The Samrith Law Group Offers Free Defense Services to Poor People and Reduces Dependence on External Aid – Tuesday, 24.8.2010

Posted on 25 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

Important Announcement

Would you please mouse-click, further up on this page here, on About The Mirror to read information about changes planned to be implemented, starting from 1 September 2010.

Thanks,

Norbert Klein
Editor of The Mirror

“They provide legal assistance, but they are not a non-government organizations. They accept work for profit, but they are not working just for money. The Samrith Law Group, the first institution in Cambodia providing legal services to serve public interests, is opening a new page for profit-based lawyers’ groups, saying that the reliance on funding from donors [for free legal services to the poor] can be reduced.

[This long article has been abbreviated – abbreviated sections are marked by three dots …]

“The manager of this lawyers’ group, established in 2008, Mr. Ith Meakthura, said, ‘We want to show to other lawyers in Cambodia that even though we are private lawyers, we can help poor communities.’

“As the Cambodian government cannot offer legal assistance services, this role is normally left to a handful of non-government organizations that depend on international aid agencies, such as USAID and AusAid to support their operations.

“Until early this year, two major organizations of Cambodia offering legal aid, the Cambodian Defenders Project and the Legal Aid of Cambodia [the web site http://www.lac.org.kh did not work at the time of this writing] were forced to restrict their expenditures after donors reduced their funding support…

“A senior lawyer of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group, Mr. Ly Ping, said that his group is using a service pricing system with different levels, depending on the capacity of clients to pay. That means they can also offer services with no payment charged. While the Samrith Lawyers’ Group receives also some funding support which is gladly received, they can gain income from their own work as the basis for their operations, in case no aid is provided…

“Mr. Ly Ping stressed, ‘This is our commitment. We want to help. It is an obligation. It is a general feeling of human beings. And we make enough money.’ He added that as for public interest activities, the Samrith Law Group handles also big cases which take a long time, maybe one year, to deal with one or two cases. Such work brings income through services such as consulting, research, and training for some of these private cases, and sometimes donors provide funds for some cases…

“Part of the reason leading to the creation of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group were limitations they saw in the system that relies on the support for non-government organizations. The Cambodian Defenders Project and the Legal Aid of Cambodia were established specifically to offer legal aid and related services, but for some other non-government organizations, legal aid is just one part of what they do.

“But to establish the budget of the Samrith Lawyers’ Group faces also obstacles. A major problem of the lawyers’ group are disputes, that happen between personal interests, on which they depend, and public interests, that they want to serve. Since in big land dispute cases they may face the rich and the powerful, the lawyers’ group has to ensure that they proceed carefully, to guarantee the further flow of personal cases to deal with, on which they depend.

“Mr. Ly Ping said, ‘Therefore, our strategy which cases to select is very important. We try to accept moderate cases. Such cases are not too big.’ According to the head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Mr. Ou Vireak, though the Samrith Lawyers’ Group has accomplished some initial success, one needs to see whether they can use sustainable choices to replace existing, traditional practices or not.

“Mr. Ou Vireak said, ‘It is too quick to say. I think that legal aid can help to a certain level, but the Samrith Lawyers’ Group has not yet played an important role in legal aid. The real question is always the bigger picture: can they make a change to the court systems in Cambodia?'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #243, 24.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2335, 24.8.2010

  • [The former and now fugitive Thai prime minister] Thaksin Resigned from the Position as an Advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia, and Thailand Will Send Its Ambassador Back to Cambodia Today
  • More Than Ten Luxury Cars Transported Ebony Wood across the Svay Leu District; Forestry Administration Officers Said They Were Not Aware of That [Siem Reap]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7042, 24.8.2010

  • More Than 200 Kilogram of Wild Animals [snakes, turtles, porcupines, and civets] Were Intercepted in Suong District [five people were held – Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3966, 24.8.2010

  • The Authorities Must Care about the Construction of Roads in Phnom Penh That Do Not Have Proper Culvert Systems to Drain Out the Rain Water That Floods the City When There Are Heavy Rains

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #38, 24.8.2010

  • A Sihanoukville Court Released a [police] Officer Who Raped an 11 Years-Old Girl [court officials could not be reached for comment on 23 August 2010]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Began to Construct a Five Stories Court Building

