Week 625

“Every Khmer citizen shall be equal before the law” – Sunday, 16.8.2009

Posted on 17 August 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 625 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 625

Article 31 of the Constitutioon of the Kingdom of Cambodia is one of the important reference texts which describe the legal basis for life in society:

  • 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 citizen shall be equal before the law, enjoying the same rights, freedom and fulfilling the same obligations regardless of race, colour, 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 law.

During the last couple of weeks, a number of confrontations led to court cases – some led to the imposition of monetary fines, some to imprisonments in jail – some cases are under appeal, some people withdrew their former statements or went abroad trying to avoid to have to face the court.

We did mirror also the wave of disappointments, criticism, and protests which have been reported in the media, including about the joint expression of critical concerns by representatives of several embassies and of the European Union. And we have mirrored the rejection of such criticism by representatives of the Royal Government of Cambodia. Among the different statements was also a call by the Prime Minister – in a speech at a graduation ceremony – not to deny him the right as a citizen who has, as everybody else, the right to ask a court to take legal action:

“Do you recognize that I am a citizen? Why do I lose my rights?”

While nobody will deny that high ranking representatives of the government have these same rights, criticism against the recent serious of legal actions when feeling defamed – perceived as intimidation and curtailing of the freedom of expression – continues in different ways. Some such criticism tries to reflect on the recent actions in view of the text of the Constitution, including with reference to the different international covenants and other agreements with which the Cambodian government has identified itself. But some of the concerns expressed may not even refer directly to legal text, but they are based on the perception that justice is not done.

We have repeatdly referred to the importance of perceptions in the public life of a society in The Mirror, starting with a report from Malaysia: “When Dato Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi was inaugurated as Prime Minister of Malaysia in 2003, he pointed to the important role of perceptions held by the public – which may or may not conform to reality, but are nevertheless extremely important for the political situation of a country.” In the following elections in 2004, he won 92 % of the parliamentary seats, and with this support he announced plans for a new start in Malaysia: delivering reforms to create a clean, incorruptible, accountable, trustworthy, efficient, and people-oriented administration. But in April 2009, the public perception was that he had not succeeded with his vision of a renewed society, and he had to step back.

In spite of the assurances of the Constitution and of the reported statements in a Note by spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when he met a group of concerned diplomats mirrored last Wednesday, several events – maybe small events, not even the court cases – create the perception that we are still far away from a state of the rule of law. We mention some from last week:

  • One Hundred and Seventy Disabled People Ask Samdech Hun Sen and the Provincial Governor to Remove the Head of the Department of Social Affairs [for taking the pension of disabled persons and retired veterans – Banteay Meanchey]
  • The Chi Kraeng Forestry Chief Released Two Trucks Loaded with Kronhoung Luxury Wood in Exchange for US$1,000 [Siem Reap]
  • Military Police Arrested a Drunken Man Who Pointed a Gun at Other People, but in the Morning Bodyguards [of an unknown high ranking official] Came to Intervene to Release Him [Phnom Penh]
  • Communities Suffering from Land Disputes from 19 Provinces Come to Lodge Complaints at Different National Institutions
  • Forestry Administration Chief Scolds Provincial Authorities Countrywide over Forest Destruction
  • The Minister of Justice Calls to Be More Careful, Not to Lose Case Documents, and Not to Impose Overly Harsh Jail Sentences
  • Civil Society Said that Courts in Cambodia Sentence Poor People without Defense Lawyers
  • New Dragon Bridge of the Council of Ministers Worth More Than US$2 Million Was Demolished though It Had Never Been Used – [no clear explanations given for the destruction, and for a plan to construct a separate office building – contradicting information about position in national budget – Chinese loan or grant of US$32.9 million? – chairperson of the construction committee does not want do share information, but the spokesperson of the Coucil of Ministers refers cournalists’ questions to the chair of the construction committee. However, a Chinese source explains that US$35 million was granted to Cambodia. And the Prime Minister had previously praised the Chinese government for granting unconditional aid, different form the annual Donors’ Meeting grants of around US$500 million which come with conditions how to account for their use]
  • The Prime Minister Calls On Drivers of Motorbikes That Have Not Paid Tax to Pay It at Police Stations – and – Within 11 Days, Police Stopped Nearly 10,000 Motorbike Drivers to Educate Them (but many big new luxury cars without license plates continue to drive unconcerned about being stopped past the police)

A state of law does not only mean that every Khmer citizen shall be equal before the law. It means also that every Khmer citizen shall be equal under the law, whatever the position and power in society may be.

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Civil Society Said that Courts in Cambodia Sentence Poor People without Defense Lawyers – Saturday, 15.8.2009

Posted on 16 August 2009. Filed under: Week 625 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 625

“Non-government organizations in Cambodia said that some courts at some provinces and cities hear some poor people or [suspected] criminals without lawyers. This problem was mentioned in a foreign radio program aired in Khmer on this Thursday.

