Week 552

Week 552 – 2008-03-23: Law Enforcement – or Force Instead of the Law

Posted on 24 March 2008. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 552 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 552

On Tuesday last week, we had mirrored an article where the Prime Minister expressed his concerns that some persons were allegedly intimidated, and he said “We have to protect all people regardless which party they belong to.” And he added: “If an official or a member of the Cambodian People’s Party threatens other people who do not belong to their party, it would be a serious mistake. I hope that such cases will not happen. This is really a mistake.” These are statements that violence is not acceptable in the political field.

On Thursday, we reported about the meeting of the 7th session of the UN Human Rights Council, where the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Yash Ghai, presented his report. His report included a reference to the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) and the Penal Procedure Code (PPC) which came into force in Cambodia in the meantime, and the Civil Code and the Penal Code are expected to come into force in 2008. “These codes will lead to improvements in the legal process,” he said. He also voice concerns about some changes which he considered to be problematic: “Previously, a confession could not be a basis for conviction unless corroborated by other evidence. This safeguard is removed, giving confessions the same weight as other evidence (art. 321), although the Penal Procedural Code reiterates the prohibition on the use of coerced confessions. There is a heavy reliance on confessions, many obtained through coercion or torture. The new rule could undermine the prohibition of evidence obtained by forced confessions by the Constitution and the Convention against Torture.” Mr. Yash Ghai was not only speaking about his own impressions, but he reported with reference to the 34 pages detailed report by LICADHO: Human Rights in Cambodia – the Charade of Justice. – The Internet references which we provided on Thursday – including the video presentations in Khmer and in English translation by the head of the Cambodian government’s human rights committee, Mr. Om Yentieng, as well as the concluding discussion, where Mr. Yash Ghai expressed his appreciation, encouragement, and thanks about his meeting with Mr. Om Yentieng on the same day, show that these encounters went much more positively than some voices in Cambodia wanted to see. There is agreement that not force, but the law has to be applied.

Last Friday, we carried another article relate to the field of the rule of law. The US ambassador criticized that over 25% of accused persons are intimidated and tortured in order to get confessions form them – even forced confessions. His statement was made with reference to the detailed, 45 pages 2007 report of the “Court Watch Project” of the Center for Social Development, describing in detail the legal situation in Cambodia, and confronting it with their own investigations, how the law is not followed in many cases. But the application of violence in order to achieve confession from suspects is not acceptable.

This agreement, that the rule of law does not allow to violate basic human rights, is however, not generally shared.

When the US ambassador denounced the use of intimidation and torture to secure confessions, he was using arguments which have a long and firm basis in the history and public debate of the United States of America. But some of these fundamental traditions have become the subject of sharp controversies in the USA during the last couple of year, months, and even weeks and days. And some of these discussions have also been carried on with reference to inhuman practices during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Some events in US supervised prisons in Iraq, on the US controlled enclave of Guantanamo on the island of Cuba, and in other places have shown that the confrontation with terrorism has led to actions which are controversial – and therefore they led to public debate.

Even a group of 30 retired admirals and generals wrote in December 2007 a public letter, saying:

“We believe it is vital to the safety of our men and women in uniform that the United States not sanction the use of interrogation methods it would find unacceptable if inflicted by the enemy against captured Americans… In order to ensure adherence across the government to the requirements of the Geneva Conventions and to maintain the integrity of the humane treatment standards on which our own troops rely, we believe that all US personnel – military and civilian – should be held to a single standard of humane treatment reflected in the Army Field Manual…

Employing interrogation methods that violate the Field Manual is not only unnecessary, but poses enormous risks. These methods generate information of dubious value, reliance upon which can lead to disastrous consequences. Moreover, revelation of the use of such techniques does immense damage to the reputation and moral authority of the United States essential to our efforts to combat terrorism.”

One of the US presidential candidates, John McCain, who had spent 5½ years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was quoted in October 2007, referring to his own past life experience:

“Anyone who knows what waterboarding is – simulated drowning – could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot…

People who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned in the US. We are a better nation than that.

When I was imprisoned, I took heart from the fact that I knew my North Vietnamese captors would never be treated like I was treated by them. There are much better and more effective ways to get information. You torture someone long enough, he’ll tell whatever he thinks you want to know.”

Efforts to prohibit the use of such forms of torture like waterboarding, by new, clearer legislation, were overturned by President Bush on 8 March 2008, when he refused to sign such a new US law.

US Senator Edward Kennedy had warned: “Unless Congress overrides the veto, it will go down in history as a flagrant insult to the rule of law, and a serious stain on the good name of America in the eyes of the world.”

To try to overturn a presidential veto, for which a two-thirds-majority is necessary, the House of representatives met on 11 March – and failed with a 225 to 188 vote; 51 more votes would have been necessary.

John McCaine, who had spoken so clearly against the use of torture, had in the meantime changed his position and supported the presidential veto – while another presidential candidate, Barrack Obama, said: “I believe that we must reject torture without equivocation because it does not make us safe, it results in unreliable intelligence, it puts our troops at risk, and it contradicts core American values.”

This is the background from which the US ambassador addressed the problem of torture in Cambodian detention and prisons.

But this not only an American discussion – it relates to the fundamental understanding of human rights. Recently a candidate, who was to join the Constitutional Court of Germany, failed to get the necessary agreement from the members of parliament – he is a university professor, and the president of the German Association of Academic Teachers of Constitutional Law – because he had written that in some situations, it may be permissible to torture a criminal in order to save the life on another victim. The fact that he did not absolutely reject torture disqualified him to be acceptable as a member of the constitutional court.

