The Wind Changes Its Direction: Chea Ratha Was Sentenced to Serve 18 Years in Prison – Saturday, 28.11.2009

Posted on 30 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“Phnom Penh: The Appeals Court of Cambodia issued a surprising decision, sentencing Ms. Chea Ratha [a former military police brigadier general, who had a lesbian relationship with actress In Soklida] for 18 years to jail for an acid attack against the aunt of the actress In Soklida, and also other accomplices are to be imprisoned. The decision made by the Appeals Court at this time is totally in contrast to the former decisions made by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to dismiss the accusations against the accused persons.

“The acid attack against Ms. In Soklida’s aunt had been brought for a hearing and judgment by the Appeals Court on 27 November 2009, with Mr. Seng Sivutha as the head of the council of judges, with Mr. Nhoung Thul and Mr. Thou Monei as members, and with Mr. Hean Rith as representative of the prosecutors.

“The judgment decided to uphold Decision 82, dated 31 August 2009, of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, but rejected Point 1, which is related to punishments for all who had been charged. The new decision of the Appeals Court exempts Meas Mao, male, 40; and Meas Chandy from the charge of illegal gun use, but sentenced them to serve 18 years in prison for violating the right of an individual, and for planned and attempted murder. Chea Ratha, female, 43, was removed from the charge of illegal use of a weapon, but she is convicted to serve 18 years in prison for planned and attempted murder. Ie Puthea, male, 33, and San Savuth, called San Sanut or Nut, 29, were freed from the charge of using a weapon illegally, but are to be imprisoned for 15 years for violating the right of an individual, and for collusion in a planed and attempted murder. Siek Sophal, male, was removed from the charge of using a weapon illegally, but is to be jailed for 15 years. Chan Dara, male, was removed from the charge of using a weapon illegally, of violating the right of an individual, and of collusion in an attempted murder, that means he is free from all accusations. All the six accused persons were ordered to pay to cover the cost of the medical treatment and to compensate the plaintiff with US$100,000, and an arrest warrant was issued to arrest those who escaped.

“It should be noted that the acid attack against Ms. In Soklida’s aunt occurred on 8 May 2008 in front of the RHAC Hospital on street 433, Tuol Tumpung 1, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh.

“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court had sentenced to dismiss the accusations against all accused persons, but the plaintiff’s lawyer later appealed against this judgment, and there was also a complaint from the prosecutor of the Appeals Court dated 23 September 2009.

“The reason leading to this new judgment is that there was an acid attack against the victim Ya Sok Nim, Ms. In Soklida’s aunt, by two unidentified persons, who rode a 2008 Viva motorbike, and then stopped behind her to attack her with acid, and escaped.

“After the event, the victim’s husband lodged a complaint to the authorities to solve the case according to the law, but he could not identify the perpetrators’ faces.

“According to a note of the victim read by a clerk, a day ahead of the attack, bodyguards and Chea Ratha came to her house to ask for information about her niece (In Soklida), but she said that she did not know where she was. They asked to check in the house, but they still could not find her. Then they left.

“A few days later, Chea Ratha phoned to warn her, ‘If you do not deliver In Soklida, there will be bloodshed.’ This i was recorded, and her voice was played in the municipal court. Later on, the acid attack happened on 8 May 2008.

“Sok Chey, a person who witnessed the event, said he saw two men, whose faces he could not identify as they wore masks, but remembers their appearance, as they appeared behind the victim, attacked her with acid, and escaped.

“After that, police arrested two perpetrators, after showing their photos to the victim. The victim was sure that they were the perpetrators, bodyguards of Chea Ratha, as the victim had gone to the accused’s house [Mr. Chea Ratha’s house].

“After hearing the information and conclusions from the prosecutors, the Appeals Court took the decision as mentioned above.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5059, 28.11.2009

Note:

The Camboia Daily reported on Saturday/Sunday 28/29, November 2009:

“Mr. Ratha’s defense attorneys Keo Ya and Nach Try, who had lobbied Cabinet Minister Sok An ahead of the municipal court trial of Mr. Ratha seeking his intervention to have the case dropped, said they were unaware of their client’s whereabouts. Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said on Thursday that the lawyer’s letter was not considered in any way by Mr. Sok An, as it was the work of the courts.”

“There was no report that the office of the Deputy Prime Minster rejected this attempt, requesting an illegal act of influencing the court.”

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #348, 28.11.2009

  • The Asian Development Bank Provides a US$10 Million Loan to Cambodia to Counter the Impacts of the Economic Crisis
  • Cambodia Has a Family Counseling and Strengthening Center Called “Mlub Kruasa Center [“Family Shade” – in Phnom Penh, assisted by the French government]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2110, 28.11.2009

  • [Former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch Asked the Court to Release Him [he said so during the last hearing of Case 001 on 27.11.2009 at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Because Somebody Just Looked Straight at His Face, Man Drew a Gun and Shot to Kill Another Man among the Crowd [the victim was injured while the perpetrator was arrested – Phnom Penh]
  • A Ghanaian Man Was Arrested after His Girlfriend Reported that He Was Involved in Cross Border Drug Smuggling [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #541, 28.11.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Asked [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Send the Border Demarcation Document with Yuon [Vietnam] to the National Assembly

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6817, 28-29.11.2009

  • A Loan from Thailand Was Canceled, but Government Officials Said that Cambodia Has Sufficient Resources to Improve the 117 km of Road 68 [spending about US$41 million without the Thai loan -the Road 68 goes from Kralanh district in Siem Reap to Ou Smach and Samrong districts in Oddar Meanchey]
  • Nineteen Companies Received Economic Concession Land of More Than 80,000 Hectares, where Some Companies Are Having Disputes with Citizens [according to a report of the forestry authorities in Kompong Thom]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5059, 28.11.2009

  • The Wind Changes Its Direction: Chea Ratha Was Sentenced to Serve 18 Years in Prison
  • In 2010 the State Starts to Collect Tax from House Owners [at 0.1% of a the value of a house]
  • The Sihanoukville Port Announced the Start the Construction of a Special Economic Zone [on 70 hectares of land]
  • Two Girls Who, They Are Aunt and Niece [to each other, 6 and 7 years old] Were Raped by a 14-Year-Old Boy [the teenage boy was arrested – Banteay Meanchey]
  • [Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya: Thailand Will Not Negotiate with Cambodia as Long as [Thai fugitive ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Is Still Advisor [of the Cambodian government and of Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A Suspect Involved in the Massacre in the Philippines Was Charged

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Cambodia and India Organize a Commercial Exhibition for the First Time – Thursday, 12.11.2009

Posted on 13 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638 – Thursday, 12.11.2009

“Phnom Penh: The first Cambodian-Indian commercial and investment exhibition in Phnom Penh is being organized with the participation of 20 Indian companies.

“The Minister of Commerce, Senior Minister Cham Prasidh, stated during the launching of the exhibition on 11 November 2009 that it is the first time that both countries organize an exhibition to help investors and businesspeople from both countries to understand each other better.

“He said, ‘This is the greatest opportunity for Indian investors and businesspeople to seek investment opportunities and markets in Cambodia.’

