Week 601

Cambodian News Seen from Abroad – Sunday, 1.3.2009

Posted on 2 March 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

This week’s reflection is written in Mexico at a meeting of ICANN. The fact that I had started the first Internet service in Cambodia in 1994 and created the country name for Internet addresses .kh led, after many steps in between, to my appointment to the Nominating Committee of the international Internet coordination – “ICANN” for short, for a somewhat technical name “Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” – where we are now tasked to find, recruit, and appointing new members of the Board of Directors for ICANN, and for several other positions of leadership in ICANN. On the way to Mexico I had a chance to meet persons of Internet leadership in an Asia Pacific Internet conference of several hundred people in the Philippines.

Attending such conferences exposes me always to questions about Cambodia by people from different countries, who ask for comments and explanations about what they see on TV and hear on the radio, read in newspapers, or follow up further on the Internet. Those who ask have some level of information, based on their active interest. And they ask, because they want to understand better what they know.

This is often difficult – I cannot answer on behalf of any other person or institution. But I think it is still important that the public opinion in a country is aware of the public opinion outside of the country, that is why I share this experience.

This time, attending Internet related conferences, the question of recent restrictions of Internet access was of course addressed. It has been known that some countries, for political or other reasons, are restricting the free flow of information on the Internet. But as the censorship of the Internet is considered to be in contradiction, or maybe even in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which many countries including Cambodia have subscribed, such events are being observed internationally.

Paragraph 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The following different cases are known:

  • The site http://reahu.net of a Cambodian artist cannot be accessed from Cambodia.
  • The site of the human rights organization LICADHO http://www.licadho.org is no longer accessible, since it published a report about the violent evictions in the Dey Krahom area of Phnom Penh.
  • The site of Global Witness http://www.globalwitness.org was not accessible for about two days after they had published a documentation about Cambodia under the title A Country for Sale. That the Cambodian Embassy in London called this documentation, the result of detailed research by the internationally respected organization Global Witness a Collection of Rubbish without taking up specific items in the documentation is considered as an evasive response to very specific problems documented.

While I could share information about the context of these three cases, I was not able to refer to texts of Cambodian law, which state the reasons for the interruptions of Internet access – obviously in three quite different cases. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia says in Article 31:

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

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

Apart from these questions related to the field of communications, I was made aware how much the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia – the Khmer Rouge Trials – get international attention. This is a kind of next step beyond the usual connection of the name of the country Cambodia with Killing Fields and genocide. Reports about corruption and kickback allegations at the court, and the related inconclusive discussions, because United Nations investigative reports have not been published, have been in the media in many countries. And it is observed that the legal arrangements had required many years of negotiations, leading to results for the court set up which are very different from other international courts which deal with past events in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, or the former Yugoslavia.

Finally, I was at a loss to find an answer when faced with the question why Cambodia joined with the military dictatorship in Burma – which had taken power years ago, rejecting the legitimately elected representatives of the people – when the Cambodian Prime Minister threatened to disassociate himself from the majority of ASEAN leaders, by not accepting the civil society participation from Cambodia in the ASEAN discussion on how to create an ASEAN human rights body. I did not want to accept the interpretation and opinion that this seems to be the beginning of a new period of Cambodian international self-isolation.

But when I share these encounters, I do so in the hope that there will be more awareness of how Cambodia is seen from abroad – from the international community of nations. During the years after the UNTAC administration 1992/93, it had been a major goal of the Cambodian governments to regain a place in the fellowship of the countries in the region – especially in ASEAN – and to regain the seat in the United Nations, becoming again a normal member of the counties of the world, after the decades of internal conflicts and external interventions.

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The King Sends a Letter to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen – Saturday, 28.2.2009

Posted on 1 March 2009. Filed under: Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

“Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia, sent a letter with some documents to Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, asking him to check the cutting down of trees and of the forest clearance to claim land ownership, as the report of the president of a Natural Resource Observation and Protection Organization of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Hean, said, in order that Samdech Dekchor takes action according to the law.

“The letter signed by Preah Karuna Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni dated 26 February 2009 to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the head of the government, says that he received a letter dated 24 February 2009, as well as some documents from a Natural Resource Observation and Protection Organization of Cambodia, signed by Mr. Chea Hean, asking the King to intervene with Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, regarding collusion of the authorities and of certain officials of the Oral Mountain Animal Refuge, and the authorities in Kiri Sakor district in Koh Kong to cut down trees and to clear forest, to take state land in national natural reserves which are protected by Royal Decree.