“Recent reports of human rights organizations and people with professions in the field of law said that some courts in Cambodia hear suspects with criminal accusations without defense lawyers, which leads to violations of the law and of human rights.

“The head of the investigations section of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Mr. Oum Sam Ath, said that there are two kinds of suspects who need defense lawyers: first, underage suspects, and second, criminal suspects. He said, ‘Regarding lawyers for the first type, if a court asks the Bar Association to appoint a lawyer to defend a defendant, and there is no lawyer nominated, the courts think they lack lawyers; as for the other case, it is that the courts thinks that the defendants do not have money, and there is lack of lawyers anyway; this is the courts ’mistake.’

“He added that by law, when investigations are conducted on underage suspects or on criminal suspects, it is required to have defense lawyers for them, and not just during the hearings only. Mr. Oum Sam Ath emphasized that questioning or hearing these suspects without their defense lawyers is against the law, and it cannot provide justice to those suspects.

“An investigating official of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Mr. Chhim Savuth, said that it happened that criminal suspects had no defense lawyers, because most suspects do not know the law, and do not appeal or ask the court to find a defense lawyer for them; some contact non-government organizations for defense lawyers.

“The director of the Cambodian Defenders’ Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said that at present the government does not provide defense lawyers for the poor. Poor suspects, who can afford to find lawyers, are helped by the Cambodian Bar Association and by lawyers of non-government organizations. He added that the problem of having no defense lawyer for some criminal suspects does not result from a lack of lawyers, because there are about 600 lawyers in Cambodia. Besides, there are 29 lawyers at his organizations and lawyers from other non-government organizations that work to defend suspects. But the major problem is that these lawyers do not have money to go to conduct investigations as the government does not provide them money.

“He said, ‘Those working privately do not have money. Therefore, how can they help, while in our legal system the government does not think about defense lawyers for the poor? The state leaves this task to the Bar Association, which is also a private group.’

“Mr. Sok Sam Oeun added, ‘In Cambodia, the respect for citizens’ rights does not comply with international standards, and we should conform to international standards to solve these problems.’

“One of ten criminal suspects in Borei Cholsar, Takeo, Yeu El, said that he and other suspects were accused of vandalism on 16 July 2009, but the court heard them without lawyers, as they did not have money to hire them. During the hearing, the judge did not allow them to speak about the reasons why the plaintiff sued them. After the hearing, the Takeo Municipal Court sentenced each of them to serve one year in prison, and ordered them to pay Riel 1 million [approx. US$250] in compensation to the plaintiff.

“The judge of the Takeo Municipal Court, Mr. Cheng Bunly, said, like Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, that the courts do not have money to hire private lawyers to defend suspects; there are only lawyers from non-government organizations. Lacking money, the court finds it difficult to go out to conduct investigations.

“A court monitor of the Center for Social Development, Mr. Sem Sopha, said that according to his observations of nine courts in Cambodia, in 2008, there were 4,155 suspects in total, where 2,077 had defense lawyers, and among them, 1,552 were criminal suspects, while 270 criminal suspects did not have defense lawyers. This is the problematic situation of the court systems at present.

“A Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, said that funds that the National Assembly allocated for the Ministry of Justice are smaller than the funds for some other ministries, such as for the Ministry of Defense, for the Council of Ministers, and for the Ministry of Interior. He added that this creates the problems in the administration of the courts, and also, even though the judges and the prosecutors have fairly high salaries, there is still corruption in the court system.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #469, 15.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 15 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #263, 15.8.2009

  • The Cambodian Ambassador to Britain Rejected a BBC Report [criticizing the Cambodian authorities for using force in land grabbing and evictions. – The Cambodian Ambassador Hor Nambora said that in his letter that the report was “somewhat unbalanced” and “will have done little to enhance the reputation of your organization, particularly in Asia”]
  • Cambodia Loses US$14.1 Million for Lifting Visa Requirements for [five] ASEAN Countries [revenue since January 2008 – according to the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2023, 15.8.2009

  • Thailand Sets Date for the ASEAN Summit in Hua Hin to 23 to 25 October 2009
  • Thirty Six Cambodian Students and Lecturers Receive Erasmus Mundus Scholarships from the European Union [to study and to lecture in Europe]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #469, 15.8.2009

  • Civil Society Said that Courts in Cambodia Sentence Poor People without Defense Lawyers
  • A Chinese Newspaper [The Global Times] Said that Mr. Hun Sen Does Not Like the New Building of the Council of Ministers [“which cost about $35 million” – “part of the non-reimbursable assistance offered by China” – “Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen only spent two days in the mansion in March, after which he announced his decision to abandon it and build a new office building right next door”]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6729, 15-16.8.2009

  • [Former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] Duch Said He Would Accept any Violent Revenge Punishment if His Crimes Cannot Be Forgiven
  • In 2008 1,638 People Died in Traffic Accidents and 7,226 Were Seriously Injured [on average 4.5 persons died every day – according to a Cambodia Road Crash and Victim Information System report]
  • Council of Ministers’ Meeting Decided to Put [health] Warnings on Cigarettes Packs
  • Within 11 Days, Police Stopped Nearly 10,000 Motorbike Drivers to Educate Them

