Disagreement among Co-Investigating Judges at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – Thursday, 10.6.2010

Posted on 11 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“Phnom Penh: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [ECCC], called the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, announced
that there is disagreement among co-investigating judges after there had been some misinformation, and an international co-investigating judge considers it as disagreement.

“According to the announcement by the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges, released on 9 June 2010, the co-investigating judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal want to correct some information that led to a misunderstanding in a publication on 8 June 2010 of The Cambodia Daily, with the headline, ‘Khmer Rouge Tribunal Begins Investigations of Five New Regime Suspects’ and on 9 June 2010 ‘Khmer Rouge Judge Does Not Sign On to New Investigations.’

“The same announcement says that to ensure clarity, the co-investigating judges decided to make a public announcement on the above case, and declared on 9 June 2010 that the international co-investigating judge considers that there is disagreement between two investigating judges (a national judge, Mr. You Bunleng, and an international judge, Mr. Marcel Lemonde) over the appropriate time to begin inquiries.

“The announcement adds that relating to the plan for investigations on Case 003 and 004 to be organized before the end of this year, the international co-investigating judge will continue this work alone in accordance with the regulations of Procedure 27 of the internal procedures of the ECCC.

“Regarding the background of the disagreement, an international co-investigating judge, Mr. Marcel Lemonde, wrote a letter dated 2 June 2010 to Judge You Bunleng, saying, as the investigations on Case 002 have been completely finished, the investigators should not be kept to get their salaries paid without having work to do. He added that he cannot wait longer without a clear result. Therefore, if a warrant to begin new investigations would not be signed by Friday, 4 June 2010 at noon, he would have to write a note about the disagreement, because it could possibly lead to various negative consequences.

“The Khmer Rouge Tribunal asked The Cambodia Daily to correct the information published on 8 June 2010 with the headline “Khmer Rouge Tribunal Begins Investigations of Five New Regime Suspects” on page 26, claiming that the press quoted information that was ‘non-basis information’ and was not from the Office of the Co-Investigating Judges.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2271, 10.6.2010

Note:

The Cambodia Daily added on 10 June 2010 that Mr. Marcel Lemonde stated that the letter to start further investigations waited for three weeks to be signed. Then Mr. You Bonleng signed it.

The Cambodia Daily then quotes Mr. You Bonmleng’s letter from 8 June 2010:

“Throughout the process of reflection on your proposal and the ultimatum you imposed on me, I had thought that it seemed time to take action as part of cases 003 and 004; I therefore signed the draft rotatory letters on Friday, June 4, 2010.

However, upon more attentive and deeper consideration of the question, I think that it is not yet opportune to take action in cases 003 and 004.

So I permit myself to return to you the draft rogatory letters containing your signature, mine being crossed out, and we shall contemplate discussion on any measures concerning cases 003 and 004 in the month of September 2010.”

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 10 June 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1443, 10-11.6.2010

  • 250 Children Scavengers [at the major garbage dump of Phnom Penh] in Stung Meanchey Received Learning Materials from the Minister of Social Affairs [Mr. Ith Sam Heng]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #500, 10.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Considers the Armed Clash [between Cambodian and Thai soldiers] at Chambok Koang as a Minor Incident

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2271, 10.6.2010

  • Disagreement among Co-Investigating Judges at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] Is Disappointed with the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur [who plans to focus only on judicial reforms in Cambodia, while ADHOC wants him to pay attention also to the land issues that result from the provisions of economic concession land to companies and the removal of people from the land]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #678, 10.6.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Called on Officials under His Administration to Conduct Reforms Using the Aid Received
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: The Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [the murdered head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Will Be Shown Soon [though the authorities did not allow it]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6978, 10.6.2010

  • The Border Marker Number 241 at the K’om Samnor-Vinh Soeung International Border Crossing Was Inaugurated; the Provinces of Kandal and of An Giang [of Vietnam] Have Land and Water Borders of 29.5 Kilometer
  • Bill Gates Donates US$1.5 Billion to Impoverished Countries for the Care for Women and Children

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3902, 10.6.2010

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Does Not Believe that Foreign Aid Can Be Used for the Right Targets and with Transparency, though [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Promised to Carry Out Reforms

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #190, 10.6.2010

  • Thirty Border Crossings in Banteay Meanchey Were Closed [in order to stop the illegal import of pigs, petroleum, gas, fruit, and no-quality foods from Thailand to Cambodia]
  • Cambodia Sugar [produced by a sugar factory in Koh Kong] Can Be Exported for the First Time [10,000 tonnes of sugar are exported to London]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5220, 10.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Called on Citizens Not to Do Football Betting during the FIFA World Cup [which will start on 11 June 2010, and he asked the authorities to suppress betting]
  • An Old French Man Received Two Years Imprisonment for Buying Child Debauchery, but His Imprisonment Will Be Implemented for Seven Months Only [Phnom Penh]

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Cambodia Will Be Able to Produce Oil in 2012, and Cambodia and Japan Jointly Study a Wetland Area near the Tonle Sap Lake – Wednesday, 5.5.2010

Posted on 6 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“The Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, stated that Cambodia will be able to produce oil in 2012. He said so during the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and the National Petroleum Authority of Cambodia in the morning of 4 May 2010 at the Council of Ministers.

“Deputy Prime Minister Sok An stated on the occasion that he strongly believes in the project signed that day, because it enables to study whether or not to explore for oil and gas resources, especially to explore for oil in Block 17, adding, ‘I welcome and wish this Japanese company well for having decided to invest in Cambodia.’

“The deputy director of JOGMEC said that he cannot foresee the amount of money to be invested in this project, as today’s signing allows the company only to study the field, but it has not reached a stage to discuss mining explorations. According to the plan, the study might take around two years, and then, the company might conduct explorations as soon as possible.

“A spokesperson of the Office of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Ek Tha, said at that occasion, ‘This is an agreement that encourages joint industrial studies between two Asian countries, Cambodia and Japan.’ He added, ‘The area to be studied covers 6,500 square kilometers, and it is to the northeast of the Tonle Sap Lake in Kompong Thom.’ According to officials, the JOGMEC had already conducted magnetic and pressure studies between 1997 and 1999.

“Mr. Ek Tha went on to say that there are concerns raised by environmentalists in Cambodia about this project. But he said that Cambodia and the Japanese oil company are studying also the possible bad impacts on the environment in Block 17, in order to reduce or to avoid those impacts, since Japan is a country that strongly cares about the environment. Cambodia is also keenly caring about the environment in order to maintain the sustainability of resources in this long term project. The environment is also an important issue for the Cambodians of future generations.

“It should be noted that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on commercial cooperation on underground oil and gas resources was chaired by the Parliamentary Secretary for Economy, Trade and Industry Takahashi Chiaki [大臣政務官 高橋千秋], who said that his country is the second biggest donor to Cambodia, granting US$12 million each year.

