Week 600

Unavoidable Delays and a Missing Editorial Regretted – Sunday, 22.2.2009

Posted on 23 February 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 600 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

This message is written from the Philippines. As I am – probably for one, maybe or two years, since late 2008 – a member of the Nominating Committee of ICANN, the worldwide Internet coordination, I am at present attending some meetings in Manila, where many Internet operators from the Asia Pacific region are assembled; from here I am scheduled to proceed to Mexico, for another series of meetings of persons from all over the world, having a variety of task, functions, and responsibilities for the operation of the Internet. All this will result in some delays in the publication of the Mirror. The Internet is not only causing these delays – the Internet makes it also possible that I can maintain the editorial work for the Mirror also from afar.

The Nominating Committee of ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – has the task to identify and to appoint members of the Board of Directors of ICANN, and some other persons in ICANN leadership functions.

I hope that we will not have too many delays, in spite of the fact that I am on long distance flights, in different time zones – and have a schedule of meetings. I hope that by around mid March I will be back again in Phnom Penh, and that delays will normally not affect the time of publication for more that 24 hours – apart from the times of long flights. The time spent traveling waiting at airports and during flights affects the work most – apologies that there will be no editorial for the week 600.

Approaching Manila

Approaching Manila

Thanks that you brought the number of visits to the Mirror in January for the first time over the 7,000 mark during the course of one month. To know the continuing and increasing interest in the product of our work is an encouragement: to share information and opinion about what is happening in Cambodia, in spite of the various difficulties we face in this work. – One of these problems relate to the lack of adequate funds for this ongoing task. If some more of our readers would see that it is appropriate and haave the possibility to make a donation to the Mirror – see the words Support the Mirror and the colored icon Make A Donation in the right upper corner of this page – this would assist us in the implementation of our service.

Norbert Klein
Editor of the Mirror

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LICADHO Criticized Judgment of the Appeals Court Prosecuting Thach Saveth, Falsely Accused to Be a Murderer – Saturday, 21.2.2009

Posted on 22 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“Human rights officials in Cambodia and many citizens are distrusting the judicial system, which is not independent and does not fulfill its role properly following principles of law, where investigating judges and prosecutors at different provincial and municipal courts as well at higher courts (Appeals Court and Supreme Court) made judgments, based only on reports or on notes of answers received from the authorities.

“On 19 February 2009, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – strongly condemned the Appeals Court, saying that it did not have a proper legal basis to prosecute a parachute soldier and condemn him to serve 15 years in prison for allegedly killing a president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers of a factory in Phnom Penh, Mr. Ruos Sovannareth.

“LICADHO claimed that the accused, Thach Saveth, 26, a former parachute soldier, was arrested for shooting dead Mr. Ruos Sovannareth, the free trade union president of the Try Togea Komara Garment Factory, on 7 May 2004, and the accused was arrested on 24 July 2004.

“The accused, Thach Saveth, was condemned by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to serve 15 years in prison on 15 February 2005, and the Appeals Court held a hearing on the appeal of the suspected murderer (Thach Saveth), upholding the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s 15-year-prison-term on 19 February 2009.

“According to LICADHO’s statement of 19 February 2009, there was no concrete reason to believe that the accused Thach Saveth is the murderer, and most of the evidence was fabricated.

“That there was no known investigation by the judges of the Municipal Court who just depended on police reports; this motivated LICADHO to strongly regret the decision; at the same time, this judgment of the Appeals Court did not contribute to find real justice for the real murderer. LICADHO emphasized in its statement that the judgment of the Appeals Court on 19 February 2009 is a bad model of injustice, because the court lacked evidence to put against the accused to be the murderer in the shooting to kill Mr. Ruos Sovannareth; the court did not have investigative evidence, but just relied on reports of the authorities.

“LICADHO went on to say that those who witnessed the murder of Mr. Ruos Sovannareth were not allowed to become witnesses in the hearing, and they were not questioned by the investigating judges in this murder case.

“LICADHO added that one among the many witnesses appeared at the hearing of the Appeals Court last week, as suggested by the defense lawyer of the accused, but the court did not question any of such witnesses. The director of LICADHO, Dr. Pong Chhiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru], said, ‘We condemn the judgment of the Appeals Court in order to show that LICADHO does not support such injustice, and we very much regret and are sad, seeing that the court did not provide real justice to the victim, because after national and international human rights groups attentively observed this hearing, they found that there wasn’t any evidence presented to put the burden on the accused.’

“Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek continued to say that at the time when the murderer shot dead Mr. Chea Sovannareth, the person accused to be the murderer was in the Anlong Veng district in Oddar Meanchey. She hopes that the Supreme Court will offer real justice to the victim Ruos Sovannareth who was murdered, release Thach Saveth falsely acused to be a murderer, and order the authorities to arrest the real murderer to be prosecuted, like in the case where the Supreme Court provided justice to the falsely accused Born Samnang and Sok Sam Ouen to be murderers, by releasing them and by ordering the case to be reinvestigated.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #347, 21-23.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #121, 21.2.2009

  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights] Voice Concern over the Weak Implementation of Law in the Judicial System in Cambodia
  • Vietnamese Minister of Defense [Phung Quang Thanh] Visits Cambodia Three Days
  • Private Tourist Sector Asks the Government to Find Ways to Facilitate the Traveling of Tourists to Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1879, 21.2.2009