“According to Mr. Cham Prasidh, the trade between Cambodia and India amounts to about US$56.32 million, where Indian imports of products from Cambodia is only US$2.87 million, while the exports of India to Cambodia are US$56.32 million.

“Based on these figures, Mr. Cham Prasidh said that the amount of this commercial relation is still low, and he encouraged both countries to try to study further market exchange possibilities, in order to strengthen and improve the commercial ties.

“The Indian Ambassador to Cambodia said that Indian investors from 21 companies attend this exhibition. Most companies are companies from the fields of information technology, medicine, industry and mines, machinery, agriculture, engineering, and infrastructure.

“He added that this exhibition will be held for two days from 11 to 12 November 2009.

“By now, the products Cambodia imports from India are agricultural products, medicines, and some raw chemicals, and Cambodia exports also some raw materials.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5045, 12.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 12 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #334, 12.11.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen and [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra [newly named personal adviser of Prime Minister Hun Sen] Will Attend the ASEAN-US Summit in Singapore [with the participation of US President Obama on 15 November 2009]
  • The Downgrading of the Cambodian-Siamese [Thai] Diplomatic Relations Does Not Affect Cambodian Tourism
  • Jackie Chan [The Chinese and Hollywood superstar] Will Return to Cambodia for Filming [he arrived at Cambodia as a UNICEF/UNAIDS goodwill ambassador on 10 November 2009, and promised he will come back again]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2096, 12.11.2009

  • The Thai Embassy Sent a Letter to Request for Extradition of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, and Khmer Officials Sent the Diplomatic Note Back to Reject This [the Thai Prime Minister, Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva, reacted to this by ordering a review of all agreements with Cambodia]
  • Cambodia Welcomes Negotiations with Thailand [to solve border and other diplomatic disputes], but Thaksin Shinawatra’s Case Should Not Be on the Agenda [said Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A 60-Year-Old Man Raped a Woman Who Suffers from Mental Disorder [he was arrested – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #673, 12.11.2009

  • The Permanent Committee of the National Assembly Will Hold a Meeting Immediately and Confidentially This Morning about the Suspension of the Immunity of Sam Rainsy [the president of the Sam Rainsy Party; as the Svay Rieng Municipal Court filed a complaint against him because of his participation in the removal of six temporary wooden border markers on the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #527, 12.11.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Asked Cambodia to Arrest Thaksin Shinawatra Temporarily, but [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Rejected It

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6803, 12.11.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: From Now on Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Can Come to Cambodia Anytime Openly
  • Extradition Rejection: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Rejected the Request from the Thai Embassy to Arrest Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra [considering Mr. Thaksin’s case to be political
  • The Municipal Court Decided to Detain a Jordanian Woman and Two Turkish Women for Stealing and Collusion [in a restaurant in Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5045, 12.11.2009

  • Cambodia and India Organize a Commercial Exhibition for the First Time
  • There Might Not Be an Opportunity of a Meeting between Hun Sen and Abhisit Vijjajiva during the ASEAN-US Summit in Singapore [Prime Minister Hun Sen said he will go there only to attend the summit]
  • The Situation at the Cambodian-Thai Border Is Quiet
  • The Acid Attack on [the former actress] In Soklida’s Aunt [where the Municipal Court had ruled to dropt the charges against the former national military police officer, Ms. Chea Ratha and her accomplices] Will Be Brought for another Hearing to the Court of Appeals Again on 27 November 2009
  • A Motorbike Hit a Truck Transporting Cows, Resulting in Two Deaths and One Injury under the Prek Tnot Bridge [Phnom Penh]

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 637

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #330, 7.11.2009

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2092, 7.11.2009

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

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

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6799, 7.11.2009

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5041, 7.11.2009

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

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Positions of Judges, of Prosecutors, and of Clerks Are Reformed on a Large Scale – Wednesday, 14.1.2009

Posted on 15 January 2009. Filed under: Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On Monday, 12 January 2009, we had the 100,000th visit to the Mirror – starting from January 2007.

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

“Phnom Penh: The fourth term Royal Government starts to implement reform strategies for the court system as the first priority by beginning to change the positions of judges, of prosecutors, and of clerks countrywide on a large scale.

“The Minister of Justice, Mr. Ang Vong Vathana, told the Kampuchea Thmey that the Royal Government plans to reshuffle court leaders countrywide, but not depending on wrongdoing as the only reason.

“He said that the reform of the court system was made the first priority in order to be in line with the political mechanisms of the new term Royal Government in the second phase of the Rectangular Strategy.

“He went on to say that as the basis of good governance it is necessary to build the legal basis; if the resources of those who implement the law at the basis are not strong and fair, good governance will not function smoothly as it is needed.

“Mr. Ang Vong Vathana said also that reforms of court officials will be made by the Supreme Council of the Magistracy in this morning on 14 January 2009. Reshuffles of court officials are not made only with judges, with prosecutors, and with clerks, but also with court presidents. However, Mr. Ang Vong Vathana did not mention the names of those who will be reshuffled, but just told primarily that a prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Ouk Savuth, will be replaced by Mr. Yen Chakriya. Mr. Ouk Savuth will be appointed to work as deputy prosecutor of the Appeals Court.

Note: Article 21 of the Cambodian Constitution:

Upon proposals by the Council of Ministers, the King shall sign decrees (Kret) appointing, transferring or ending the mission of high civil and military officials, ambassadors and Envoys Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Upon proposals by the Supreme Council of the Magistracy, the King shall sign decrees (Kret) appointing, transferring or removing judges.

“Mr. Ang Vong Vathana stressed that these reappointments are normal, but some court officials are replaced also due to wrongdoings, and some hold their positions already four years and must be reshuffled. Nevertheless, most of these reforms, as they relate to court officials, are only a change from one place to another place.

“Previously, the court system was strongly criticized for being corrupt, and most victims were poor people while most people who won court cases were the powerful.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1846, 14.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #3, 14.1.2009

  • The President of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights [Mr. Ou Virak]: Freedom of Expression and Press Freedom in Cambodia Are Limited [in 2008, because journalists were threatened to be sued at courts, jailed, and murdered, while the authorities have not found murderers or those who support them for prosecution]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #106, 14-15.1.2009

  • The Embassy of Nepal Asks to Build of Pagodas in the Nepalese Style in Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #16, .1.2009

  • Positions of Judges, of Prosecutors, and of Clerks Are Reformed on a Large Scale
  • A Canadian Man Was Arrested for Debauchery [with four underage children, two boys and two girls – Kompong Cham]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #323, 14.1.2009

  • The United States of America Decides to Grant Military Aid of More Than US$600,000 [to Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6551, 14.1.2009

  • In 2008, There Were 268 Crimes of Rape Committed [with 285 victims – among them 165 were underage – and 340 perpetrators were involved, compared to 2007, there were 301 cases]; This Inhuman Act Is Still an Extremely Serious Issue
  • Eclipse of the Sun Will Occur on 26 January 2009 and Cambodia Can See This Natural Phenomenon on Chinese New Year
  • [Around 300] Students and Villagers Block a Road to Stop the Transporting of [ about 50] Trucks Loaded with Stone [the transportation damages the road, causes dust, and creates disturbing noise – Siam Reap]
  • Nearly 200 Million People Start to Travel to Their Home Towns [to celebrate the Chinese New Year on 26 January 2009]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3665, 14.1.2009