The fact that the US ambassador criticized the situation in Cambodia, where 25 % of suspects report to have been tortured, poses a tremendous challenge to the Cambodian legal and political public: is just the number of 25 % too high? Or is torture fundamentally wrong, giving the wrong signal to the national and international public, which position a society accords to human dignity and to human rights. As Senator Kennedy had said before: will the law, or the opinion of the top political leader – the president – be the law? The same question is always and everywhere to be faced, difficult as it is.

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Saturday, 22.3.2008: The Government Approves Sub-Decree Draft That Regulates Civilians’ Use of Guns

Posted on 23 March 2008. Filed under: Week 552 | Tags: , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 552

“Phnom Penh: The meeting of the Council of Ministers on 21 March 2008, presided over by Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, approved the sub-decree draft on the conditions and procedures for allowing civilians to use and manage guns, bullets, and explosive devices. The sub-decree, drafted by the Ministry of Interior, covers the owning, using, purchasing, selling, trading, distributing, lending, renting, producing, modifying, assembling, transporting, importing, exporting, transiting, and storing guns, bullets, and explosive devices.

“Guns, bullets and explosive devices, which civilians are allowed to use, are laser guns, sporting pistols, artistic guns, fireworks, staple guns, ammunitions, explosives, and all kinds of explosive substances, no matter what their origin. These are only to serve public services and civil engineering, or in the construction of buildings.

“The meeting of the Council of Ministers also agreed on and approved a request that seeks the ratification by legislative institutions on the ‘agreement between the Cambodian and North Korean governments on the promotion and protection of investment.’

“During the meeting, Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen also gave recommendations to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, to conduct a joint feasibility study on a 40-kilometer road construction from Koh Kong to a hydropower site located in Stung Russey Chrum Krom as soon as possible. Samdech Dekchor also told the Phnom Penh governor as well as other authorities to pay close attention to keeping good security and social order. All efforts should be made to ensure security for the Cambodian people throughout the country during this coming Khmer New Year. All people should be educated to avoid using guns, not to ignite firecrackers, and not to splash water on travelers.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4547, 22.3.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 22 March 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1599, 22.3.2008

  • Phnom Penh Residents Stunned About a Rumor that the City Will Have Not Water for Three Days; Municipality Denies
  • Leaders of Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Go to New York to Report on the Progress of the Tribunal
  • Dragon Displayed above Siem Reap River [made of plastic wastes] in Order to Promote the Idea of Cleaning Up Garbage along the River
  • A Man Walked with His Wife along a Street, Beating and Kicked Her until She Was Unconscious [21 March – Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh]; He Escaped

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6303, 22-23.3.2008

  • So Far, the Cambodian People’s Party Has Nearly 5 Million Members [and if all of them vote for the CPP, the CPP will be able to create a government alone – says Madame Bun Rany Hun Sen]
  • 18-Year-Old Girl Raped by Two Men [ [unknown, who escaped ] She Is Now Three Months Pregnant [Prey Chhor, Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3419, .3.2008

  • [Secretary-general of Sam Rainsy Party] Eng Chhay Ieng : We Continue to Struggle so that Cambodia Has Proper Laws

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4547, 22.3.2008

  • The Government Approves Sub-Decree Draft That Regulates Civilians’ Use of Guns
  • Prices of Rice in Siem Reap Skyrocket; Citizens Rush to Buy Rice to Stock
  • Former Japanese Prime Minister [Abe Shinzo] Happy While Meeting Cambodian Students [during inauguration of a school building in Thnal Totueng, Kompong Tralach, Kompong Chhnang]
  • H.E. Bun Rany Hun Sen Reacts against the Garage Owner Who Cut Off Thumbs and Toes of a Worker [who had borrowed a motorcycle and then returned it too late – Kompong Cham – she requests authorities of all levels to arrest the perpetrator to have him punished – she gives gifts to the victim]
  • Mr. Eng Chhay Ieng’s Intimate [Prak Chanthy] Joins the Cambodian People’s Party
  • Women Commune and Subdistrict Council Members Needs Motivation
  • Fake [Lady] Excellency and a Village Chief Detained on Accusation of Cutting Trees to Get Land to Sell in Preah Vihear

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3276, 22.3.2008

  • Government Armed Forces, Paid by Thai Bun Roong Company [to protect land], Hunt the Victim [who was wounded with bullets in land disputes in Sihanoukville] in Hospital

Have a look at last week’s editorial

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Friday, 21.3.2008: Mr. Joseph Mussomeli Criticized that Over 25% of Accused Persons Are Tortured or Forced to Confess

Posted on 22 March 2008. Filed under: Week 552 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 552

“Corruption in the judicial system of Cambodia is being strongly criticized by donors and local human rights organizations, as well as by civil society. In contrast, groups of high-ranking officials who committed serious crimes, are free from punishment, but poor citizens always suffer from unjust and corrupt courts.

“During the report presentation of the Court Watch Project for the year 2007, a program of the Center for Social Development [CSD], held on 20 March 2008, the US Ambassador Mr. Joseph Mussomeli said, ‘Last year I admired the Cambodian judicial system. Obviously, the public and the citizens must be allowed to hear a trial freely. This is a crucial step toward transparency and the building of a culture of the rule of law. It is a priority to do so. Nothing is more important than to educate citizens to be aware of the rule of law. In human society, there are only two systems; one is dictatorship, where the most powerful and the richest are those who are in control; the other system is the rule of law, which accords equality and justice to all people. Therefore also those who are considered to be suspects are not different [they have also be treated with equality and justice], also if they are unjustly abused by the rich. Last week, I shared with law students a statement by Mr. Anarcharsis, a [sixth century before Christ] Greek scholar, who said, ”Laws are like spider webs; they will catch, it is true, the weak and poor, but would be torn in pieces by the rich and powerful.” But it is our job to prove that the statement of Mr. Anarcharsis is not true. It means that there must be a mechanism to evaluate and measure the work of the court system, in order to make sure that it is not like a spider web catching only the poor and the weak. If the rule of law is in progress, it will be transparent that it is implementing the work of the courts, and the work of the Center for Social Development will be more transparent keeping a close watch on the courts. This is a most praiseworthy and important service for Khmer society.’