  • The [Phnom Penh] Municipal Court Requests to Remove Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [it asked the National Assembly to remove parliamentarian immunity from the president of the opposition party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, regarding an accusation of a violation during the election campaign]

Kampuchea Thngai Nis, Vol.5, #400, 21-27.2.2009

  • Rural Development Bank Official [Dr. Sun Kunthor] Calls for the Improvements of Product Qualities

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #347, 21-23.2.2009

  • LICADHO Criticized Judgment of the Appeals Court Prosecuting Thach Saveth, Falsely Accused to Be a Murderer

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #349, 21.2.2009

  • [Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-chief] Pol Saroeun Supports Hun Sen’s Plan to Remove Heng Samrin as the Honorary President of the Cambodian People’s Party [according to an article published by the Phnom Penh Post]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6584, 21-22.2.2009

  • Siamese [Thai] Military Commander Apologizes for Artillery Shells Which Landed in Khmer Territory, and Siam [Thailand] Promises that Such a Case Will Not Happen Again
  • [Minister of Tourism Thong Khon asks] France to Help Create Professional Schools for Tourism

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3693, 21-22.2.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announced to Run Out of Money [at the end of February 2009] while Hearings of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Are Not Yet Finished

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4827, 21.2.2009

  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Reject to Translate Full Court Documentation of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Mr. Khiev Samphan [into French, the language of his defense lawyer, though the court rules say that it is a trilingual court: Khmer, English, and French]
  • Labor Market of Construction Sector Drops by 50% [between 40,000 and 45,000 workers in total]; The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction [Minister Im Chhun Lim] Said that It Is Not a Problem [he said that if they have no employment in the construction sector, there are fields and plantations and other work in agriculture]
  • Husband and Wife Were Rolled Over [by a truck] Leaving Their 8 or 9 Month Old Twin Sons [the driver of the truck escaped – Phnom Penh]
  • A German Man Died in the Ekareach Hotel in Sihanoukville [also known as the 7-Floors-Hotel, but national and international journalists are not allowed to enter the site, and the cause of the death is not yet known]

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

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Chevron Suspends Undersea Oil Exploration in the Khmer Sea – Friday, 20.2.2009

Posted on 20 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“Too much corruption and bureaucracy at the National Petroleum Authority and at the Council of Ministers of the Hun Sen government motivates the big US petroleum company Chevron to suspend exploring natural oil and gas in Block A, offshore at the sea, 150 km from the Sihanoukville Port.

Note:

In the Yellow Pages directory for Phnom Penh, the Business Listings section has only the name, address, phone numbers, and an e-mail address of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority – but no Web address, as it is usual for the entries of enterprises and institutions, and the section “Profile” of the company does not provide any information: it is empty.

See also the Mirror of 4.12.2008:

US Oil Company Pays US$120 Million to Buy Oil Exploration License for Explorations at the Bottom of the Khmer Sea

“An official of Chevron said that the company has finished exploring oil and gas at the concession region in Block A, but cannot continue to start producing oil at this time, because there is much demand for under-the-table kickbacks, and another point is that the price of oil now dropped down dramatically. Therefore oil business activities in Cambodia will probably start again only in 2012.

“Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance [and Permanent Vice Chairperson of the Supreme National Economic Council] Hang Chuon Narong said during a forum on Cambodia’s Future Economic Development, on Wednesday 18 February 2009, that at present, Chevron is playing a game of waiting in Cambodia after they saw that the price of oil was drooping during the last six months. Hang Chuon Narong added, ‘The accusation that there is too much corruption and bureaucracy in Cambodia is not true, and this accusation is just a pretext of Chevron to delay the production of oil from the bottom of the Cambodian sea.’

“Hang Chuon Narong continued to say, ‘At this step, Chevron already finished exploring for oil in Block A. If Chevron would continue their development now, the first oil productions would start in 2012.’ He said also that the scenario that he predicted is expected to produce income of US$200 million in the same year 2012. Hang Chuon Narong predicted that Chevron will wait longer before beginning to produce oil from the gulf in Block A, because oil prices are declining in a serious crisis both in Cambodia and in the world.

“However, an official of Chevron, who asked not to be named, said that the falling oil prices in Cambodia and in the world are not the cause for suspending the process of oil exploitation in the Cambodian offshore sea. The obstacle is that the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority and the Council of Ministers require Chevron to negotiate new documents for oil production, for oil discovered in Block A, since the previous documents were only for exploration, not production. Now, exploration is finished. Therefore, there have to be new documents for oil exploitation for production, which require to spend a lot of under-the-table kickbacks. Moreover, also because of the declining oil prices, it makes the Chevron Company reluctant to continue oil exploitation, and it might suspend its operations until 2012, to reconsider. If the Chevron Company suspends the process until 2012, Cambodia will lose the US$200 million income from oil exploitation between 2009 and 2012.’

“As for Hang Chuon Narong, he said that Chevron will continue to produce oil in 2014 or 2015, depending on oil prices – everything depends on prices of oil only [by implication denying that there is corruption and bureaucracy as additiional factors].

“The assessment by Hang Chuon Narong over activities of the Chevron Company in Block A indicates another breakdown of hope of the Chevron Company to develop Block A in the future. On 5 February 2009, the spokesperson of the Pacific Regional Office, Mr. Gareth Johnston, announced that Chevron is trying to find a solution to develop the complicated issues in Block A.