“According to the Council of Ministers, commercial ties between Cambodia and Japan are progressing, amounting to US$105.18 million between 1994 and 2009. Cambodia exported products to Japan worth US$69.6 million in 2008, but only US$6.8 million within 8 months of 2009.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #468, 5.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #468, 5.5.2010

  • Cambodia Will Be Able to Produce Oil in 2012, and Cambodia and Japan Jointly Study a Wetland Area near the Tonle Sap Lake
  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Will Set Up a Democracy Compound for Non-Violent Protesters [which is not far from the National Assembly – a law relating to this creation will become valid in June 2010]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2240, 5.5.2010

  • The Minister of Information [Mr. Khieu Kanharith] Wants All Journalists Associations to Unite into One [to facilitate the organization of training events and to strengthen international trust, and to better protect journalists’ rights; at present there are 23 different journalists’ associations]
  • The Malaysian Prime Minister [Tun Abdul Razak] Will Visit Cambodia Officially for Three Days [from 9 to 11 May 2010 in response to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s invitation]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #647, 5.5.2010

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6947, 5.5.2010

  • A Man Coming from Pailin to Buy a Car Bringing More Than US$15,000 with Him Was Robbed [by four robbers] and Wounded by One Shot [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3871, 5.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Parliamentarian] Son Chhay Demands the Government to Explain to the National Assembly about ‘Tea Money’ and Payments from the BHP Billiton and the Total Petroleum Companies, as Well as about Payments for the Provision of Mobile Phone Licenses

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #164, 5.5.2010

  • Official [Mr. Chheng Kimson, head of the Forestry Administration]: 6,000 Cubic Meters of Wood Were Seized and 100 Suspects Were Accused [during the present campaign]
  • The Ministry of Health Will Provide Logos to Be Displayed at Restaurants That Serve Food According to Good Sanitation Standards

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5189, 5.5.2010

  • Cambodia Tells Thailand that the Ta Krabei Temple and the Cable Lift to the Mountain Is On Khmer Territory [this response was made after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand had sent a diplomatic note to Cambodia, claiming that the temple and the construction site for a cable lift are on Thai territory]
  • A Trade Union and the Opposition Party Plan to Present the Documentary Film ‘Who Killed Chea Vichea’ [while the authorities had warned they would take legal action against this]
  • Court Detains Fourteen Villagers for Destroying State Forest [Banteay Srey, Siem Reap]
  • The National Television of Cambodia Spends US$600,000 to US$700,000 Each Year [for hiring a satellite link] to Send Television Programs to the United States of America [now, the Ministry of Information wants to send them through standard Internet procedures which is cheaper]

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On World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, an Appeal Was Made Not to Restrict the Freedom of Expression of Cambodian Journalists – Tuesday, 4.5.2010

Posted on 5 May 2010. Filed under: Week 663 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 663

“At least 11 journalists are reported to have been killed unjustly [since 1992 in Cambodia], and the perpetrators who killed them were not convicted according to the law. On the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2010, journalists and civil society organizations in Cambodia appealed for the elimination of restrictions on the freedom of expression of Cambodian journalists, which until now result in suffering just because they write and express their opinions.

“Cambodian Journalists met to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2010 to assess the situation of journalists in the previous year, and to point to various difficulties they are encountering in Cambodia. The most noticeable issue is the creation of new Penal Code, where observers and especially legal experts consider that it contains several points which may newly define crimes of journalists.

“The president of the Press Council of Cambodia, which has 15 major press associations as members, Mr. Sok Sovann, said that the World Press Freedom Day is an occasion where Cambodian journalists can gather to commemorate national and international journalists who lost their lives, were arrested, or are jailed because of their work as journalists. Mr. Sok Sovann added that the Press Council of Cambodia used 3 May 2010 as the date to inaugurate its headquarters, and there will be a commemoration for the Japanese journalist who recently was killed in Siam [Thailand]. Also, there will be a celebration for the creation of a memorial monument to commemorate former leading journalists.

“The Director of the Cambodian Institute for Media Research, Mr. Moeun Chhean Narith, monitored the progress of the press in Cambodia and noticed that the freedom of expression in Cambodia in 2009 dropped, compared to 2008. He added that some journalists were arrested and some were intimidated while they were covering events.

“Also, Reporters without Borders issued a report in February 2010, saying that freedom of expression in Cambodia remains difficult, as many journalists had to face accusations at courts, and some others are in detention or in prison. Fulfilling the work of a journalist in Cambodia is difficult due to the restrictions on press freedom.

“High ranking officials of the Sam Rainsy Party noticed that the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression in Cambodia were restricted, narrowing the space of democracy. It is recalled that journalists with a tendency towards the opposition party had frequently received threats. Even the parliamentarian Sam Rainsy had the expression of his ideas restricted during the sessions of the National Assembly, making some parliamentarians to wear masks as a sign of the restriction of the freedom of expression.

“Also the Cambodian Center for Human Rights released a statement for immediate publication, saying that the International Press Freedom Day is celebrated this year to mark the downturn of press freedom in Cambodia. Since Cambodia has practiced democracy since 1992, at least 11 journalists and those working related to journalism who criticized the Cambodian government are reported to have been murdered.

“The statement continues to say that at present, journalists and those working related to journalism are challenged with mistreatments through accusations embedded with politics and criticism. This violates the fundamental rights for expressing ideas as guaranteed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which are included in and protected by Article 31 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“The statement adds that the overuse of laws to intimidate and to suppress the media through torture, criminal charges, and mistreatment, blocks the open development of journalism in Cambodia and forces journalists to use self-censorship when expressing their opinions, so that they do not irritate the rich and the powerful. The Cambodian Center for Human Rights asked the government to promote and to protect press freedom and the freedom of expression in Cambodia.

“The Cambodian Center for Human Rights supports journalists, as some have faced mistreatment, violence, and intimidation when they received complaints for trying to report truth, justice, and responsibility, and the report praised journalists who had sacrificed their lives, struggling to promote the basic principles of the freedom of expression and of democracy.

“The names of the 11 murdered journalists are given by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights as

  1. Mr. Thou Thormongkol murdered on 11 June 1994
  2. Mr. Non Chan murdered on 7 September 1994
  3. Mr. Chan Dara on 8 December 1994
  4. Mr. Thun Bunly on 18 May 1996
  5. Mr. Chet Duongdara on 30 March 1997
  6. Mr. Pich Em on 4 May 1997
  7. Mr. Michael Sokhan Sinea on 7 July 1997
  8. Mr. Ou Saroeun on 15 October 1997
  9. Mr. Chour Chetharith on 18 October 2003
  10. Mr. Pov Sam Ath on 26 April 2007
  11. Mr. Khim Sambou on 11 July 2008

“The Ministry of Information of Cambodia published in its 2009 report that in Cambodia there are 385 newspapers, 50 newsletters, 172 magazines, 21 journalists associations, and several radio and television stations. Frequently, the Minister of Information called on journalists to closely adhere to their journalistic and moral codes, so that they can avoid complaints and mistreatment.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3868-3969, 3-4.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #466-468, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Attempt to Present the Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [killed in 2004 – the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Failed [as the police took the projection screen away – as there was no permission given by the Phnom Penh municipality]
  • China Announced to Provide Aid of Yuan 100 Million [approx. US$15 Million; plus 257 new military trucks and 50,000 soldiers’ uniforms] to Cambodia, and Continues to Support Cambodia
  • The Resulting Omen from the Royal Ploughing Ceremony: Corn Will Provide Good Yields, and Beans Offer Fairly Good Yields [there is no prediction about paddy rice yield, as the royal oxen ate little paddy rice]
  • One Day Before the International Labor Day, the Director and Staff of the Deum Ampil News Center Received a Letter with Death Threats from an Anonymous Sender

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2237-2239, 1-4.5.2010

  • Within One Year [from 3 April 2009 to 3 April 2010], Twenty Four Journalists Were Arrested [compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, when there were only two] and There Were Ten Complaints against Journalists [according to the Club of Cambodian Journalists]
  • Every Year Cambodia Imports Fruits from Thailand Amounting to About Baht 1 Billion [approx. US$31 Million]
  • [Minister of Information] Khieu Kanharith: The Opposition Party Still Uses Chea Vichea for Political Gain [as it implies that the government was behind his murder]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #271, 3.5.2010

  • Most Wood Traders Are Oknhas – Is It Therefore that [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Does Not Dare to Bring Them to Court?