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4973, 15.8.2009

  • Thai Aircraft Came into Khmer Airspace to Spy as Far as 30 km in Pailin; Thailand Apologized Later
  • The National Election Committee Calls On Citizens to Check Election Name Lists and Register [from October to December 2009]
  • Social Concession Land of 2,468,70 Hectares Will Be Distributed to Poor People in Three Communes in Samaki Meanchey, Kompong Chhnang

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New Dragon Bridge of the Council of Ministers Worth More Than US$2 Million Was Demolished though It Had Never Been Used – Friday, 14.8.2009

Posted on 14 August 2009. Filed under: Week 625 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 625

“A dragon bridge of about 100 meters built from sand stone worth more than US$2 million was totally demolished last week, even though it had not yet been used. Some days after the demolishing of the dragon bridge, two stone posts in front of the new Council of Ministers building were also demolished without specifying any reason.

“The dragon bridge was built with a beautiful design to connect the staircase of the building of the Council of Ministers to the double roads in front of it. This demolition wasted millions of dollar and raised questions among the public. Some people asked to which extent those responsible for these reconstructions will be blamed.

“The demolishing of the dragon bridge and the stone posts at the Council of Ministers, which cannot be hidden from the public, brought much criticism from many circles, including from a senior official of the Sam Rainsy Party.

“A parliamentarian from Phnom Penh and senior official of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Son Chhay, told Khmer Machas Srok about the demolishing, ‘In fact, we see that there has been strong criticism of the whole building.’ He added that the construction of this good building is paid for by loans from the Chinese government, which is a shame. Asking for a loan for this construction is a shame; moreover, there are quality problems and it is not known well what the irregularities are.

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say, ‘As far as I know, that dragon bridge costs US$2 million, and it was built from sand stone. We do not know anything more, but normally, before any such constructions start, construction plans must have been organized, and there must have been technical discussions and discussions about esthetics.’ He added that the demolition is regrettable, as it wasted national resources and the money used for the construction was loaned.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that the government’s construction plan is paid for by loans from the Chinese government of more than US$36 million, and approx. US$32 million had already been spent; it is simply because loans are not yet used up and that is why they demolished the dragon bridge and those stone posts.

“Mr. Son Chhay added, ‘We regret it, because we are poor; we must not waste loans, it is not like when we draw pictures and then erase them again – here something was constructed and then demolished again. We have to think about the necessities we want to achieve before they are created. If something has already been constructed, we have to keep it, but not to demolish it. We still wonder what will be the explanation of the Council of Ministers.

“Phnom Penh residents and other people who travel along the Russian Federation Boulevard are wondering about the construction of another building for the Council of Ministers next to the building which has already constructed. They wonder, because the government does not explain it to the citizens.

“However, Mr. Hun Sen stated on 5 August 2009, when he handed degree documents to students at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh, that another building, being constructed next to the new Council of Ministers’ building – which has already been built – is an international conference center, and the plan was designed by himself. Mr. Hun Sen stated, ‘An international conference center is being constructed next to the building of the Council of Ministers. I planned the building myself, with a 120-by-45-meter layout. This building had five floors, but then it was recalculated to have seven floors.’

The Cambodia Daily quoted Mr. Hun Sen’s words on 10 August 2009 as saying, ‘With the help of China, we built the Council of Ministers building, but now, we construct the new building [by ourselves] for the next generation. It is not only for me and how long I can stay.’

“Cambodia is a country with leaders good at boasting and at arguing among Khmer nationals. The construction of a new international conference center still leaves doubts among the general public, and Mr. Son Chhay suggested that the Khmer National Assembly should summon the Minister of the Council of Ministers and Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Sok An, to explain all this to the National Assembly.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that, ‘in such a case, there must be a call for a proper explanation at the National Assembly. When citizens have doubts about such accomplishments, the parliament should call the people responsible for it, such as H.E. Sok An, to give an explanation, like we did previously regarding the fixing of lighting at the Angkor Wat Temple, so that everyone knows what is going on, otherwise it might result in misunderstandings and lead to the arrest of people. Therefore, the state has to release a statement to explain why there is this new construction… as a principle, there must be a explanation.’