“He emphasized, ‘We are in a process to evaluate many development decisions for resources in Block A to get profits from this difficult task. Mr. Gareth Johnston did not comment on oil prices in the world, and how it impacts on the suffering of the company for the development of Block A. One barrel of oil was only US$34.92 on 18 February 2009, which shows how much the price dropped from the highest at US$145 in July 2008.

“Mr. Gareth Johnston added that at present, Chevron is not in any discussions about the setting of a date to exploit oil in Cambodia, unless a real assessment is finished.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #36920.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 20 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #22, 20-22.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Told the US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] about Politics Violating Human Rights, the Economic Crisis, and Corruption

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #120, 20.2.2009

  • Siam [Thailand] Sends a Delegation to Apologize for Artillery Shells Landing on Khmer Territory

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1878, 20.2.2009

  • [12-year-old] Brother Was Killed and [11-year-old] Sister Was Raped and Murdered Cruelly [a 19 year-old boy was arrested – Kompong Cham]
  • Khmer Workers at Houses in Foreign Countries Are Valued as “House Helpers” [not as “house servants” – according to the Department of Labor of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training]
  • The US Embassy Donates 36 [M35A2] Trucks to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces for the Second Time

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #348, 20.2.2009

  • [The Deputy President of the Human Rights Party and former prime minister] Pen Sovann Said that the Persons Who Have the Most Land in Cambodia Are [the Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An and [the commander-in-chief] Pol Saroeun

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6583, 20.2.2009

  • The Head of the Government Encourages All Officials to Become Public Servants Who Serve the Citizens
  • Construction Site Is Started on the Bokor Mountain Summit, and Two National Parks [the Monivong Bokor and the Preah Suramarit-Kossamak National Parks] Are Delivered to the Sokha Hotel and the Sokimex Company [of Oknha Sok Kong – Kampot]
  • Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Welcomes the First Hearing of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #36920.2009

  • Chevron Suspends Undersea Oil Exploration in the Khmer Sea
  • [Duch’s Defense Lawyer] Ka Savuth Claimed that There Are Murderers [who were chiefs of different prisons during the Khmer Rouge regime] Who Killed More People Than Duch Did, but They Are Not Called to Court

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4826, 20.2.2009

  • Duch’s Lawyers Are Criticized to Have Looked Down on Victims [they are criticized by the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, Mr. Chhang Youk, regarding their opposition to include videos provided by Vietnam as new evidence, and regarding the use of the word “Vea” [something like “it” instead of “he” in a derogatory way, used by Duch’s defense lawyers Ka Savuth, to refer to Mr. Noung Chanpal – one of the children identified in the videos provided – in Khmer, it is not used to refer to adults, and it is not used except when older people call younger people like children, then it is consider to be rude]
  • Siamese [Thai] Police Arrested 40 [illegally immigrated] Khmer Construction Workers in Chon Buri
  • The Sasakawa Peace Foundation [笹川平和財団] of Japan Presents a New Goal, Focusing on Developing Human Resources in Cambodia – [The Foundation carries also an Interview with Mr. Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of the NGO Forum for Cambodia]
  • [A Khmer historian] Michael Trane: “Dinosaurs” at Angkor Were Sculptured through Imagination

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

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The Number of Children with Severe Malnutrition Increases – Thursday, 19.2.2009

Posted on 19 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“Phnom Penh: A new report from the National Institute of Statistics found that the number of children with severe malnutrition increased, and the number of different diseases that affect children under the age of five increased also.

“The findings of a survey on the national level, analyzing the influence of high food prices, indicate that the health of children did not improve, because the number of children with serious malnutrition rose from 8.4% in 2005 to 8.9% in 2008, which is an important indication based on their weight and height proportions. This survey found also that the spread of fever among children under the age of four rose to 58.9% in 2008, compared to 39.6% in 2005.

“However, this survey discovered also some positive results regarding the situation of alimentation of women and of children under the age of two.

“The director of the National Mother and Child Health Center, Professor Dr. Kum Kanal, referred questions regarding this problem to the person who released this report.

“The deputy director of the Department of Planning and Health Information, Ms. Sok Kanha, said Tuesday evening by telephone that our country is poor, and the economic standard of living dropped, making many workers unemployed, and some farmers do not own enough rice fields, causing shortages. Therefore, they cannot provide enough food to their children.

“When asked whether the equity program of a foundation of the government is failing or not, while the health situation of the people declines, Ms. Sok Kanha claimed, ‘The equity program of the foundation of the government does not fail, because this program offers charged services to patients, but it is not to buy food for the poor.’

“She added that any solution for this problem requires participation from development partners, and especially the UN World Food Program, to provide food to people, and she requested to provide aid to ‘the hungry, otherwise its project will not be successful and will not reach he right directions.’

“[Secretary of state at the Ministry of Health and director of Calmette Hospital] Dr. Heng Taikry could not be reached for comment, but he told The Cambodia Daily on Monday that he did not know anything about the findings of this research, yet he suspected that the rising food prices probably do not affect children’s health.

“He went on to say, ‘At present, Cambodian people have a better living standard and they can eat sufficient food.’