“Relating to the letter of the Khmer King, asking Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to intervene, we could not contact the cabinet of the Prime Minister to know whether this letter has arrived there or not, and whether the King’s letter to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor was sent while Samdech Dekchor had already left Cambodia to Thailand to attend the 14th ASEAN summit in Hua Hin, and if so, it is expected that Samdech will become aware of this problem only after returning to the country.

“The writer of the letter, Mr. Chea Hean, said on 27 February 2009 that he and his officials are pleased that the letter was sent to Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen. This provides confidence from His Majesty for the report and for some documents which this organization had sent to him, signed on 26 February 2009 and send to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, to report to him about the cutting down of trees, and the clearing of forest, to claim land for private ownership, conducted by officials who are directors of the Oral Mountain Animal Refuge in Kompong Speu, and of the Botum Sakor National Park in Kiri Sakor district in Koh Kong.

“It should be recalled that the cutting down of trees in the Oral Mountain Animal Refuge had occurred repeatedly since 2002, with collusion between the director of the Animal Refuge, Mr. Chhun Chhea Heng, and the Oral district police chief, Mr. Dos Sim, as well as district governors and village and commune chiefs. The cutting down of trees in the Botum Sakor National Park, which is protected by Royal Decree, is conducted by the Botum Sakor district police chief, Mr. Touch Sovannarith, who hires citizens to clear forest – and even though the director of the Botum Sakor National Park prohibits it, the activities of the police chief Touch Sovannarith cannot be stopped.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #352, 28-2.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #127, 28.2.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Agrees to Pay Riel 10 Million [approx. US$2,500] to the National Election Committee
  • The Government Is Not Afraid of a Withdrawal of the United Nations from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • The European Community Promises to Provide Approximately US$50 Million per Year from 2009 to 2012
  • Civil Society Organizations: Closing Gambling Sites Makes Some People Unemployed, but the Whole Society Is Better
  • [The Minister of Economy and Finance] Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon Met with the Deputy President of the National Assembly of France [Mr. Jean-Marie Le Guen, to strengthen cooperation between both countries]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1885, 28.2.2009

  • Rohingya Boat People Will Be Sent Back from Thailand to Burma [said Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #352, 28-2.2.2009

  • The King Sends a Letter to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen
  • Government Official [Mr. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information and government spokesperson] Denies that There Were Serious Human Rights Violations as Claimed in the Report of the US Department of State
  • World Federation of Free Trade Unions Invites the Presidents of the Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia to Visit Greece to Exchange Experiences

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6590, 28-1.2.2009

  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Khiev Samphan’s Hearing Was Suspended when There Was No Foreign Co-Lawyer Was Present [Mr. Jacques Vergès was absent, because a relative had had a traffic accident in Paris]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3699, 28-1.2.2009

  • The Open Justice Initiative Criticizes the United Nations for Not Taking Action against Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4833, 28.2.2009

  • Between 8,000 and 9,000 People Became Unemployed after the Operation of Slot Machines and of Football Betting [at Cambosix] Was Terminated
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Goes to Attend the 14th ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin in Thailand
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency Begins a Study for the Construction of a Section of National Road 1 and of the Neak Loeang Bridge
  • The IMF Tells Cambodia to Strengthen Commercial Banks [so that they are able to provide loans to other sectors]
    Vietnam and China Reject the Human Rights Reports of the United States

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United States Department of State Released Report on Human Rights Violation Committed by Armed Forces against Citizens – Friday, 27.2.2009

Posted on 28 February 2009. Filed under: Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

“Businesspeople and powerful officials used courts and armed forces such as police, soldiers, and military police to evict citizens from their land and their houses without proper compensation.

“The US Department of State released the 2008 report about many cases of human rights abuses in Cambodia, caused by armed forces to evict citizens from their houses to grab their land illegally. The report described also tortures against suspects and prisoners at prisons, and the arrests of citizens and extrajudicial killings, as well as the restriction of the freedom of expression.

“The report of the US Department of State continued that most armed forces that used violence are from the military and the police, and they are not prosecuted for what they did.