“The Khmer public has more doubts about the new building of the Council of Ministers, after the dragon bridge and the stone posts worth millions of dollars had been demolished. Government officials gave unreasonable explanations that the demolition was made to gain place for a parking lot. This explanation leads to the criticism that something was done before, without thinking carefully, or not having had a right plan, which then led to the demolition, which wastes national resources, while Cambodia is suffering from the global economic crisis.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #468, 14.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 14 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #262, 14.8.2009

  • Samdech Euv [the former King] Praises the Heroism of All Armed Forces Defending the Territorial Integrity
  • Japan Provides Cambodia with US$82 Million for Two Projects [US$72 million is a low interest loan with the lowest interest rate of 0.01% for a multi-purpose terminal development project, and US$10 million is grant aid to support the improvement of the social economic structure and for the development of Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2022, 14.8.2009

  • Cambodia Expressed Its Position towards the [eighteen month house arrest] Conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong said that Cambodia, like other ASEAN countries, called on Burma to not to convict Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi]
  • New Myanmar Ambassador to Cambodia Promises to Help Send Cambodian Monk Students to Continue Their [Buddhist] Studies in Myanmar
  • China Calls On the World to Respect the Sovereignty of Myanmar

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #677, 14.8.2009

  • [Director of the Soriya Clinic] Hy Soriya Who Almost Killed an Infant Is in Fear and Wrote a Letter of Apology to Withdraw a Charge [lodged by the infant’s family against him – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #468, 14.8.2009

  • New Dragon Bridge of the Council of Ministers Worth More Than US$2 Million Was Demolished though It Had Never Been Used

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6728, 14.8.2009

  • Police Raided a Bar Owned by Foreigners [two Englishmen] because of Prostitution where Twenty Four Beautiful Khmer Sex Workers Were Forced to Serve Clients [Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4972, 14.8.2009

  • A Report [of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections] Shows Difficulties [of citizens and of civil society organizations] in Delivering Documents or Letters to Parliamentarians
  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Mr. Hor Namhong: What Cambodia Does [to reconstruct the market at the Preah Vihear Temple] Does Not Depend on Whether Thailand Is Happy with It or Not
  • The Cambodian Government and the United Nations Create Independent Auditing for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Finances
  • The Announcement of the Verdict in the Court Case about the Acid Attack on the Aunt of [actress] In Soklida Was Delayed for a Second Time, Becoming a ‘Special Case’
  • The Minister of Justice Calls to Be More Careful, Not to Lose Case Documents, and Not to Impose Overly Harsh Jail Sentences
  • A Woman Was Stabbed Many Times to Rob Her [she was rescued; the perpetrator escaped – Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1772, 14-16.8.2009

  • [The Sam Rainsy Party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Asked Citizens to Consider [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Announcement [from the previous day] to Use the Military

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Samdech Dekchor Criticized that Internationals Should Not Tie His Hands to Let Opponents Box Him – Thursday, 13.8.2009

Posted on 13 August 2009. Filed under: Week 625 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 625

“Phnom Penh: On 12 August 2009, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen blasted the international community and asked them to stop trying to impose standards which project a contrast between the government’s and the opposition’s rights.

“Samdech reacted after some international organizations considered the increasing number of lawsuits between the opposition and government officials, including himself, as suppression of the freedom of expression.

“During the granting of degrees to 1,312 students of the Royal University of Law and Economics in the morning of 12 August 2009, Samdech used strong words referring to foreigners, ‘Please do not tie up my hands to let me be boxed. I don’t agree. It is time that all foreigners abstain from this.’

“Samdech Dekchor demanded foreigners to recognize his right as a citizen, and he encouraged them to stop to recognize only the right of the opposition and to reject the right of the ruler. Samdech consideres that those who do not recognize his right as a citizen do not know the law. Samdech asked, ‘Do you recognize that I am a citizen? Why do I lose my rights?’ He added that his rights were not lost when he became prime minister. Therefore, he just protected his own right when he lodged a complaint.

“Aiming at the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Ms. Mu Sochua [without using her name], who lost a defamation case at the municipal court, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said he was sued first, but when he sued back, some shouted that this is unjust. Samdech asked, ‘But who lodged the complaint fist, and even held a press conference?’ [which identifies Ms. Mu Sochua]

“Samdech asked all foreigners to check clearly who started the complaint. Samdech said, ‘Please look carefully to see who started the first lawsuit. If nobody would have sued me, I would not have sued back.’

“Recently lawsuits between government officials and opposition politicians have increased significantly, and some international organizations and foreigners had criticized that the court systems is used to muzzle the freedom of expression and opposition politicians. Some foreigners had made such criticism after the National Assembly had withdrawn immunity of two opposition party parliamentarians, Ms. Mu Sochua and Mr. Ho Vann, over separate defamation cases. The best known complaint is the legal war between Samdech Hun Sen and Ms. Mu Sochua, who finally was decared guilty by the Municipal Court for defamation against Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun, and was ordered to pay Riel 8 million in compensation, and Rile 8.5 million as a fine to the state [together approx. US$4,100].

“Samdech Hun Sen had decided to sue Ms. Mu Sochua, after she held a press conference announcing her intention to sue Samdech Hun Sen.

“Ms. Mu Sochua held a press conference at the Sam Rainsy Party Headquarters on 23 April 2009, announcing that she would file a complaint against Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, in relation to what he had said in Kampot on 4 April 2009. Ms. Mu Sochua accused Samdech Hun Sen of destroying her honor by using the word ‘strong leg’ to refer to her [which may also be used to point to a prostitute]. After the conference, an advisor of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and senior minister, Mr. Om Yentieng, announced the plan to sue Ms. Mu Sochua. That press conference had kickstarted the legal war between Ms. Mu Sochua and Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen. On 27 April 2009, complaints of Ms. Mu Sochua and of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen were delivered to the court. Each side sued the other for defamation. But after some deliberations, the court decided on 10 June 2009 not to deal with the complaint of Ms. Mu Sochua.