“The above survey is funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF – and by the United Nations Development Program – UNDP – asking 7,500 women and children to reflect on the influence of high food prices. The Institute of Statistics found that in 2008, food prices increased by 10%, more than the price of other consumer goods.

“A consultant of the Institute of Statistics, Mr. Joel Konkle, told The Cambodia Daily that the spread of diseases such as diarrhea, fever, serious respiratory diseases among small children increased, and further research is needed to define the extent of these diseases.

“He added that more serious malnutrition and child health conditions might be caused by high food prices, because research shows a declining consumption of expensive food, such as meat and fish. Malnutrition of children makes them easily susceptible to diseases.

“Mr. Joel Konkle added a warning that poor children in cities need emergency assistance, because of the increase in the number of malnourished children under the age of five, from 9.6% in 2005 to 15.9% in 2008.

“The Chief of the Children Survival Section of UNICEF, Ms. Viorica Berdaga, said that she was surprised that serious malnutrition of children under the age of two increased. She added that those involved in food security should summon a meeting soon and take action as quickly as possible.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4825, 19.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 19 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #119, 19.2.2009

  • France Welcomes the Beginning of the First Hearing of the Tuol Sleng Prison Chief [Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Criticizes that Persons in the Fields of Education and Health Care Were Reduced [he agrees that in some fields it is necessary to reduce personnel by sending people into retirement without replacing them – but this should not relate to the fields of teachers and doctors]
  • Two Englishmen Died in a Royal Highness Hotel Room [the cause of deaths is not yet found – Phnom Penh]
  • The United States of America Adds 17,000 Troops for Afghanistan

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1877, 19.2.2009

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Waits for a Final Investigation Report from Troops before Asking for an Explanation from the Siamese [Thai] Embassy
  • Brothels in Siem Reap Town Run Their Exploitation Grandly [their number is increasing, they have a bad influence on public morals and culture – local residents say that they are mostly operated by people from Vietnam]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #347, 19.2.2009

  • Commander-In-Chief Pol Saroeun Said that Siam [Thailand] Unintentionally Fired into Khmer Territory, while [the chairperson of the Committee for Solving Border Disputes] Va Kimhong Said that It Violates Cambodian Territorial Integrity

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6582, 19.2.2009

  • A Car of a Korean Delegation Crashed into the Ou Leang Kruos Bridge and Injured Three People Seriously [Strung Treng]
  • A Study for the Construction of a Hydro-Electric Dam at the Cheay Araeng River in Thma Bak District with 108 Megawatt and an Investment Capital of More Than US$325 Million Is Finished [by the China Southern Power Grid Company – Koh Kong]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3691, 19.2.2009

  • [The president of the opposition party] Sam Rainsy Asked the Government to Take Immediate Action in View of [the declining] Prices of Agricultural Products, and to Cease Grabbing of Citizens’ Land
  • Duch’s Lawyers Demand the Release of Their Defendant during the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s Hearing [they want to sue for the illegal detention of Duch in military prison since 1999 before he was transferred to the tribunal’s detention in 2007]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4825, 19.2.2009

  • The Number of Children with Severe Malnutrition Increases
  • Vietnamese Documentary Videos Created Strong Arguments during Duch’s Hearing [his defense lawyers opposed the inclusion of these video as new evidence, saying that they are invented videos]
  • US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Praises Telecommunication Sector in Cambodia
  • International Red Cross Encourages Improvement for Prisons in Cambodia
  • Vietnam Reacts against Human Rights Watch regarding Khmer Kampuchea Krom Case [by condemning Vietnam for cracking down on Khmer Krom people living at the Mekong delta and for restricting religious respect and freedom of expression; Vietnam said that the Khmer Kampuchea Krom community is a part that cannot be cut out from the 52 communities living in Vietnam, and Vietnam does not allow any form of discrimination and of racial divisions to happen]

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

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JICA Helps Cambodia to Define Standards for Cambodian Hydro-Electricity Dams – Wednesday, 18.2.2009

Posted on 19 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“Phnom Penh: The Japan International Cooperation Agency – JICA – cooperates with officials in charge of hydro-electricity of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy of Cambodia, to construct hydro-electricity dams for Cambodia. JICA will support the funding for this development, and standards are expected to be respected by investors or companies which construct hydro-electricity dams in Cambodia.

“The deputy director of JICA, Mr. Kobayashi Yukiharu, said in the first plenary session about the studies to elaborate detailed conditions for the construction of hydro-electricity dams according to technical standard, in the morning of 17 February 2009 at the Phnom Penh Hotel, that development of hydro-electricity dams in Cambodia is being focused, facing the general situation of rapid growth of around 20% per year for the local demand of energy during the last five years. At present, many companies from foreign countries, such as China, Korea, and Vietnam, have already established hydro-electricity development projects and are constructing their projects gradually. Mr. Yukiharu added, however, there must be care taken when constructing hydro-electricity dams about possible impacts, because such constructions directly relate to safety and environmental conservation, since all hydro-electricity dam construction projects, big or small, are constructions of dams and water flow channels that can lead to severe devastations and impacts on the environment, if those projects do not focus on the observation of clear technical standards from the beginning.