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #644-646, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Right to Know Remains a Problem, if the Government Is Not Open to Support Press Freedom [according to the Club of Cambodian Journalists]
  • Chea Vichea’s Daughter, Chea Vichita, Asked Her Mom, ‘Why Was Dad Murdered while He Did Such Good Things?’

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6944-6946, 1-4.5.2010

  • The Government Starts to Conduct a New Census on Civil Servants to Control Their Real Number
  • An Anti-Drug Police Colonel Is under Arrest for Drug Smuggling [Phnom Penh]
  • While Gold Sellers Were Preparing Themselves in the Morning to Travel from Their Home to the Market, They Were Robed by [three] Robbers Who Took Away Jewelry Worth More Than US$100,000 [Battambang]
  • [The Mega] Night Club Was Raided by Police at Midnight, Arresting 109 Men and Women [Phnom Penh]
  • Seven Died and Thirteen Others Were Injured in a Traffic Accident When a Car Hit Cows Crossing the Road [Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3868-3969, 3-4.5.2010

  • On World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, an Appeal Was Made Not to Restrict the Freedom of Expression of Cambodian Journalists

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #162-163, 3-4.5.2010

  • China Promised to Support Cambodia in the Fields of Military, Investments, and the Economy
  • Cambodia and Japan Will Sign an Oil Exploration Agreement Today [for the Tonle Sap area]
  • [Former Phnom Penh police chief] Heng Pov Claims that there Is Torture in the Prisons
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva: New Elections Can Be Held on 14 November 2010

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5186-5188, 1-4.5.2010

  • On the International Labor Day on 1 May Trade Unions Demanded that their Salaries Should Be Increased, and the Rules for Their Work Conditions Should Be Respected
  • The Prime Minister Called on Institutions Involved to Strengthen the Observation of the Labor Law
  • 10 Out of 1,000 Children in Cambodia Have Heart Diseases [according to Dr. Hav Rathneary, a Cambodia child heart disease expert]
  • The Preah Vihear Court Led Armed Forces to Confiscate More Than 100 Cubic Meters of [illegally cut] Wood
  • The Biggest Fertilizer Companies in Vietnam [PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Joint Stock Company] Enter into the Cambodian Market [by establishing an office in Cambodia]

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National Holidays: Labor Day – Sunday – Royal Ploughing Ceremony – Saturday/Sunday/Monday, 1.-3.5.2010

Posted on 3 May 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

While the time runs and runs evenly, the different calendars – related to the year of the sun, or related to the phases of the moon, or related to cultural history and social-political events – have their own ways. And sometimes they lead to interesting crossings.

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, roughly at the beginning of the rainy season, marks the start of the planting time. And royal astrologers will observe the preferences of the drought animals during the ceremony, which food they prefer – offered to them on seven trays, with beans, corn, grass, rice, sesame seeds, water, and wine – to predict the coming season’s harvest.

We do not keep a record for The Mirror to compare the predictions with the actual results of the harvest several months later. But we just assume that there is some margin of error in the predictions, according to the different animals involved.

During the week, the Prime Minister criticized the big Institutions of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asia Development Bank, for making different predictions for the performance of the Cambodian economy by the end of the year. While the different economic benchmarks monitor and evaluate probably hundreds of data – every institution working independently – is it not surprising that their predictions, depending on so many factors not under their control – are still fairly similar?

The international financial turmoil has brought also a lot of unforeseeable changes for the Cambodian workers in the export and tourism industries, who create a major share of international income for Cambodia. Their work in the textile and shoe factories, and their work to serve foreign tourists visiting the country, is commemorated during Labor Day.

While some international tourist advisories advertise the Royal Ploughing Ceremony as an event worthwhile to visit and observe, some embassies advise tourists to avoiding meetings and events of the organized workers unions, as these may be related to conflicts in society.

One important, positive statement had been reported during the week. The Prime Minister was reported to have said, “Trade Unions Are Not My Enemy, and to Demonstrate Is Their Right.” Though Article 36 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia clearly states that “Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to form and to be member of trade unions,” also the notion can be found often assuming that there is a fundamental conflict between the government and the labor unions. Industry and labor have, by their very nature, different interests. But the experience of economically strong democratic countries with a market economy system – like France or Germany of Japan – shows that their strength grew from a political system which allowed for both strong unions and strong associations of industrialists.

In spite of this statement by the Prime Minister, tensions between the authorities and organized labor were building up before the Labor Day, because of the unresolved murder of the former leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Chea Vichea, who was killed in January 2004. Two people were apprehended at that time; when they were presented to court with the claim that they had confessed to have committed the murder, they revoked, but though there were no witnesses testifying against them, and no evidence beyond their confessions in prison presented, they were sentenced to 20 years in prison. Because of these publicly discussed irregularities, also the former King Sihanouk expressed his doubt that the real murderers were in prison. In 2007, the Appeals Court upheld their conviction, in spite of several witnesses assuring that one of the accused was not in Phnom Penh on the day of the killing, but 60 km away. After nearly five years in prison, the Supreme Court cited unclear evidence and called for a new investigation in December 2008; since that time, the two accused are provisionally out of prison. By now, there is no public information about what happened since.

When Chea Vichea was killed, Bradley Cox, who had made a documentary “Cambodia: Anatomy of an Election,” happened to be not far away, and he arrived some minutes after the killing. He was able to document the murder scene, and later follow the story further – the funeral, and the subsequent police and court actions.

Now the brother of Chea Vichea, Chea Mony, is the president of the Free Trade Union, and they had the plan to publicly show this documentary, “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [a trailer is available here]. The Khmer media had reported during the week various reasons why the authorities will not allow this documentary to be shown – the film would have to be first presented to the Ministry of Culture with a request to get it approved, or: this documentary has been imported illegally – while the Union intended to show it anyway near the place where Chea Vichea has been gunned down, while he was reading a newspaper.

This is a report from 1 May 2010 on the Internet:

1 May 2010 –
Cambodia screening is stopped before it starts

Cambodian workers who hoped to see Who Killed Chea Vichea? on Saturday didn’t get so much as a bite of popcorn before police intervened and tore down the screen.

Here’s what we’ve got so far, from witnesses on the scene:

The workers’ march arrived at the screening site, in front of the newsstand where Vichea was killed, around 5:00 p.m.

They were met by a force of some 100 police, many in riot gear, as well as local officials and a large group of other men not in uniform, presumably plainclothes security forces.

The organizers went ahead and erected the screen, which was made out of sheets. The police immediately told the main organizer, Rong Chhun of the Union Confederation, to take it down as he did not have a permit. When he refused, they pushed in and pulled it down.

Mr. Chhun returned with a second screen, accompanied by opposition members of parliament, but that screen too was seized.