“The report added that there were 40 cases of extrajudicial killings, where 16 cases were committed by police and 15 cases by military. Frequently, tortures at prisons become normal to force to obtain answers.

“The report of the US Department of State concluded that while corruption is still widespread, land disputes and evictions of citizens from their houses are still a major problems.

“The Minister of Information and government spokesperson, H.E. Khieu Kanharith, could not be reached for comment on 26 February 2009 after the annual report was released by the US Department of State, stating that armed forces were leading the violation of human rights and are involved in extrajudicial killings in Cambodia, where 40 such cases happened.

“Recently, civil society organizations in Cambodia were involved in drafting legislation relating to the establishment of an ASEAN Human Rights Committee and an independent human rights committee in Cambodia, with fund allocated by the National Assembly every year for this task.

“Civil society officials said that the report of the US Department of State about the situation of human rights violations, evictions of citizens, and corruption occurring in Cambodia is true, especially about the extrajudicial killings, and about some perpetrators who are not brought to be prosecuted according to the law.

“Such human rights violations show a lack of efforts by the government that lets a culture of impunity exist in Cambodia. If such human rights violations still continue to happen, that means that citizens cannot protect their rights if human rights violations happen, especially the right to freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate against violations of any law.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #351, 27.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 27 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #27, 27-1.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: “If the King Grants an Amnesty in a Fine Case [with a fine of Riel 10 million, approx. US$2,500, charged by the National Election Committee], I Will Donate this Amount to the Kuntheak Bopha Hospital”

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #126, 27.2.2009

  • The Permanent Committee of the National Assembly Decided to Suspend Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity
  • Khmer Citizens Support the Government’s Action to Close the Football Betting and Slot Machines [of Cambosix, a big betting and gambling company with many branches in Cambodia, is now closed]
  • Two Students Who Hit a Teacher Are Jailed for Six Months and Ordered to Pay US$2,000 Compensation [Phnom Penh]
  • [The president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia] Chea Mony: [the former Phnom Penh police chief, who is involved in many murder cases] Heng Pov Might Disclose the Mystery behind the Murder of His Older Brother Chea Vichea

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1884, 27.2.2009

  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs] Goes to Attend the ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin in Thailand [scheduled to be held from 27 February to 1 March 2009]
  • Three Japanese Naval Ships Visit Cambodia
  • The Club of Cambodian Journalists Ask Journalists to Adhere to the Code of Conduct Firmly

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #351, 27.2.2009

  • United States Department of State Released Report on Human Rights Violation Committed by Armed Forces against Citizens

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6589, 27.2.2009

  • The Tribunal Suspends the Hearing of the Complaint, Asking to Be Out of Bail for the Suspect Ieng Sary due to Health Problem
  • 18 Companies Receive Economic Concession Land of Nearly 80,000 Hectares, while 1,267 Farmers’ Families Lack Land for Cultivation in Kompong Thom
  • Billionaire Bill Gates Grants US$100 Million to Assist Research on AIDS
  • Police Against Human Trafficking and Protecting Minors Arrest an American Man in Siem Reap [for debauchery involving children]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3698, 27.2.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Asks Swiss Banks to Check Dirty Money of High-Ranking Khmer Officials Deposited There

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4832, 27.2.2009

  • America Says that the Human Rights Situation in Cambodia Is Not Yet Good
  • Cambodia Encourages the European Community to Sign an Aid Project Worth Euro 77 Million [approx. US$98 million – about the provision of finance for basic studies, commercial governance, and human rights to be implemented from 2007 to 2010]
  • 2010-2012 Public Investment Program Needs Capital of US$2.8 Billion
  • 70,000 Cambodian People Die of Smoking Cigarettes per Year [according to a research by the World Health Organization and by the Ministry of Health of Cambodia]

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TVK and KBI Sign Memorandum of Understanding on International Production Operation – Thursday, 26.2.2009

Posted on 28 February 2009. Filed under: Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

Note:

Apologies for the delay – I had announced that this might happen during my travel for Internet related work.

Greetings from Mexico.

Norbert Klein

“Representatives of National Television of Kampuchea (TVK) and of the Korean Broadcasting Institute (KBI) signed a memorandum of understanding on 24 February 2009 at the Ministry of Information about international co-production, with the Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, chairing,.