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #243, 24.8.2010

  • Names of Officials to Declare Their Assets Will Be Published [according to the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng]
  • Members of the Authorities [police] Suppressed Citizens Who Protested over Flooding, Resulting from the Boeng Kak Lake [sand filling] Development [they used shields and electric batons to disperse about 200 protesters who gathered in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence in Phnom Penh]
  • [About 300] Amleang Commune Residents Blocked a Road to Protest over Land Disputes [with the sugar company owned by Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat – Kompong Speu]
  • [Prince] Ranariddh: To Merge FUNCINPEC and the Nationalist Party Will Result in the Loss of Positions [according to legislation about political parties, if two parties merge, the Ministry of Interior will delete the former parties’ name from the list of registered parties]
  • The Samrith Law Group Offers Free Defense Services to Poor People and Reduces Dependence on Aid

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5284, 24.8.2010

  • Tax Officers Who Collect Excessive Amounts of Money from Road Tax Payments Face Dismissal [warned the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng]
  • There Are Only About 50 Hectares for Coffee Growing Left in Cambodia, and Coffee Growers Are Competing with Coffee from Laos and from Vietnam [before there were more than 500 hectares with coffee grown in Ratanakiri]

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It Is Time to Value the Riel and Stop Trading with Foreign Currencies at the Markets in Cambodia – Saturday, 22.5.2010

Posted on 23 May 2010. Filed under: Week 665 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 665

“Earlier on, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians had frequently demanded that the National Assembly should promote the use of the Riel, and now there is a plan by the government for the de-dollarization of the economy towards the use of the Riel in general, which is welcomed immediately by the opposition party.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Yim Sovann, welcomed this plan on Friday, 21 May 2010, saying, ‘This is what we have demanded for a long time, to value our national currency and to prevent inflation by using the Riel.’ Mr. Yim Sovann told Moneaksekar Khmer, ‘During sessions of the parliament, I had often raised this issues of using the Riel in our Cambodian economy, to both enhance our national prestige and to promote the Riel in order to effectively maintain macro-economic stability.’

“Mr. Yim Sovann said so after a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance had mentioned, during a meeting on 20 May 2010, a plan of the government to de-dollarize the economy by using the Riel, considering also economic and social observations of the UNDP in Asia and the Pacific. Mr. Hang Chuonarong said that Cambodia wants to de-dollarize towards the use of the Riel. However, the Secretary of State said, ‘We want to change, but we are not sure from which step to start.’

“There is the same insight like what the opposition party had said, that only the use of the Cambodian currency can help Cambodia to maintain economic stability and its prestige. A millionaire and senator from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Kong Triv, stated in support of the initiative that Cambodia should use the Riel to show its integrity at the international arena.

“Anyway, this initiative was intensively debated on Thursday, 20 May 2010. Most participants wanted Cambodia to take effective actions to ensure the use of its currency. For years, Cambodia had been criticized for allowing the free use of foreign currencies, including the US Dollar, which is being lively traded in the markets of Cambodia – and that devalues the Riel.

“Mr. Yim Sovann said that dollar notes are used for buying and selling, including even such simple daily vegetable products like water convolvulus, and this partly devalues its own currency – something no other countries do as Cambodia does. Neighboring countries like Thailand and Vietnam established their central banks for exchanging foreign currencies into their countries’ currencies. Everywhere in Yuon [Vietnam], the Dong is used. He added that tourists as well as investors exchange Dollar notes or their countries’ currencies when they leave Cambodia [for Thailand of Vietnam].

“As for foreign currencies used in Cambodia, it is not only the US Dollar. In some provinces of Cambodia bordering Siam [Thailand] and Yuon, their currencies are also invading . For example, if one want to go to Bavet in Svay Rieng or to Phnom Din district in Takeo, one needs to exchange Riels and Dollars for Dongs in advance. And if one wants to go to Oddar Meanchey or to Koh Kong, one needs to exchange money to have Thai Baht, because at those places, Riel notes are not used in general, and some common vendors do not even know Khmer Riel notes well.