The workers resisted only briefly. “We did not want to have a big scene as we were outnumbered,” said one participant. “They were there to break down anything and for sure it would have been real force had we resisted and shown the movie.”

So far there are no reports of any arrests or injuries.

So the film was not shown publicly – in Cambodia. But the events of 1 May 2010 will probably contribute to get much more attention for it internationally, where it is scheduled to be shown at the following film festivals:

filmfestivals

filmfestivals

The demonstrations on 1 May 2010 of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia were not focused on the past. The ILO report in The Mirror from last Friday, 30.4.2010, “More Than 1,500 Workers Die Every Year in Cambodia because of Occupational Accidents” shows more problems ahead, in addition to the demands to raise the minimal wages – while facing the consequences of the international economic crisis, including an increasing competition for garment exports from other big exporters in the region – from China and from Vietnam.

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Cambodia Has to Construct 700 More School Buildings while 5% of the Children Reaching Schooling Age Are Not in Schools – Tuesday, 27.4.2010

Posted on 28 April 2010. Filed under: Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

“Phnom Penh: While the number of primary schools increases to almost 6,500 countrywide, this still cannot respond to the rising number of students every year, 5% of the children who cannot go to school are excluded.

“Does Cambodia have strategies to deal with this shortage? The Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports, Mr. Im Sethy, said, releasing the publication of the report about Education for All on Monday morning, 26 April 2010, ‘The 6,500 primary schools are not enough. We have to construct 700 more school buildings to provide proper education and to increase the number of students registered in schools.’

“According to a report of the Department of Planning of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports in 2008 and 2009, there were 6,476 schools and 2,311,107 students in total in Cambodia.

“Mr. Im Sethy added that ‘Our rate of school registration covers only 95% of the respective age group. That means 5% of the children cannot go to school, as they live in remote areas, but we are planning to gather them to register to attend school.’

“He continued to say, ‘We plan to collect also those children, so that they can go to school.’ He added, ‘The Ministry of Education alone cannot succeed. It needs the involvement from other related institutions and development partners.’

“Nobody can achieve results by just talking, so Mr. Im Sethy asked the World Bank, that has provided already more than US$54 million, to extend its aid for the construction of educational infrastructure, because during the last two years, aid has not been used on time, as some areas in Cambodia had been affected by floods during the rainy season, making it impossible to construct schools.

“Mr. Im Sethy went on to speak about the strategic goals of Education for All. Cambodia created a National Committee for Education for All with a National Plan 2003-2015, considering the meeting in Dakar in Senegal in 2000, together with the involvement of related institutions; the achievements appearing today result from clear policies and strategic plans to achieve Education for All.

“He added, ‘The Education for All plan approved in Dakar focuses only on primary education, but Cambodia has bigger ambitions than this, that is to achieve secondary education so that all Cambodian youth can end in Grade 9 following Article 68 of the Constitution.”

Note:

Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia – Article 68:

The State shall provide free primary and secondary education to all citizens in public schools. Citizens shall receive education for at least 9 years.

“He continued to say that following the first stage tree-prone and rectangular policy and the Second Stage Rectangular Strategy of the government, at present, there are 3.5 million Cambodian people learning, or one among four is in some learning processes.

“The Representative of UNESCO in Cambodia, Mr. Jinnai Teruo, said that Cambodia has made a lot of achievements in recent years in the equity of school registration, the quality and effectiveness of education, and the success in strengthening educational infrastructure, especially the registration in primary schools that increased from 93% in 2008 to 94% in 2009.

“He added that nevertheless there is still no equity in the registration between children in urban and in rural areas. This issue calls for increased attention towards those children, so that they too can go to school; infrastructure should be built for those without the opportunity to receive education who are at present not in schools, so that Cambodia can become successful in the Education for All plan.

“A Representative of the Global Campaign for Education, Ms. Leng Theavy, said, ‘This year, like in previous years, we have organized events to publicize the global campaign for Education for All in Cambodia in order to receive the announcement of results, and to determine follow-up goals of the global campaign for education following also other signatory countries of the Dakar declaration of 2000.’

“She added that the agreement aims at promoting the joint commitment of the government, of development partners, and of non-government organizations of each country, to ensure that the goals of the Education for All plan will be accomplished.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5182, 27.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2233, 27.4.2010

  • A Fierce Tropical Storm Destroyed 113 Houses and Killed a Young Girl [Banteay Meanchey]
  • An American Man Committed Suicide by Jumping from the Third Floor of a House [the reasons behind are not known – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6940, 27.4.2010

  • The US Embassy Celebrated the 40th Earth Day of Environmental Conservation [Phnom Penh]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Change Their Shirts while the Deadline for Them to Disperse Is Approaching

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3864, 27.4.2010

  • Mixed Authorities [border police and others] at the Poipet Border Crossing Continue to Extort Money from Cart Pullers Just as They Like

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #156, 27.4.2010

  • Draft Law on Compliant Procedures Involving Individuals Was Approved [this law offers courts the power to temporarily confiscate assets during divorce case proceedings to make sure that the property of each party is not sold before a verdict, and it provides to the courts the authority to decide on imprisonment to ensure child-support payments for children whose parents get divorced]
  • Cambodia Still Cannot Export Crocodile Leather because Crocodile Raising Has Not Met the Standards That Lead to Good Quality Leather [according to the head of the Fishery Administration Department, Mr. Nao Thuok]
  • China Is Provided with New Power as It Became the Third Major Member of the World Bank [after the United States of America and Japan]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5182, 27.4.2010

  • Cambodia Has to Construct 700 More School Buildings while 5% of the Children Reaching Schooling Age Are Not in Schools
  • Head of the Confederation Union [Mr. Rong Chhun] Plans to Play the Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” on 1 May 2010 [but he waits for permission from the government; Mr. Chea Vichea was the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers who was murdered in 2004; so far, the perpetrators have not been arrested]
  • The [Ratanakiri] Provincial Authorities Collected More Than 700 Cubic Meters of Wood Scattered Disorderly in the Forest

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The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap – Friday, 23.4.2010

Posted on 24 April 2010. Filed under: Week 661 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661

“Siem Reap: Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen expressed concern about the loss of ground water in Siem Reap that could lead to earth quakes that can damage the Angkor Wat Temple, for which safety cannot be guaranteed.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said so in the morning of 22 April 2010 in Svay Dangkum district, Siem Reap, during the inauguration of a Wastewater Management and Culvert System.

“He said that to further beautify Siem Reap City as the center of the province to attract a large number of tourists, the goal of Cambodia is not only to attract more than 2 million tourists, but our goal is to see as many as 5 million tourist arrivals. Therefore, we have to think about the creation of a larger airport. But our major problem now is to focus on the problem of the ground water used by big hotels. Now we are encouraging investment in bringing water from external water reservoirs to Siem Reap City. We cannot keep on using ever more ground water, because some big hotels consume too much of it, and this leads to the loss of balance between the earth layers and aquifers, which then may result in quakes that might seriously affect our rich cultural heritage. Thus, care has to be taken seriously.

“Samdech Hun Sen asked for a thorough check on big hotels that are drawing ground water, because the amount consumed per day cannot be just estimated, otherwise damage will occur in Siem Reap. Therefore, a good way out is to encourage companies to invest to develop water supply to be drawn from external reservoirs to replace the use of ground water in Siem Reap City.