“The Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Suy Sem, considers electricity to be an important and necessary resource for the life of everyone. But what we want is not just to do whatever, so that there is access to electricity, but also to do whatever, so that the production, delivering, distribution, and the use of electricity are efficient and safe. To be efficient is not just to make the supply of electricity to happen with quality, stability, and low prices, but also to make the consumers, who are the clients, to accept the use happily, and to settle their accounts for the service received regularly and with transparency. The Minister added that to be safe is to avoid work accidents, electrical shocks, or electricity-related fires. The production, the delivering, the distribution, the use, as well as the use of all electrical tools, must be done according to proper standards – that means that we first must have the necessary standards.

“The Minister went on to say that the studies to elaborate detailed conditions for the definition of technical standards for hydro-electricity have the intention to mainly check, consider, and analyze different technical standards for hydro-electricity being used by different countries, such as Japan, Russia, Canada etc… and to screen and select them, and to create them to be in line with the conditions of Cambodia, so that Cambodia has technical standards for hydro-electricity, both for the civil engineering sector and for electrical technologies and mechanics, so that all different companies have to abide by these standards.

“The director of the Department of Hydro-Electricity of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Bun Narith, said that JICA is helping Cambodia in this sector for a 12 months period, since October 2008, to September 2009, studying in detail, point by point, the small elements of the whole cluster of hydro-electricity. Mr. Bun Narith added that all those having received licenses to construct any hydro-electricity dam must follow these technical standards. The potential of Cambodian hydro-electricity is high, at around 10,000 megawatt. But Cambodia has so far developed only 13 megawatt.

“Mr. Suy Sem reminded the plenary session that even though Japan has studied the codes and formulas from its own and from different other countries, but we, in developing countries, cannot copy those technical standard models like a mold for the use in Cambodia. Cambodia must have standards in order to avoid impacts on is environment; however, hydro-electricity dam constructions cannot avoid affecting the environment. When one starts blocking the flow of water, some forests start already to be flooded.

“Therefore, we have to balance between losses and energy received – which one is more valuable? We should not create standards which are too strict or too weak. The Minister continued to say that so far, neither any hydro-electricity dams nor construction companies in Cambodia have standards. At presents there is a hydro-electricity dam in Ratanakiri’s Ou Chum with the power of 1 megawatt. In Mondolkiri, Japan constructed two small hydro-electricity dams, which are already operational. The Kirirom I hydro-electricity dam has 12 megawatt power. We are constructing hydro-electricity dams in Kamchay with 193 megawatt and in Ta Tai with 120 megawatt and there is a plan to build a hydro-electricity dam in Sre Pok with 400 megawatt, which is being studied by a Vietnamese company.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4824, 19.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1876, 18.2.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: Anti-Corruption Law Is Not a Divine Medicine against Corruption
  • In 2009 and 2010, Germany Plans to Grant Cambodia More Than US$57 Million
  • North Korea Said that It Has the Right to Fire Missiles for Testing

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol.7, #344, 18.2.2009

  • H.E. Keat Chhon Provides Documents to Explain Problems Faced because of the Economic Crisis to Opposition Party Parliamentarian [Mr. Son Chhay]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #346, 18.2.2009

  • [Senior official of the Human Rights Party and former prime minister] Pen Sovann Said that Hun Sen Revoked Ke Kim Yan [as commander-in-chief] to Consolidate Power and Follow the Track of Pol Pot [former top Khmer Rouge leader who revoked many officials when he did no longer trust them]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6581, 18.2.2009

  • Citizens Are Disappointed with the Short Live Broadcast of Duch’s Hearing [only around half an hour]
  • Thai Navy Military Commander of the First Region Said that Cambodia Changed Its Mind Regarding the Division of Resources in the Contested Sea Area [before the exploration of natural resources started, Cambodia seemed to agree, but when it actually started, Cambodia changed its mind]
  • Siamese [Thai] Doctors Stopped Khmers to Test Their Blood at the Cham Yeam Border Crossing [and when Khmer authorities asked why, they said they make blood tests to find if they have malaria – and if malaria is found, they will be offered free medicine]

Mate Nak, Vol.2, #21, 18-24.2.2009

  • The Government Announces the Bidding for the Construction of the Stung Sen Hydro-Electric Dam
  • Cambodia Hopes that There Will Be 50,000 Tourists from Kuwait
  • Salaries of National Athletes Are Increased [by approx. 40%; their former salary of Riel 120,000, corresponding to approx. US$30 per month, is increased to 200,000 – approx. US$50 – and money for food is creased from Riel 15,000 – approx. US$4 – to Riel 23,000 – approx. US$6 [no timeline – daily – weekly – monhly etc. given]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1413, 18.2.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: Not Only Those Who Wear Three or Four Stars, Even if They Wear a Sign of the Moon, They Will Be Demoted [if they are found to be involved in misusing their power in any land dispute]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4824, 19.2.2009

  • JICA Helps Cambodia to Define Standards for Cambodian Hydro-Electricity Dams
  • Duch Intends to Apologize Publicly when the Court Starts the First Hearing [according to his lawyer]; China Defends Its Relations with Khmer Rouge [saying that they were part of normal diplomatic relations]
  • [At least eight] Siamese [Thai] Mortar Shells Landed about 3 km in Khmer Territory [in Banteay Ampil in Oddar Meanchey during a Thai military exercise]
  • Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany [Mr. Peter Ammon] Welcomes Hearings of the Khmer Rouge Leaders [and encourages Cambodia to adopt an anti-corruption law]

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Former Khmer Rouge Senior Leader Warns that Instability Might Happen During Duch’s Hearing Today – Tuesday 17.2.2009

Posted on 18 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“On 17 February 2009, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia – ECCC – will hold a hearing for the cruel former Tuol Sleng Prison chief, Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch, who is responsible for the death of 16,000 people.

