Former Khmer Rouge Senior Leader Warns that Instability Might Happen During Duch’s Hearing Today – Tuesday 17.2.2009

Posted on 18 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“On 17 February 2009, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia – ECCC – will hold a hearing for the cruel former Tuol Sleng Prison chief, Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch, who is responsible for the death of 16,000 people.

“Ahead of this hearing, a former senior Khmer Rouge military commander, Meas Mut, known as a son-in-law of the deceased [former Khmer Rouge military leader “the butcher”] Ta Mok, claimed that to call additional people to the court will lead to instability in Cambodia. However, some observers said that Prime Minister Hun Sen, head of the current government created by a package vote, will not let political instability to happen because of hearings of former senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

“Recently, the former chief of the Division 164 of the Khmer Rouge, Meas Mut, said that he used to control 20,000 troops of the Division 164 as well as 50,000 women and children at the Southwest Region. Meas Mut said late last week that he knew nothing about planned investigations of additional suspects besides the five people already detained in the special detention center of the tribunal, waiting for hearings over crimes against humanity and war crimes.

“Nevertheless, when asked about possible hearings of additional former Khmer Rouge leaders, Meas Mut said that “it will make Cambodia fall into instability again.” But Meas Mut did not give any details of how instability might occur. This retired military advisor said that he would appear at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal if he is accused. Meas Mut, who lives in Samlot in Battambang, seemed not worried about accusation by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“It should be noted that in a book published in 2001 with the title “Seven Candidates for Prosecution,” written by Stephen Heder and Brian Tittemore, Meas Mut is considered to be an important suspect for the tribunal’s investigations, because there is evidence that Meas Mut sent some of his troops to the atrocious S-21 detention center in Phnom Penh during a time of internal purges in the Cambodian Communist Party. But Meas Mut denied two weeks ago that any of his troops were sent to the S-21 detention center, and he said there were no deaths of starvation and of diseases, while historians claim that it led to the deaths of more than 2 million people during the Khmer Rouge regime.

“Reacting to what Meas Mut said above, Khmer citizens living in Samlot, the last basis of Khmer Rouge forces, said that the arrest of Meas Mut will not cause instability to the nation. Some agree with this claim, because at present the leadership structure of the Khmer Rouge no longer exists. Therefore, they cannot gather forces to create social instability or to struggle in the forest as before.

“Besides warning about political instability, the former senior Khmer Rouge military commander Meas Mut said that he was ready to testify to the tribunal, and that he will not flee form prosecution. Ta Mok’s son-in-law pointed out, ‘I have nowhere to hide myself besides my home.’ Regarding the above problem, observers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s process criticized Meas Mut’s claims as not worth for general consideration.

“Officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal said that the first hearing of the former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch, will happen on 17 February 2009 without further delay. But what is of concern is that the ECCC allows very few witnesses to attend that hearing, even though there are hundreds of people who applied to be civil plaintiffs. This makes those who filed to be civil plaintiffs disappointed, and they have little trust in Duch’s hearing.

“Non-government organizations that observe the process of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal said that few witnesses take part to put burden on the accused. This is not very good, because it might affect the seriousness of the punishment of the accused perpetrator. Therefore, the ECCC should allow many witnesses to attend the hearing on 17 February 2009, event though the ECCC does not allow all of them to question the accused. Important witnesses of Duch’s hearing are people such as former prisoners of the Tuol Sleng Prison, [the painter] Mr. Van Nath and Mr. Chum Mei, and they should be permitted to question Duch about crimes of killing people that he committed.

“Independent observers said that the first hearing of Duch on 17 February 2009 is a crucial step towards the hearings of the four other accused in the special detention center of the tribunal. The next person to be heard is expected to be the former president of the national assembly and Brother Number 2 of the killing field regime, Nuon Chea. Thus, if Duch’s hearing proceeds smoothly, hearings of other Khmer Rouge leaders might also continue smoothly without any obstacles. This is a problem that the United Nations and the Cambodian government should consider in order to help that the hearing of Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch, goes smoothly, so that the national and international opinions trust the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, plagued by a strong burden of corruption [allegations] again.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3689, 17.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #19, 17.2.2009

  • A Former Child in the Tuol Sleng Prison [Mr. Noung Changphal] and a [Khmer] Cameraman of the Vietnamese Troops [Mr. Ho Vanntei] Provide Evidences to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #117, 17.2.2009

  • A Tragedy in a Family Contracting AIDS: A Man Hangs His [three-year-old] Son before He Hangs Himself [Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1875, 17.2.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: The Global Witness’s Report Is Stupid
  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC – and the Cambodian National Research Organization]: If One Party Cares Only about Its Own Interest, It Will Not Last Long
  • [Many] Cambodian Civil Society Organizations Study the Process to Establish an ASEAN Human Rights Body
  • [Venezuelan president] Mr. Chaves Wins Bid to Abolish Presidential Limits on Number of Re-Elections

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6580, 17.2.2009

  • National Television Will Broadcast the First Hearing of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief [Kaing Gek Eav, also known as Duch] Live
    Impacts Are Short-Lasting; Samdech Dekchor: The Real Economic Motivation Is to Encourage Investments in Agriculture