“Regarding the beauty of the city, he spoke to the Siem Reap Governor, Mr. So Phearin, asking him to clean the Water Convolvulus [a semi-aquatic tropical plant grown as a leaf vegetable, known also as Water Spinach, Water Morning Glory, Chinese Spinach, and Swamp Cabbage] along the road from the airport to the city. He added, ‘You officials, you travel back and forth every day. You see it, but you do not care about it and let the weeds – Water Convolvulus and Water Hyacinths – grow along the road. It is not that you could not do anything. But you do not care about it!’ Last year, he had mentioned this already once, but nothing has changed. Early in the new year, he had reminded them once again, but still it is the same. He went on to say that the flood in Siem Reap results from disorderly constructions which block the flow of water. He continued to say that to develop Siem Reap City is not as difficult as Phnom Penh, which is 500 times more difficult, but still it can be developed. But here, just along the road, it does not happen. ‘Just pave the pedestrian walkways and put concrete slabs on the channel to cover for flowing water will beautify the city, providing an attractive view for the tourists, which is better than letting weeds and Water Convolvulus grow in the channels.

“He added, ‘I would just like to remind you again in case you forget. When one becomes governor of Siem Reap, it is better to have fixed these things before leaving Siem Reap again, because it does not cost much to do it. Roads in front of the houses of citizens and of hotels were already paved according to a regulation introduced. Some roads may be impossible to construct according to that regulation, so a fifty-fifty formula should be introduced [where the state pays half and citizens pay the other half of the cost]. Where the state can construct the roads, do it, because there are supporting funds available from the province and from the Apsara Authority. The real problem is that you did not care to do it.’

“In the meantime, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen praised the governor of Poipet for encouraging and coopering with the citizens to work on improvements. The good leadership there makes Poipet City have nice roads, attracting tourists, while Siem Reap City attracts weeds, Water Convolvulus, and Water Hyacinths.

“Siem Reap residents criticize the Siem Reap governor for not producing any noticeable development in the city. For example, the Siem Reap River is much smaller than the Sankae River in Battambang, but the Battambang authorities were able to pave the river banks with concrete slabs, while the Siem Reap River is like a channel, but the Siem Reap governor was not able to do the same. The pedestrian walkways in Siem Reap are bumpy. Some are paved with concrete slabs. Some are just the plain soil and muddy. Some are full of weeds, making it difficult to walk for the traveling tourists; instead, they have to walk on the road. The Siem Reap city does not offer attractive views for tourists at night, because of public order and sanitation problems.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 23 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #460, 23.4.2010

  • A Car Hit Four People Including an Unborn Baby and Killed Them, but the Takeo Police Released the Car Driver [in exchange for US$2,000]
  • The Asian Development Bank Provides a Loan of US$10.93 Million to Cambodia to Strengthen Infrastructure in Siem Reap [to implement construction projects and to deploy a culvert system]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2213, 28-29.4.2010

  • The Prime Minister Asked Citizens to Be Careful to Protect Themselves from Lightnings [recently, six people were killed by lightnings in one day in Pursat. He suggested that citizens should not hold any metal objects, like knives or axes, and turn off their mobile phones, radios, and TV sets]

The Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6937, 23.4.2010

  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Announced to Close Guesthouses along National Road 6A [from Phnom Penh to the north, as it is obvious that they do not serve tourists, but are “Love Hotels” offering places for people to have sex – Phnom Penh]
  • Laos Has Collected More Than US$80 Million from Gold Ore while More Ore Is Being Extracted

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3861, 23.4.2010

  • The Debts of Some Countries Are Increasing, and the International Monetary Fund Is Worried that Another, More Serious Economic Crisis May Break Out [also Cambodia is mentioned – when the debt increases, loans for the private sector are cut, so that big and small private enterprises encounter difficulties when they seek loans for their operations; as a result, workers of those enterprises lose their employment]
  • Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai government] Asked the United Nations to Deploy Peace Keeping Forces in Siam [Thailand] to Prevent Civil War and Violence

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.140, #155, 23.4.2010

  • The Producer [Mr. Bradley Cox] of the Documentary Film “Who Killed Chea Vichea” Wants to Present the Film in Cambodia [Mr. Chea Vichea was the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of Cambodia who was shot dead in 2004 – The film is to share info that the producer has recovered about persons who are supposed to have been behind the murder of Mr. Chea Vichea]
  • BHB Investigates Corruption Allegations in Cambodia [BHP Billiton is conducting an internal investigation over a corruption accusations related to getting a concession for Bauxite exploration in Mondolkiri in 2007 – BHP Billiton withdrew from Cambodia 2009]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5179, 23.4.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Is Concerned about the Loss of Ground Water in Siem Reap
  • The East Timor President [Mr. José Ramos-Horta] Asked Cambodia to Support His Country’s Candidacy to Become a New Member of ASEAN

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During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements – Friday, 22.1.2010

Posted on 22 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

Note:

From Friday, 22 to Monday 25 January 2010 I plan to travel to attend the first BarCamp in Yangon/Myanmar. This may result in delays in the publication of The Mirror. Apologies.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: 22 January 2010 is the 6th anniversary since the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers was murdered in 2004 at a newsstand next to Wat Langka in Phnom Penh.

“To commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea, considered by workers as a hero for demanding rights and freedoms for them, trade union leaders, his family, and relatives, and his friends prepare to march with flowers on Friday 22 January 2010 at 8:30 a.m. from the trade union headquarters at House 16A, Street 360, Boeng Keng Kang III, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh. 300 officials and members of the trade union and will join the event.

“The head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, the younger brother of Mr. Chea Vichea, Mr. Chea Mony, said that the trade union, like in previous years, will go to place flowers at the newsstand next to Wat Langaka, where Mr. Chea Vichea was shot dead.

“Mr. Chea Mony added that to place flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010 is a message to convey to the Cambodian government that six years have passed, but the real murderers who shot dead this trade union leader, who supported the opposition party, have not been prosecuted.

“It should be noted that the Phnom Penh authorities do not oppose this march to present flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010. But according to a decision that the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, has just signed to give the permission, the authorities warned that the trade union must not take the opportunity of the commemoration day to do anythings else. That means the authorities forbid the trade union from raising banners or calling out slogans. Especially, the trade union should not use the forum to make political statements. The ceremony on 22 January 2010 is just to place flowers and to light incense sticks at the newsstand. In addition, those who will participate in the event will not be allowed to march in front of the residence of Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen near the Independence Monument, 200 to 300 meters from the newsstand next to Wat Langka.

“However, Mr. Chea Mony called on the authorities of the government again to take action to arrest the real murderers and punish them. His trade union sets one year from now on as a deadline for the authorities of the government to identify and arrest the real murderers to be convicted – otherwise the trade union will appeal to workers countrywide to strike, not going to work.

“Regarding the appeal for the arrest of the murderers to convict them, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, General Khieu Sopheak, said that the authorities do not stay still, but are seeking to arrest the murderers, and the police has not yet closed this sensitive case.

“General Khieu Sopheak added that those appealing for the arrest of the murderers can just say so, but they do not give any testimony or evidence to guide the authorities.

“It should be remembered that after Mr. Chea Vichea was murdered on 22 January 2004, one week later, on 28 January 2004, Cambodian police arrested two men: Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, and sent them to court for questioning. Later on, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced them to jail to serve 20 years in prison. However, both Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun denied that they killed Mr. Chea Vichea. Local and international human rights organizations and Mr. Chea Vichea’s family all considered Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun as set up to hide the real murderers.