  • Co-Defense Lawyers of Nuon Chea Said that They Are Being Intimidated by Judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [who prepare to sue them back for filling request for the clarification of corruption allegation, considered to be a defamation, and a disgrace for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1402, 14.1.2009

  • A Korean Man Shot by Another Korean Man Died at the Calmette Hospital [two other perpetrators are not yet found]
  • A Man Who had Killed a [three-year-old] Girl and Her Grandmother with Acid Was Arrested [in Kampot]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4794, 14.1.2009

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Starts an Official Visit to Kuwait
  • Dey Krahom Dispute: The Municipality Offers US$20,000 [to 91 families still not prepared to move away], but he Residents Disagree
  • World Bank Grants a Loan of US$10 Million to Develop the Agriculture
  • The Royal Government Provides a Loan of US$15 Million to the Cambodian Rice Millers Association to Buy Paddy Rice for Stock
  • Ms. In Soklida Wants to Withdraw Nearly US$30,000 from the [Cambodian] Canadia Bank [from a joint bank account with Ms. Chea Ratha, with whom she had an affair and who is now hiding in a foreign country being accused of involvement in an acid attack against Ms. In Soklida’s aunt]
  • Siamese [Thai] Troops Prevented a Khmer Company to Continue Constructing Fences [for building a casino] at the Cham Border Crossing [Anlong Veng, Oddar Meanchey]

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No Need to Wait for a Law on Access to Information: The Press in Cambodia Faces Rejection When Trying to Get Information – Monday, 29.12.2008

Posted on 30 December 2008. Filed under: Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 593

“Phnom Penh: In an attempt to play a better role as conveyor of messages from citizens to the Royal Government and from the Royal Government to citizens, the Club of Cambodian Journalists held the Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia under the motto ‘Assessments by Editors of the Situation of Access to Information’ in the evening of 27 December 2008 at the Himawari Hotel in Phnom Penh, with a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Information, Mr. Nov Sovatharo, chairing. This important forum was supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation like the previous forums.

“There was an active discussion after four speakers – Mr. Puy Kea, a reporter of the Kyodo News Agency of Japan, Mr. Pen Bona, co-editor of Cambodge Soir, Mr. Net Phatra, representing the Phnom Penh Post, and Mr. Chea Sayna, the editor of Koh Santepheap – expressed their opinions related to easiness and difficulties related to ‘Access to Information and Problems Faced.’ At the end, the editors’ forum decided to release the following joint declaration:

Joint Declaration of the Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia ‘Access to Information without Waiting for a Law about Access to Information’
27 December 2008
Himawari Hotel
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

All of us, 35 people (as seen in the attached list with our signatures [not included here]) editors, publishing both through newspapers and through radio and TV in Cambodia, met during the Fifth Editors’ Forum in Phnom Penh on 27 December 2008 to discuss and to assess the situation of access to information which we face in our professional work during the year, and to find solutions. Under the theme of ‘Access to Information and Different Problems Faced speakers raised problems, expressed views, and provided recommendations related to:

  • The situation of access to information for foreign news agencies in Cambodia
    • Access to information related to the Preah Vihear border disputes
    • Access to information at different provinces countrywide
    • Access to information at central level (in Phnom Penh, at ministries, at private companies)

    Then, the Fifth Editor’s Forum of Cambodia discussed, in general, all points raised in the forum by the speakers and joined to assess the situation of access to information in Cambodia with high responsibility.

    Problems Identified Limiting Access to Information

    After discussions and assessments by the Fifth Editors’ Forum, the following problems are seen:

    1. Spokespersons or Public Relations Officials, or Information Officials: Many ministries and other state institutions, like the National Assembly, the Senate, as well as organizations and companies, do not have spokespersons or public relations officials, or information officials who professionally fulfill these tasks. This becomes a major obstacle against the flow of information for the general public, as guaranteed by the Constitution of 1993.
    2. Provision of Documents: In general, official documents are necessary, to be sure that a report and its information is made correctly, official documents are mostly not confidential documents, official documents have to be published by individual institutions and ministries that have to provide information to the public, and to publish about their own activities…, but often, such documents are not provided or prepared for publication and provided to journalists, not even their annual reports, and reports about the orientation of their work in the new year.
    3. Different Programs, Activities, and Meetings: Meetings that should be open are often declared to be internal and confidential affairs of the institutions, and journalists are asked to leave the meetings. At the same time, the work plans of the leaders of ministries and of other institutions are usually kept locked away in a drawer in the administration’s office, so that it sometimes seems that leaders of ministries are more secretive than the prime minister – and sometimes they do not seem to work.
    4. Announcements of Information: A small number of ministries announce information about some important events. But, regrettably, most ministries and institutions do not announce information, and some information is announced unexpectedly late.
    5. Regular Meetings and Press Conferences: In contrast to what is done in other modern countries, most ministries and institutions do not hold press conference or meet with journalists at all, although there were important and big problems to be explained and published. This makes the public to feel uninformed about the activities and the work of such ministries or institutions.
    6. Websites: Websites are one of the most important sources of information in this era of information technology. Most ministries and institutions have their own websites. This is an encouraging start. However, regrettably, most websites of ministries and of institutions are not kept updated with new information. Therefore, their websites cannot provide information and do not indicate where information can be found.

    Conclusion

    The weaknesses and gaps mentioned above are problems working against the access to information, and therefore the efficiency of different services, especially of public services, is questioned. Nevertheless, these problems can be addressed without waiting for a law about access to information. Corrections can be made through a change of behavior of some officials, and by a reorganization of the working structures at different institutions and ministries. The Royal Government has done a lot of work for people’s wellbeing and for national development, but the above shortages seems to swallow all achievements and accomplishments, when they are not shown to the public: to know, to hear, and to see. In the meantime, some facts in the social and economic life are ignored or are not solved in time, and consequently, everyone is a loser, both the Royal Government and the citizens.

    Appeal in a Situation that a Law about Access to Information Is Not Yet Adopted
    1. The Fifth Editor’s Forum of Cambodia would like to ask all ministries and institutions to appoint information officials or public relations officials, or spokespersons, and to organize their work so that they can work professionally and can fulfill their different tasks, such as to provide documents, to provide data about the work and about their activities, and especially to be able to respond to questions from journalists.
    2. All ministries and institutions should hold press conferences or meet with journalists regularly, to provide information about their activities and about the work of their ministries and institutions, and they must be conducted at least once per month.
    3. In cases of emergency, all ministries and institutions should release timely information for publication for the sake of the public. The publication of timely information can sometimes avoid danger and damage.
    4. All ministries and institutions should create their own websites to provide information to the public. As for some ministries and institutions that already have their own websites, they have to update information on their websites every day when there is new information.
    5. The Fifth Editors’ Forum of Cambodia will observe and assess the provision of information, and the Sixth Editors’ Forum, to be held again in 2009, will promote and strengthen the role of the Cambodian press in Cambodian society and in the international arena.