“The annual report of the CSD clearly shows what is happening in the courtrooms. It indicates the lack of proper ‘judicial procedures’ defined by a democratic society. For instance, according to observations of the CSD, in more than half of the criminal cases, the accused persons did not have their defense lawyers in court. Therefore, the current judicial system in Cambodia should be improved and upgraded.

“The CSD reported that more than 25 percent of the accused persons said that they were tortured or forced to confess something. Mr. Joseph added, ‘I remember that this percentage is similar to the previous year, which indicates that there is not much difference, as the accused persons are still pressured during interrogation. I realize that it is difficult for the Court Watch Project to confirm that such accusations are real. Some suspects may tell a lie, but the number of such accusations can confirm that there are many mistakes in the court system. I notice that, according to the report, juvenile suspects are often detained for an indefinite period of time to be sentenced. Such cases seem to happen mostly in the juvenile courts. This is injustice.

“He continued, ‘News about the courts are not always bad. Cambodian courts are moving forward and improving. The CSD reported that more victims and witnesses appeared in court to respond to charges in 2007 than in 2006. This indicates that the judicial system is improving and providing opportunities to accused persons, so that they can defend themselves against what they are charged. Moreover, officials who serve as court watchers praised the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for not sending a 14-year-old boy to prison, but just sending him to a correction center instead.’ There are many more efforts that the judicial system needs to make so that they can win the trust of people. Even while some parts of the problem are due to failures of the government, some other parts are due to failures of the people. Everyone wants to have a judicial system governed by fairness and transparency, but some people start to make exceptions in case something happens to themselves, their family, or their friends. Many people who normally ask for transparency, will then want to have special attention. It is natural that everyone wants attention, but it is not good to ask for exceptions. This is also something where many organizations and the CSD can help.’

“The US ambassador praised the CSD for its efforts this year, and he also appreciated the struggle of government officials and their willingness to cooperate with the CSD and its Court Watch Project. ‘The US government has the honor to assist in this task.’” Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #69, 21.3.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 21 March 2008

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2764, 21.3.2008

  • Banteay Meanchey: Officials of the Committee for Land Distribution to Landless People, an Action Promoted by the Prime Minister, Take Land to Share Among Each Other
  • Military Police, Who Protect Land for the Thai Bun Roong Company, Wounded a Man with Bullets in a Land Dispute [20 March – Sihanoukville]

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #69, 21.3.2008

  • Mr. Joseph Mussomeli Criticized that Over 25% of Accused Persons Are Tortured or Forced to Confess
  • [Human Rights Party President] Kem Sokha: Increasing Rice Price Is a Threat to Khmer Citizens’ Livelihood

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1598, 21.3.2008

  • Royal Government Representative [Mr. Om Yentieng] Rejects Report of Mr. Yash Ghai [Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia] in the Session of the UN Human Rights Council
  • Members of the Sam Rainsy Party and the Norodom Ranariddh Party in Two Provinces [Banteay Meanchey and Ratanakiri] Rush to Join the Cambodian People’s Party
  • Big Site of Drug Production in Phnom Penh Raided; Five People Arrested [19 March – Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6302, 21.3.2008

  • Nuon Chea Continues to Be Detained; Hearings of Khiev Samphan and Ieng Thirith Will Be Held [21-23 April 2008]
  • It Is a Shame that [ten] Foreign Tourists Entering through the Poipet Border Crossing [took the initiative and] Cleaned up Garbage [18 March 2008]
  • Khmer Artist [Leang Sikan] Created a Dragon from Plastic Wastes [and put it on a Siem Reap River bridge] for World Water Day [22 March]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3418, 21.3.2008

  • Mr. Joseph A. Mussomeli: More Than 50% of Those Accused of Crimes Do Not Have Lawyers to Defend Them
  • Prime Minister Happy about Increase of Land Prices; People Worried about Increase of Rice Prices

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1293, 21.3.2008

  • Dekchor Hun Sen [expressing his loyalty to the monarchy]: I Pray to Meet the King Again in Our Next Birth

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4546, 21.3.2008

  • Samdech Dekchor [during inauguration of Bangkok Hospital branch in Phnom Penh on 20 March]: ‘Tens of Thousands of Cambodian Citizens Go for Medical Treatments Abroad Each Year’
  • Former Japanese Prime Minister [Abe Shinzo] Comes to Visit Cambodia to Provide a School Building to Khmer Children [in Thnal Totueng]
  • Tourist Guides Encourage Sex Tourism [by showing their clients sex destinations, in order to get commissions or tips – says Madame You Ay, Secretary of State of Women’s Affairs and head of the National Taskforce against Trafficking in Persons]

Have a look at last week’s editorial

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Thursday, 20.3.2008: Report of Yash Ghai Unfolded the Failure of Legal and Judicial Reform in Cambodia

Posted on 21 March 2008. Filed under: Week 552 | Tags: |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 552

“A foreign news agency reported that Mr. Yash Ghai, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia, criticized government of Prime Minister Hun Sen on 19 March 2008, who is thought to be addictive to power [this judgment by the journalist is not part of Mr. Yash Ghai’s report], about the failure of legal and judicial reforms, and about letting human rights to be seriously violated. Mr. Yash Ghai submitted his third report [click on the report – find “Cambodia” – click on “E” for English to download A.HRC.7.42.doc] to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in its Seventh Session meeting from 3 to 28 March 2008 in Geneva. He strongly criticized the failures of the Cambodian Government.