“The initiative of Korea for this co-production provides many benefits for Cambodia and for the broadcasting stations of Cambodia to show the national pride and culture of Cambodia, like the national heritage, the development of the economy, natural resources, the exchange of experiences where Cambodia can broadcast all qualified programs to both sides through other relevant broadcasting stations, based on co-production.

“The head of the delegation of the Royal Government of Cambodia, the TVK director Mr. Kem Kunavath, said, ‘This is the first signing between TVK and the Korean Broadcasting Institute [KBI], and this international involvement means that our producers, our cameramen, as well as our technicians get experiences under the leadership from the Republic of Korea, where all of these benefit. Another benefit is that we are from the same Asian continent, and we will have cultural exchanges between Southeast Asia with cultures of East Asia – by having cultural exchanges between the Republic of Korea and the Kingdom of Cambodia. This shows sympathy in relations and cooperation between these countries – we know already that the Republic of Korea is a country which provides support for the economy, support in implementations, and support to develop Cambodia’s infrastructure, economy, and many other sectors.

“He added, ‘We need to clarify the condition for such productions, which is the major initiative of KBI and of the National Television of Kampuchea, representing the nation. Both sides will discuss this production, because Korea is the leading country that wants to let Koreans know about Cambodia, and as for us, we also have the same intention. I think that after the signing, in April is our traditional New Year and everyone wants to know how it is celebrated, what Khmer citizens do during Khmer New Year, and what the meaning of the Khmer New Year is. Therefore their first team will come to observe things in March, to start producing in April, and according to the plan that we know, their production title is ‘New Blue Ocean.’ After finishing the production and the agreement, these programs have to be broadcast both in the Kingdom of Cambodia and in the Republic of Korea, but KBI keeps all rights of the co-production.’

“The KBI deputy director, Mr. Choi Young Ho [Kampuchea Thmey says it is Mr. Harrison Yu], said, ‘Since the beginning, Korea and Cambodia have exchanged many human resources and their cultures, and now we are strengthening the exchange of our cultures more deeply. Such co-production is an indication of our intention to foster cultural exchanges in the fields if ancient and current cultures between both countries.

“He went on to say, ‘I believe that we have gained enough trust through this cooperation, because KBI organized a committee for the cooperation with TVK of Cambodia, and I saw that also TVK has a committee to cooperate with KBI. Thus, both committees will cooperate to achieve development and success together. Through the initiative of KBI and TVK, we want the first production to be finished before June, and in June, we want to broadcast to both countries what we have produced in May, we have to discuss this also further with TVK, to broadcast soon in June.’

“It should be noted that Cambodia had started to cooperate with five countries doing co-productions, once in 2007, with countries like China, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Vietnam and this is the second time that Cambodia signed the memorandum of understanding of international co-production, now with KBI.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #125, 26.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 26 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #125, 26.2.2009

  • TVK and KBI Sign Memorandum of Understanding on International Production Operation
  • The King Returns to the Country [from Beijing]
  • The Cambodian Government Decided to Create Preah Vihear City in Preah Vihear Province
  • An Explosion of a Grenade Carried in a Bag Killed Three People while Walking to Catch Animals in the Forest near Their Village [during the night – Banteay Meanchey]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1883, 26.2.2009

  • [South Korean] Hyundai Company Seeks Investment to Create a Factory to Produce Cars in Cambodia [by cooperating with Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s company]
  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong Met with the Director for Cooperation with Asia and Central Asia [in the EuropAid Cooperation Office of the European Commission, Dirk Meganck] to Discuss about the Provision of Aid

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #350, 26.2.2009

  • Economists Ask the Government to Request Factory Owners to Hold Three-Months Worth of Operational Costs to Be Available for Workers [in a crisis]
  • [The Phnom Penh] Court Orders the Authorities to Seek and Arrest Three Representatives of the Rotes Pleung Community [living along the railway tracks – after they were sentenced to serve three years in prison for using fake thumbprints in their claim against by the Osman Hassan Company in a contest of land rights]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #352, 26.2.2009

  • [The president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia] Chea Mony Asks [the Minister of Interior] Sar Kheng to Allow Him to Visit the Convicted Heng Pov [the former Phnom Penh police chief jailed at the Prey Sar prison, for humanitarian reasons]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6588, 26.2.2009

  • There Are More Than 70,000 Cambodian Workers in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand
  • World Federation of Trade Unions Representative Visits Cambodia

