Archive for November 8th, 2009

Cambodian-Thai Relations – Present and Former Prime Ministers – Sunday, 8.11.2009

Posted on 8 November 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 637 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 637

Returning to Cambodia, on the way to the airport in Bangkok on 6.11.2009, the driver of the taxi I took – as soon as he knew that I was going to Cambodia – spoke almost the whole way about his surprise and anger that the former Thai prime minister, who was convicted to go to prison for being implicated in big, illegally land dealings in the Ratchadapisek area of Bangkok, and who lied to the court when he left the country on bail “for some days only” but never came back, is now invited by the Cambodian Prime Minister to come to Cambodia as adviser to the government. “Are there no laws against corruption in Cambodia?” – Surely, another taxi driver might have had a different evaluation; but it was an impressive outburst of firm convictions.

In the meantime, various voices have called for moderation.

The ASEAN Secretary General is quoted to have written: “We in ASEAN cannot afford to be seen as being so seriously divided prior to the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders Meeting and the historic ASEAN-US Leaders Meeting in Singapore this month,” in a letter to the foreign ministers of the region.

Also, the Chinese People’s Daily Online reported the concerns made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, that the recent dispute between Thailand and Cambodia is not good for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “It is not good for ASEAN. We hope that both our friends will keep the larger interest of ASEAN in mind and find a way to resolve their differences quickly in a spirit of good neighborliness.”

The Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio said Japan was ‘concerned’ about the recent tensions between Cambodia and Thailand because Phnom Penh had offered a position to a fugitive Thai citizen. “I am concerned about the recent situation,” Mr. Hatoyama told Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to a Japanese official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Cambodian official voices have rejected the opinion, expressed widely in Thai media, that the appointment of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra is an intervention into the internal affairs of Thailand and an insult to the legal system of Thailand, stressing that Cambodia is a sovereign state and does not have to ask for the permission of another country when inviting and appointing a foreign national.

The Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban agreed – partially – saying: “It’s Cambodia’s internal affair. But if we have evidence that Thaksin is in Cambodia, we will surely ask the Cambodian government to extradite him,” according to the extradition agreement between the two countries.

In the meantime, it had been reported that Mr. Thaksin, who used to live in Dubai in self-selected exile, has been flying, in his private jet, with a diplomatic passport of Nicaragua, to different countries in the Pacific, in search of the possibility to set up his presence in a country that does not have an extradition treaty with Thailand; he is reported to have been in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Vanuatu. It was also reported that he narrowly avoided arrest during a stopover in Malaysia.

While the Cambodian Prime Minister invited the former Thai Prime Minister as his “eternal friend” and does not recognize the convictions for corruption pronounced by Thai courts, and therefore will reject to live up to the clauses of the bilateral extradition treaty, legal complications have been recognized by other countries, since Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra is recognized as a fugitive by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), with an Interpol “red notice,” which, in a number of countries, serves as a legal basis for arrest. Cambodia is a proud member of Interpol already since 1956, shortly after the 1953 independence from France, and there have been several cases of international Interpol actions, with Cambodian cooperation, also in 2009.

The future is unclear. While writing these lines, the two following reports from the Japanese news agency Kyodo came in:

Thai premier urges Hun Sen to behave as ‘good neighbor’

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva urged Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday to behave like a ”good neighbor” and reconsider his appointment of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as economic adviser

Thaksin to give economics lecture in Phnom Penh on Thursday

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Sunday that ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia to give a lecture on economic matters in Phnom Penh on Thursday

.

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The Appeals Court Delayed Hearing on Chea Ratha’s Case for the Second Time – Saturday, 7.11.2009

Posted on 8 November 2009. Filed under: Week 637 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 637

“The Appeals Court of Cambodia has delayed a hearing on former national military police officer Chea Ratha over the crime of an acid attack on Ms. Ya Sok Nim, the aunt of Ms. In Soklida, who had a lesbian relationship with Chea Ratha.

“The second delay was made again without giving a clear reason, like it was also with the first delay on 22 October 2009.

“Ms. Ya Sok Nim and her husband had written a letter to the Court of Appeals requesting it to reject the decision of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to release seven suspects that were identified by police as responsible for the acid attack.

“In the judgment, which had been openly criticized by police, a judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Din Sivuthy, ruled on 31 August 2009 to release Ms. Chea Ratha and six accomplices allegedly involved in the acid attack against Ms. Ya Sok Nim on 8 May 2008.

“Though there had been a strong challenge from Ms. Ya Sok Nim’s lawyer, the judge Sivuthy mentioned the lack of evidence as the basis for his decision, which was a surprise.