    Phnom Penh, 27 December 2008”
    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6537, 29.12.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 29 December 2008

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1832, 28-29.12.2008

    • Siem Reap Court Detains Three People, including a Journalist [of Sangkum Khmer], over a Land Dispute in Chi Kraeng District [for using violence against a real estate owner, and for provoking crimes, while residents said that they are arrested unjustly]
    • Pakistan and India Send Troops to their Border, Increasing Tension
    • China Sends Warships to the Gulf of Aden [to help fight Somali pirates]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #314, 28-30.12.2008

    • Secretary of State of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology Tan Vanthara Appeared at a Gambling Site of the Phnom Penh Hotel
    • [Former military police officer] Chea Ratha Said Something about the Place Where She Is Hiding [she is living in a pagoda in a foreign country], Adding that She Is a Victim Regarding the Acid Attack [on the aunt of Ms. In Soklida, a well-known film star, with whom she had an affair]
    • [Former Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Noppadon Pattama Will Raise the Preah Vihear Temple Problem, to Attack [new Prime Minister] Abhisit Vejjajiva [during the meeting of the Thai parliament]

    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #170, 28-29.12.2008

    • Dey Krahom Community Residents Face Eviction on 30 December 2008 [after the Chamkar Mon district office issued the last notice for the rest of 91 families (of 1274 families) at the Building Block area to leave by 30 December 2008]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6537, 29.12.2008

    • No Need to Wait for a Law on Access to Information: The Press in Cambodia Faces Rejection When Trying to Get Information
    • Negotiation with Siam [Thailand] Is Still the Position for Border Issues and It Is the Most Appropriate Choice to Avoid War [said spokesperson of the government and Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
    • Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of the ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Start to Surround the Thai Parliament [to prevent the presentation of the policy statement by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva]
    • Israel Attacked Hamas in Gaza Causing Many Deaths [as revenge for Hamas rocket attacks on Israel – at least 271 people were killed and more than 620 others were injured. – Status on 29.12.2008: 1 soldier and 3 civilians were killed in Israel; more that 310 persons were killed in Gaza, and hundreds wounded]
    • More Than 98,000 Civilians Killed in Iraq [since 2003]

    Meatophum, Vol.52, #716, 29-31.12.2008

    • If [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Mr. Hor Namhong Does Not Assign His Son, Whom Should He Assign? [he will appoint his son, Hor Monyrath, to be ambassador in Japan from 2009]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3651, 29.12.2008

    • The Spokesperson of the Government [Mr. Khieu Kanharith] Said that If an Armed Clash Happens along the Khmer-Siamese [Thai] Border, Cambodia Would Need 20,000 Troops
    • Members of the European Parliament Prepare to Sue Yuon [Vietnamese] Airline [for preventing them, Mr. Marco Panella and Mr. Marco Perduca, to board a plane from Cambodia to Vietnam]
    • The Director of the Cambodia Mine Action Authority Was Removed from His Position Related to Corruption [over the collapse of financing for the mine-sniffing dog raising and breeding program – Mr. Sam Sotha was replaced by Mr. Chum Bunrong, an advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen]

    Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1336, 29.12.2008

    • The Public of the [Phnom Penh] City Welcomes that the Authorities Curb Down Illegal Motorbike Pawn Shops [because such places are said to increase robberies in the city – nearly 2,000 motorbikes were found, 70% do not have number plates or tax stickers]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4780, 28-29.12.2008

    • The Ministry of Interior Starts to Release Money instead of Rice to Police in 2009 [because of quality problems, late delivery, and loss of rice – instead of 1 kilogram of rice Riel 2,800 is paid – approx. US$0.70 – no information given how many kg in total are provided per month]
    • The Setting of Cambodia-Vietnam Border Markers Is Delayed until 2012 [the Cambodian-Vietnamese border of 1,270 km needs to be marked with 370 markers, worth more than US$15 million, and Vietnam is responsible for the whole expenses]

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

    And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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    Saturday, 9.8.2008: Officials and Staff of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Have Not Received Their Salaries because of a Corruption Scandal

    Posted on 10 August 2008. Filed under: week 572 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 572

    “Recently, the UN Development Program office [UNDP] decided to delay the transfer of funds for the salaries of more than US$300,000 for Khmer officials and staff of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, after there were complaints about corruption at the Cambodian side. The delayed salaries for around 250 Cambodian officials and staff are for July.

    “Ms. Amy Brown [phonetic], UNDP public relations officer, explained by e-mail that the decision to delay the transfer of salary funds for the Khmer staff was made after new claims about corruption had been made. At present, UNDP and donor countries are reviewing everything related to the case. She explained that the UNDP had decided to delay the transfer of the salaries in order to assure the integrity of the funds.

    “The UN spokesperson of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Peter Foster, said that some Cambodian officials and staff had lodged complaints to the UN relating to corruption and to some other irregularities. A UN oversight office in New York checking internal problems is investigating these cases.

    “Regarding the aforementioned problems, Ms. Helen Jarvis, a public affairs official of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, did not explain the reasons for the delay of the Khmer staff salaries, she just considered it to be related to a late availability of the funds for the salaries. She said, ‘As it is known already, there are US$300,000 for the salaries for July, but we do not yet have the possibility to provide the July salaries. However, all together we are still waiting for much bigger funds than the funds to provide the salaries.’

    “Both Ms. Helen Jarvis and Mr. Peter Foster explained that negotiations are proceeding to solve these problems, and solutions will be found soon. It is not the first time that the Khmer staff of the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal receive late salaries, but it is the first time that the UNDP delays the Khmer staff’s salaries in order to investigate corruption.

    “In early 2007, an organization concerned with law reform activities, which has its seat in New York in the USA – the Open Society Justice Initiative – revealed that it had received information about Cambodian staff paying part their salaries as a kick-back to officials of the Khmer government in return for having been employed at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. What the Open Society Justice Initiative had raised made Sean Visoth, the head of the administration of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, very angry, and he announced to stop cooperating with this US organization.

    “It should be noted that the UNDP administers the funds to provide the salaries of Khmer staff from the Cambodian section of the site.

    “This new scandal makes the public aware that the international community starts to have less and less trust in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, because the scandal of 2007 is not yet solved, and now there is another shameful scandal. It is therefore not so easy for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to seek additional millions of dollars to operate until the end. So far, in addition to Japan, France, Australia, and Germany, no other countries provide additional funds for this mixed tribunal [with a Cambodian and a United Nations component].

    “Recently, officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal reported that the trial of Kang Kek Ieu, called Duch, the former chief of the Tuol Sleng Prison, will be conducted in September or October, but what causes serious concern is that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is facing a serious financial crisis – and it is facing a shameful corruption scandal. So this crisis might delay the trial of former senior Khmer Rouge leaders, where all the suspects, who are being detained in the special Khmer Rouge Tribunal detention center, are old and have serious and alarming illnesses.

    “Nevertheless, Khmer citizens in Cambodia and abroad want the trial of Duch, as well as of other former senior Khmer Rouge leaders, to happen as soon as possible as long as they are still alive and are able to reveal facts while standing trial. But if the trial is still delayed, the suspects detained for trial might die one by one, and the secrets of the Killing Field regime will be buried with their deaths. Therefore, the sooner the trail of the former senior Khmer Rouge leaders is held, the better, because the health of Khiev Samphan and of Ieng Sary is getting worse.