“The most important problem is that earlier on as well as recently, it had been reported that the Koh Kong Water Supply and Electricity Authority – exclusively controlled by a local millionaire and senator from the Cambodian People’s Party, Ly Yong Phat, known to hold a Siamese identification card – officially decided to order the citizens in the town to settle their electricity bills with Thai Baht. This seems to show to have indirectly cut-off the province of Koh Kong from Cambodia and attached it to Siam.

“This bad decision, that leads to the devaluation of one’s own currency, seems to be a part of the devaluation of the national identity, and it is seen to originate from the Cambodian government itself, as most bidding and expense-income projects of the state are settled by using US Dollars rather than Riels. Therefore, the Cambodian People’s Party government has to be awake and stop devaluing its own currency. If it prints Riel notes, but does not use them broadly in the country, it is useless to print them and to waste national resources on it. In fact, it is not a good practice when a nation does not support its own country, but values the currencies of other nations.

“At present, the Riel of Cambodia is not used broadly to settle the account of important products – which is very dangerous for Cambodia. Thus, the government should reconsider the demands mentioned above by the opposition party and in a timely way introduce new strategies to guarantee the potential of the Riel in the markets.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3886, 22-23.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 22 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #484, 22.5.2010

  • Cambodia Supports a Statement of Vietnam That Expresses Concern about the Situation in Siam [Thailand]
  • Cambodia Is among the Twenty Countries around the World to Receive [direct agricultural] Aid from the United States of America
  • [Oknha] Mong Riththy: Collecting Taxes for Pigs Imported from Neighboring Countries Will Help Farmers [each year Cambodia loses US$146 million on imported pigs]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2255, 22.5.2010

  • Wood Trading Still Continues Strongly in Oddar Meanchey
  • According to Latest Information, 85 Red Shirt Demonstrators [opposing the Thai Government] Died and 1,898 Were Injured
  • Agricultural Officials Encourage Citizens to Grow Foreign Grass [it contains higher nutrition than local grass]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6962, 22-23.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Asked for a Reduction of Wood Consumption, but Suggested the Use of Iron and Cement Instead in Order to Reduce Logging
  • The Koh Kong Town Runs Out of Clean Water as the Water Reservoir Dries Up Due to the Too Hot Weather
  • Mr. Philippe Gréciano [professor at the university of Grenoble in France, who has also worked at the international genocide court it Rwanda] Is Appointed as Defense Lawyer of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Khiev Samphan

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3886, 22-23.5.2010

  • It Is Time to Value the Riel and Stop Trading with Foreign Currencies at the Markets in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5204, 22.5.2010

  • Five People Trafficking Humans across the Border Were Arrested and Seventeen Victims Were Freed [Sampov Loun district, Battambang]
  • The Destructions in Bangkok Amounts to US$1.5 Billion

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It Is Time to Stop; Military Officials Who Do Illegal Activities Are Not Fit to Work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces – Friday, 29.1.2010

Posted on 30 January 2010. Filed under: Week 649 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

“Phnom Penh: The top Five-Star General, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, announced that from now on, military officials who are involved in illegal activities are not fit to work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, because they destroy the reputation of the armed forces, the reputation of the soldiers.

“He announced this in the evening of 28 January 2010 when he presided over a workshop at the Ministry of Defense to reflect on the reform of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces during the last five years (2005-2009) and to set the direction for the activities for the next five years (2010-2014).

“Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen went on to say that the Royal Government is reforming in all sectors, including reforms in the armed forces. The armed forces must serve as a strong basis for the authorities, to support the authorities to crack down on illegal activities, trafficking of products, illegal logging, illegal land grabbing… He said that now, in order to have the ability to support this, first, the military should not commit wrongdoings, and second, it should not support wrongdoers. ‘It is time to end that some work in the military in order to use this as a shield to run their own businesses. If you wear ranking stars and cut trees, fellow soldiers will point at your face.’

“He continued to say, ‘If you wear ranking stars and you yourself grab hundreds of hectares of land, can you prohibit others? No! Therefore, all involved in the military must distance themselves from all illegal activities. The authorities need to suppress illegalities, including with the armed forces, soldiers, police, and military police… if armed forces do illegal activities, who can suppress illegalities?’