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3697, 26.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Asks the President of the National Assembly to Consider the Revoking of His Immunity

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4831, 26.2.2009

  • Two Cambosix Branches [sports betting offices] in Russey Keo Were Completely Closed because Their Permissions Are Out of Date
  • Officials Said that the Website of the Ministry of Commerce Works Well Again and Is Updated [www.moc.gov.kh]
  • Commander-In-Chief [Pol Saroeun] Asks Russia to Help Repair Air Planes from the Soviet Union Era
  • Japan Grants US$184,717 for Mother-and-Child Health

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The United Nations and the Government Will Break the Stalemate about Corruption at the Tribunal – Wednesday, 25.2.2009

Posted on 26 February 2009. Filed under: Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

“Announcing to overcome a stalemate, after there had been discussions about how to prevent corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, officials of the United Nations and of Cambodia announced, on Monday [23 February 2009], a complicated program to solve complaints about irregularities which will provide equal responsibility for the international and for the Cambodian sides at this tribunal.

“Speaking to journalists at the Council of Ministers on Monday evening, the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sok An, and the Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs of the United Nations, Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen, believe that this new system will motivate donors to continue to provide funds to the Cambodian side of this tribunal, which will face a new financial crisis in a few months. Mr. Sok An told reporters, ‘I think that mutual understanding is the best basis for the administration of this tribunal to move ahead, and also the court will move ahead.’ He added that mutual understanding is important for a successful work of this joint process… Working together in this joint process will clear up all problems. Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen told reporters that he believed that this agreement will, finally, bring the discussion about corruption allegations over kickbacks to an end, which had emerged from the tribunal since it was about to begin, and which has caused some donors to halt funds. Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen continued to say that it is an important step in our joint efforts to deal with corruption problems, adding, ‘I think that the agreement that we have will be accepted positively by donor countries.’

“However, the new anti-corruption program suggested seems to be less than what UN officials sought during an unsuccessful discussion with the government in January. Early this month, Cambodian administrators said that during a private discussion in January, the UN officials suggested the creation of a large anti-corruption program for both sides at this tribunal, and for international independent code-of-conduct observers, to be placed into the existing Code-of-Conduct Committee and into the Extraordinary Chambers at this tribunal. Anyway, the program announced in the joint statement on Monday will include anti-corruption measures that cannot affect procedures that have already become valid at the Cambodian side in this tribunal, and it relates to the UN side, which had created its related mechanism, where there is only one person to receive complaints. After that, complaints from the Cambodian side or from the international side at this tribunal will be sent to a committee with an equal number of members of Cambodian and UN officials, which require to be composed of several members, or at least some agreement between both sides is necessary to take any action.

“The joint statement released on Monday did not clearly show how this new system can prevent similar events like during the previous years, when a number of Cambodian officials disagreed with the arrangements in the administration of this tribunal and informed UN officials about kickback corruption, which was then rechecked in New York by the Office of Internal Oversight Services. The findings of this inspection conducted by the United Nations were not made public, but it had been reported that there was a request to investigate corruption related to the payment of kickbacks to get employment at the tribunal.

“An observer of the Open Justice Initiative, Ms. Heather Ryan, said on Monday that her organization was disappointed with the results of Monday, adding that the Open Justice Initiative believes that the agreement mentioned does not talk about corruption allegations, and it is a step back in that whole effort. She went on to say, ‘We are concerned that the United Nations might make a very low level definition because of obstacles raised by Cambodia for the future joint efforts of an independent court.’

“The legal assistant of the defense lawyers of former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea, Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi, who has asked Cambodian court authorities to investigation allegations about kickbacks received at this tribunal, said that he met with Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen, but they rejected to comment about what they discussed.