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3689, 17.2.2009

  • Former Khmer Rouge Senior Leader Warns that Instability Might Happen During Duch’s Hearing Today
  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation Demands that the Yuon [Vietnamese] Authorities Remove More Than 550 Spies from Pagodas in Kampuchea Krom

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4823, 17.2.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Convicted Three Dey Krahom Villagers [to serve 18 months in prison and to pay Riel 2 million, corresponding to approx. US$490, on the accusation of assaulting and of destroying property of the 7NG Company]
  • Siamese [Thai] Para Soldiers Shot at Six Khmer Villagers Picking Mushrooms; Two of Them Were Abducted [Banteay Ampil, Oddar Meanchey]
  • H.E. Bun Rany Hun Sen Asks for Controls to Prevent Obscene Activities
  • 2009: The Ministry of Public Work and Transport Makes 157 Officials Retire
  • A Man Tied Two [six-year-old] Girls Together and Raped Them One after the Other [the man was arrested – Banteay Meanchey]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3486, 17.2.2009

  • Olympic Market Vendors Become Calm as the [Thai Boon Rong] Company Announces to Reduce the Stall Prices

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Prime Minister Hun Sen Explains the Change in the Position of the Commander-in-Chief – Saturday, 7.2.2009

Posted on 9 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Phnom Penh: Rumors about the reasons for the removal, two weeks ago, of General Ke Kim Yan moved Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen on Friday 6 February 2009 to clearly explain that the removal of the commander-in-chief was part of the ongoing military reform, but it was not the result of internal disputes in the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP], the party ruling the country.

“Speaking to journalists at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Samdech Hun Sen said that he is aware that some people say that the removal of the commander-in-chief is to strengthen the forces of Hun Sen and to diminish the forces of Samdech Chea Sim. But Samdech [Hun Sen] added that even if Mr. Ke Kim Yan were still the commander-in-chief, there would be no problem in the CPP.

“Together with this claim, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen went on to say that General Ke Kim Yan is still a general, having protection forces for which the government has to be responsible. As for the party’s affairs, Mr. Ke Kim Yan is still a permanent member of the Central Committee of the CPP, and head of a certain working group in Banteay Meanchey.

“With reference to the motions in the CPP, raised in public opinions recently, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen stressed that military adjustments are normal in military reforms, when the government wants to improve efficiency, just as in reforms in other sectors. But this time, this is not happening in the form of a slow method, but Samdech Hun Sen wants that it happens faster in order to be in line with the present situation.

“As for the rights of a prime minister, since the time when Samdech took over the office as prime minister for the first time in 1985, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that for all decisions about any reforms or changes in appointments, the prime minister did not need to ask for ideas from the party.

“As mentioned above, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen warned opposition groups and accused them of provoking fractional splits among the CPP, using the information about the removal of General Ke Kim Yan as the commander-in-chief.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen warned, ‘Anyone and any party which dares to interfere in CPP affairs, that person and that party will not have peace. I will fight until your last shelter is no more, like with the Funcinpec in 1997. And now, all commentators, please stop making comments to split the CPP into factions and opposition,’ where Samdech seemed to refer to the Sam Rainsy Party, which nowadays should be able to control their own party members.

“Mr. Yim Sovann added that real military reform has not only to do with the change of persons among the top leadership, but it is also necessary to check the salaries of the military, to check weapons, medicines, and the livelihood of military families. Another point is that all military commanders must be neutral in their attitudes and thinking, and they must not be involved with any political party, in order to avoid conflicts of interest in fulfilling their roles.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4815, 7.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 7 February 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1867, 7.2.2009

  • Cambodia Brewery Limited Issues Alert because some Pressure Containers for Beer [stolen from the factory] Are Pressure-Filled with Oxygen for Hospitals to Treat Patients [and not with carbon dioxyde which goes with beer]
  • [Singaporean and Taiwanese agricultural] Researchers Said Soil in Cambodia Is Pristine Like Offered by God
  • Sri Lanka Offers Amnesty for Tamil Tiger Insurgents If They Surrender
  • Ms. Hilary Clinton Chooses Indonesia for Her First Visit Abroad

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #199, 7.2.2009

  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections – COMFREL: Parties with Few Seats Have No Opportunity to Express Their Opinion
  • [Around 1,700] Workers of the Sang Yong Garment Factory Strike by Closing the Factory [because the factory has suspended work for two months – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6572, 7-8.2.2009

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Explains the Change in the Position of the Commander-in-Chief
  • A British Television Station [Quick Silver or Channel 4] Interviews the Municipal Authorities [about the economic situation and the evictions]
    A Pregnant Woman Is Choked to Death and Her Face Is Cut with Razor Blades in a Room of a Guesthouse [murderer is not yet identified – Siem Reap]
  • Murderers Who Killed Three People by Cutting Their Throats at the Victims’ Home [in Prek Pra commune, Meanchey] Was Arrested [the murderers are husband and wife, they killed to rob the victims who were their close friends]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3681, 7-8.2.2009

  • The German Ambassador Condemns Hun Sun for Prohibiting Opposition Party Parliamentarian [Ms. Mu Sochua] to Attend the Third Annual Economic Forum [sponsored by the Supreme National Economic Council of the government, supported by the World Bank, the Asia Development Bank, and UNDP]
  • Dey Krahom Residents Protest in Front of the Municipality to Demand US$20,000 Compensation

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4815, 7.2.2009

  • The Siamese [Thai] Prime Minister Never Said that the Territory under the Preah Vihear Temple Belongs to Siam [Thailand – Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva said so in a press conference about negotiations related to the contested area around the temple]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Told the Thai Minister [of Defense]: ‘It Is a Historic Time to Solve Problems so that the Next Generations No Longer Have Problems’
  • The German Agency GTZ Signed an Agreement Supporting the National Audit Authority’s Development [for the second stage from 2009 to 2011, with assistance of Euro 2 million – approx. US$2.6 million]
  • Note about details of the GTZ engagement from the GTZ web site:

    The “Support to the National Audit Authority” provides technical assistance in Cambodia with the objective to enhance accountability and transparency in the system of Public Finances in Cambodia.