“He emphasized that some perpetrators are not real soldiers, but some are real soldiers and do illegal logging or violate forest land. Some generals really do illicit activities. It is time to find land for veterans who cannot perform military duties any longer, and for families of soldiers who sacrificed their lives. It is the time to find land for those people, not to find land for high level military persons.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen warned, ‘Do not be commanders that are only good at wood trading, illegal logging, land grabbing, and illegal fishery. But we must support the authorities who go to arrest the perpetrators. We [the military] cannot arrest ourselves [military cannot arrest the military perpetrators], only the military police has the right to act as police in such cases to establish justice, but sometimes, forestry administration officials, custom officials, and tax officials need immediate intervention involving soldiers.’

“He added, ‘Reforms are essential for the government. Why can’t we suppress illegal logging while we can suppress drug smuggling? Why?’ Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen stressed, ‘If anyone uses the name of the Hun family to influence others, both their children and their children-in-law must be the first persons to be arrested, as it happened previously, when there were persons who run sand dredging operations and were illegally using the name of the Hun family to protect themselves. They must be dealt with seriously. Anyone who uses my influence and my wife’s influence, serious action must be taken against them. Previously, there were also many cases where my cabinet’s letterhead paper was faked. The military personnel that do illicit activities are about 1% or 2% of the whole military, others are honorable persons. All military commanders, please remember that you have no authority to order soldiers to guard your mangroves. I tell you this for the future, because previously this happened.’

“The role of the military is to fulfill obligations for the nation, not to guard your mangroves, please check this again! Please do not use soldiers and the military’s machinery to serve individual interests. If it still continues, do not say that I have not told you; how many stars showing your military rank you wear, though I wear only five stars, I will dismiss you even if you are wearing the big moon as the sign of your rank, I will dismiss you!'” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6870, 29.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 29 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #400, 29.1.2010

  • During an Anti-Drug Smuggling Operation, One Policeman Died and Two Perpetrators Were Injured [and arrested – at the Cambodian-Laotian border, Stung Treng]
  • The US Ambassador [Ms. Carol Rodley]: Cambodian Textile Export Challenges Strong Competition

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2163, 29.1.2010

  • [Opposition politician] Sam Rainsy Plans to Appeal to the International Community [after he was sentenced to serve a two-year prison term for removing temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]
  • A Taiwanese Man Who Smuggled Drugs to Repay His Debt Was Convicted to Serve 26 Years in Prison and Ordered to Pay a Fine of Riel 80 Million [approx. US$20,000 – Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #728, 29.1.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Agrees to Let Himself Be Arrested by the Government but only if Two Villagers now in Prison Are Released

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #592, 29.1.2010

  • [The Sam Rainsy spokesperson and parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann: Cambodia Does Not Have [own] Planes to Transport Tourists while a Vietnamese Company Controls More Than Half of the Domestic Tourist Travel

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6870, 29.1.2010

  • It Is Time to Stop; Military Officials Who Do Illegal Activities Are Not Fit to Work in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces
  • 700 Cubic Meter of Logs Are to Be Loaded onto Trucks to Vietnam [Ratanakiri]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #100, 29.1.2010

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Ordered the Military to Distance Themselves from All Illegal Activities or They Will Be Dismissed
  • The Opposition Party President [Mr. Sam Rainsy]: The Vietnamese Prime Minister Is behind the Case Related to the Temporary Border Markers Removal
  • Many Chinese Companies Are Involved in the Boeng Kak Lake Filling [according to the NGO Forum]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5112, 29.1.2010

  • Three Military Generals [Mr. Sum Samnang, Mr. Chao Phirun, and Mr. Chhoeun Chanthan] Were [publicly named and] Blamed and Warned by the Prime Minister [over corruption, the waste of weapons, and the unacceptable use of soldiers for private business]
  • Japan Granted US$356,923 for the Improvement of Water Resources, Irrigation Systems, and Health Services

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1866, 29-31.1.2010

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia Ordered the Khmer Consulate in Siam [Thailand] to Find Defense Lawyers for Six Khmer Citizens [who were recently arrested by Thai soldiers, accusing them of illegally entering Thai territory]