“According to the statement of Monday, the United Nations and the government both have to release letters in the coming weeks to legalize the agreement, even though details are still being negotiated.” Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1415, 25.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #25, 25.2.2009

  • Mr. Hun Sen Warns He Might Dismiss [eight] District Governors and Revoke the License of Cambosix [a betting company, if they are found colluding to allow Khmer people to gamble]
  • Hun Sen: Global Witness Has No Authority to Ask Him Anything – He Is Not a Prisoner

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1882, 25.2.2009

  • To Revoke Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [regarding a violation of election campaigning rules, and charged by the National Election Committee] Is Not Difficult [said Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Demonstrations Happens Again in Siam [Thailand – between 8,000 and 10,000 anti-government demonstrators support ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra]
  • Tamil Tiger Rebels Announces They Are Prepared to Accept a Ceasefire if It Can Be Coordinated by the International Community [Sri Lanka]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol.7, #349, 25.2.2009

  • Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Reacts Saying that the Global Witness Is a Global Cheating [without responding to any details or refuting the published specific allegations]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6587, 25.2.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announces a Hearing of “Duch” to Be Held on 20 March 2009
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Held a Hearing of [the former minister of Social Affairs] Ieng Thirith while [former deputy prime minister of the Khmer Rouge regime] Ieng Sary Was Referred to Hospital
  • [Around 10,000] Red-Shirt Demonstrators Surround the Government House [in Thailand]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3696, 25.2.2009

  • Development Projects in Cambodia Affect the Interests of Thousands of Khmer Families During the Last Three Years

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1415, 25.2.2009

  • The United Nations and the Government Will Break the Stalemate about Corruption at the Tribunal
  • The Number of Advisors of the President of the National Assembly [Mr. Heng Samrin] Is More Than 100 in Total [after 28 new advisors were appointed]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4830, 25.2.2009

  • The Permanent Committee of the National Assembly Will Summon a Meeting Regarding the Request to Revoke the Immunity of Mr. Sam Rainsy [on 26 February 2009]
  • Samdech Dekchor Calls on Workers Not to Strike Disorderly [not to strike for not important reasons] Which May Lead to Unemployment
  • The Cambodian National Council for Women Shows that There Were Many Cases of Human Trafficking [in 2008], but There Was Little Punishment
  • The Ministry of Defense Creates a Department of Politics and Foreign Affairs

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3489, 25.2.2009

  • 10,000 Soldiers [deployed doing non-military duties] Are Summoned Back to Barracks [by order from the Prime Minister to the commander-in-chief, Mr. Pol Saroeun, removing them from areas of land disputes where they were involved to protect certain economic interests]

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Cambodia Plans to Collect 12.5% Tax from All Kinds of Gambling to Exceed the 2008 Tax – Tuesday 24.2.2009

Posted on 24 February 2009. Filed under: Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

“In 2009, Cambodia plans to collect a 12.5% tax to produce more tax income than that reported in 2008.

“According to a secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance and journalists, who interviewed him, regarding the collection of tax from gabling sites on 19 February 2009, Mr. Chea Meng Chhieng, tax income from all kinds of gambling increased to US$20 million in 2008, but the income will not increase further as the Cambodian government wants, because, according to this secretary of state, the number of tourists entering casinos declined due to the global financial crisis.

“Responding to the demand of tourists, Cambodia decided to legalize the creation of many different kinds of casinos, like some with slot machines, which are growing like mushrooms in Phnom Penh and in different provinces.

“This draws criticism from the opposition parties and from some non-government organizations against the presence of gambling which causes social instability.

“There are more than 20 casinos in Cambodia, but most of them are located at border crossing points.

“Mr. Chea Meng Chhieng stated the importance of legalizing the gambling industry, as doing so will facilitate the monitoring of gambling sites.

“During the Council of Ministers’ meeting on 19 December 2008, the Prime Minister of the forth-term Royal Government of Cambodia, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, ordered the Ministry of Economy and Finance to observe all hotels that have entertainment clubs and all types of electronic entertainment centers, which are required to prohibit Khmer citizens to enter to gamble.

“If there is any violation of the rules, like permitting Khmer citizens to enter, the Ministry of Economy and Finance must revoke their licenses and immediately stop their operation within 24 hours.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen ordered the Director General of the National Police [Mr. Net Savoeun] and the Commander of National Military Police [Mr. Sao Sokha] to check the licenses of such places, and to stop their operation for not obeying the circular of the Royal Government issued on 4 December 2008.