[There are webcasts available, video-voice-recordings here, first select “19 March 2008”, then look for and click on “Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Yash Ghai” in English, and for “Cambodia as a concerned country, Mr. Om Yentieng” – in translation in [English], and in the original in [Cambodian]. – Also responses to the report of Mr. Yash Ghai are recorded at the same section form Japan, Slovenia (on behalf of the European Union), Malaysia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Sweden, from the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH), Amnesty International, and finally answers to the questions and final remarks by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia]

“According to the report of Yash Ghai, the Royal Government of Cambodia was not doing enough to reform the legal and judicial system, but the international community continued to provide Cambodia with assistance, even when there were human rights violations. Mr. Yash Ghai quoted from a report by LICADHO [Ligue cambodgienne des droits de l’homme – Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights: Human Rights in Cambodia – the Charade of Justice] published in December 2007, which states that the judicial system in Cambodia has failed, despite the intervention by the United Nation Transitional Authority in Cambodia [UNTAC, 1992/93], and of 15 years of aid for legal and judicial reform.

“The report continues that ‘in 2007, the primary functions of the courts continue to be: To prosecute political opponents and other critics of the Government, To perpetuate impunity for State actors and their associates, and To promote the economic interests of the rich and powerful.’ The twenty five-pages report of Mr. Yash Ghai gives details about human rights violation, impunity, victimization of others, violations of the principles of a market economy, violation of land ownership rights, land disputes, and the lack of independence of the court system.

“Mr. Yash Ghai stated in his report that there was little respect for the rule of law in Cambodia. The national and the international community must address the severe consequences of the lack of the rule of law. The report continued describing land grabbing, forced evictions, and the detention of protesters. Thirteen community representatives face criminal lawsuit because they protested against forced eviction in Phnom Penh [Report Section 37: Dey Krahom], while other thirteen villagers were arrested and accused of criminally damaging other people’s properties [Report Section 36: Spean Ches, Sihanoukville].

“A spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia refused to comment on the report of Mr. Yash Ghai [but Mr. Om Yentieng, the head of the Cambodian government’s human rights committee, spoke at the Geneva meeting – see link above]. The Prime Minister, Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, has already strongly condemned the report of Mr. Yash Ghai. He even criticized the situation of Kenya, where Mr. Yash Ghai was born. The Prime Minister declared that he would never allow Mr. Yash Ghai to meet him.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia has filed a complaint to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon about the inappropriate evaluation of Mr. Yash Ghai, who stated that the court system is corrupt, and who reported about human rights violation in Cambodia. Mr. Yash Ghai recommended that the Royal Government of Cambodia should actively take responsibility to reinforce the rule of law and to promote the respect for human rights by the government and in society. However, the government of Mr. Hun Sen, who is so addictive to power [this judgment by the journalist is not part of Mr. Yash Ghai’s report], did not take the recommendations of Mr. Yash Ghai into consideration. The government uses all kinds of tricks to cover its bad behavior.

“According to foreign news agencies, the statement of Mr. Yash Ghai in the meeting of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations session on 19 March, yesterday morning, informed the world about the situation of human rights, lawlessness, and the failure of legal and judicial reforms in Cambodia, although the Ministry of Foreign Affair of Cambodia, led by Mr. Hor Namhong, is trying to hide these problems from the by public.

“The same foreign [public UN] sources of information show that Mr. Yash Ghai is not the only person who reported about the conditions of human rights in Cambodia. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Human Right Committee of Asia, ADHOC, and LICADHO also provided the UN Council for Human Rights with similar reports. Therefore, the situation that the Royal Government of Cambodia failed to reform the legal and judicial systems, as well as the fact that human rights violations continue, cannot be hidden from the public.

“However, many people believe that the international community and the donors also need to share the responsibility for the failure of the Cambodian government, because they keep providing more and more aid to the Hun Sen government, even while they see irregularities and corruption practiced in the Cambodian judicial system, while human rights violations increase. In this regards, the international community and the donors should reconsider this issue. A big portion of the assistance does not reach the hands of the really needy people.

“Some members of civil society believe that the situation of human rights violations in Cambodia is even worse than what Mr. Yash Ghai described. For instance, in the period towards the fourth general elections, there are more and more cases of violent land grabbings in many cities and provinces, committed by high-ranking officers and businesspersons who are closely related to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #417, 20.3.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 20 March 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #68, 20.3.2008

  • Foreign Diplomats Supports Report by Yash Ghai [Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Human Rights in Cambodia] in a Session of the UN Human Rights Council
  • [President of Human Rights Party] Kem Sokha Asks Citizens to Vote for the Human Rights Party to Lead the Government in 2008 to Reduce Prices of Gasoline and Goods
  • Ethnic Minority Tribes Villagers Accuse National Assembly Committee of Being Biased in favor of Ms. Keat Kolney [younger sister of Mr. Keat Chhon, Minister of Economy and Finance] in Land Disputes [in Ratanakiri]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1597, 20.3.2008