    “Observers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal since it was started said that, if this mixed tribunal has the intention to find justice for more than 1.7 million Khmer citizens who were killed during the Killing Field regime, the trial of Duch has to happen in September or October as planned. If not, it means that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal has no intention to find justice for the victims, and Khmer citizens will never see the light of real justice. Therefore the international community and donor countries must press on with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, to try the suspects soon as a warning for the next Khmer leaders not to repeat a cruel massacre like the former Khmer Rouge leaders committed.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3534, 9-10.8.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Saturday, 9 August 2008


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1715, 9.8.2008

    • The Situation at the Ta Moan Temple Seems to Be Unchanged; Khmer and Siamese [Thai] Troops Patrol the Temple Together
    • A Mother Led [her three] Children to Plant Corn in a Field and Stepped on a Mine and Triggered an Explosion which Killed Her [7-year-old] Son and Seriously Injured Three Persons [including the mother, and her five-year-old and nine-month-old daughters]


    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #212, 9.8.2008

    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #69, 9.8.2008

    • The Cambodian Center for Human Rights Welcomed the Commitment of the Government [expressed trough a speech by Prime Minister Hun Sen to arrest the murderers and those who are responsible for the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo and of his 21-year-old son]
    • Three Opposition Parties [the Sam Rainsy Party, the Human Rights Party, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party] Plan to Boycott the Swearing-In Ceremony [planned for the inaugural session of he new parliament on 24 September 2008]


    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6419, 9-10.8.2008

    • Samdech Dekchor [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Requests to Construct a Road to the Preah Vihear Temple and a Road from Anlong Veng to Srah Eaem
    • A Book about “Understanding Trauma in Cambodia” Is Published on a Website [of the Center for Social Development, on the role of psychology for Cambodian people]
    • [Thousands of] Exiled Tibetans Hold Demonstrations in Nepal and India [7 August 2008]


    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3534, 9-10.8.2008

    • Officials and Staff of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Have Not Received Their Salaries because of a Corruption Scandal
    • Yuon [Vietnamese] Authorities Are Restricting the Rights of Kampuchea Krom Khmer Citizens in [former] Svay Tong District, Moat Chruk Province [so called in Khmer in French colonial time, now part of Vietnam, called An Gian Province] More Strongly [by not allowing them to set up satellite television antennas at their houses – click here for information from Vietnam with reference to the Khmer population]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4663, 9.8.2008

    • Appeals Court Decided to Allow Ms. Chea Ratha’s Assistant [Mr. Ea Vuthea, involved in an acid attack on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt on 8 May 2008] to Be Temporarily Released from Detention; Ms. In Soklida Continues to Hide Herself at a Safe Place because of Fear [of revenge]
    • Price of Electricity in Pursat Increased to US$0.50 per Kilowatt [from the previous price of US$0.40]; It Increased Two Days after the Election Day
    • [Former Thai prime minister] Thaksin: I Will Not Escape from the Country [regarding his court cases, that he might be sentenced to jail]


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3380, 9.8.2008

    • USAID Sponsored to Produce a Serial Drama [describing the Cambodian legal system] Which Will Be Showed on Televisions Starting Late This Week
    • Civil Society Organizations Call on Generous People to Help the Families of Soldiers Who Are Protecting the Borders [at the Preah Vihear regions]

    Click here to have a look at the last editorial – where we try to provide our readers with important information which all publications in Cambodia – as far as we can see – are not providing; but the international community knows more – we wonder how long the Cambodian public can be held uninformed.

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    Wednesday, 16.7.2008: Three Journalists Were Attacked by Merchants Who Transport Illegal Fuel

    Posted on 16 July 2008. Filed under: Week 569 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 569

    “Siem Reap: When three journalists saw a truck that had an accident and was turned over – transporting fuel – along Road 67B at Dai Ao in Srae Nouy, they stopped their car and got off to take pictures of the accident immediately. But they were ordered to leave immediately and abused with rude words, because they did not accept to leave. Then two men from a Mitsubishi car which came, with a license plate of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces [RCAF] with the umber 2 2809, jumped out and hit the journalists with their hands and kicked them and brutally twisted their arms and boxed them.

    “This event, where merchants were transporting fuel, depending on an Oknha in Phnom Penh, where journalists were hit, happened at 3:30 p.m. on 14 July 2008 at Dai Ao in Srae Nouy, Varin, in Siem Reap province.

    “One journalist reported to Khmer Sthapana that on that day, he and five other people with three cars traveled to the Anlong Veng district. When they arrived at the site of an accident, they saw an overturned truck carrying fuel at the pedestrian lane of the road. So the three journalists parked their cars to see the accident. At the same time, men unloading the fuel threatened them, ‘What are the three of you doing here? You have no right here. If anyone wants to take pictures of me I do not allow it, because you all are from some unknown newspaper; just get away! You know this belongs to Oknha Hun To [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s nephew]; but you know nothing!’ Then the journalists started to ask whether the truck has a legal permit or not for this kind of transport. About 15 minutes later, another car with a RCAF license plate arrived, and a man from that car asked who took photos. Suddenly that man hit Mr. Te Limhak, a journalist from Damneung Khmer Pises, then one of the merchants continued to hit him seriously so that his mouth was bleeding and he kicked him. After that, that man ordered his followers to take tubes to threaten them and shouted that such unknown journalists should not be allowed to be here.

    “Mr. Khut Khatna, aged 45, who is a reporter and the publishing editor of Chbas Kar, said that the three journalists which were attacked are 1. he himself, Khut Khatna, male, aged 45; he lives in Ou Thkov village, Roleab commune, Sampov Meas district, in Pursat province, and he is the editor of Chbas Kar – his lip on the right side was injured, and his nasal bone was broken, and he still feels internal pain; 2. Te Limhak, male, aged 37, he lives in Siem Reap and is a reporter of Damneung Khmer Pises, was injured on his face and neck, he was kicked twice and his camera was broken; and 3. Sim Socheat, aged 38, a reporter of Samakum Apyeakret Pracheathipatai in Siem Reap – he was able to escape from the hitting. Knowing that merchants attacked the three journalists, citizens and especially those who are professional journalists in Siem Reap, cannot accept such events and they request that the police has to take action against those crooked people.

    “Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of Information Mr. Thieng Vandarong said that he received information that merchants attacked three journalists yesterday; however, this information is so far only reported from one side. Mr. Thieng Vandarong added that this behavior cannot be accepted, because the journalists had only something to write and cameras; if they just took photographs, the merchants have no justification to hit them; they violated the journalists’ rights to cover information. Therefore, being among the leadership of the Ministry of Information, he will ask the police and authorities of all levels to seek justice for those journalists.