“The Phnom Penh police chief, Mr. Touch Naruth, said that the Cambosix sites are legal gambling sites, and Naga World Casino is the only legal casino in Phnom Penh, but Naga World Casino does not allow Khmer citizens to enter, otherwise it would be closed and its license would be revoked immediately within 24 hours for disobeying the circular of the Cambodian government released on 4 December 2008.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #348, 24.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #123, 24.2.2009

  • Israeli Delegation Plans to Visit Cambodia in March 2009 to Invest in Agriculture and in Telecommunication
  • 10,000 Police and Soldiers Are Prepared to Protect the Government House from the [anti-government] Red-Shirt Group [in Thailand]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1881, 24.2.2009

  • [Two] Hydro-Electric Dams [370 kilovolt and 300 kilovolt] Funded by the Japanese Government Were Inaugurated [Mondolkiri]
  • Vietnam Inaugurates Its First Oil Refinery [in Quảng Ngãi Province, worth US$2.5 million]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #348, 24.2.2009

  • Cambodia Plans to Collect 12.5% Tax from All Kinds of Gambling to Exceed the 2008 Tax
  • [Around 200] Kos Kralor Residents in Battambang Gather to Protest in Front of Samdech Hun Sen’s Resident to Find Justice [over a land dispute]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6586, 24.2.2009

  • During the ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin, Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sun] Plans to Meet the Thai King and Other Partners
  • Police Raided a Drug Producing Place and Arrested Three [Taiwanese] Men and a [Vietnamese] Woman [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #34, 24.2.2009

  • The US Embassy Spends US$20 Million to Strengthen Justice and Human Rights in Cambodia [by assisting to develop and strengthen two human rights bodies: the National Human Rights Committee and the ASEAN Human Rights Committee]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4829, 24.2.2009

  • Asia Development Bang Holds Meeting to Find Solutions to Assess Impact of Development Projects Implementation
  • Four Suspects Are Arrested for Throwing a Grenade and Injuring Nine People [Battambang]
  • Truck Rolled over a Man’s Head after a Motorbike Accident while Distributing His Wedding Invitations; His Bride Cried Vehemently [Phnom Penh]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3488, 24.2.2009

  • The Club of Cambodian Journalists Calls to Search for the Perpetrators Who Murdered Other Journalists after the Arrest of Another Suspect Who Shot Dead the Editor-In-Chief of Koh Santepheap

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Land Transportation across the Borders to Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand – Monday, 23.2.2009

Posted on 24 February 2009. Filed under: Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

“Land or road transportation is an important part of the transportation system of Cambodia, and it plays a crucial role in the national economy to facilitate the travel of people in general, and of tourists, and the distribution of goods to be exported, and of imported goods, and of local goods from many sectors.

“Previously, there was only local in-country land transportation by means that cannot be considered to be modern. But at present, especially since the integration of Cambodia into the region, land transportation extends beyond the borders of the country, and it facilitates the exchange of goods, of travelers, including of tourists, between country and country, and between a country and the whole region.

“Cambodia is a member of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region which includes Burma, Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, where transportation of goods and of people happens, across these countries. Cross border transportation as a regional characteristic is not yet fully developed.

The Cambodian-Vietnamese Land Transportation Agreement

“Cambodia and Vietnam signed an agreement about land transportation in 1998 and it started to be implemented in late 2006.

“So far, there were 40 commercial cars licensed from each side allowed to carry goods and travelers across the border between both countries through international border crossing points, such as the Bavet border crossing point in Svay Rieng on National Road 1, the Phnom Din border crossing point in Takeo on National Road 2, and the Trapeang Phlong border crossing point in Kompong Cham on National Road 7 and 72. There are some other authorized international border crossing points such as the Prek Chab border crossing point in Kampot on National Road 3 and 33, the Trapeang Srae border crossing point in Kratie on National Road 7 and 78, the Ou Raing Euv border crossing point in Mondolkiri on National Road 76, and the O’Yadao border crossing point on National Road 78, but these have limited road conditions.

“In the near future, Cambodia and Vietnam will decide to increase the number of car quotas on each side up to 150, to ease the transportation of goods and travelers, including tourists, to improve the development of the national economies.

Cambodian-Laotian Land Transportation Agreement

“Cambodia and Laos signed a land transportation agreement in 1999. The implementation of this agreement depended on a protocol, defining regulations for the implementation of the agreement. Such a protocol was already signed in late 2007. In addition, a memorandum of understanding stating details about the implementation of this agreement was signed also by both sides in late 2008.

“According to a first bilateral meeting from 14 to 16 January 2009 in Stung Treng, with follow-up actions of each side, the transportation of goods and travelers between both countries will begin in early April of 2009 at the Trapeang Kriel international border crossing point in Stung Treng.