  • Approximately 100 Citizens [from Kandal Stung, Kandal] Come to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s Residence in Tuol Krasaing Accusing [Heng Development] Company of Grabbing Their Land
  • Citizens of Stung Bat Village [Ou Chrov, Banteay Meanchey] Come to Phnom Penh to Ask Samdech Prime Minister to Help to Find Justice over Land Grabbing
  • 1,135 Sam Rainsy Party Activists from Rolea B’ier District Ask to Join Cambodian People’s Party in Kompong Chhnang
  • Suppliers of Khmer “Neang Mlih” Rice Seeds Concerned about Buying up of Rice by Vietnamese and Thai Businesspeople at Farmers’ Rice Fields
  • [Group of wild] Tigers Have Eaten Five People [and seriously injured twelve others] in Bangladesh
  • China: Dalai Lama Wants to Make Olympic Matches Look Bad

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6301, 20.3.2008

  • Reaction against UN Official [Juan Miguel Petit, UN special reporter]; Ministry of Interior Rejects Accusation of “Child Sex Tourism” in Cambodia
  • Young Man, Who Borrowed a Motorcycle from a Garage Owner to Visit His Home and Missed Returning for Two or Three Days, Had His Thumbs and Toes Cut Off by the Garage Owner When He Returned [the perpetrator escaped – Dambae, Kompong Cham]
  • Land in Economic Areas in Phnom Penh Costs $5,000 to $6,000 per Square Meter

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3317, 20.3.2008

  • Report of Yash Ghai Unfolded the Failure of Legal and Judicial Reform in Cambodia
  • Sam Rainsy Party Demands Release of Mr. Tuot Sarang [Sam Rainsy Party commune chief who has been arrested on accusation of intimidation] Immediately and Unconditionally
  • Prices of Gasoline and Other Goods Skyrocket; It Is Maybe a Trick of the Ruling Party [to lower the prices during the election campaign again]

Have a look at last week’s editorial

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Wednesday, 19.3.2008: Sam Rainsy Party Commune Chief Was Arrested for Intimidation and Detention

Posted on 20 March 2008. Filed under: Week 552 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 552

“Important activists of the no-longer-opposition party, the Sam Rainsy Party [SRP], are worried about the arrest of a party member by the authorities over the accusation of intimidation and detention of Ms. Tim Norn [by SRP members] in order to prevent her from defecting to the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP]. The SRP commune chief of Pongro, Baray, Tuot [or Thoun or Suon – according to different sources] Saron, was arrested on the morning of 18 March 2008 by police officers, after Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on 17 March that police must deal with the intimidation cases in Kompong Thom and Takeo against SRP activists who had tried to prevent other SRP members from defecting to the CPP.

“A source from Kompong Thom indicates that the SRP activist, who was arrested on 18 March at 9:30, is Mr. Tuot Saron, the SRP council chief of Baray, who is also the Pongro commune chief. The arrest of Mr. Tuot Saron is a case of intimidation rather than the consequence of a defection to another party.

“Police officers in Kompong Thom said that the authorities are searching for more SRP activists who are said to have been involved in the illegal detention. Those activists include the following three: 1) Mr. Thorn Rithy, the SRP deputy commune chief, the chief of the working group of the SRP in Prasat Balang and Sandan, Kompong Thom, 2) Mr. Maen Vannak, and 3) Mr. Hour Sarath, as well as other accomplices who were involved in the illegal detention and the intimidation by phone. After hearing the plans of the police in Kompong Thom, those who were involved in the matter are on the run to hide themselves from the police.

“The police officers added that the activist who was intimidated and illegally detained is Ms. Tim Norn, who is living in Baray, Kompong Thom.

“The arrest of Mr. Tout Saron, the SRP chief of the council of Baray, who is also the commune chief of Pongro, Kompong Thom, came after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered relevant authorities, police officers, and military police officers on 17 March 2008 to search for those who detained and intimidated citizens by telephone in order to prevent them from defecting to the CPP. Mr. Hun Sen said ‘They have not yet got power, but they have already started to prevent people from defecting to another party. They don’t have power yet, but they do such things already; they are so cruel.’

“Mr. Hun Sen added that as prime minister, he has to think of the safety of all citizens, regardless to which party they belong.

“Mr. Eng Chhay Eang, the secretary-general of the unreasonable opposition San Rainsy Party and a former addictive gambler, told journalists that the arrest of Tout Saron, the commune chief of Pongro, Kompong Thom, came after Prime Minister Hun Sen accused the SRP of intimidation. But Mr. Eng Chhay Eang said the arrest was because the former SRP Kompong Thom lawmaker Mr. Sok Pheng, who had defected to the CPP, could not persuade other SRP members to defect to the CPP with him. Therefore, he reported to Prime Minister Hun Sen that there was a case of intimidation against members who are trying to defect to the CPP.

“The unreasonable opposition party secretary-general Mr. Eng Chhay Eang said, ‘The ruling party uses its power to create such a problem. Who is the real intimidator? That is the ruling party itself.’ Also, Mr. Eng Chhay Eang asked the government to stop doing cowardly acts. He said the game should be played in an open manner, not like this. In Kompong Thom, six people from the SRP were voted to be commune chiefs, but none of them, including more than one hundred commune counselors, followed Sok Pheng who defected to the CPP. This is a shameful behavior of Mr. Sok Pheng, who made up the story to please the prime minister. The prime minister should not believe this story; and no action should be taken. Mr. Eng Chhay Eang continued to tell reporters that the arrest of the Pongro commune chief, of the SRP in Baray, Kompong Thom, is political and it is an intimidation for members who don’t want to defect. The arrest is only to frighten others.

“Civil society organizations are watching the arrest of the commune chief in Baray, Kompong Thom, and they are closely investigating this matter to find out if the arrest is a political intimidation, or whether Mr. Tuot Saron really intimidated other people by telephone.