“Ahead of this hearing, a former senior Khmer Rouge military commander, Meas Mut, known as a son-in-law of the deceased [former Khmer Rouge military leader “the butcher”] Ta Mok, claimed that to call additional people to the court will lead to instability in Cambodia. However, some observers said that Prime Minister Hun Sen, head of the current government created by a package vote, will not let political instability to happen because of hearings of former senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

“Recently, the former chief of the Division 164 of the Khmer Rouge, Meas Mut, said that he used to control 20,000 troops of the Division 164 as well as 50,000 women and children at the Southwest Region. Meas Mut said late last week that he knew nothing about planned investigations of additional suspects besides the five people already detained in the special detention center of the tribunal, waiting for hearings over crimes against humanity and war crimes.

“Nevertheless, when asked about possible hearings of additional former Khmer Rouge leaders, Meas Mut said that “it will make Cambodia fall into instability again.” But Meas Mut did not give any details of how instability might occur. This retired military advisor said that he would appear at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal if he is accused. Meas Mut, who lives in Samlot in Battambang, seemed not worried about accusation by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“It should be noted that in a book published in 2001 with the title “Seven Candidates for Prosecution,” written by Stephen Heder and Brian Tittemore, Meas Mut is considered to be an important suspect for the tribunal’s investigations, because there is evidence that Meas Mut sent some of his troops to the atrocious S-21 detention center in Phnom Penh during a time of internal purges in the Cambodian Communist Party. But Meas Mut denied two weeks ago that any of his troops were sent to the S-21 detention center, and he said there were no deaths of starvation and of diseases, while historians claim that it led to the deaths of more than 2 million people during the Khmer Rouge regime.

“Reacting to what Meas Mut said above, Khmer citizens living in Samlot, the last basis of Khmer Rouge forces, said that the arrest of Meas Mut will not cause instability to the nation. Some agree with this claim, because at present the leadership structure of the Khmer Rouge no longer exists. Therefore, they cannot gather forces to create social instability or to struggle in the forest as before.

“Besides warning about political instability, the former senior Khmer Rouge military commander Meas Mut said that he was ready to testify to the tribunal, and that he will not flee form prosecution. Ta Mok’s son-in-law pointed out, ‘I have nowhere to hide myself besides my home.’ Regarding the above problem, observers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s process criticized Meas Mut’s claims as not worth for general consideration.

“Officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal said that the first hearing of the former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch, will happen on 17 February 2009 without further delay. But what is of concern is that the ECCC allows very few witnesses to attend that hearing, even though there are hundreds of people who applied to be civil plaintiffs. This makes those who filed to be civil plaintiffs disappointed, and they have little trust in Duch’s hearing.

“Non-government organizations that observe the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal said that few witnesses take part to put burden on the accused. This is not very good, because it might affect the seriousness of the punishment of the accused perpetrator. Therefore, the ECCC should allow many witnesses to attend the hearing on 17 February 2009, event though the ECCC does not allow all of them to question the accused. Important witnesses of Duch’s hearing are people such as former prisoners of the Tuol Sleng Prison, [the painter] Mr. Van Nath and Mr. Chum Mei, and they should be permitted to question Duch about crimes of killing people that he committed.

“Independent observers said that the first hearing of Duch on 17 February 2009 is a crucial step towards the hearings of the four other accused in the special detention center of the tribunal. The next person to be heard is expected to be the former president of the national assembly and Brother Number 2 of the killing field regime, Nuon Chea. Thus, if Duch’s hearing proceeds smoothly, hearings of other Khmer Rouge leaders might also continue smoothly without any obstacles. This is a problem that the United Nations and the Cambodian government should consider in order to help that the hearing of Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch, goes smoothly, so that the national and international opinions trust the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, plagued by a strong burden of corruption [allegations] again.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3689, 17.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #19, 17.2.2009

  • A Former Child in the Tuol Sleng Prison [Mr. Noung Changphal] and a [Khmer] Cameraman of the Vietnamese Troops [Mr. Ho Vanntei] Provide Evidences to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #117, 17.2.2009

  • A Tragedy in a Family Contracting AIDS: A Man Hangs His [three-year-old] Son before He Hangs Himself [Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1875, 17.2.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: The Global Witness’s Report Is Stupid
  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC – and the Cambodian National Research Organization]: If One Party Cares Only about Its Own Interest, It Will Not Last Long
  • [Many] Cambodian Civil Society Organizations Study the Process to Establish an ASEAN Human Rights Body
  • [Venezuelan president] Mr. Chaves Wins Bid to Abolish Presidential Limits on Number of Re-Elections

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6580, 17.2.2009

  • National Television Will Broadcast the First Hearing of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief [Kaing Gek Eav, also known as Duch] Live
    Impacts Are Short-Lasting; Samdech Dekchor: The Real Economic Motivation Is to Encourage Investments in Agriculture