    “After the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo, a journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer, and of his son, the public strongly condemns such brutal acts conducted by cowardly people hiding behind the power of others. After all, the merchants hit the journalists just because they took photographs of the over-turned truck transporting fuel. Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #50, 16.7.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Wednesday, 16 July 2008


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1694, 16.7.2008

    • [Spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior] Khieu Sopheak: Investigation of the Shooting of Journalist [Mr. Khim Sambo and his son, who was 21 years old] Is Moving Forwards
    • Official Development [grant] Aid [of US$897,247] of Japan [for the construction of a lower secondary school in Battambang and for the clearing of landmines in the community of Kamrieng, Battambang] Was Granted by Japanese Non-Government Organizations [School Aid Japan and Japan Mine Action Service]
    • South Korea Will Summon Its Ambassador from Japan [because of a dispute over an island which is called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese]
    • Iran Has Found Another New Big Oil Field [from which 1,100 million barrels can be extracted]


    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #50, 16.7.2008

    • Three Journalists Were Attacked by Merchants Who Transport Illegal Fuel
    • Fishing Boats of Vietnam Still Come to Do Fishing in the Khmer Sea Illegally


    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6398, 16.7.2008

    • The Former Members of Rasmach’s Group [who were accused of having committed 13 separate kidnappings in which they netted more than $1.3 million before their leader was killed in August 2000] Who Were Free from Punishment Are Identified as the Group That Killed Dr. Keo Iev, Director of the Oral Fresh Water Company
    • Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC – Calls for Actions to Prevent Anarchic Shootings


    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3513, 16.7.2008

    • [Vice-President of the Sam Rainsy Party] Mr. Kong Korm Asked the National Election Committee to Lock Up the Seals of Commune Councilors in Neutral Places around the Election Days [in order that they cannot be used to seal Forms 1018 – Form 1018 is an identity document required to vote, in case an eligible voter does not have a National Identification Card or a passport, or an identification card as a civil servant, as a member of the police, or an army identification card, a family booklet with an identification picture, or a document identifying a person as a monk – then their Commune Council could establish an identification using Form 1018]
    • A Siem [Thai] Opposition Group Accused Forty Two High Ranking Officials of Betraying the Nation [by supporting the Cambodian proposal to list the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site without presenting the case to the parliament for discussion]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4642, 16.7.2008

    • 50 Thai [black-clad border protection unit] Soldiers Rushed into a Khmer Pagoda near the Preah Vihear Temple [after three Thai demonstrators were caught by Cambodian police, because they jumped across a fence of the Cambodian border checkpoint]
    • A Bomb Exploded and Another Bomb Was Found in time; the Norodom Ranariddh Party Said It Was a Threat to One of Its Members [no one is injured – Moung Russey district, Battambang]
    • The First Biogas Plant in Cambodia Set Up by a Korean Company [with investment from the MHBIO Energy Group, a Korean company] Will Start Producing in October of This Year [at Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]
    • [Famous singer] Sokun Nisa Denied She Was the One Who Drove a Lexus and Hit a Truck [she said the driver was her friend, because she cannot drive, she sat at the back seat]


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3360, 16.7.2008

    • In Soklida’s Aunt [Ms. Ya Soknim] Said that Chea Ratha [In Soklida’s lesbian partner] Ruined Her Whole Life [because she was attacked with acid]

    Have a look at the last editorial – The struggle towards openness and access to information happens in many places – and it may help to mutually learn from other experiences.

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    Thursday, 26.6.2008: Asian Development Bank: Cambodia Has Not Reached the Education System Which Was Set as a Goal

    Posted on 26 June 2008. Filed under: Week 566 | Tags: , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 566

    “Phnom Penh: After internal wars which had blocked Cambodian education, Cambodia has paid attention to develop it, but the present numbers show that the general situation of the system of education is still poor. This was reported by the Asian Development Bank [ADB] recently.

    “In this report, issued on 17 June 2008 about the situation of education and strategies for its development, ADB found that many schools, which do not get enough support in Cambodia, have the highest numbers of students per class in Asia, and the rate of students dropping out of school while repeating classes have an average rank in the region.

    “The ADB report shows that the education system in Cambodia has not reached the global primary education goal. Cambodia is facing failure to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal for education by 2015. Cambodia gets good scores for the number of students enrolling in primary classes at 92%. This report demonstrates that the rate of students dropping out of school is high, which is the most important problem among many problems making it difficult for the educational sector in Cambodia; the rate of students finishing primary education is just 64%, which is a disappointing number. In Cambodia, students repeating a class is 10%, making Cambodia one of four countries which have high rates of students repeating a class.

    “The ADB report shows also that there are many reasons making parents to decide to stop to send their children to school. These reasons include poverty, schools are located far from the home, the need to help parents with their work at home or for farming, and the view that schools are not safe in terms of the general situation, and they are not related to the needs of the people at all. Another reason is that teachers have to take care of too many students – a teacher has to teach 56 students in one class in Cambodia, which is the highest rate in Asia; it is higher than that of Bangladesh, where a teacher teaches 55 students, and that of Afghanistan, where a teacher teaches 43 students.

    “This report states that the teachers’ small salary, and the fact that the state does not highly value the role of teachers in society, as well as the fact that teachers have more tasks than to teach students, make the occupation as a teacher to be less interesting for potential applicants.

    “Regarding the expenses spent by the government, there is only 1% of domestic incomes of Cambodia spent on primary education, which is less than the average expense of 3.7% which is set for developing countries. However, the ADB stated that the high level of education in Cambodia is a good result to develop the country after years of war, while the number of students enrolling at universities increased to over 47,800 last year; compared to the numbers in 1980, there were only 601 students enrolling. This report also shows that the ADB is playing an important role in improving the Cambodian educational system by providing support by funding political reforms and supporting projects to deal with closing gaps by providing funds. This report also shows that the ADB has provided support for Cambodia to promote the quality of education, as well as of administration and planning, to enhance the teachers’ capacity, and to expand the opportunity for students to get secondary and higher-secondary education. Cambodia ranks 103rd in the development index of the education program of the World Bank, which evaluates the development of 120 developing countries in achieving basic education for all children and youth by 2015, and Cambodian stands some numbers under Burma [which ranks 112th], and ranks 24 numbers under Vietnam.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1 #33, 26.6.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Thursday, 26 June 2008


    Deum Tnot, Vol.1, #20, 26-27.6.2008

    • Process to Arrest the Suspect Chea Ratha Regarding the Acid Attack [on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt] Seems to Be Totally Quiet!
    • Head of The Royal Government of Cambodia [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Decided to Assign Too Many Advisors without Thinking about the Country’s Prestige


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1677, 26.6.2008

    • [President of Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Mr. Rong Chhun Said There Is Corruption [bribing teachers with US$8 to US$10, and the math test documents leaked in Battambang and Phnom Penh] during the Second Semester Examination of Grade 12 Students – the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports Denied This
    • The Latest News: Tropical Cyclone in Myanmar Killed 84,500 People


    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #185, 26.6.2008

    • Suon Sereiratha, Director of the Cambodian Action Committee for Justice and Equity, Said that [commander of the prime minister’s Bodyguard Unit] Hing Bun Heang Planed to Kill Mr. Sam Rainsy during 2004-2005


    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1 #33, 26.6.2006

    • Asian Development Bank: Cambodia Has Not Reached the Education System Which Was Set as a Goal


    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3496, 26.6.2008

    • European Community Sent 44 Long-Period Election Observers to the Provinces for the Election Campaign
    • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association Suggests to the King to Intervene for the Release of Former Monk Tim Sakhan [who has been defrocked on the accusation of having perpetrated an offense against the Buddhist law, because he is accused to have destroyed the harmony between Vietnam and Cambodia, now jailed in Vietnam]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4625, 26.6.2008