“At last, on 31 December 2008, the Supreme Court issued a decision to release the accused Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun temporarily. Also, the Supreme Court sent the murder case of Mr. Chea Vichea back to the Appeals Court to re-open the investigations again.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 22 January 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2157, 22.1.2010

  • The Chinese Ambassador: China Never Supported Democratic Kampuchea [Khmer Rouge regime]
  • Suspecting That His Wife Had Committed Adultery, a Man Stabbed Her in the Neck and Killed Her, and Then Cut His Own Throat, but He Did Not Die, and the Court Sent Him for 15 Years to Prison [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #586, 22.1.2010

  • [The US based organization] Human Rights Watch Said that Human Rights in Cambodia Are Now Weaker Than 10 Years ago, pointing also to the Fact Murderers Who Killed Journalists Have Never Been Arrested

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6864, 22.1.2010

  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Demanded to Close the Legal Case to Expropriate His Property, while Red-Shirt Demonstrators Announced to Demonstrate on 26 February 2010

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #95, 22.1.2010

  • [About 300] Military Officials Received Praise and Certificates from Vietnam [for cooperating to seek the relics of Vietnamese soldiers who died in Cambodia]
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Has Left Cambodia while Bangkok Protested [because there was an attack by a M79 grenade at the office of the Thai army commander-in-chief]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

  • During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements
  • The European Union Adds a Grant of Euro 7 Million to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, to Relieve the Damage Caused by Typhoon Ketsana
  • [The American economist and Nobel Prize Winner for Economy in 2007] Professor Eric Maskin: The Downturn of the Cambodian Economy Is Not a Mistake of the Cambodian Leaders [but it happened because of the bad impact of the global economic and financial crisis]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1861, 22-24.1.2010

  • Nearly 1,000 Families of Disabled Veterans Face Food Shortage at New Land in Kompong Thom after They Had Been Evicted

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Reasons Why Investors from Korea Fail in Cambodia – Friday, 23.1.2009

Posted on 23 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“Seeming to be floating towards failure of their long term investments in Cambodia, while the global financial crisis expands, investors in construction and in real estate from Korea are seeking interventions from Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, the outstanding Prime Minister of Cambodia.

“The director of the Public Internal Financial Control framework which also represents investors from Korea, Mr. Kim Suan Mok [phonetic], said that because Cambodia has Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen as the cleverest and most intelligent Prime Minister and leader, more investors came to invest in Cambodia unexpectedly.

“Mr. Kim Suan Mok added that being a leader with high determination, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen provides opportunities to investors to invest billions of dollars in Cambodia. They expect to receive warmth from the leadership of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen as well as support from the Council for the Development of Cambodia; for example Mr. Kim Sun Sok [phonetic] has invested more than US$2 billion in Cambodia, with other investors also having billions of dollars.

“However, the financial crisis which is plaguing the world seems to drive investors in Cambodia more towards failure than towards hope for potential profit from investments in Cambodia. Mr. Kim Suan Mok said that the financial crisis results in a decline of real estate prices in the world by 50%. This led to bankruptcy for some banks. Mr. Kim Suan Mok emphasized that big financial institutions lacking capital had to announced that the world is in crisis, and some financial institutions have to minimize their operations.

“The more than US$2 billion investment mentioned by Mr. Kim Suan Mok is a huge contribution for the Cambodian economy, but some problems, related to skyrocketing prices of real estate in Cambodia, seem to encourage investors to abandon their projects. This will become a bad model for investors having invested their capital, then they will transfer it out again..

Mr. Kim Suan Mok noticed that prices of real estate in the word dropped sharply, but real estate owners in Cambodia seem not to care for world developments and changes. Because the price of real estate in Cambodia is too high, compared to the world market, some investors have given up their plans to buy real estate for investment. Moreover, it is not only investors who worry, but also many Cambodian people are seriously affected by this problem.

“Mr. Kim Suan Mok added that most investors from Korea face failure in Cambodia, and only 10% of them achieve success with their plans. This failure is he result of the fact that most investors did not know the cultural and commercial situation in Cambodia well. Another important point is that investors find it very difficult to find real information leading to success. So far, some investors from Korea have given up their long term investment plans and just wait and see whether the situation of the financial crisis might change soon.

“To support investors so that they have the opportunity to invest in Cambodia for a long period, investors ask the government to help ease the general legal framework for investments, such as the rights to buy and own land for a long period, and not only to lease land from the state for a period of 99 years. The Cambodian government itself should broaden the actual opportunities for investors.

“Also, Mr. Kim Suan Mok appealed to Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen to publish information about the changed global economic situation in order to persuade real estate owners in Cambodia to sell their real estate to investors at prices which are in line with world market price levels.

“Mr. Sung Bunna, director of the Bunna Realty Group and director of the Khmer Real Estate Appraisal Association, said that prices of real estate in Cambodia are fixed and have not declined like in other countries. This is a big problem for investors. Facing the general financial crisis, Mr. Sung Bunna asked the Cambodian government to help rescuing the real estate situation in Cambodia.

“Mr. Sung Bunna estimated that at present, many Cambodian citizen rush to sell their real estate in a narrow market; that means there are many people who rush to sell, while the number of buyers is small. This situation will make the prices of real estate in Cambodia drop dramatically in the near future, and the government should release some money to buy real estate from businesspeople and from banks which might lack money, in order to avoid Cambodia from falling into a crisis.

“Mr. Sung Bunna added that whether the price of real estate in Cambodia will recover again soon or not depends on the confidence of Khmer citizens, but not on foreign investors. Even real estate companies around the country joined as an associations to prevent the price of houses to drop further. In another separate case, more than 730 construction companies are not likely to leave their plans being orphaned too long, and that will be the time when the Khmer real estate sector will be in a good condition again, at the latest in 2010.

“Mr. Sung Bunna appreciates the real estate market in Cambodia which grew strongly in 2008 and provides good economic growth for Cambodia. The prices of real estate might drop dramatically due to the economic crisis, while some businesspeople and banks might encounter a financial crisis and therefore rush to sell their real estate to have financial resources for their trade – but this will have a negative impact on the Cambodian economy; that is, the Cambodian economic growth will drop sharply, making it difficult recover in the future.” Wat Phnom, Vol.16, #8004, 23-25.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 23 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #9, 23-27.1.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: Solving Border Disputes with Thailand Has to Be Done Together with the International Community [because it is useless to solve disputes bilaterally]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #109, 23-29.1.2009

  • Siam [Thailand] Prohibits the Import of Agricultural Products from Cambodia [after a meeting between the Thai Prime Minister and his officials to ban the import of agricultural products and to prevent the illegal entry of workers from Cambodia for economic reasons]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1854, 23.1.2009

  • Nearly 10,000 Workers of the Yongwa Factories Held a Violent Demonstration [demanding to release the annual saving money of US$50, which was normally provided to each worker in January – Takhmao, Kandal]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #329, 23.1.2009

  • If There Is No Solution [for land disputes with the Heng Development Company and shooting by military police at people] on 23 January 2009] Kandal Stung Residents Will Protest in Front of the National Assembly
  • The Presidents of Unions and Civil Society Ask the Government to Arrest the Real Murderers for Prosecution [who shot dead Mr. Chea Vichea, the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia. On 22 January 2009, around 200 people marched with flowers to the site behind Wat Langka where Mr. Chea Vichea was shot dead]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #332, 23-27.1.2009