“According to the latest report, uniformed police and plaincloth police surrounded the SRP head office in Kompong Thom, in order to arrest those who were accused to have been involved in intimidation and illegal detention.

“According to other informal sources, the arrest of the Pongro commune chief Mr. Tuot Saron is also related to other high-ranking officials who are SRP members. Police are investigating to identify those who are involved in intimidation.

“The public understands that the arrest of the SRP commune chief in Baray on the morning of 18 March 2008 can be a tactic of the ruling party, to intimidate those who belong to other parties, so that some of those people understand that they have to defect.” Chuoy Khmer, Vol. 2, #67, 19.3.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Areyathor, Vol.14, #1316, 19-20.3.2008

  • H.E. Tioulong Saumura [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh and wife of Mr. Sam Rainsy – allegedly] Involved in Abducting and Detaining a Person [Sam Rainsy Party female activist from Kompong Thom, in order to prevent her from joining the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • Some Staff Members of Sralanh Khmer Do Not Follow Mr. Thach Ket [the publisher who has joined the Cambodian People’s Party]

Chakraval, Vol.16, #2763, 19.3.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Party Commune Chief and Vice-President of Sam Rainsy Party in Kompong Thom Arrested on Accusation of Abducting a Person
  • Samdech Euv [former King] Issues Message Supporting Samdech Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #67, 19.3.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Party Commune Chief Was Arrested for Intimidation and Detention
  • Hun Sen Recalls 18 March [1970] When Lon Nol Conducted a Coup to Overthrow Samdech Euv [the Father King], but He Does Not Dare to Recall the Cambodian People’s Party Which Conducted a Coup on 5-6 July [1997]
  • Businesspeople Increase Prices of Goods – One Liter of Gasoline Costs Riel 4,900 [approx. US$1.20], Giving Opportunity for Hun Sen to Make Political Business

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1596, 19.3.2008

  • Monarchy in Cambodia Belongs to All of Us [says Prime Minister Hun Sen recalling the military coup by General Lon Nol in 1970]
  • Fire on a Bus [after collision with a truck transporting gasoline] Kills 22 Students in Iran

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #6, 19-21.3.2008

  • Gold in Northeastern Cambodia: One Tonne of Gold Mineral Soil Contains 3.44 g of Gold [according to research by Southern Gold]
  • Khmer Laborers Abroad Earn and Send More Than US$3 Million Home per Month [according to An Bun Hak, director of an agency for choosing laborers to work abroad]
  • Violent Demonstrations Occur throughout Tibet against Chinese Control
  • Experts Push China to Cancel “One-Child” Policy

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6300, 19.3.2008

  • 18 March [1970] Is Date When Coup Was Conducted to Abolish the Monarchy; We Got Back Something Lost 38 Years Ago [says Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Japan Starts Investments Gradually in Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3416, 19.3.2008

  • [Secretary-general of Sam Rainsy Party] Mr. Eng Chhay Ieng Considers Arrest of Mr. Tuot Saran [chief of Sam Rainsy Party council in Baray, Kompong Thom, chief of Pongro Commune] to Be a Political Threat
  • Sam Rainsy: Why Is Corruption, Which Makes the State Lose US$500 Million Every Year, Not Cared about? [but Hun Sen calls for being thrifty on the use of electricity]
  • Lawyer [Kao Sopha] Asks Federal Bureau of Investigation to Release Hambali Report Involving His Three Clients

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4544, 19.3.2008

  • Rebirth of the Monarchy Was Not because of the King’s Desire for the Throne [but because of the people’s will – says Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • European Union Has Funds of US$3.8 Million for Non-State Actors [for development in Cambodia]
  • Thailand Lacks Pork; It Prohibits Export of Pigs

Have a look at last week’s editorial

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Tuesday, 18.3.2008: Two Cases of Intimidation Are Ordered to Be Investigated

Posted on 19 March 2008. Filed under: Week 552 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 552

Samdech Hun Sen: You haven’t got power yet, but you have already violated the rights of citizens

“Prey Veng: Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, ordered to have two cases of intimidation investigated. The first case is in Kompong Thom and the another case is in Takeo. Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen ordered to have these two cases of intimidation investigated on the morning of 17 March 2008, during his speech at a school inauguration at Wat Prohea Tbong, located in Chres, Me Sang, Prey Veng.

“Samdech Dekchor asked to see who else would fight against this kind of violation of the right of people. He said ‘These people do not yet have power, but they have already violated the right of citizens. What else would they do if they had the power? This is a problem we need to solve.’ Samdech Dekchor insisted that there must be an investigation in Kompong Thom. He asked Mr. Sok Pheng [former Sam Rainsy Party [[SRP]] member of the National Assembly, now member of the Cambodian People’s Party [[CPP]] ] to take the lead in the investigation and to send reports to human rights groups, foreign embassies, and so on… and see what they think about this issue.

“Regarding the other case of intimidation in Takeo, Mr. Ngor Sovann [former SRP member of the National Assembly for 11 years, now member of the CPP] said that one blind person and one amputee, who are living in Hanuman, Trapeang Thnong, Bati, Takeo, were intimidated on telephone that they might be killed. Samdech Dekchor ordered to have these phone numbers checked so that the intimidators will be identified and be questioned about their motivations, so that all people will know who is violating human rights and the rights of citizens.