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The Prime Minister Said that to Summon More Khmer Rouge Leaders for Questioning Is Fatal – Friday, 4.12.2009

Posted on 5 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

“The Prime Minister said, ‘Some do take the opportunity to use the Khmer Rouge court again and again… it is a fatal case. I do not interfere in the court affairs, but the court did not put off the war [with the Khmer Rouge]; and be careful, in case the court creates war and division in the society again…’

“This statement was made by Prime Minister Hun Sen again on 3 December 2009 during the 27th International Day of Disabled Persons in Phnom Penh, in relation to the intention of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to summon more people to testify.

“On 30 November 2009, the lawyer of a Khmer Rouge leader demanded that the investigating judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal question Prime Minister Hun Sen and some government officials, for having politically interfered in the affairs of this court. But yesterday, the head of the government, Mr. Hun Sen, stated that he does not interfere in the court affairs, but he just pointed to intentions to destroy the peace, which could hardly be recovered by summoning more former Khmer Rough leaders for questioning. This kind of an expression of concern is considered by a foreign defense lawyer of a former Khmer Rouge leader to be a criminal offense.

“Nuon Chea’s defense lawyer mentioned Prime Minister Hun Sen’s words, saying in September 2009, that the Prime Minister stated that he himself fled from the communist regime in 1977, adding that witnesses do not need to testify at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“Nuon Chea’s defense lawyer, Mr. Michael Pestman, said to the news agency AFP and was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post, for their publication on 30 November 2009, as saying, ‘Mr. Hun Sen really told all summoned witnesses that they do not need to cooperate with the tribunal. That means he committed a criminal offense and it seriously affects the legal investigations of this court.’

“A similar suggestion, which AFP had received, mentioned the words of government officials they had used in October 2009 that the six parliamentarians and high ranking officials of the government, summoned by this court, do not need to testify.

“Mr. Pestman added, ‘Mr. Hun Sen’s statement is affecting the hearings to seek justice for our clients, because those government officials are direct witnesses whom we need for this process.’ He added, ‘At least, these words can weaken the legitimacy of the court.’

‘Yesterday morning, Mr. Hun Sen did not exactly refer to any Khmer or foreign lawyers, prosecutors, or judges, but stressed that this measure intends just to provoke turmoil in Cambodia.

“Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘They try to create turmoil in order to exploit the benefits for themselves.’

“After the celebration of the International Day of Disabled Persons yesterday, Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘From 1993 till now, when Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, and other leaders of the Khmer Rouge cabinet arrived back, we considered this as the stage where the political and military organizations of the Khmer Rouge had been dissolved.’

“Mr. Hun Sen added that he would rather let the Khmer Rouge Tribunal fail, than would he let it to create a new war in Cambodia. He stated, ‘A hearing is just a hearing, but the peace must be kept also, and national unity must be maintained. You must balance these. Do not play with them, it can be fatal; and 100,000 to 200,000 people would die if there would be war again; who will then call the Khmer Rouge, or go to call them back from the forest again? I am old now. When I went to call the brothers and sisters [the former Khmer Rouge people] back from the forest, I was not yet 50 years old… I would rather let the court fail, but I will not let war break out. I want to say this clearly to the people. If the court fails, let it be.’

“Mr. Hun Sen is the 7th person who was to be summoned to testify.

“Even though Mr. Hun Sen is worried about the breaking out of war again because of the summons for more former Khmer Rouge leaders, the former prime minister of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea in the 1980s, Mr. Pen Sovann, supports the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to summon more former Khmer Rouge leaders to testify, who are now high ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party.

“On 8 October 2009, Mr. Pen Sovann told Khmer Machas Srok related to this case that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is an independent and professional court which can provide justice to Khmer citizens who are victims of the Khmer Rouge. He said, ‘Nobody who was involved in the past Khmer Rouge history, no politician, should interfere in this court, because this court is independent… I support this court as it has its rights, its independence, and its role.’

“Prime Minister Hun Sen frequently warned that there will be instability if this court continues to summon more former Khmer Rouge leaders for questioning. But Mr. Pen Sovann claimed that there will not be any instability. He went on to say, ‘I think that this could not happen. It is only the personal opinion of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen; he wants to protect persons of the former the Khmer Rouge Regime.’