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3689, 17.2.2009

  • Former Khmer Rouge Senior Leader Warns that Instability Might Happen During Duch’s Hearing Today
  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation Demands that the Yuon [Vietnamese] Authorities Remove More Than 550 Spies from Pagodas in Kampuchea Krom

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4823, 17.2.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Convicted Three Dey Krahom Villagers [to serve 18 months in prison and to pay Riel 2 million, corresponding to approx. US$490, on the accusation of assaulting and of destroying property of the 7NG Company]
  • Siamese [Thai] Para Soldiers Shot at Six Khmer Villagers Picking Mushrooms; Two of Them Were Abducted [Banteay Ampil, Oddar Meanchey]
  • H.E. Bun Rany Hun Sen Asks for Controls to Prevent Obscene Activities
  • 2009: The Ministry of Public Work and Transport Makes 157 Officials Retire
  • A Man Tied Two [six-year-old] Girls Together and Raped Them One after the Other [the man was arrested – Banteay Meanchey]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3486, 17.2.2009

  • Olympic Market Vendors Become Calm as the [Thai Boon Rong] Company Announces to Reduce the Stall Prices

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The Minister of Public Works and Transport Talks about Ports and Ships Using Cambodian Flags – Monday, 16.2.2009

Posted on 17 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“The Minister of Public Work and Transport presented some results related to important ports in Cambodia, and to problems of ships registered by Cambodia. Below is a recent interview between the Minister of Public Work and Transport, Mr. Tram Iv Tek, with National Television:

Question: How many ports are there in total in Cambodia? Where are they? What are their functions?

The Minister: Nowadays, Cambodia has two international ports, the Phnom Penh Port and the Sihanoukville Port, which are our contact point to foreign countries and to the world. These ports are controlled by public enterprises of the state under the administration of boards of directors, with members from relevant institutions, such as the Ministry of Public Work and Transport, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Council of Ministers etc… Besides, there are 29 different local ports (among which there are around 10 oil ports and around 19 retail-goods ports) being administered by different private companies.

“The general function of ports is to serve as docking stations, and to gather, transfer, and distribute goods and to transport travelers. Furthermore, the international ports are the points of access to the international high sea and to the world. The importance of ports, especially the international ports, is like the breath of the national economy, which contributes to develop international commerce, tourism etc…

“The Phnom Penh Port is located next to the south of the Chroy Chongva Bridge and is 3 to 4 km from the confluence between the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap River. This international port serves international ships traveling along the Mekong River to the sea through Vietnam, and is 110 km from the Cambodian-Vietnamese border at K’am Samnar. This port can load and unload ships up to 2,000 tonnes for the whole year, and during the rainy season this can be increased up to 5,000 tonnes (the depth of the water is 4.5 meter).

“According to results of work (in 2008), there were around 60,000 travelers, 47,000 TEU containers [TEU = the Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit, a measure used in intermodal transport], 700,000 tonnes of oil, and goods of about 1.20 million tonnes.

“As for the Sihanoukville Port, it is the biggest port in Cambodia; it was constructed during the years 1956 to 1960, and it was put to use in 1961. At present, the concrete port is old, and it is only used to receive light things but will be changed to be the port for passenger ships. These days, a 400-meter container port, assisted in its construction by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation [JBIC], at a depth of 9 meter, can receive 1,000 ships per month. The quantity of handled goods was 2,057,967 tonnes (in 2008) and there were approximately 258,000 containers.

“A development project being processed (with assistance by the JBIC) comprises the construction of infrastructure to develop a special region (70 hectares). The construction of a multi-purpose port is to serve: oil exploration at the sea, and as a port for loose goods like grains (rice, corn, beans), asphalt, potatoes etc…

“As for private ports, they are general ports to transport goods from neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, etc… There are four ports active: at Keo Phos, Srae Ambel, Kamrak, and Tumnup Rolork And there are two ports being developed; they are the Stung Hav, and the Kambang Port of the Vinh Huong Company.

Question: It is obvious that land transportation is popular in Cambodia, then why it is necessary to build new ports?

The Minister: Actually, at present, Cambodian people prefer to use transport by land roads, because they think that it is quick, takes less time, and one reaches the goals one wants to go. But in generally, transport on water roads or by ships or water vehicles has very good qualities:

“1. Huge transport capacity, 2. Capital requirements are lower (spending less money than for transportation by cars/trucks), 3. It is safe and affects the environment not so much, 4. No traffic congestion, 5. It is an international route, since it can connect to far-away countries, 6. It reduces the use of land roads from being overloaded, 7. It affects the general environment less, because the quantity of carbon dioxide and the carbon dioxide released is around 42 gram per tonne/km, less than that released by land vehicles, which is around 407 gram per tonne/km.

“The advances of the economy and the growth in the number of people cause traffic jams. Trucks loaded with goods cannot move and land road traffic accidents increase. Ports cannot avoid all disturbances related to other forms of transportations including the different supporting services, such as delivering agencies of goods, fields to distribute goods and provisioning etc… This is a crucial incentive, which provides investors different good choices for investments, and Cambodia needs to develop also these sectors, including the development of ports and its own cargo ships, and particularly the establishment of special economic zones in port regions. Cambodia and Vietnam are considering the joint development of the river transportation sector, and to coordinate the border-crossing procedures for the transportations of goods, for travelers, tourists etc…

Question: If the constructions of new ports can affect maritime resources and the life of the people living at the seashore, how does the Ministry solve these problems?