  • Siamese [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affairs [Mr. Kasit Piromya] Asks to Meet also with [the president of the opposition party] Mr. Sam Rainsy [during his official visit on 25 January 2009 to discuss border disputes]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #190, 23.1.2009

  • Position of Mr. Ke Kim Yan Is Finished – He Is Replaced by Mr. Pol Saroeun as the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces [8 other high ranking military officials are also assigned]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3673, 23-29.1.2009

  • Appeals Court Begins Investigations to Seek the Real Murderers Who Killed Mr. Chea Vichea

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4802, 23.1.2009

  • More Than 300 People Were Arrested during an Operation to Suppress Fishing Crimes, and People Were Detained for Questioning
  • US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Talks about the Economic Crisis and about Military Relations with Cambodia
  • A Man Took, Tortured, and Raped a 10-Year-Old Girl while Her Grandmother Was Asleep [he was arrested – Kompong Cham]
  • The Director of a Milk Powder Company [mixing melamine plastic into the milk] Was Sentenced to Imprisonment for Life, and Two Others Received the Verdict of Capital Punishment [China]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3673, 23-29.1.2009

  • The Victims Unit of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announces that Victims of the Khmer Rouge Regime Can now to Lodge Complaints against the Suspect Kaing Gek Eav, Called Duch [the former Tuol Sleng Prison chief, within 10 days before the first hearing on 17 February 2009]

Wat Phnom, Vol.16, #8004, 23-25.1.2009

  • Reasons Why Investors from Korea Fail in Cambodia

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Cambodia Will Start the First Stock Market in December, but Will Not Be Successful as Planned – Wednesday, 21.1.2009

Posted on 22 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“Phnom Penh: The meltdown of the global economy, the lack of trust from investors, the lack of skills, the weakness of laws and of the judicial system, and corruption are considered by experts to be obstacles against the expected success of a stock market in Cambodia. This assessment is made as Cambodia plans to start the process of its first stock market in December 2009.

“It should be noted that a stock market is a gathering forum which allows investors and the general people to invest in companies that they trust, in order bring back profits for them. Those companies participating in a stock market can sell their shares to anybody and take the money like a loan for extending their activities, expecting profit; citizens can buy shares in order to become shareholders and co-owners of a shares selling company. Such clients can receive benefits, as long as the company makes profit.

“At present, the global economy is facing a crisis, and the stock markets of all countries are low, because many owners of shares sold their shares in order to recoup [as much as is left of their] original capital, and many other potential customers give up their intentions to invest in the stock market.

“The Chief Researcher of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, Mr. Chab Sothearith, said that the general loss of trust from investors will make it difficult for a stock market in Cambodia to take off.

“In should be noted that the Cambodian government announced a stock market project in September 2007 with Korea Exchange of South Korea, which put up 45% of the share capital as a partner immediately. After the announcement, the Cambodia Securities and Stock Exchange Law was adopted, and a Securities Commission of Cambodia was created, to encourage the creation of a stock exchange, which will issue shares and take action against companies that violate the law.

“However, stock exchange experts said that Cambodia still has a lot of shortcomings which are an obstacle for the progress of starting a stock exchange at the end of this year.

“An advisor of the National Accounting Council and finance professor of the Royal University of Economy and Law, Mr. Soum Chanthy, said that so far, Cambodia has very few stock market experts and does not have a proper and sufficiently complex technical basis to meet the operations of a stock market.

“In addition, Cambodia needs a firm legal system and courts with high capabilities to quickly and justly solve issues related to doing business in a stock market.

“Mr. Soum Chanthy added that although there is still one year left to create a stock market, Cambodia is not yet capable to meet all shortcomings mentioned above, making the stock market plan progress slowly.

“The director of the Cambodia Institute of Development Studies, Mr. Kang Chandararoth, said that while Cambodia has not yet an anti-corruption law, the creation of a stock market will provide high hazards, and losses will have to be faced by investors.

“The Cambodian government has not yet adopted an anti-corruption law for many years.

“Mr. Kang Chandararath went on to say that corruption can happen at state and private companies, like hiding facts in financial reports about capital, losses, and profits.

“It should be noted that part of success of a successful investment of capital depends on good governance and financial transparency of companies; their situation needs to be disclosed publicly; however, among more than 2,000 enterprises operating in Cambodia, less than 20% publish annual reports. This information comes from the National Accounting Council at the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mr. Ngy Tayi, agreed with the definition of the problems mentioned above, and he said that at present, the Ministry continues to encourage different companies to organize their reports properly before they are allowed to participate in the stock market. In the meantime, the director of the general commercial development project of Korea Exchange, Mr. In Myo Lee [phonetic], said that a stock market can help to reduce corruption in Cambodia.

“Cambodia wants to attract national and international investors from more than 400 companies to this stock market, but so far, according to Korean investors who are partners, there are only three state-controlled companies which plan to register something at the stock market of Cambodia.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #188, 21.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #8, 21.1.2009

  • The Vietnamese Authorities Released [five] Khmer Kampuchea Krom Monks, but Prohibit Them to be Ordained as Monks Again [according to the president of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Association, Mr. Thach Setha]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #108, 21.1.2009

  • The Ministry of Culture Restricts the Implementation of the Copyright Law
  • Cambodia Prepares to Host an ASEAN Foreign Affair Ministerial Meeting with the European Union [27 and 28] May 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1852, 21.1.2009

  • The Court Summons Sam Rainsy to Come to Explain [issues of a lawsuit of the National Election Committee against him for not paying Riel 10 million, charged by the National Election Committee for defaming leaders of the Cambodian People Party during election campaign in 2008]
  • Cambodia Liberated 18,000 Children from Serious Forms of Labor in 2008 [it is estimated that there are more than 1.5 million child workers in Cambodia, and among them, 250,000 are doing serious forms of labor]
  • Siam [Thailand] Will Investigate the Allegation that There Are Rights Violations against [Muslim] Rohingya Migrants [by sending them in boats to the sea]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #188, 21.1.2009

  • Cambodia Will Start the First Stock Market in December, but Will Not Be Successful as Planned
  • Leaders of Both Opposition Parties [the Human Rights and the Sam Rainsy Party] in the National Assembly Ask the King to Grant a Great Title to Eminent Leader Chea Vichea [the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia who was murdered in 2004]
  • Puea Thai Party Wants Mr. Thaksin [ousted former Thai Prime Minister] as an Advisor

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6557, 21.1.2009

  • The Government Announces Two Positions for Solving Land Disputes: 1. Prevent Armed Clashes and 2. Continue Bilateral Negotiations
  • Two Suspects Who Are [paddy rice] Guards Are Arrested for Setting Fire on 30 Hectares of Paddy Rice Sheafs [corresponding to around 50 tonnes of paddy rice] During the Night [Battambang]
  • A One-Year and Nine-Month Old Girl Was Killed by Twisting Her Neck, and Thrown into a Fish Raising Pond by a Brutal Person [perpetrator is not yet identified – Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3671, 21.1.2009

  • The Artificially As Murderers Accused [Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, who were recently released on bail] Are Invited to Join the Firth Anniversary of the Murder of the Former President of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia Chea Vichea

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1405, 21.1.2009

  • [The Commander of the National Military Police] Mr. Sao Sokha: The Shooting of Protesters [by Kandal Stung district military police, which caused three people to be injured] Is Being Investigated

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4800, 21.1.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen Announces His Intention to Meet with New Thai Prime Minister to Talk about Border Disputes [and he will not raise the disputes between Cambodia and Thailand during the ASEAN summit]
  • The Economic Crisis Will Make at Least 70,000 Workers Unemployed by May 2009 [25,000 workers already lost their employment]
  • Three People [driving on a motorbike] Died after Being Hit and Run Over by a Truck [Kandal]
  • New US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Presents Her Diplomatic Credentials to the King

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Opinion Research Shows Result That the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Is Corrupt – Monday, 19.1.2009

Posted on 20 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“As Khmer judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal threaten, in January 2009, to sue co-defense lawyers of Nuon Chea, the former head of the People’s Assembly of the Democratic Kampuchea regime [the Khmer Rouge], they are destroying justice at the mixed court.