“The four top former Khmer Rouge leaders, who are at present already being detained, are the former head of state, Mr. Khieu Samphan; the former president of the National Assembly, Mr. Nuon Chea; the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ieng Sary; and the former Minister of Social Affairs, Ms. Ieng Thirith; in addition, there is also the former S-21 (Tuol Sleng) prison chief Duch, who was a middle level leader, who was brought first to the hearings.

“On 7 October 2009, the French investigating judge, Mr. Marcel Lemonde, and also a co-judge of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, summoned six high ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party to give testimony. Those six officials are the president of the Senate and of the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Chea Sim; the honorary president of the Cambodian People’s Party and president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin; the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong; and two other senators, Mr. Sim Ka and Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun. Mr. Hun Sen is the 7th person of the Cambodian People’s Party who was summoned for questioning and to testify.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #546, 4.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 4 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #353, 4.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: I Would rather Let the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Fail Than Let the Country Fall into War Again
  • The Prime Minister Encourages the Provision of Job Opportunities to Disabled People [he said this during the celebration of the International Day of Disabled Persons; at present there are 19,232 disabled people in Cambodia; their rate declined from 2% in 1998 to 1.4% in 2008]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2115, 4.12.2009

  • The Number of People Infected with A/H1N1 Increased to 480 [and there were five deaths]
  • An American Official [Ms. Diane Whitten from the US embassy in Phnom Penh] Wants That More Khmer Students Study in the United States [and return to develop the country]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #689, 4.12.2009

  • The United States Helps to Prepare the Angkor Guard Military Exercises in 2010 in Cambodia, with 23 Countries Participating [US$1,800,000 was granted to prepare an area for the exercises]
  • The Ministry of Health Closed Three Clinics within One Week [the Beijing Clinic in Ratanakiri, and the Russey Keo, and the Bopha Meas Clinics in Phnom Penh, where recently patients died because of neglect, and for not following some principles of the Ministry of Health] while Some Big State Hospitals Are Privatized

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #546, 4.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Said that to Summon More Khmer Rouge Leaders for Questioning Is Fatal

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6822, 4.12.2009

  • The Former Malaysian Prime Minister Brings Donations for Cambodian Muslim People Who Suffered from a Big Fire [in Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #60, 4.12.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: I Do Not Interfere in the Court [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Foreign Investment Dropped by Almost 100% in October this Year [the investment was only US$15.5 million while last year during the same month, it amounted to US$869.8 million; according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), it declined due to the collapse of banks where many investors had asked for loans for investment]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5064, 4.12.2009

  • Cambodia Denied that Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Went to Welcome the Mother of the Thai [alleged] Spy at the Airport [when she came to visit her son]
  • Cambodia Asked the Former Malaysian Prime Minister to Look at Cambodian Rice [for possible export to Malaysia]
  • A Man Rides a Bicycle across 12 Countries to Collect Donations for Cambodian Disabled Persons [Mr. Ben King, New Zealander; look at http://bikeben.com]
  • Cambodia Asked China [through a Chinese parliamentarian delegation] to Help Train Human Resources to Repair and Preserve Temples and to Find a Ship That Sank in Koh Kong [during the 14th or 15th century]
  • The First European Union – Asian Cultural Event Will Be Organized [on 4 December 2009 at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1826, 4-6.12.2009

  • The Diplomatic Dispute between Siam [Thailand] and Cambodia Is Destroying the Plan to Construct the ASEAN Railroad [to connect the ASEAN states to the South of China]

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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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2008: 73 Factories Closed and 64 Opened – 20,000 Workers Were Dismissed and 10,000 Found New Work – Saturday, 10.1.2009

Posted on 11 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

“In Cambodia 73 factories were closed in 2008, making nearly 25,000 workers unemployed. But 64 new factories opened, absorbing 10,000 new workers. The export of garments to international markets declined by 2%, which has created general concern. Difficulties will last 3 to 6 months further, but officials said that there will be no serious effects on the garment sector.