    We are fully aware that the major preconditions for the success of our company are not only the price and quality of the services we provide, but also our good reputation and our integrity. Integrity is rooted in the company’s philosophy and is of personal significance to all staff. Our Code of Conduct comprises rules on how to deal with conflicts of interest and to avoid corruption.

    The message we send out is that rather than seeing corruption as a necessary evil or a by-product of work processes, we are strongly committed to fighting it. The best way to combat corruption has always been to bring it out into the public.

    Everyone engaged in the fight against corruption must help to uncover corruption in every shape and form.

    GTZ has appointed the lawyer Dr Joussen as its Ombudsman.

    Dr. Edgar Joussen
    Bleibtreustrasse 1
    10623 Berlin, Germany
    Tel.: +49 700 66283762, Fax: +49 30 31518744
    E-mail: ra-js@ra-js.de

    Dr. Edgar Joussen runs his own legal office in Berlin and is a bank clerk by training. He has specialised in anti-corruption consulting for many years. In 2000 he also began advising Deutsche Bahn AG.
    The Ombudsman is a point of contact and an advisor on corruption-related matters for GTZ’s staff and business partners.

    Dr. Joussen may be contacted by phone, mail, fax or e-mail. A personal meeting will be arranged where appropriate.

  • India Promises to Continue to Support Cooperation in the National Defense Sector with Cambodia
  • High Ranking Military Officer [unnamed three-star general] Is Sued for Adultery
  • [The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Rong Chhun Sends two Letters to International Organizations [International Education Organization and International Labor Organization] about the Transfer of the President Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association in Kompong Thom [Mr. Sun Thun was transfered for political reasons from Triel High School to teach at a lower secondary school]
  • Cambodia Will Ask UNESCO to List the Chapei [a Cambodian long-necked lute – not clear if the instrument, or if Mr. Kong Nai as one of the last living masters, under the category of Living Human Treasure] and Lakhon Khol [all-male. Cambodian masked dance theater], after Angkor and the Temple of Preah Vihear [by UNESCO as World Heritage], and Sbek Thom – Khmer Shadow Theater] and the Royal Ballet of Cambodia Were Listed [by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity]

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Not Only the Rich, but Also Middle Class People Go to Foreign Doctors – Thursday, 5.2.2009

Posted on 6 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Phnom Penh: Disobeying medical ethics, the lack of human resources, the shortages of modern tools for analysis and treatment, result in a situation where many Khmer doctors no longer are considered as serious providers of care for Khmer citizens. The number of Cambodian citizens going to receive medical checkups and treatments in neighboring countries is greatly increasing.

“As the reasons behind, we found that the prices of treatments in foreign countries, especially in Vietnam, are similar to the prices in our own country, but the friendliness of foreign doctors towards patients is probably another factor that provides the warm feeling towards patients receiving health checkups and treatments in foreign countries, even though they know that it requires higher expenses contributing to the economy of other countries.

“Mr. Kosal (name changed to maintain his privacy), who frequently goes to Vietnam to receive health checkups said that in Vietnam, before a doctor treats an illness, they thoroughly check, they do not just say something and then inject drugs, or to set up a bag of fluid for an intravenous drip, as doctors in Cambodia almost every time do, to get money.

“He added that doctors in other countries speak friendly and from a position of medical ethics, hospitals show to have sanitation standards, and they have modern tools which make patients feel confident when going to have health checkups and treatments in other countries.

“He emphasized, ‘When I say so it is not to advertise their country, or to humiliate our own nation, but the lack of a medical ethos of Khmer doctors, besides their unprincipled words, uncertain checking methods and treating people just for money, demanding money before the treatment, extending the illness [so that patients have to stay longer and spend much money for the treatment], and unqualified skills, make patients no longer feel warmly toward such doctors.’

“He continued to say, ‘I don’t believe that there are no outstanding doctors in Cambodia, and these do not adhere to immoral values,’ adding, ‘but white doctor’s clothes represent pureness, but not all who wear such clothes do respect what the value of their white clothes indicates.’

“Whether those who go to foreign countries are mostly the rich was explained by Mr. Kosal like this. The fees for treatment in the country mentioned are comparable to Cambodia, but there are additional expenses: for the service of interpreters, for accommodation, food, and for travel. Mr. Kosal added that middle class people also go for treatment, not only the rich. In addition to the mutual trust between those providing health checkups and patients in Vietnam or in other countries, pharmacies in these countries sell medicine to customers on the basis of prescriptions from expert doctors, and especially, in these countries, if a doctors do not have the specialization to treat a certain illness, they will not try to provide treatment, but they will help to refer such patients to another hospital with experts for the illness which a patient has.