The Minister: The constructions of new ports can have some effects on maritime resources and on the life of the people living at the sea. Generally, a construction project always affects the environment more or less. But in general, port constructions do not have the same big effects like that of hydro-electric dams. It can affect the natural environment somewhat, such as maritime diversity (fish refuges) and the ecological systems (bird refuges), there can be changes of currents or of the quality of water, dirt in the water, or oil spillings, or different waste, garbage gathering at the sea bottom etc… Projects are studied to find any additional impacts, through Environmental Impact Assessments, before their construction is licensed. Therefore, the impact on the life of people depends also on finding the required large sizes of land for the constructions of each port. Besides land for the docking port, land is also needed to build infrastructure, roads, warehouses, storage areas, service areas for the ports such as fuel stations, electricity power stations, different buildings etc… Therefore, problems may relate also to find solutions for existing houses. This is also a problem. Like other problems happening with investment projects, we cannot let citizens suffer from them, so that we would loose the benefit of their work on these jobs, so there must be solutions found.

Question: Some foreign ships use the Cambodian flag. Do they have the permission to use the Cambodian flag? If foreign ships that use the Cambodian flags commit any illegal activities, what does the Ministry do against those ships?

The Minister: The Royal Government of Cambodia permits registration of foreign ships since 1994. The number of ships registered to fly the Cambodian flag increased in 2001, and so far, there are around 800 ships registered under he Cambodian flag.

“Since February 2003, the management of the registration of Cambodian registered ships is administered by the committee of the Council of Ministers for controlling the registration of ships flying the Cambodian flag. The provision of a registry of ships with the permissions to fly the Cambodian flag means that foreign ships are allowed to travel legally under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, administered by the International Maritime Organization. There are two types of violations or wrongdoings: technical and commercial. Technical violations are violations committed by ships against different laws or regulations of countries, recognized in international law, such as environmental sea pollution (depositing of waste from ships, beyond set standards), incompetence of ship masters or officers (not holding proper, or even fake skill certificates, or invalid certificates), lack of security and safety (not meeting defined standards), or different illegal activities. As for commercial violations, some ships violate the rules by the transportation of banned goods or weapons, explosives, addictive drugs, weapons, weapons of mass destruction, slaves etc…), human trafficking or transportations of illegal refugees etc… Owners of ships or ship operators are held responsible for such activities themselves. In addition, Cambodia, as a country which operates an international ship registry, can take different actions necessary against the following crimes: 1. Impose fines through any administration and 2. Withdraw the right to fly the Cambodian flag and registration, or of other valid documents provided.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4822, 15-16.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 16 February 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #41, 16-22.2.2009

  • 421 Families [from Banteay Meanchey] Protest at the Residence of Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen] over the Setting Houses of Citizens on Fire to Grab their Land

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #18, 16.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Ask Mr. Hun Sen to Clarify the [rumored] Presence of [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin in Cambodia

Deum Tnot.3, #57, 16.2.2009

  • The Former Director of the Appeals Court, H.E. Ly Vouch Leng, Is Appointed Advisor to the Cambodian Government and Deputy Director of a Council of Legal Professionals, with Equal Position to Minister, without Investigating Her Wrongdoings [regarding a bribery case, where Te Porly, the owner of the former Chhay Hua II Hotel, accused of human trafficking, was declared free from the accusations]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1874, 15-16.2.2009

  • Sihanoukville Residents Plan to Protest to Take the Prampi Chon Hotel [“7 stories hotel”] as Public Property of the State
  • Ou Chrov and Serey Sophoan Districts Are Declared Cities [Banteay Meanchey]

Koh Santepheap, Vol. 42, #6579, 16.2.2009

  • The Council of Ministers Announces a Denial [that there was a decision to open an investigation against former commander-in-chief Ke Kim Yan about the legality of land ownership of some companies having relations with him] and Announces to Investigate to Find th People Who Released Internal Minutes of the Royal Government [Note: Other media say that the content of the leaked document was not denied]
  • Data from 2008: Every Day US$100,000 Were Spent to Have Sex Outside the Home [according to the National AIDS Authority of Cambodia, 10% of the people between the age of 15 and 49 had sex outside the home, and 36% of the people between the age of 15 and 24 were men and only 1% were women. 14% of women working at Karaoke Parlors were students]
  • Armed Robbery along Roads Reoccurs [a high school student was hit on his back to rob his motorbike by two robbers who are not yet identified – Sen Sok, Phnom Penh]
  • Cambodian Public Bank [an allied bank of the Public Bank Berhad of Malaysia] Receives Award as Bank of the Year for 2008, for the Sixth Time, from the Chartered Institute of Bankers in London

Meatophum, Vol.53, #722, 16-21.2.2009

  • Gay Foreign Parents, Low-Income Parents, and Parents Having Two Children Already Cannot Ask to Adopt Children from Cambodia

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1412, 16.2.2009

  • On 14 February 2009 [the Valentine’s Day], [more than 100] Guesthouses Were Full of Youth Going to Stay and Have Sex to Show Their Love

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4822, 15-16.2.2009

  • The Minister of Public Works and Transport Talks about Ports and Ships Using Cambodian Flags
  • [The Minister of Defense] Tea Banh: Payments System to Military Officers According to Position Is Promised to Be Released in February 2009!

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