    • Political Parties Begin to March for the Election Campaign Today
    • High Ranking Officials of the Cambodian Mekong River Committee Are Concerned that the Tonle Sap Lake Preservation Project Fails [after aid projects of donor countries finish]
    • In Phnom Penh, There Are More than 1,000 Tonnes of Garbage per Day, but Toxic Waste Is Not Well Controlled
    • Petroliam Nasional Berhad [PETRONAS – Malaysia] Provided Scholarships to [five] Students of Cambodia [to study in Malaysia]
    • [Thai Prime Minister] Samak Was Blamed for Not Protecting the Monarchy and for the Handling of the Preah Vihear Temple Case [by the opposition party during the parliamentary session on 25 June 2008]


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3343, 26.6.2008

    • [Human Right Party president and former president of Cambodian Center for Human Rights] Kem Sokha Committed Corruption by Taking 30% to 40% of the Total Funds of Nearly US$1 Million per Year [according to Dr. Chhim Phal Vorun, former official of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, and Director of the Institute for Civil Education]
    • Trains Are an Important Means to Transport Wood

    Have a look at the last editorial – it is almost frightening to see to which extent there are strong emotions, disregarding related legal documents.

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    Saturday, 21.6.2008: The World Bank Group: World Bank and Multiple Donors Help Cambodia Achieve its Health Goals

    Posted on 21 June 2008. Filed under: Week 565 | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565


    World Bank Project Proposes Health Sector Reform Strategies

    “Although donor countries have detailed development plan of the country, but as nowadays a mechanism for the elimination of corruption in Cambodian society is not yet in place, Khmer poor citizens face difficulties in the health sector. Recently, the World Bank has proposed health sector reform strategies to develop the health sector in Cambodia. Though there were hundreds of millions of dollars spent since 1996, there is still no noticeable focus on Khmer poor citizens from state institutions. Although the health sector improved somewhat, Khmer poor citizens are still seriously affected by discrimination, and the requirement to pay money for different services.

    “According to the World Bank, strategies are prepared for the health sector from 2008 to 2015, summarized as follows:

    “The World Bank has approved to provide a credit of US$30 million to support the implementation of the Cambodian 2005-2015 health sector strategies. These strategies aim to promote preventive health and heath services for Khmer citizens, especially focusing on women, children, and the poor.

    “This credit will be used to provide financing for the Second Health Sector Support Program, and in a period of five years, this program will receive a total credit of US$120 million from six development partners. As for the World Bank, the credit will be provided to the International Development Association [IDA] which is an agency of the World Bank that is in charge of providing supports to the world’s poorest countries. A part of the aid will be provided from the Department for International Development [DFID-UK], AusAID [Australia], UNICEF, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA], and the Agence Française de Développement [AFD]. Also, other development partners expect to join this program during the implementation process.

    “The Second Health Sector Support Program will use the health plan of the Royal Government of Cambodia and its mechanisms to observe the results and to share the management of the program jointly, and to allocate the resources as a joint package. This program had been organized to help Cambodia to improve its health situation through strengthening the capacity and mechanisms of its institutions that help the government and the development partners, and it can guarantee achievements in the health sector to be more efficient and more effective than before.

    “The Second Health Sector Support Program will increase available resources to ensure the promotion of the health of mothers and children, as well as to contribute to deal with new heath problems, such as injuries and chronic diseases. This plan promotes the quality of training of health professionals, including midwives, and strengthens health service delivery at heath centers and referral hospitals. This program also helps the government to become a helper in health systems. Many poor citizens will benefit a lot from this program, because this program aims to expand the supports for Health Equity Funds in order to help poor citizens to have the opportunity to receive major health care and preventive health care. This program also assists civil society organizations in making health plans at the local level, and in observing the provision of services.

    “Professor Eng Huot, secretary of state of the Ministry of Health, said, ‘During the last few decades, the heath of Khmer citizens improved noticeably. The average life expectancy has increased from 52 to 58 years for men and from 56 to 64 years for women, the death rates of infants and children from diseases also declined; as for the infection by HIV and AIDS, it can also be prevented. However, we still have to address many major problems. These include the high maternal mortality, the slow progress in fighting malnutrition, and the rising cost for health care; and there is still the poor quality of health care, and the rise of injuries and non-communicable diseases. We hope that with a lot of support through the Second Health Sector Support Program from the World Bank and different development partners, we will have the ability to achieve and to guarantee the continuity to reach the Millennium Development Goals as well as to promote equity in the health sector. The Second Health Sector Support Program will be important to promote harmonization, and to be along the lines of harmonizing of all aid in the heath sector, to be in line with the intentions and commitments as stated in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the International Health Partnership.’

    “The World Bank Country Director for Cambodia Ian Porter sated, ‘The World Bank has worked in the health sector since 1996 through two projects – the Disease Control and Health Development Project, and the Health Sector Support Project. We continue to maintain strong relations with the government and other development partners in assisting the health sector. We are satisfied to see the process of the health sector supporting project which is in line with assistance strategies for Cambodia, created in cooperation with DFID, the Asian Development Bank, and the UN system.’

    “Claire Moran, the Country Manager for the UK Department for International Development – DFID – said, ‘I am delighted to hear that the World Bank and the donor countries have created this new project. This project not only speeds up development towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the health sector, but it is also an important measure to guarantee the efficiency of the use of aid in the health sector. In line with this commitment, development partners and the Royal Government of Cambodia signed the International Health Partnership agreement in September 2007, which is a new program, and there is the plan to collect resources and to work in a more coordinated way to streamline how development partners support the Ministry of Health.’” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3339, 21.6.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Saturday, 21 June 2008

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1673, 21.6.2008

    • Vietnam Runs the First Factory to Produce Construction Products in Cambodia
    • Police and Tens of Thousands of Demonstrators Faced Each Other in Bangkok [20 June 2008]
    • Thailand Ranks Among the Worst Countries for Refugees [according to the World Refugee Survey 2008 of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #182, 21.6.2008

    • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Said a Citizen Should Get US$800 from Corrupt Officials, Not Just a Sarong [sarcastic – sarong: a kind of long skirt]

    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #30, 21-23.6.2008

    • Opposition Party and Civil Society Organizations Are Concerned about the Printing of Ballots beyond the Numbers Needed, and That They Have No High Quality
    • Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia [NICFEC] Vows to Provide Training to Those Who Are Involved in the Election Work at the Basis of the 1,621 Communes
    • Thousands of Hectares of Land in Anlong Veng [District] and at Dangrek Mountain Were Burnt by Merchants and Enclosed to Be Claimed as Their Own Land [Oddar Meanchey]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6377, 21-22.6.2008

    • New Map of the Preah Vihear Temple Was Shown; Government Consents to the Agreement over the Preah Vihear Temple of Cambodia [20 June 2008]
    • Five Khmer and Two Thai Fishing Laborers Escaped from a [Thai] Fishing Boat Boss by Riskily Swimming across the Sea to Seek Rescuers [Sihanoukville]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3492, 21-22.6.2008

    • Kampuchea Krom Khmer Association [in the United States] Plans to Hold Demonstration against a Visit by the Yuon [Vietnamese] Prime Minister to the United States [on 24 June 2008]
    • Authority Blocks the Money of Chea Ratha [who is involved in the acid attack on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt on 8 May 2008] in a Bank Temporarily [according to the head of the national Interpol office Keo Vanthan]