“Mr. Kosal went on to say that in general in Cambodia – besides treating any kind of illnesses whether or not they are specialized, and injecting bags of fluid through intravenous drips, which is a method they prefer to use to get much money – some of the doctors scare patients, recommending to receive [unnecessary] operations, so that they can earn more money without really caring about people’s health and lives.

“Mr. Bunthoeun (name changed to maintain his privacy), who frequently goes to receive regular checkups for his liver disease, said, ‘Doctors in Vietnam carefully check illnesses. We learn from them and in their country, they work around-the-clock, making regular visits to take turn caring for patients, unlike in Cambodia, where doctors demand free time on Saturdays and Sundays.

“He added that in that country, people prefer to go to state hospitals rather than to private hospitals, because doctors at state hospitals earn bigger salaries than doctors at private hospitals, which are required to pay high taxes to the state.

“The basis for such trust is explained by Mr. Bunthoeun by saying that in that country, the government often sends doctors to be upgraded by training in foreign countries according to their skills, but not based on nepotism. On the contrary, in Cambodia doctors pay bribes to receive training, and if they fail exams they demand to continue their studies. As a result, when they become doctors, some do not have qualified skills for their career, and then they treat patients without certainty what to do, by just injecting drugs based on vague assumptions.

“Mr. Bunthoeun criticized also that some doctors in Cambodia, who have little knowledge, become proud of themselves, and even when they have almost created more problems for patients, they do not call them, and if they write prescriptions, they write them in French, in order to show off that they are knowledgeable, and their handwriting is difficult to read.

“He asked, ‘Why don’t they write in Khmer? If it is “vitamin,” why not write “វីតាមីន​” in Khmer, so that it is understandable? Why is it written in French?’ Creating trust will help reduce that patients leave to foreign countries, which wastes resources of the national economy, because if ‘doctors can create trust in the country, people will not go abroad.’

“The director of the Mekong Phnom Penh Clinic, which always sends patients to foreign countries according to their requests, Mr. Kong Kimchan, said that to send a patient to Vietnam costs between US$300 and US$400, adding that not only the rich, but also middle class people can go, and the fees for treatments are lower than in Cambodia, but a lot of expenses are needed for accommodation, food, and travel.

“As for the fact that many Khmer patients leave to go abroad, he said, ‘I do not know what to say about human resources in Cambodia, so that many people no longer have trust.’

“Mr. Kong Kimchan added that many factors influence people to no longer have trust; talking about human resources, we also have many, but the private services at some places, and the uncertainty people in general feel, and insufficient knowledge, are reasons affecting other human resources. He went on to say that also belated transportation facilities in emergencies at some localities affect the trust of the people. Although patients are transported to state hospitals, they no longer have trust.

“He continued to say, ‘Reorganizing the system for all people at the basis is good, because patients are not only in the cities, and I do not believe that Khmer doctors exaggerate the general situation of illnesses, because they also want a good reputation.’

“Regarding the lack of tools as a problem, he said, ‘We have received assistance to have many tools, and human resources are also many, but we do not share information well. Therefore, people do not know what we did and how many people we saved. After we would have published such information, what can we do? Are there enough arguments to be presented? In other countries, they have arguments and they have tools.’ He added, ‘We still have shortages; we need additional tools and additional training of human resources.’

“Do hospitals in Cambodia really have the problems as mentioned above? The director of the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, Mr. Say Sengly, recognized, ‘The quality of our services is really limited if compared to neighboring countries, but at present, we are reforming everything, the medical ethos, the techniques, and the procedures for the care of patients.’

“He added, ‘If we talk about the rights of customers and of service providers, the service providers have to take care of patients, but we do not restrain patients, if they want to go to neighboring countries to find better qualified treatment. He continued to say that as for making patients afraid, and the excessive use of too many intravenous drips, it seldom happens at state hospitals, but frequently it happens in private clinics so as to receive much income.”Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4813, 5.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 5 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #12, 5.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Will Appear to Explain His Position to the [Phnom Penh Municipal] Court on 11 February 2009 [on a complaint lodged against him by the National Election Committee, as he has not paid Riel 10 million, approx. US$2,500, for defamation – related to a speech during the election campaign in 2008]
  • [Around 3,000] Workers of a Shoe Factory Strike to Demand that the Factory Owner Obeys the Labor Law

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #112, 5-6.2.2009

  • [Adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen and President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee] Mr. Om Yentieng Reacts to a Report of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association ADHOC [voicing concerns over serious land disputes, poor law enforcement, and impunity in 2008 – Mr. Om Yentieng said, ‘I think I cannot agree with the ADHOC’s report, and though some problems arose, I do not deny them, but it seems that I cannot agree with the assessment, and it is not done well.’]
  • [Former director of the Phnom Penh Department of Education] Mr. Chea Cheat Is Appointed to Replace Mr. Oum Hoeung, Who Is Sent into Retirement

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1865, 5.2.2009

  • Serbia Deploys Ambassador [accredited in Indonesia also] to Cambodia for the First Time
  • A US Ten-Stories Tourist Cruise Ship [with around 1,393 tourists from more than 100 countries] Docks in Sihanoukville
  • Agricultural Researchers of Singapore and Taiwan Come to Study Land Availability and Quality in Cambodia for Investment
  • The United States of America Warns North Korea about Missile Testing as Creating Trouble