“In a statement released on 9 January 2009, the 15 Khmer judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia threatened to sue three foreign defense lawyers, defending ‘Brother Number 2,’ Nuon Chea, by taking legal action. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers lodged a criminal complaint at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to investigate corruption allegations at this tribunal, which had been reported for a long time. Because the allegations says that Khmer judges and other officials paid kickbacks to high-ranking Khmer officials to get employed at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, earning thousands of dollars salaries every month.

“The complaint by Nuon Chea’s lawyers was lodged at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, to investigate Mister Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers, who is in charge of Khmer Rouge Tribunal affairs, Mister Sean Visoth, the director of the Office of Administration of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and Mister Keo Thyvuth, the former chief of the personnel section of the tribunal.

“The defense lawyers of Nuon Chea had not mentioned the names of Khmer judges in their complaint, nor in their statement for the journalists, who had gathered at the Municipal Court last week to report about the process of that complaint. However, the judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal seem to know by themselves that Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers’ complaint will really lead the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to investigate them, because Khmer judges may have also agreed to let high-ranking Khmer officials to cut part of their salaries as kickback in exchange for the agreement to let them work as judges in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“The deputy prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court started to summon some Khmer officials from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for questionings about corruption, in order to find evidence and witnesses of corruption related crimes, because the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was created in an attempt to seek justice for around 1.7 million Khmer victims who died during the Black Pajamas regime, lasting 3 years, 8 months, and 20 days. But now, this tribunal committed corruption and is making international groups to loose trust in it.

“Besides the role to seek justice for victims under the Pol Pot brutal genocidal regime, it is hoped that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will play a model role for the court system in Cambodia to perform just and independent hearings and judgments, and to eliminate corruption and impunity (a state of no punishment for the powerful and the rich who commit different crimes, but who are not brought to be prosecuted). But such hope almost dissolved when allegations about a corruption scandal at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal emerged recently in public.

“The acting director of the lawyers section of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Richard Rogers, said that the reaction by the Khmer judges against the complaint of Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers can be perceived as if this mixed tribunal were reluctant to deal with the allegations of corruption by kickbacks, and this can frighten witnesses of Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers.

“Mr. Richard Rogers added, ‘Now the public sees that the judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, that is expected to be a neutral defender of justice, is threatening to take legal action against Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers. The judges should have thought thoroughly before making such a threat, as it seems that they are afraid that Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers’ complaint is also a complaint against themselves.’

“According to a new research by the Human Rights Center at the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Richard Rogers said that a survey conducted in Cambodia among 1,000 young people shows that 23% of them considered the present Khmer Rouge Tribunal to be corrupt, and one third of them think that the judges of the Khmer Rouge tribunal are not just.

Note:

So We Will Never Forget – Results of a Cambodian survey on attitudes about social reconstruction and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. – Presentation in English with translation to Khmer, Friday, 23 January 2009, auditorium, Paññasastra University, Phnom Penh, at 14:00.

“Mr. Richard Rogers went on to say that this research again supports the perception of many people that the corruption allegations at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have to be settled with transparency, if the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is to maintain justice under the eyes of the Khmer general public. Mr. Richard Rogers added, ‘Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers must know well the extent of this corruption, if corruption really occurred, in order to decide whether that corruption affects the rights for just hearings of their defendants or not’

“The Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s co-investing judge You Bunleng said that Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers’ complaint affects the reputation of the judges and of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as a whole. Mr. You Bunleng continued to say that Nuon Chea’s lawyers linked those judges in their statement given to the press. Nuon Chea’s lawyers should make efforts to work hard to find evidence to defend their case, otherwise they will be sued for defamation by the Khmer judges.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3669, 19.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 19 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #6, 19.1.2009

  • Civil Society Organizations [Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, Cambodian Defenders Project, and Cambodian National Research Organization] and [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarian Condemn the Heng Development Company for Using Armed Forces to Shoot at Citizens
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Asks the Government to Prepare a Special Budget of US$500 Million to Face the Challenge of the Economic Crisis

Deum Tnot, Vol.2, #329, 19.1.2009

  • The President and Members of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia Inform [the Phnom Penh municipality] about a Flower March to Honor the Soul of Mr. Chea Vichea on the Fifth Anniversary of His Death [the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia was murdered on 22 January 2004]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1850, 18-19.1.2009

  • Every Year, 1,800 Cambodian Women Die During Childbirth [according to the Chargé d’Affaires of the European Commission in Cambodia, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno]
  • During Recent Years, Cambodia Achieved Macroeconomic Stability [according Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon, the average income of a Cambodian citizen per year increased from US$247 in 1994 to US$625 in 2008]
  • An Australian Man Was Found Lying Dead in a [Phnom Penh] Guesthouse on the Day He Was to Leave to Sihanoukville
  • A Girl Had Lied that She Escaped from the House Where She Worked for a Wage in Fact Had Escaped from Her Own House [after quarreling with her older brother; her mother came to take her back from police, and she apologized for her daughter’s lies – Phnom Penh]
  • Israel Prepares to Declare a Ceasefire Unilaterally for Three Weeks in Gaza

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #329, 18-20.1.2009

  • [The president of the Cambodian Action Committee for Justice & Equity] Suon Serey Ratha Asks [the Minister of Interior] Mr. Sar Kheng to Release more Information about Murder Cases [of politicians, artists, trader union leaders, journalists, and monks] and about Arrest Murderers Made, Leading to Prosecution

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #186, 18-19.1.2009

  • The Government Should Take Action against the Heng Development Company That Used Armed Forces to Shoot at Citizens [injuring three people in Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6555, 19.1.2009

  • The [Khmer Rouge] Tribunal Recognizes only 42 of the Approximately 2,000 Civil Party Plaintiffs [no reasons given]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3669, 19.1.2009

  • Opinion Research Shows Result That the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Is Corrupt

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4798, 1819.1.2009

  • The Kandal Provincial Governor Claims the Control over the [contested] Land by the Heng Development Company Is Legal [Mr. Chun Sirun said that the company has many legal documents for the land, based on the verdict number 40V, dated 2 October 2006, and on the verdict number 12V, dated 26 February 2007, released by Kandal court, and the police said that protesters hit them and broke the windows of two machineries of the company]
  • The Government Issued an Order that Civil Servants Have to Retire whn Reaching the Age Limit [of 55 – an extension is not allowed]
  • A Man Who Raped His [16-year-old] Daughter Almost 40 Times Is Arrested [Sihanoukville]

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