“As for Mr. Ho Vann, he had been sued by senior military officials, and the National Assembly also withdrew his immunity, because he had criticized the degrees of senior military officials, gained in Vietnam, as [academically] not so valuable. Mr. Ho Vann denied that he had said that.

“These two cases, together with the lawsuits against the editors-in-chief of two opposition newspapers, Moneaksekar Khmer and Khmer Machas Srok, resulted in some criticism that the government is suppressing the freedom of expression by creating fear to express opinions according to democratic usage.

“Some such criticism was also expressed by officials from the European Union who had voiced their concerns about the freedom of expression in Cambodia. Samdech Hun Sen said that the European Union would not issue such a statement. What had happened was simply that some European Union officials expressed their opinion. But if the European Union would make such a statement, Samdech will react against it to protect his rights.

“Samdech suggested that if one plays, one should not get angry, and if one gets angry, one should not play. As for him, he will respond to his opponents following whatever means his opponents choose – the law, the military, and politics. But Samdech thinks that it would be better to compete by means of development. Samdech explained that if they dare to build ten wells, he will dare to build twenty, and if they dare to build twenty, he will build forty, and continue building until there are wells everywhere in the country.

“Samdech went on to say that he is famous, having won the elections because of having being cursed by his opponents. With the popularity he has achieved, Samdech said that he will be prime minister until 2023. Samdech explained that in the next elections, if the Cambodian People’s Party loses 10 seats, and in the next and the next elections, if the party loses one more seat, and in 2023 10 more seats, the Cambodian People’s Party will still win the elections, because at present, the Cambodian People’s Party controls 90 of the 123 seats of the National Assembly, while to form a government, it needs to have only 50% plus one seat.

“Samdech mocked the opposition, ‘Thus, please you, opposition politicians, everybody, check your age.’ He added that according to their present age, he will be able to accompany them, because the members of his family line can live very long, they get mostly over 90 years old.”Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4971, 13.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 13 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #261, 13.8.2009

  • Forestry Administration Chief Scolds Provincial Authorities Countrywide over Forest Destruction [Minister of Agriculture, Fishery, and Forestry Chan Sarun said that there is forest clearance to claim land as private ownership are progressing on 577,547 hectares, and 281,108 hektares of privately claimed land have been expropriated back to the government. The head of the Forestry Administration blames local authorities, who see that forest clearance is conducted by local authorities, but not by the heads of the forestry administration offices]
  • Duch Called for Torture against Him as Punishment, if Possible
  • Hun Sen Shows a Firm Position to Follow Mu Sochua to the End [as she appealed against the municipal court’s verdict]
  • The Prime Minister Calls On Drivers of Motorbikes That Have Not Paid Tax to Pay It at Police Stations
  • A Man Was Killed in a Robbery [for his motorbike], and His Body Was Thrown into a Lake – the Authorities Arrested Six Suspects [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2021, 13.8.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: Vietnam Did Help Liberate Cambodia [from the Khmer Rouge Regime]
  • Vietnamese Investors [of the Vinashin Group] Prepare Capital to Invest in Water Way Transportation and Electricity in Cambodia
  • Costa Rican President [Mr. Oscar Arias] Is Infected with A/H1N1

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6727, 13.8.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: It Is Too Much of Ingratitude to Consider 7 January 1978 as the Day Vietnam Invaded Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4971, 13.8.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Criticized that Internationals Should Not Tie His Hands to Let Opponents Box Him
  • Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief [Duch] Encourages Other Khmer Rouge Leaders to Accept Their Guilt
  • Twenty One Ministries Will Release Salaries through Banks

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3494, 13.8.2009

  • The Authorities Will Take Action against People Sending Porn Images via Phones, and Playing Porn Videos [they will be jailed at least one month and ordered to pay a fine – according to an official of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts – [details of legal basis and procedures not clarified]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1771, 13.8.2009

  • Opposition Party Demands to Organize an Election System Same as That Used during the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) Presence

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The Appeals Court Upholds the Municipal Court’s Verdict against the Editor-in-Chief of Khmer Machas Srok Who Was Sentenced to Be Imprisoned for One Year and Ordered to Pay Riel 9 Million – Wednesday, 12.8.2009

Posted on 13 August 2009. Filed under: Week 625 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 625

Phnom Penh: In the morning of 11 August 2008, the Appeals Court decided to uphold the verdict of the Municipal Court as remaining valid during the hearing on the appeal by a defense lawyer of the editor-in-chief of Khmer Machas Srok, Mr. Hang Chakra, against the verdict of the Municipal Court which sentenced him to jail him one year in jail and ordered him to pay Riel 9 million [approx. US$2,200]. It should be remembered that a few hours after Mr. Hang Chakra’s hearing at the Municipal Court on 26 June 2009, he was arrested in Battambang and sent immediately to Phnom Penh and then to the Prey Sar Prison.