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol.7, #335, 5.2.2009

  • 19 Generals Are Appointed Advisors to Samdech Hun Sen after the Shift of H. E. Ke Kim Yan [as the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #337, 5.2.2009

  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong Demands Euro 100,000 [approx. US$130,000] Reparation from [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy, but the French Court Reduces It to One Euro [regarding Mr. Sam Rainsy’s book, defaming him, that he was, as Boeng Trabaek prison chief, also victimizing innocent Khmer citizens; but the court allows the publishing of the book after deleting one sentence defaming Mr. Hor Namhong]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #197, 5.2.2009

  • Dey Krahom Residents Protests in Front of the Headquarters of the 7NG Company to Demand US$20,000 as Compensation [among the 1,465 Dey Krahom families, 45 try to demand US$20,000 compensation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6570, 5.2.2009

  • Appeals to the Tamil Tiger Insurgents [by the USA, the European Union, Japan, and Norway] to Surrender [because their fate comes almost to and end through the Sri Lankan government military forces]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3679, 5.2.2009

  • A Person Who Was Close to [top Khmer Rouge leader] Pol Pot [Van Sith, an important former Khmer Rouge official in charge of commerce] Died. It is a Significant Loss for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [according to the Documentation Center of Cambodia, he died in late 2008]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4813, 5.2.2009

  • Not Only the Rich, but Also Middle Class People Go to Foreign Doctors
  • Negotiation in Bangkok: Thailand Continues to Demand to Use the Word Pra Vihan [พระวิหาร in Thai – Preah Vihear ព្រះវិហារ in Khmer] Which Blocks Border Marker Settings
  • A personal note:

    In Europe, at the French-German border, we use, of course, both languages on the border signs: “France” and “Frankreich,” and “Allemagne” and “Deutschland” – no problem.

    As for a big city which, during the centuries, was sometimes German and sometimes French – the French call it “Strasbourg” and the Germans call it “Straßburg.”

    It is surprising that this common sense question of the two languages is mentioned as posing the difficulties, while there has no mutual agreement ever been announced where to put the markers in the widely contested area – always considering the very restricted Cambodian claim – “for the time being” – expressed by the Cambodian side in the Joint Communique of 18 June 2008.

  • Five Children Found to Have Survived the Tuol Sleng Prison [in videos about the Tuol Sleng prison recently provided by Vietnam, taken at the time of the liberation of the prison by Vietnamese soldiers in 1979, who documented it on film] the Documentation Is Now Being Sought to Be Used as Witness Material
  • The Government Creates a New Committee to Solve Investors’ Problems
  • France Asks to Permit again International Adoptions of Children from Cambodia, but Cambodia Suggests to Consider Some Conditions [1. Should single persons be allowed to adopt children or not?, 2. Should families that already have two children be allowed to adopt another child?, and 3. Should gay families be allowed to adopt a child?]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3480, 5.2.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Has Received 94 Civil Party Victim’s Complaints for the Case of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Duch [Kaing Gek Eav]

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The German Government Announces to Suspend Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – Wednesday, 4.2.2009

Posted on 5 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“A delegation from Germany announced on Monday, 2 February 2009, that the government of Germany suspends all its aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal until corruption allegations at the international tribunal are solved, and the Berlin government encourages the fourth-term government of power holder Prime Minister Hun Sen, established by a combined vote, to provide a role also to oppositions parties in Cambodia, following democratic principles.

“Mr. Wolfgang Thierse, the vice-president of the German parliament, visiting Cambodia, said on Monday that the government of Germany halts funding for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as long as the corruption allegations at this tribunal are not solved. Wolfgang Thierse said, ‘We will continue supporting the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, provided corruption allegations are cleared up, but all funding to be provided is now suspended.’

“On Monday morning, the delegation from Germany met with parliamentarians of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party [CPP], its partner Funcinpec, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party which is facing an internal fractional split. As for the alliance of the Democratic Movement for Change, comprising the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, they refused to join the meeting with the three parties mentioned above at the National Assembly, claiming that the oppositions parties do not hold positions in the nine commissions of the fourth-term National Assembly. However, on Monday evening, the opposition parties met with the delegation from Germany at a place outside of the National Assembly; to meet outside like this was regarded by the vice-president of the parliament of Germany as ‘correct,’ because the ruling party controls all positions of chairing all commissions of the National Assembly.

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kampot, Ms. Mu Sochua, said that the National Assembly is not a proper meeting place for the Sam Rainsy Party with Mr. Wolfgang Thierse. She went on to say, ‘We are not part of the commissions of the National Assembly. Therefore, we will not attend this meeting.’

“The Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, which form an alliance, announced that the CPP had invited also the opposition parties to attend the meeting at the National Assembly, but the opposition parties held a meeting with the delegation from Germany separately from the ruling party, which controls both the government and the National Assembly, which is in contrast to democratic principles, and the CPP wants to eliminate the voice of the opposition parties, both in the government and in the National Assembly. Mr. Sam Rainsy said, ‘There is nothing to discuss. The government and the opposition parties should have separate meetings.’

