 6A Were Arrested [Phnom Penh]
  • Japan Grants More Than US$160,000 to Develop Two Projects in Cambodia [a child health care project in Kompong Thom, and a project for disabled people]
  • Flood Killed 38 People in Indonesia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2051, 17.9.2009

  • Civil Society and the Opposition Party Support Action to Create Working Group to Reinvestigate Criminal Cases
  • Former Chi Kraeng District Governor and Police Chief Appeared at the Court [over a land dispute that led to a shootout, injuring some people seriously and others lightly – Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #492, 17.9.2009

  • Ms. Mu Sochua Asked the United States of America to Expand Broadcasting The Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia through Television Stations in Cambodia like Other Television Stations Do [there is a French and a Vietnamese TV broadcast channel operating in Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6757, 17.9.2009

  • Oil Exploration Companies [Chevron and the Mitsui Oil Exploration Company – MOECO of Japan] Sent Repeatedly Requests to the Government for Oil Exploration Contracts at Four Regions in the Khmer Sea
  • Heavily Drunken Beautiful Woman Drove a Car and Hit a Motorbike, Killing One Person and Injuring Four Others [she was arrested – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5001, 17.9.2009

  • Many Intervention Police Were Sent to the Preah Vihear Temple to be Prepared to Withstand Thai Extremist Demonstrators [who had said they will demonstrate from 17 to 19 September 2009 at the wider Preah Vihear Temple region, to demand that Cambodian troops withdraw from regions where the status has not yet been clarified]
  • New Japanese Prime Minister [Mr. Hatoyama Yukio] Takes Office

Note:

Because of the Pchum Ben holidays in Cambodia, the next publication planned is the editorial for Sunday, 20.9.2009.

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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