During the hearing, Mr. Hang Chakra appeared at the wooden dock at the Appeals Court, to speak against the one year imprisonment, sentence while he had Mr. Chuong Chou Ngy as his defense lawyer. Considering that the announcement by the Appeals Court to uphold the Municipal Court’s verdict was unacceptable, Mr. Chung Chou Ngy plans to appeal against the decision of the Appeals Court. Mr. Hang Chakra, 55, was prosecuted to serve one year in prison by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, after he had been found accused of defamation and disinformation. Khmer Machas Srok publications in April and May 2008 were related to the Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers, the Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and to corruption allegations at the Council of Ministers. During the hearing in June 2009, the prosecutor accused the publication, saying it contributes to political instability, as one article said, ‘Mr. Sok An always wants to become prime minister and replace Mr. Hun Sen.

The defense lawyer, Mr. Chuong Chou Ngy, was quoted before the hearing as saying that he was not sure whether his defendant could avoid the prison sentence. He was overheard while talking on the phone with The Cambodia Daily on 11 August 2009, ‘I am not sure whether I can win this case or not.'” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6726, 12.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #260, 12.8.2009

  • Ancient Structures at the Preah Vihear Temple Discovered while Digging at a Channel near the Sambok Khmum Point [Preah Vihear]
  • Military Police Arrested a Drunken Man Who Pointed a Gun at Other People, but in the Morning Bodyguards [of an unknown high ranking official] Came to Intervene to Release Him [Phnom Penh]
  • Earlier the Court Had Claimed Fourteen Containers of Mreah Prov Oil [from a large softwood tree – an important ingredient to produce the ecstasy drug] Were Pure, but Two Months Later, the Court Claimed They Were Not Pure and Mixed with Water [so they can be released – relevant authorities were summoned by the court to check the oil again – Battambang]
  • A Pair of Lovers Died from Poison [committing suicide] because Their Parents’ Disapproval [of their love – Kompong Thom]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2020, 12.8.2009

  • Cambodia Vows to Respect the Rights and Freedoms Guaranteed by Law [according to a report about a meeting between government officials and representatives of the European Union about human rights]
  • America Praises the Improvement in the Conduct of Elections in Cambodia
  • Samdech Hun Sen Welcomes the Creation of a Cambodian-Japanese Association
  • [Former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] Duch Acknowledged the Testimony of a Former Guard that at the S21 Interrogation Center There was Torture by Applying Electricity to the Genitals of Prisoners
  • A Burmese Court Sentenced Ms. Aug San Sui Ky [the Burmese elected democracy leader] to 18 Months of House Arrest

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #636, 12.8.2009

  • The Clinic Soriya Is Being Sued for Intentional Murder of an Infant and for Professional Negligence [the director of the clinic claimed an infant was dead and wrapped the body to give it to the parents, while it was actually alive and was then saved at the Kantha Bopha Hospital]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #466, 12.8.2009

  • The Appeals Court Maintained the Verdict of the Municipal Court to Continue to Detain Mr. Hang Chakra

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6726, 12.8.2009

  • Communities Suffering from Land Disputes from 19 Provinces Come to Lodge Complaints at Different National Institutions [in Phnom Penh]
  • A Third Level Rank Military Police Captain Was Arrested for Drug Smuggling [Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4970, 12.8.2009

  • Brunei Will Buy 1,500 Tonnes of Rice from Cambodia

Note:

Some text – abbreviated – in addition to the headline, above, in Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2020, 12.8.2009, from the report about a meeting between government officials and representatives of the European Union about human rights, reporting the statement of the Cambodian side:

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ouch Borith, warmly welcomed a delegation of the European Union led by British Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Andrew Mace on 7 August 2009, to exchange opinions on human rights in Cambodia. Mr. Ouch Borith stated the following points about human rights in Cambodia.

  1. Cambodia observes human rights as a general outlook to achieve sustainable development in all sectors. Cambodia encounters many problems, including the task to strengthen multi-party democracy and the rule of law, which need to be implemented step by step.
  2. Never before was Cambodia so committed to protect and to promote human rights according to the law. The presence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the National Human Rights Committee, and national and international non-government organizations which work on human rights, are evidence to prove Cambodia’s commitment to promote human rights.
  3. Democracy in Cambodia depends on the fundamental rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, while at present, personal rights, the freedom of expression, and the culture of debate are taking root more deeply in Cambodian society. It must be recognize that the implementation of these rights and freedoms must, in any democratic society, be under the framework of the law.
  4. Laws and regulations about defamation and disinformation exist in general all over the world, especially in modern societies in order to protect and to guarantee the honor of all people. Recent verdicts of Cambodian courts, related to defamation and disinformation, are in accordance with existing laws and the statements therein about those offenses.
    1. The headlines of the most recent statements by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights/Cambodia:

      • High Commissioner calls for action on indigenous people’s rights – 9 August 2009
      • Recent defamation convictions threaten freedom of expression – 5 August 2009
      • OHCHR Cambodia regrets eviction of ‘Group 78’ – 17 July 2009 (including a link to the Basic principles and guidelines on development-based evictions and displacement, from the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing)
      • Development partners call for halt of evictions of urban poor – 16 July 2009
      • Independent expert concerned at threats against lawyers in Cambodia – 01 July 2009 (including a link to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers)

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In the First Six Months of 2009, Most Investment Was in Tourism – Tuesday, 11.8.2009

Posted on 11 August 2009. Filed under: Week 625 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 625

“Phnom Penh: According to figures form the Council for the Development of Cambodia announced recently, in the first six months of 2009, tourism was the sector that absorbed the most investment of more than US$300 million.

“The announcement said that among the investment projects that the Council for the Development of Cambodia agreed upon with private companies of approx. US$1,222 million, investment projects in tourism constitute approx. US$354 million.

“Based on the same figure, the projects that follow are investments in agriculture with approx. US$323 million, in industry approx. US$303 million, and in services such as investments in telecommunication and water supply worth approx. US$241 million.

“The same source continued to say that within the first six months of 2009, there were 53 investment projects, where 7 projects were in tourism, 12 projects in the agro-industry, 14 projects in the garment industry, 3 projects in the energy sector, 5 projects in the sector of mining, 2 projects in shoes producing, 8 other industrial projects, 1 project in telecommunication, and 1 project in water supply.

“Within the first six months of 2009, there were four more projects than in the same period in 2008, but looking at the total amount of money to be invested, there was a decline by US$3,205 million.

“The same source added that in the first six months of 2008, Cambodia received 49 projects with a total worth of US$4.427 million.”Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4949, 11.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #259, 11.8.2009

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Plans to Issue a Diplomatic Note about an Airspace Invasion by Siamese [Thai] Aircraft
  • Japan Will Provide a Loan of US$72 Million for [the development of] Preah Sihanouk Port

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2019, 11.8.2009

  • Samdech Euv [the former King]: To Become 100 Years Old Is Enough for Him
  • The Chi Kraeng Forestry Chief [Mr. Ing Vutheara] Released Two Trucks Loaded with Kronhoung Wood [a type of luxury wood] in Exchange for US$1,000 [Siem Reap]
  • A Siamese [Thai] Man Looking Down on the Khmer Cultural Heritage Was Arrested [he drew a picture of the Angkor Wat Temple onto the threshold on the way to his toilet, being stepped upon – Poipet]
  • More Weapons Are Supplied to the Troops Positioned at the [Khmer-Thai] Border
  • Citizens Are Waiting to See what the Authorities Will Do against the Merchant Who Imported Nearly Seven Tonnes of [no-quality] Chicken Meat

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6725, 11.8.2009

  • Director General of the National Police Announced Special that the Phone Numbers 117 and 118 Accept Calls [from citizens] 24 Hours Every Day
  • An Old American Man Was Arrested for Child Debauchery; American Newspapers Also Hunt for This Man [Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4949, 11.8.2009

  • The President of the National Assembly of Cambodia [Mr. Heng Samrin] Asks ASEAN to Help Solve the Preah Vihear Border Dispute
  • The Son of a Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian [of Mr. Yun Tharo] Was Shot Dead during a Traffic Accident Quarrel; Three Others Were Injured [the perpetrator escaped – Phnom Penh]
  • Five Vietnamese People and a Khmer National Who Had Committed Fishery Crimes Were Sentenced to Serve Three Years in Prison and Each Was Ordered to Pay a Fine of Riel 15 Million [approx. US$3,700 each – Kompong Chhnang]
  • Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen] Encourages to Expand the Cooperation with the Vietnamese Communist Party [after a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Mr. Hoàng Bình Quân [Hoang Binh Quan], a member of the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Communist Party, on 19 Agust 2009 at the National Assembly, both sides agreed to promote friendship, especially by exchanging experience and by frequent visits, and by developing human resources among both parties – the Cambodia People’s Party and the Vietnamese Communist Party]
  • In the First Six Months of 2009, Most Investment Was in Tourism

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1769, 11.8.2009

  • Opposition Party Parliamentarian [Mr. Yun Tharo] Demands for the Seeking of Justice for His Dead Son [killed in a traffic accident quarrel by a gunman]

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The Blood Vessels and the Spine to Sustain Democratic Development in Cambodia Are Almost Totally Cut Off – Monday, 10.8.2009

Posted on 11 August 2009. Filed under: Week 625 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 625

“In 2009, major donor countries seem to be disappointed with their efforts in which they have donated almost US$4 billion since 1993 to support the development of the economic and social infrastructure, of democracy, and of the rule of law in Cambodia – but there is little progress.

“Major donor countries such as the United States of America, Canada, Germany, Australia, and the European Union, have cut down their financial aid to non-government organizations that act to strengthen and to expand democracy and the rule of law in Cambodia. Due to financial problems, some international organizations had announced to reduce their activities and their personnel in Cambodia. Some non-government organizations were forced to reduce staff and to close down some of their branches at some provinces.