“Mr. Wolfgang Thierse raised, during his meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, the importance of opposition parties in democracy, especially the role of opposition parties in the National Assembly, referring to an example in the parliament of Germany, where opposition parties control important commissions of the parliament, and all political parties having seats in the parliament have to cooperate in this legislative institution.

“The delegation from Germany will stay in Cambodia five days, and yesterday, Tuesday, the delegation from Germany boarded an airplane to Siem Reap, to meet members of the German Angkor Conservation Project, who are doing restoration work at the Angkor Wat temples.

“According to information from a group joining the visit of the delegation from Germany to Cambodia, this visit is also a response to concerns raised by the opposition parties, demanding that the European Parliament of the European Union intervenes, related to the control of all commissions of the National Assembly by the ruling CPP of Prime Minister Hun Sen, without involving the main opposition party which has 26 seats in the National Assembly.

“During a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, Mr. Wolfgang Thierse encouraged strongman Hun Sen to clearly accept the opposition party’s role, both in the National Assembly and in the government, following democratic policies, if Hun Sen really accepts the free multi-party politics according to the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991. He emphasized that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party controls the government and the National Assembly, which makes democracy in Cambodia moving backwards, as it shuts up the voice of opposition parties [in parliamentary activities] in Cambodia.

“Regarding corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Wolfgang Thierse clearly specified that the government of Germany has to stop all aid to this hybrid tribunal, suffering allegations of serious corruption. Because officials and judges of this tribunal are said to have paid kickbacks every month to three officials of the administration: to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An, to the director of the Office of Administration of the tribunal Sean Visoth, and to the tribunal’s personnel section director Keo Thyvuth, for letting them work at this international tribunal.

“Mr. Wolfgang encouraged also to conduct a clear investigation about the complaint of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers, filed at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, requesting this civil court to take action by investigating allegations of a corruption scandal, rumored since a long time at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. If an investigation is not conducted properly, and the corruption allegation at this tribunal is not solved, the government of Germany will stop providing aid to this tribunal forever.

“According to information from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the director of administration of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Sean Visoth, accused of having received kickbacks from tribunal officials, has not shown up for work for nearly one month, since international lawyers defending Nuon Chea lodged a complaint against him and against two other persons at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 9 January 2009. The Municipal Court is investigating this lawsuit, but the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, notorious for corruption, probably cannot discover corruption in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“Legal observers in Cambodia said that they have little trust in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to probe and bring officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, involved in corruption, for prosecution according to the law, because some officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal are also working at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, such as Yet Chakriya, who is the deputy co-prosecutor of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and he is also the newly nominated chief prosecutor of the Municipal Court. Therefore, Yet Chakriya cannot do anything against orders of higher officials, because he is afraid of being removed from his positions either at the Municipal Court or at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.” Moneaksekar or Khmer, Vol.16, #3678, 4.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Kampuchea Thngai Nis, Vol.3, #398, 4-12.2.2009

  • The Club of Cambodian Journalists Becomes a Place to Create Spokespersons [a first five-weeks training is provided to 18 officials from state institutions and non-government organizations]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1864, 4.2.2009

  • [Phnom Penh Municipal] Court Summons Mr. Sam Rainsy for the Second Time [over a complaint lodged against him by the National Assembly, as he has not paid Riel 10 million [approx. US$2,500] for a defamation charge about a speech during his election campaign in 2008]
  • Lawyers and [PJ] Prison Officials Deny that Two [Thai] Jemaah Islamiya Convicts Are Released and Sent to Thailand [Phnom Penh]
  • The Philippines Government Has the Intention to Accept Cambodian Rice to Be Sold in the Philippines
  • 26 Million Migrant Workers [among 130 million] in China’s Countryside Are Unemployed [according to an announcement of the Chinese government]
  • [Democratically elected political leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi Told the UN Envoy that She Was Disappointed [that the United Nations that cannot persuade the junta leaders of Myanmar holding strict position to end their dictatorship]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #334, 4.2.2009

  • The King Goes to Beijing [to meet his parents and to have a medical checkup]
  • There Is No Ministry Responsible for the Stagnation of Agricultural Products of Khmer Farmers

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #196, 4.2.2009

  • The National Election Committee Announces to Political Parties to Prepare to Participate in the New [district and provincial-city] Councils Elections [which will be held on 17 May 2009 – the registration of political parties will be held from 26 February to 2 March 2009]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6569, 4.2.2009

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sent a Diplomatic Note to the Embassies, related to Foreigners Marrying Cambodians
    [informing them that foreigners applying for marriage registrations are not obliged to become member of any organization in order to get marriage rights with Cambodian citizens, and they should also be instructed not to use any marriage broker agencies, as this is against the laws of Cambodia]
  • A Man Raped His Step Daughter since She Was Eleven Years Old Until She Is Now Sixteen – When His Wife Found It out [he was arrested, Kompong Cham]
  • Iran Launches Its First [self-made] Satellite

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3678, 4.2.2009

  • The German Government Announces to Suspend Aid for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Khmer and Siamese [Thai] Ministers of Defense Will Meet to Discuss the Border Disputes on 6 February 2009

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4812, 4.2.2009

  • Human Rights Report: Land Disputes Are some of the Most Serious Human Rights Violations in 2008
  • Note:

    Some more details are here on the Internet in Ka-set:

    Concern is the order of the day, ADHOC president Thun Saray indicates. In 2008, Human rights defenders, “providing advice to victims of land and resource seizures on seeking redress with the courts or authorities, or the release from detention of their community representatives” have been the particular target of threats and accusations of incitement to protest. “Such accusations from government officials were designed to intimidate workers and activists”, from providing legal advice and assistance to victims in land disputes with private companies and powerful people, ADHOC denounces in its report. In 2008, according to the Human rights NGO, at least 164 Human rights defenders were subjected to such threats in 63 separate cases.