“The transport of travelers through this crossing point, while the transport operation is still in a testing stage, allows each side to have five cars to travel on each section of the roads; that means Cambodia can have five cars with travelers on a road section of the Pakse (in the Champasak province of Laos) to Stung Treng, five cars on the Pakse to Siem Reap road, five cars on the Pakse to Phnom Penh road, and five cars on the Phnom Penh to Vientiane road. That means Cambodia can have up to 20 cars in total to transport travelers from Cambodia during the test phase. “Companies of transport with sufficient qualifications or that were already before permitted to transport travelers crossing the border, will have the opportunity to join this operation. It should be noted that from now on, it is time to start transportation operations crossing the international Trapeang Kriel point, and there is less time for companies or operators that want to invest in carrying travelers through this crossing point, to study more about the situation of the market in Champasak and in Vientiane, to fulfill criteria defined in different laws and regulations, to make this process to go ahead smoothly, with success in this market.

“The technical secretariat of the National Committee for Facilitating Cross Border Transportation at the Department of Transportation of the Ministry of Public Work and Transport will help to ease all important tasks of operation in line with legal procedures.

Cambodian-Thai Land Transportation Agreement

“Cambodia and Thailand signed an agreement and a memorandum of understanding for the exchange of traffic in early 2008. According to the memorandum of understanding, both sides will allow 40 commercial cars, with certificates of permission, to transport goods and carry travelers through the Poipet international border-crossing point. This bilateral border-crossing transportation agreement [signed in early 2008] has not yet been applied because of some [not stated] reasons.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4828, 22-23.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 23 February 2009

Bakong, Vol. 10, #254, 23-24.2.2009

  • [Around 200 hectare] Flooded Forest for Fish Spawning Area Is Cleared by the [Cambodian] Khov Chily Company in Siem Reap [to claim land]

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #23, 23.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: The National Assembly Is Not Without Honor to Summon a Meeting to Revoke the Immunity of a Member Regarding a Riel-10-Million [approx. US$2,500] Case [charged by the National Election Committee for defaming leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Notorious for Corruption, Announce They Have to Find US$5 Million

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #122, 22-23.2.2009

  • Vietnam Has Trained More Than 4,000 Cambodian Soldiers So Far
  • India Suspends Plan to Sign Free Market Trade Agreement with Association of South-East Asian Nations – ASEAN [because of strong impacts of the global financial crisis on India]

Deum Tnot, Vol.2, #58, 23-24.2.2009

  • Judges and Prosecutors Reaching Retirement Age but Are Not Sent into Retirement Become Targets of Criticism

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1880, 22-23.2.2009

  • [The president of the National Assembly] Samdech Heng Samrin Asks Vietnam to Continue Expanding Investment, Economy, Tourism, and Military
  • Siamese [Thai] People Kidnapped [three] Siamese People in Khmer Territory [chief perpetrator, a Thai woman, is not yet arrested – Battambang]
  • Thai King Pardons Australian Author [who had been jailed for lèse-majesté charges]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #350, 22-24.2.2009

  • There Is Nobody from [the president of the Cambodian People’s Party and president of the Senate] Chea Sim and [the Minister of Interior from the Cambodian People’s Party] Sar Kheng’s Line Included in the Lists of Those Who Steal from the Nation in the Country for Sale Report [of Global Witness]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6585, 23.2.2009

  • A Criminal of [former Phnom Penh municipal police’s followers, who is now detained at the Prey Sar Prison] Heng Pov’s Group Is Arrested; Eleven-Years-Old Murder Case [of the editor-in-chief of Koh Santepheap] Starts New Page for Justice
  • In Three Days, Wind Destroyed More Than 500 Houses and 4 Schools [and injured 6 people serious l- Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, and Pailin]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4828, 22-23.2.2009

  • Land Transportation across Borders of Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand
  • Two Khmer Citizens Arrested by Siamese [Thai] Soldiers in the Forest Are Released [Thailand accused them of cutting trees illegally in Thai territory, but Khmer citizens said that it is 2 km from the Cambodian-Thai border – Oddar Meanchey]
  • In 2009 Siem Reap Receives Mine Clearance Aid of US$1,350,527 from Germany
  • Education Official: There Is No Longer an Age Limit for Students taking an Examinations [of lower secondary school and high school examinations]

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