“Samdech Prime Minister said that he has been in power for a long time. He said if he decided to fight, he would go to war; but since there is no war, he ordered to destroy many weapons. He said ‘Up to now, more than 230,000 weapons have been destroyed. Not only weapons use is banned, but also the use of rubber slingshots. Therefore these cases must be investigated. These people do not yet have power, but they want to restrict other people. I have never threatened anyone; all people can go wherever they want; if you want to return to Cambodia, it is up to you… I have made it clear to Samdech Chea Sim, to Samdech Heng Samrin, and to other leaders of the CPP that the CPP has been and will remain the center for national unity and solidarity.’

“Samdech Dekchor emphasized that ‘we have to protect all people regardless which party they belong to.’ He strongly criticized those who have not yet power, but are already so cruel… Regarding the security of those who defected from other parties into the CPP, Samdech Dekchor said, ‘Please don’t worry about anything.’

“Samdech Dekchor continued that ‘being patient is another issue, but as prime minister, I have to take action and to solve all kinds of problems. Whatever I do, I do on a legal basis. We have been struggling for many things during the time of difficulties till now. So far, 57 political parties have registered with the Ministry of Interior. There are more than 2,000 NGOs. There are so many journalists. But some party leaders are dictators and do not allow other people to speak up.’

“Samdech Dekchor said, ‘May the next election be safe for our citizens. If compared to 2003, however, it is different, as it is almost April and nothing bad is being heard… In the past it was said that the ruling party threatened other parties. But now the opposition party threatens the ruling party.’ Samdech Dekchor said, ‘If an official or a member of the CPP threatens other people who do not belong to their party, it would be a serious mistake. I hope that such cases will not happen. This is really a mistake.’

“Samdech added, ‘Intimidation is not only useless, but it also brings negative results for a party. Because intimidation is not a party policy, and as the election is secret, people can vote for another party. It is their choice. As a result, those who use intimidation are very uneducated; and the CPP will never do such thing.’

“In his speech, the Prey Veng governor Mr. Ung Samy said ‘Wat Prohea Tbong is already 307 years old. In the past it was a hill with many plants growing on it, surrounded by bamboo fences. The pagoda is located in the northern part of Me Sang, about 12 kilometers [from the provincial town], covering an area of 14 hectares. Wat Prohea Tbong is one of 492 pagodas in Prey Veng. Just as other pagodas in the whole country, this pagoda badly suffered from destruction caused by the Pol Pot genocidal regime, but it was reconstructed after 7 January 1979.’

“Mr. Ung Samy added, ‘Since 2000, faithful Buddhists of the pagoda, with a major contributions from Mr. Nhim Vanda, Mr. Nuth Sa An, and Her Excellency (no name given) as well as other faithful Buddhists from other places, this pagoda has been under reconstruction for eight years. It cost over Riel 355 million [more that US$90.000]. This is the result of solidarity.” Koh Santepheap, Vol. 41, #6299, 18.3.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #66, 18.3.2008

  • Kem Sokha [president of Human Rights Party] Asks Citizens to Vote to Change Corrupt and Incompetent Leaders on 27 July 2008
  • Thach Ket, Publisher of Sralanh Khmer Changes from Sam Rainsy Party to Cambodian People’s Party

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1595, 18.3.2008

  • “Nodojiman – Pride of Voice” Song Contest Held [16 March at Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center in Phnom Penh] to Celebrate 55th Anniversary of Cambodian-Japanese Friendship
  • Thai Prime Minister Speaks Positively about Military Regime in Myanmar

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6299, 18.3.2008

  • Two Cases of Intimidation Are Ordered to Be Investigated
  • Japanese Man Hangs Himself, Leaving His Khmer Wife [reason not known – Dangkao, Phnom Penh]

Meatophum, Vol.52, #681, 17-22.3.2008

  • There Will Be No More Tax Exemptions for Used Cars Next Year [because of high increase of number of cars]
  • Phnom Penh Municipal Cambodian People’s Party Pushes City Development in Order to Compete for Six Seats

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3415, 18.3.2008

  • Government Plans to Provide a Radio Station to Be Controlled by Kith Meng
  • US Department of State Finds Bank and Customs Systems in Cambodia Weak
  • How Does China Continue to Increase Its Influence on Cambodia? [by providing grant aid and military assistance]
  • Ieng Sary’s Lawyer Asks Co-Judges for His Client to Have His Medical Treatment at Home
  • Mr. Ho Vann, Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian, Wants to See Oknhas, Who Grab People’s Land, to Be Jailed

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4543, 18.3.2008

  • Sralanh Khmer Changes Its Orientation [to stop writing articles to criticize the government or the Cambodian People’s Party, after its publisher has joined the Cambodian People’s Party – editor to resign]
  • Chief of Sam Rainsy Party Administration Department [Chhim Sok Reth] Joins Cambodian People’s Party
  • Construction of Telephone Antenna on Foundation of Ancient Temple: Police Arrests up to Five People Involved [Kompong Chhnang]

Have a look at last week’s editorial

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Monday, 17.3.2008: About 250,000 to 300,000 Cambodian Young People Are Seeking Jobs Every Year

Posted on 18 March 2008. Filed under: Week 552 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 552

“The president of the Youth Council of Cambodia said that each year there are about 250,000 to 300,000 Cambodian young people seeking jobs throughout the country. On 14 March, Mr. Mak Sarath, the president of the Youth Council of Cambodia, told Khmer Sthapana that there are not enough open position on the market, which is still a problem for Cambodian society. He said the labor market is a main concern which Cambodian youths are facing, while a great number of Cambodian young people are looking for jobs. Some Cambodian youth accept even jobs that are not their skills, or they take a job even the salary is low.

“He continued that every year there are about 250,000 to 300,000 Cambodian youths needing jobs. A study showed that only one of nine graduates from various educational institutions can get a job.