    And:

    Similar tone of speech at the headquarters of the LICADHO, another Cambodian organization for the defense of Human rights. Its president, Kek Galabru, observes with the same concern the increase in the number of threats towards activists, whether they be attached to NGOs or not. “We have already pointed this out in several reports. I will give you a recent example: one of our employees was hit at Dey Krahom as he was only explaining their rights to residents! Our staff also received unsigned mail containing the drawing of a skull and crossbones… Saying that we are the ones behind the demonstrations is only an excuse used by the government to avoid solving problems. We never acted like that!”, LICADHO president says.

  • Siam [Thailand] Changes Its Intention, to Send Only Seven of Eighteen Smuggled Artifacts Back to Cambodia
  • Fifteen Cambodian Officials [independent experts and civil society officials] Will Have a [one-week] Study Tour to Europe [provided by the Delegation of the European Commission in Cambodia, to share and to encourage knowledge among trainees about measures of the European Union for solving some key problems, such as legal and court reforms, good governance, human rights, and promotion of democracy]
  • [Ousted former prime minister] Thaksin Told Puea Thai Party that He Will Return to Be Prime Minister One Day

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Charge d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia Rafael Dochao Moreno: Cambodia Is on the Reform Track, and Reforms Are Crucial – Tuesday, 3.2.2009

Posted on 4 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Phnom Penh: The cooperation between the Cambodian government and the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia was broadened towards civil society, and the European Commission is an important development partner of the government. A reporter of Rasmei Kampuchea, Mr. Yin Leangkong, had an interview with the Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno, to analyze these relations.

Rasmei Kampuchea: What improvements regarding relations of cooperation between the European Union [a political and economic union of 27 member states] and the Cambodian government do you see in recent years?

The Chargé d’Affaires: The relations between the European Union and the Cambodian government grew very well during these recent years, while we had significant economic and technical cooperation with the Cambodian government. Last year, we sent an observer mission to Cambodia in order to participate in observing the elections. Through the election observer mission of the European Union, we created some recommendations from the observations, and those recommendations were supported not only by civil society, but also by the Cambodian government and different opposition parties. Therefore, both groups – civil society and the Cambodian government – supported the position of the European Union regarding the elections.

Rasmei Kampuchea: What problems do you consider to be challenges between the European Commission and the Cambodian government?

The Chargé d’Affaires: Being partners, we always worked together and discussed with one another, and also we provided aid to the Cambodian government. Actually, we are not always satisfied with all what the Cambodian government has done, but also, we do not think that all what the government has done is mostly wrong. Our position is to offer support to reform programs of the Royal Government of Cambodia. We also follow with interest the slow reform progress, which has not accomplished what we had hoped for, for example, the adoption of an anti-corruption law is very slow. But we know also that the Royal Government of Cambodia is making efforts to encourage this work to move ahead.

“The European Union is also concerned about the forced evictions by using such force. Like the recent Dey Krahom case, we discussed it also with the Royal Government of Cambodia to find solutions for this problem, and we will continue to meet and discuss eviction problems, and the guarantee of the rule of law in Cambodia.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Do you consider such evictions to be part of corruption in the government?

The Chargé d’Affaires: It is a difficult problem, and I cannot answer this question, but I would like to emphasize that what we want to see is the rule of law. It is known that the European Commission has assisted Cambodia in many different sectors. For instance, we help the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s proceedings, seeing that international standards of law have been established. We support also good governance in different sectors in Cambodia.

“Regarding the evictions, I am really concerned about the use of force in evictions, and we are concerned that there has to be support for the rule of law, leading to justice and fairness in compensations for the various families living there.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Together with the progress of this cooperation, the relations have also faced problems. What do you think can be done to make the cooperation between both sides smooth?

The Chargé d’Affaires: What is important is that we focus on bilateral discussions between the European Union and the Royal Government of Cambodia. I would like to mention three significant events: First, last November, we had regular and official discussions about human rights, good governance, and democracy. Second, we will discuss cooperation between the European Union and the Royal Government of Cambodia, to know what factors need to be improved. Third, we will provide support for different sectors through this cooperation, such as human rights, rural development, health, and education. In March, there will be a joint meeting between Cambodia and the European Commission, in order to further strengthen partnership, and make it smoother – which are the points for our eventual discussions.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Regarding the progress of democracy in Cambodia, do you think that Cambodia is on the right track?

The Chargé d’Affaires: Cambodia is on a track of reforms, and theses reforms are crucial. I would like to refer to the experience of Spain [the home country of Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno]. From 1939 to 1975, this country was under the control of the Dictator Franco, and during that period, the court system was very corrupt. However, after he died, Spain undertook reforms towards a just court system and a new administration system, but it took many years to improve the situation. Likewise, Cambodia needs much time to achieve these high goals, and it might take a generation.