“These donor countries have changed their attitude, keeping quiet about democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, in contrast to their previous attitude more than 10 years ago, when they frequently openly criticized. Moreover, aid for the Royal Government was no longer linked with conditions about human rights and democracy.

“Observers in Cambodia said that democracy in Cambodia did significantly progress between 1993 and 1997, when Cambodia was ruled by a government with two prime ministers: the first prime minister, Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, and the second prime minister, Mr. Hun Sen. After the bloodshed of the coup in July 1997, the progress of democracy slowed down.

“Since 2004, Cambodia has been entirely controlled by the Cambodian People’s Party government, where the democratic space was becoming narrower. The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) said in its report on human rights for 2008, ‘The space for democracy and politics is becoming narrower.’

“Civil society officials said that the blood vessels and the spine supporting democratic developments are almost entirely cut off, because the court system is corrupt and not independent, the role of the opposition party in the National Assembly is restricted by muzzling their freedom of expression, and by not including opposition parliamentarians into the commissions of the National Assembly; press freedom and the freedom of expression are limited and under threat, and the roles of non-government organizations are limited etc…

“The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Cambodia released a report on 15 June 2009 with the title ‘A briefing note on freedom of expression, defamation and disinformation,’ expressing their concern, ‘The use and abuse of defamation and disinformation lawsuits dangerously undermine constitutional freedoms of opinion and expression and democratic development.’ The United Nations warned that these restrictions can cause the fragile development of democracy in Cambodia to derail.

“[The US based NGO] Human Rights Watch condemned the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict released on 4 July 2009 finding Ms. Mu Sochua guilty and ordering her to pay Riel 16.5 million [approx. US$4,100] for defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen. This organization considers this verdict as a serious threat against the freedom of expression and democracy in Cambodia.

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

“Civil Society organizations had voiced their concern about the change of the attitude and of the politics of donor countries, and this can lead to serious impacts and threats against the progress of democracy in Cambodia, and can make billions of dollars of aid provided to build democracy and the rule of law in Cambodia since 1993 a failed investment.

“Civil society organizations reminded the 18 signatory countries of the Paris Peace Agreement of 23 October 1991 that they have the international legal obligation to guarantee the progress of democracy and the respect of human rights, specifically to help to guarantee and to protect the integrity of the territory of Cambodia. Democracy, human rights, integrity, and territorial integrity are still major delicate issues.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.17, #635, 10.8.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 10 August 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #258, 10.8.2009

  • The Ministry of Interior Said that [former Phnom Penh police chief] Heng Pov Does Not Have the Right to Be Witness [saying that after he was imprisoned, all of his rights had been withdrawn, and he only has the right to live, to eat, to do exercise, and to do physical labor]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2018, 9-10.8.2009

  • One Hundred and Seventy Disabled People [including veterans] Ask Samdech Hun Sen and the Provincial Governor to Remove the Head of the Department of Social Affairs [Mr. Heng Chamroen, for fraud, and for corruption because he takes the pension of disabled and retired veterans – Banteay Meanchey]
  • It is Planned to Request that the Banteay Meanchey Chhmar Temple Will Be Listed as a World Heritage Site
  • The Police Raided a House and Detained People for Sexual Exploitation and Liberated 24 [Vietnamese] Women Victims [the house owner escaped – Phnom Penh]
  • Children Scavengers: We Want to Go to School Too, but Our Parents Do Not Have Money [to afford it – Siem Reap]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.17, #635, 10.8.2009

  • The Blood Vessels and the Spine to Sustain Democratic Development in Cambodia Are Almost Totally Cut Off

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #465, 9-11.8.2009

  • The European Union Reacts against Cambodian Leaders for Using Their Power to Suppress Democratic Forces

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6724, 10.8.2009

  • The Russian Embassy Held a Press Conference to Mark the First Anniversary of the War in South Ossetia [the event was announced as ‘One Year Anniversary of the Invasion by Georgia in South Ossetia’ – Phnom Penh]
  • Weather Forecast Says There Will Be Heavy Rain at Upper Regions and One Meter Heigh Waves at the Sea

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4968, 9-10.8.2009

  • The Thai Air Force Violated Cambodian Airspace after They Agreed to Remove the Razor Wire and Concrete Posts [from disputed areas]
  • The Taxation Department Collected US$51 Million in July [a decline by 13.6% compared to last year]
  • Sen Sok District Authorities Have Not Taken Action against the Owner Who Stores and Distributes Illegal No-Quality Chicken Meat [Phnom Penh]
  • A Cambodia-ASEAN Civil Society Organization Was Inaugurated [Phnom Penh]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3493, 9.8.2009

  • The National Airline Cambodia Air Angkor Uses an Airbus to Start International Flights on 3 September 2009

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1768, 10.8.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party president] Sam Rainsy: Those Taking a Position against the Government Are in a Tense Situation

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