“After the court had pronounced this judgment, Ms. Ya Sok Nim and her relatives held a press conference, during which they re-played a recorded phone conversation, and in this conversation, a woman, identified as Ms. Chea Ratha, was threatening to use serious violence against Ms. Ya Sok Nim and her family. Some days later, she was attacked with acid.

“The Municipal Court has conducted hearings already twice where it finally decided to lift the accusation on two cases of acid attack from Ms. Chea Ratha. Seemingly, because of dollar power and probably a powerful person, the Court of Appeals delayed its hearings twice already.

“Ms. Ya Sok Nim’s letter, published by local newspapers on 25 September 2009, asked the Prosecutor General of the Court of Appeals to find justice for her. Mr. Uong Vibol and Ms. Ya Sok Nim wrote, ‘Your Excellency, to find justice for the victim… I and my wife, who suffers from the cruel activity of criminals… please help to order the prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to accept an appeal against the judgment by a group of judges led by Mr. Din Sivuthy who has lifted the accusations.’

“The crime of this acid attack on Ms. Ya Sok Nim is similar to other cases which happened previously in Cambodia.

“The victim and her family, members of civil society, and observers of the cruel acid attack against Ms. Ya Sok Nim are waiting to see whether the Appeals Court rejects the decision of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court or keeps this unjust judgment valid in the next hearing.

“The decision by a judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court caused the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice to establish a special committee, to review the courts’ work. The creation of this special committee had triggered criticism from people from professions of law and from civil society officials, saying that the government interferes in the institution of the courts.

“However, the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, wrote to explain to Prime Minister Hun Sen that this new committee just reviews the courts’ work, where there had been frequent information about irregularities by releasing perpetrators.

“Police officials of the Ministry of Interior had complained that the police had tried very hard to arrest perpetrators, but the courts released them. Therefore they wait to see whether Ms. Chea Ratha does have the same fate like Ms. Khuon Sophal or not, the former wife of a high ranking official at the Council of Ministers.

“The life and the appearance of the actress Tat Marina [who suffered also an acid attack] were saved by American doctors. But she and her family had decided to flee from the country in order to wait there for justice to be achieved by the Khmer authorities. They wait to see when the authorities will prosecute Ms. Khuon Sophal and her accomplices.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #524, 7.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #330, 7.11.2009

  • The Court Sentenced a Man [Mr. Ruos Sokhet, a journalist of The Globe magazine] Who Threatened Mr. Soy Sopheap to Serve Two Years in Prison [for distributing disinformation by sending disparaging telephone text messages to the president of the Cambodia Television Network and to the director of Deum Ampil, Mr. Soy Sopheap]
  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Said He Wants to Get Divorced, while Princess Marie Said She Does Not [he appeared at the court as plaintiff over his divorce case without the presence of Princess Marie]
  • The Number of People Infected with the A/H1N1 Virus Increased to 313, while the Number of Deaths Remains at Four [in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2092, 7.11.2009

  • Cambodian and Siamese [Thai] Army Commanders Promised Not to Interfere in the Diplomatic Dispute [between the two governments]
  • A [Vietnamese] Man Tried to Rape His [Vietnamese] Girlfriend, then Killed Her by Breaking Her Neck and Threw Her Body into a River [he was arrested – Kompong Chhnang]
  • America Will Not Withdraw Sanctions against Myanmar [if the generals in Myanmar, who hold power, do not make noticeable improvements toward democratic reforms]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #524, 7.11.2009

  • The Appeals Court Delayed Hearing on Chea Ratha’s Case for the Second Time
  • The King Asked Mr. Hun Sen to Check a Request to Pardon Mr. Hang Chakra [the editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok who was convicted to serve one year in prison for disinformation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6799, 7.11.2009

  • The Cambodian Ambassador Returned to Cambodia through the Poipet Border Crossing; Siam [Thailand] Warned They May Close the Border Crossings if the Dispute Continues
  • A [female] Garment Worker Died of an Electric Shock in the Golden Mile Factory [Phnom Penh]
  • The United Nations Evacuates Its Staff [of about 600] from Afghanistan [because of violent and bloody attacks at their living places during the last week by Taliban forces]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5041, 7.11.2009

  • Thailand Announced to Cancel the Agreements [on joint development] for Overlapping Zones [rich in gas and oil – according to The Nation] while Cambodia Said that this Is against International Law [as there is no point in the agreement mentioning a decision to cancel the agreement unilaterally]
  • A Draft Decree Relating to Mandatory Military Service Was Approved during a Session of the Council of Ministers [it deals with the conditions of the census, the selection, call-up, and the delay for youth that are busy with studies; in special cases there may be exemptions, while the authorities are starting to implement mandatory military services]
  • Car Hit Two Motorbikes, Killing Two People and Seriously Injuring One [no information given about the arrest of the perpetrating teenage driver – Phnom Penh]

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