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4621, 21.6.2008

    • The chairman of the EU election observers group [Mr. Martin Callanan]: Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity Will Not Be Revoked before the Election [he said so on 20 June 2008, after he received confirmation from Mr. Hor Namhong during a meeting on 18 June 2008, who sued Mr. Sam Rainsy
    • The Cambodian King [Norodom Sihamoni] Will Visit Vietnam Early Next Week
    • [Former Thai Prime Minister] Chavalit Yongchaiyudh Told [the current Prime Minister] Samak to Resign while Thousands Surrounded the Government Building [he put three conditions for Mr. Samak Sundaravej: 1. Resign from his position, 2. Dissolve the Assembly to hold new elections, 3. Create a Government of National Unity; and he warned that if there is no discussion between the government and the leaders of the demonstrators, there may be another coup to finish this confrontation]

    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3339, 21.6.2008

    • The World Bank Group: World Bank and Multiple Donors Help Cambodia Achieve its Health Goals
    • One Liter of Fuel Costs Riel 2,000 More than in the Bordering Countries

    Have a look at the last editorial – press freedom was strongly under threat

    Monday, 16.6.2008: Female Sex Workers and AIDS Activists Voice Concerns over New Law

    Posted on 17 June 2008. Filed under: Week 565 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


    Apologies for the delayed posting – I am in a hospital, and therefore some delays in editing may happen also during the next days.

    Norbert Klein

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 565

    “On 15 February 2008, Cambodia implemented its new law to curb down human trafficking and sexual exploitation. This law aims to punish criminals who traffic humans and commit sexual exploitation, in order to protect human dignity and human rights, to promote the values of proper customs and traditions of the country, and in order to comply with the protocol of the United Nations on these problems. Article 23 of this law defines Prostitution a having sexual intercourse with an unspecified person or other sexual conduct of any kind in exchange for any value.’

    “However, entertainment workers, sex workers, and AIDS activists voice concerns about this law. A 36-year-old female sex worker of a brothel in Sihanoukville, the resort and international seaport, said, ‘I had never heard of the law talking about sexual exploitation, and if it is true, I think that it is a severe problem for us. I agree that sex work undermines Khmer culture and Khmer women’s reputation, but we have no choice.’ Sreyrath, who is a widow with four children, and who has been working as a sex worker nearly 10 years, said that she and her friends do not want to do such work, but it is because they are poor and illiterate. And Rath was trafficked to work as a prostitute in Thailand in the late 1990s; she used to use drugs as well. She said, ‘We are sex workers because of poverty and of the social situation which forces us to do this job. The leaders should understand our situation.’

    “Poverty and the lack of skills seem to be significant factors hindering the social progress for women. Most of the interviewed women said their husbands died, and the big burden fell on them, especially it is really difficult for those who have children. For instance, as 27-year-old widow with three children, working in a restaurant said, ‘I do not want to go out to sleep with men, but since my husband died, I have no one else to depend on. I have no skill to find another job. Sleeping with one guest one night, I can get US$30, sometimes, US$100. If the law is adopted and it is the implemented seriously, I think it will be very difficult for us. We do not know what other job else could do.’

    “According to Cambodia’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the number of women who do sex work regularly is approximately 3,430, and 13,723 do it occasionally. The organization KHANA with cooperating partner organizations provides knowledge and information on HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases’ prevention to 1,568 regular sex workers and to 4,715 occasional sex workers.

    “Anter Nita, Director of the Sihanoukville-based. Community United for Development [CUD], said if the new law will be enforced strongly; sex workers, especially those at present at brothels, will do clandestine work .

    “Nita added, ‘My organization has regularly educated sex workers to help them to protect themselves from infection from AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, teaching them methods to persuade guests who want to force them to have sex without condoms, and teaches them methods to find good services for their health care. Our present program ‘One hundred percent condom use’ and the education programs for preventing diseases among sex workers will be affected, if they work clandestinely.’ According to reports from some local non-government organizations, police of some provinces warn owners of Karaoke parlors and of bars that they will be fined, if condoms are found in their places. These reports shows that since the implementation of this law started, some brothels have been closed, and people dare not to talk or to put condoms openly.

    “Sreyrath said, ‘I would like to suggest that the law should not penalize women who are sex workers, otherwise we will have no means to feed ourselves. We really do not want work as sex workers, but we have no other jobs. Moreover, with this law sex workers will move around and continue to do sex work with no definite places to stay, and they cannot receive education about AIDS.’” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1668, 15-16.6.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Monday, 16 June 2008


    Chouy Khmer, Vol.2, #120, 16.6.2008

    • Co-prosecutor of the [Khmer Rouge] Tribunal Plans to Detain Three More Former Khmer Rouge Leaders [whose name have not been mentioned, but they are known holding positions of Generals of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, now living in Oddar Meanchey]
    • Siem [Thai] Police Posted Chea Ratha’s Portraits Everywhere to Trace Hewr Down and Hand Her Over to Khmer Authorities to Be Prosecuted [over the acid attack on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt]
    • President of the Kampuchea Krom Khmer Association Thach Ngoc Thach Continues Plan to March to Kampuchea Krom [to urge Vietnam to respect human rights]


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1668, 15-16.6.2008

    • Female Sex Workers and AIDS Activists Voice Concerns over New Law
    • While Prices of Fuel Increase, the Measure of the Liter [seems] Declining [this is a suspicion expressed by moto-taxi drivers]
    • Thailand Prohibits the Import of Rice from Cambodia through Border Crossing [Battambang]


    Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #591, 16.6.2008

    • The Editor-in-Chief of Moneaksekar Khmer [Mr. Dam Sith] Was Released on Bail by the Court in Response to a Letter of Guarantee by Prime Minister Hun Sen [15 June 2008]
    • Yuons [Vietnamese] Say Although They Do Not Vote, the Cambodian People’ Party Still Wins


    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6372, 16.6.2008

    • Tuberculosis Program Is Strengthened by following the Anti-AIDS Programs


    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3487, 16.6.2008

    • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls for Members of the Cambodian People’s Party Who Care for the Nation and for Justice to Join the Sam Rainsy Party


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4616, 15-16.6.2008

    • World Bank Provided Loans and Grant Aid Worth US$41.5 to Cambodia [for road construction and for the distribution of land to the poor – 13 June 2008]
    • Biological Diversity Treaty [to conserve and reduce the destruction of biological diversity and natural resources] held in June 2008, Focusing on the Financial Mechanism [at the city of Bonn/Germany [191 countries participating, Germany providing US$500 to the biological preservation fund]
    • Construction Site of a Bridge Crossing Tonle Sap River at Prek Pnov [worth US$42,550,520 to be implemented by L.Y.P Group Company of Oknha Ly Yong Phat] Will Be Opened Today
    • Woman Was Robbed, Hit with a Gun, while Leaving the Olympic Market, and a Box Containing More than US$30,000 Was Taken


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3334, 15-16.6.2008

    • The National Election Committee Prints Twenty Four Different Ballots for the National Fourth Term Election

    Have a look at the last editorial – press freedom was strongly under threat

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