“Mr. Rithy, a student at the Human Resources University, said that he has only two months left before he will finish his studies. But he doesn’t expect that he can find a job soon. He said, ‘I don’t expect that I can find a job like others, because I come from a rural area. I don’t have connections. In two months, I am going to obtain my bachelor degree, but it seems not to help me to get a job as the Cambodian labor market is still small.’

“He continued that he and most of his classmates have sought to find jobs while they were studying, but failed to get any, while others who have strong connections could get a job easily, even though they did not go to study often. Jobs are only available for those who have connections, but for those who do not have strong connections – their job hunt is hopeless.

“Recently, a student of the Royal University of Phnom Penh said, ‘After graduation, I may be very happy. But unfortunately, I may be sad instead, when I cannot get a job and have to return to my home province.’

“Mr. Mak Sarath said that policy makers should consider this problem in order to set national development strategies. If this trend continues, then a social crisis, with problems such as sexual exploitation, human trafficking, and social unrest, will occur.

“Until now, Cambodia does not have an accurate number about its population; a national census is underway. According to a figure, most Cambodian people are young citizens.

“Mr. Mak Sarath said that according to statistics, among 7,000,000 people who are eligible to vote, 50 percent are younger than 35.

“He continued, ‘Based on this figure, it is a problem that we have to worry about, and there have to be proposals to the government so that this problem can be solved.’ He suggested that the government should prepare policies and strategies on youth education so that young people can choose proper skills. He continued, ‘The Royal Government should improve and strengthen the quality of education, and educational strategies must be compatible with market demands. As for the youth, they should not choose their courses by following their friends; they have to analyze and observe the labor market. Sometimes, the market needs lower-skilled workers more than engineers, but the government does not train lower-skilled workers. Hence, who works as a worker? The young people also need to know how to choose their skills. They should not choose their courses based on seeing their friends choosing accounting or marketing.’

“He said one company does not need many accountants or many people in marketing.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #5, 15-18.3.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 17 March 2008

Chalna Sangkum, Vol.3, #14, 17.3.2008

  • Prince Ranariddh Calls to Create Large Opposition Party

Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #65, 17.3.2008

  • Human Rights Party Appeals to Government to Prevent the Increase of Prices of Goods in Markets
  • Leaders of Human Rights Organizations and Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation Go to Show to UN Their Reports on Human Rights Violations
  • Does Sralanh Khmer Suspend Publication after the Editor Has Joined the Cambodian People’s Party? [it is said that the printing house owner was threatened through telephone by an anonymous person to stop printing Sralanh Khmer after Thach Ket, the editor, had jointed the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • Khmer Rouge Tribunal Needs Approximately $114 Million for Trial of [former] Khmer Rouge Leaders
  • Cambodian People’s Party Carries Gifts to People in Order to Ask for Votes to Retain Power

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1594, 16-17.3.2008

  • [Director of Sambok Khmum Radio] Mam Sonando Requests [president of Human Rights Party] Mr. Kem Sokha to Apologize [to the citizens for not joining with other democratic parties]
  • Mikado Club Searched on Suspicion of Taking Nude Pictures of Khmer Women to Post Them on a Web Site [15 March – Daun Penh, Phnom Penh]
    Thai Delegation Led by Mr. Samak [new Thai Prime Minister] Visits Burma

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #5, 15-18.3.2008

  • About 250,000 to 300,000 Cambodian Young People Are Seeking Jobs Every Year

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6298, 17.3.2008

  • Leaders of Commerce of Five Countries [Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, and Vietnam] Meet Today [in Siem Reap] to Discuss Commerce Reforms for ASEAN Integration
  • For 12 Years, [South] Korea Is Leading in Investments in Cambodia
  • Delegation of Cambodian Chamber of Commerce and Small Scale Industries Visits Malaysia
  • Small Trees Are Cut and Burned and Big Trees Are Ringbarked [allegedly by some powerful people – Kratie]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3314, 17.3.2008

  • In Forth Term Elections, Cambodian People’s Party Will Use “Clean Hands” Campaign [by convincing people who do not support it not to vote, with promise of providing them $20 to $100 – according to an official of the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • Eng Chhay Ieng [secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party]: The Sam Rainsy Party Did Not Threaten Ruling Party [as Hun Sen said]
    Investments Strongly Decline because of Serious Corruption and Bureaucracy
  • Donor Countries Should Use Their Contributions to Promote Transparency and Effectiveness in the Process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Prime Minister Pushes Implementation of Land Traffic Law While Cars Are Tagged with Military and Police Licenses Illegally
  • Hun Sen Should Also Be Thrifty over Spending on Bodyguards
  • Khsach Kandal and Lvea Aem District Residents Fear 7NG Company Will Rob Their Land [Kandal]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4542, 16-17.3.2008

  • Different Parties Deny Competing with Each Other to Be Partners of the Cambodian People’s Party
  • Sralanh Khmer Suspends Publication [without reason mentioned]
  • More Than 60 People [including officials, armed forces, and local authorities] Are on Black List of Involvement in Forest Crimes [Pursat]
  • Thai Investment Company [Dragon One] Plans to Build Coal Powerhouse in Pailin
  • Thai Embassy Will Issue Tourist Visas in One-and-a-Half Days [from 16 April]
  • Gold Sellers [husband and wife] at Phsar Leu Thom Thmei Followed and Robbed in Their House of $5,000 and 70 Chi of Gold [approx. $8,470 – 14 March – Siem Reap]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3271, 1.3.2008

  • Norodom Ranariddh Party Condemns an Attempt to Close UN Human Rights Office in Cambodia

Have a look at last week’s editorial

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