“The president of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia [GMAC – the web link has, under “Members” a detailed database with information about all GMAC members], Mr. Van Sou Ieng, said in a press conference in the evening of 7 January 2008 at the Hotel Le Royal, that more than 60 garment factories closed in 2008, causing around 25,000 workers to loose their employment. The export of garments to international markets dropped by 2%, while before, he expected that it would drop by between 5% and 7%. Therefore, the global financial crisis affected this sector very little. He added that Cambodia might face difficulties from 3 to 6 months, and in 2010, we can hope again. In every of the previous years, this sector grew by 15% to 20%.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training, Mr. Oum Mean, reported to Kampuchea Thmey on 9 January 2009 that 73 factories closed and 24,397 workers had lost their work. However, in the same year, 64 new factories had opened, absorbing 13,000 workers by now. The number of workers might further increase, because newly opened companies are in the suburbs. Thus, recently unemployed workers will continue to work at new factories, and most of them have skills because of several years of experience. Some workers go to work for factories in special zones located near their home villages or towns, like in Svay Rieng and in other areas.

“There are different number given, because some of the closed factories were not among the members of the GMAC.

“Mr. Oum Mean went on to say that more than 20,000 workers will find jobs in new factories. While the world faces a financial crisis which affects big countries, such as the Untied State of America and Europe, Cambodia is also affected, because those big countries are garment importing countries from Cambodia. While citizens of those countries meet difficulties, they will cut down their expenses, and this affects the buying orders, ‘but we are not strongly affected, because the Cambodian economy depends on agriculture as the basis – even though before, the prices of fuel had increased and the prices of goods followed the market prices and general needs.’

“Coming from the ministry in charge of observing working condition, Mr. Oum Mean said, as the world faces a financial crisis causing common effects, that Cambodia, which exports garments to international markets, is also concerned, including the Royal Government, workers, and employers. ‘We have to join efforts and be patient, so that our factories remain stable and develop, because many countries recognize that the working conditions in Cambodia are acceptable according to international standards. When we export our goods with the labeled “Made in Cambodia,” both Europe and the United States of America always agree to buy them, since they know that these goods have quality, and our workers get enough benefits. We have to continue maintaining this reputation well.’

“He did not prohibit to have protests or demands by workers, but before doing something, they must be wise to avoid to act inappropriately affecting the fate of all, because when factories close, also employers loose, though they are owners, since the factory is a rice pot for all.

“Regarding the above problems, the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Mony, mentioned some numbers in the morning of 9 January 2009, that in 2008, there were 27,000 workers who lost their work, and 26 factories closed.

“However, in 2008, all together 37 factories closed, but it was not because they were bankrupt – but it was because they relocate their factories to new locations in the suburbs, and they just changed their factory names. Another reason was that some factories lost their money in speculation. Also, because of the global financial crisis, some factories that were affected were run by Korean owners, such as the Woosu CNS Factory, the Chantechay Factory [phonetic] which suspended their work, also the Cambohenshare Factory [phonetic – ‘Cambo Hansae’?] suspended its work, and also the Tay Factory [phonetic]. Some factories suspend their work for 2 or 3 months; so workers will not wait and go to work at other factories.

“Mr. Chea Mony added that while workers face unemployment, ‘we will help them according to the law. When factories close, they have to settle final payments for their workers according to the law. … The government is also responsible to solve problems of unemployment of workers. Some workers turn to find jobs in Thailand, but we help workers, according to the law, in order to help them to stay in Cambodia.’

“Mr. Van Sou Ieng said after the end of the 26th council plenary session of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries on 7 January 2009, that buyer orders will be finished by February and March 2009, and there is no buying order for May and June 2009. Buyers offer only US$3 for 1 shirt while before, they offered US$4. Big companies agreed to loose US$2 or US$3, but from May to June buyers must offer US$4 again. As for small factories, they might close, because they cannot stand the loss.

“Mr. Chea Mony agreed with Mr. Van Sou Ieng, who said that big companies are less affected while small factories are more seriously affected, because they produce their garments for big factories. But he did not agreed with what Mr. Van Sou Ieng said, that the buyers from international markets are lowering their price offers; this would be impossible, because each buying contract contains clear agreements. Mr. Chea Mony asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to kindly take action with officials of relevant ministries regarding corruption which affects the garment sector. He asked also the head of the Royal Government to reduce the prices of goods at the markets, which affect the living standard of workers who earn small salaries.

“The president of the Cambodia Workers Labor Federation of Trade Union Mr. Vong Sovann, expressed his concern in the morning of 9 January, that some factories were closed for good, and buying orders dropped in 2008. Bur only small factories having 200 or 300 workers were closed. Some factories closed in the city but opened in the suburbs, and some new factories do not have enough workers.

“Mr. Vong Sovann added that his union will provide more broad educational information about the economy for workers, so that they understand the present economic situation, and what causes demonstrations and strikes. ‘We will try to explain to workers to be patient and to solve problems through negotiations. As a result, in late 2008, demonstrations and strikes declined, which showed that workers became more knowledgeable.’

“The president of the Cambodia Labor Union Federation, Mr. Som Oun, said in the morning of 9 January 2009 that 64 new factories had opened and 73 factories had closed, including factories sub-contracted by bigger factories, and some of the factories do handicraft work. There were only around 20 factories [of those closed?] exporting garments by themselves. The number from GMAC and the numbers from the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training are not in line with each other, and GMAC did not give a number of new factories. The number of factories closed was comparable to 2007. Workers loosing their employment go to work for other factories; therefore, the number of unemployed workers was not so high. Some unemployed workers of some factories returned to their homes to help harvest paddy rice.

“Mr. Som Oun said that some factories do not have enough workers. Obviously, a shoe factory in Kandal’s Ang Snuol district asked him to help recruit up to 2,000 workers, because this factory added another big building, and now the workers have to eat their meals in the factory. Therefore, he did not worry that workers are unemployed, ‘We still have buying orders from the United States of America and from Europe, because, according to the International Labor Organization, Cambodia is the country in the region which best respects working conditions. Buyers from the United States of America wait until the new president takes his position in the middle of this month, then they will continue buying.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4791, 10.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 10 January 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #105, 9-13.1.2009

  • Aid for the Neak Loeang Bridge and Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Are the Major Agenda Items for the Visit by the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Three [Vireakchey] National Park Rangers Are Missing in the Jungle in Ratanakiri and Are Not Yet Found [they are missing since 28 December 2008 when they went on a mission against illegal logging]
  • The Ministry of Planning Starts to Identify Poor Families [to ease the provision of services and aid for poor families – Note: The articled does not give any information how this enormous task, similar to a census, is to be implemented]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1843, 10.1.2009

  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom People [in Cambodia and in Vietnam] Plan to Hold Demonstrations to Demand Rights, although They Do Not Have Permissions [by the authorities]
  • The United Nations Said that 257 Palestinian Children Died in the War in Gaza

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #323, 10.1.2009

  • [The member of the Constitutional Council] Son Soubert: The Renakse Hotel Is a Monument of the Architecture during the French Colonial Time That Should Be Kept

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #179, 10.1.2009

  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Expressed Regret over the Corruption Complaint Filed by Co-Defense Lawyers of Nuon Chea at the Municipal Court [Note: Actually, the statement was not released in the name of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, but in the name of the national judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6548, 10-11.1.2009

    Police Confiscated More Than 20,000 Drug Tablets Imported from Laos [and arrested a man – Stung Treng]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3662, 10-11.1.2009

  • [Former prime minister of the State of Cambodia and now the vice-president of the Human Rights Party] Pen Sovann Accused Hun Sen of Violating the Right of Parliamentarians to Distribute Donations to Troops at the Preah Vihear Temple
  • Forest Clearings [to create agricultural] Land in Ratanakiri Spreads More Seriously [according to a forest administration official in Ratanakiri]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4791, 10.1.2009

  • 2008: 73 Factories Closed and 64 Opened – 20,000 Workers Were Dismissed and 10,000 Found New Work
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Accepted Complaint of Nuon Chea’s Foreign Co-Defense Lawyers
  • Cambodia Assigned to the Position of the Next Chairperson of the ASEAN Federation of Textile Industries [meeting held at the Hotel Le Royal on 7 January 2009]!

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