“It is important that these reforms are started from the schools. Teachers need better salaries, and judges have to earn higher salaries in order to crack down on corruption, and all of us have to start working together to weed out corruption.

Rasmei Kampuchea: According to your point of view, is Cambodia already on the right track towards those positive goals?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We have sponsored and supported by funding programs for education through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. We do not grant monetary resources to build schools, but we support, both with funds and training, to expand the capability of education officials, like through accounting skill, financial management, and audits. As for the education sector in Cambodia, I can say that it is on the right track, and that is why we continue supporting this sector.

Rasmei Kampuchea: In May, Cambodia will hold provincial and city council elections. Has the Cambodian government requested funds or experts from the European Union?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We have not received any request from the government, asking for funds for the elections. But after the general elections in July 2008, we provided two experts to help the National Election Committee technically – one person helps with the legal section, and the other one helps with the publishing system. This support is provided for six to eight months. As we knew, there is much work that we have to do as stated in reports of the election observer missions, in order to assure independence and trustworthiness of the National Election Committee.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Some people think that the provincial and city elections are useless. What do you think? Are they useful for the progress of democracy or not?

The Chargé d’Affaires: I cannot say whether they are useful or not, but what I think is that the European Union provides support for decentralization and deconcentration. Therefore, any work contributing to encourage decentralization and deconcentration is good.

Rasmei Kampuchea: Relating to Siem Reap Airlines which has been black-listed in the European Union since late 2008, what is its process?

The Chargé d’Affaires: We got a report in late 2008 from a direct assessment by a group of the International Civil Aviation Organization that came to assess different safety systems, and they released a report saying that the safety systems in Cambodia need improvements. The report was sent also to the Royal Government of Cambodia for consideration. In November 2008, the European Union held a meeting with the Cambodian government to hear responses to the problems found. According to reports from member countries, the European Union decided to put Siem Reap Airlines on a blacklist, so that flights are not allowed to Europe, and this company had to halt their activities until now. What we want to see is that there should be assurances from the Royal Government of Cambodia and from Siem Reap Airlines about their safety and security procedures, before we remove it from the blacklist.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4811, 3.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #111, 3-4.2.2009

  • An Economist [the director of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, Mr. Chan Sophal]: The Government Has to Prepare More Money to Encourage Local Products and to Export Goods
  • A Clay Grinding Machine Seizes [left] Hand of a Woman [a kiln worker – Siem Reap]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #333, 3.2.2009

  • Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party Form Alliance to Compete Together for Seats in the Future
  • 25 Houses Behind the Tuol Sangkae Electricity Power Station Were Destroyed [by fire – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1863, 3.2.2009

  • Construction of the Kbal Thnol Elevated Road Will Begin in April, at a Cost of US$6 Million [Phnom Penh]
  • 20 Trainees Go to Japan to Study Human Resources Development in the Health Sector and in Medical Treatment Services
  • Mr. Obama Will Start Direct Negotiations with Iran and Syria

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #195, 3.2.2009

  • The National Bank Decreases the Bank Reserve Rate [from 16% to 12%] for Private Banks so that They Can Provide Loans to Reinvest in Real Estate

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #668, 3.2.2009

  • German [parliament] Delegation Wants to See Opposition Parties in Commissions of the National Assembly; [the chairperson of the parliamentary Commission on Economy, Finance, and Audits] Mr. Cheam Yeap: He Had Let Them to Join, but They Disagreed [as they have no responsibility for any commission – while the German delegation shared their experience that opposition parties also lead commissions so that all parties have to work together]
  • The 7NG Company Distributes Donations to Former Dey Krahom Residents [of 79 families who had recently agreed to receive a small house far away as compensation in Dangkao district after the eviction, and calls on the rest of 12 families to accept this also]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3677, 3.2.2009

  • 42 Court Officials [including the president of the Supreme Court, Mr. Dith Munty, and the prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Mr. Ouk Vithun] and 27 Generals Are Sent into Retirement
  • An English Television [Channel 4] Reported that Many Foreign Companies Are Seeking to Acquire Land in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4811, 3.2.2009

  • Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cambodia Rafael Dochao Moreno: Cambodia Is on the Reform Track, and Reforms Are Crucial
  • Cambodians Become Fisher Slaves in the Sea of Thailand [theguardianweekly global network published an article with the title Forced to Fish: Cambodia’s Sea Slaves]
  • Cambodia Will Demand Thailand in a Bangkok Meeting to Define a Specific Date to Put Preah Vihear Border Markers [though there is no mutual agreement where to put them]

  • Hungary Will Forgive 50% of the Loans given to Cambodia and Change the Remaining 50% into Grant Aid [no amounts mentioned]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asks the Federal Republic of Germany to Assist in Legal and Court Reforms
  • The Government Closes the Sexy Apsara Paintings Website

    Note: It is an unclear situation, because the government has not issued a widely and publicly known banning order, and not all Internet service providers in Cambodia are blocking the site. – See the Mirror editorial from last Sunday here.]

  • 352 Species of Animals Are Found Living in the Region where the Kirirom 3 Hydro-Electric Dam Is to Be Built [there is concern that this plan will affect the shelter of the animals living in that 1,118 hectares of forest land]
  • Pictures of Carnivore and Herbivore Dinosaurs Found on Angkor and Bayon Walls

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3479, 3.2.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Government Rejects 15-Day Ultimatum [for the premier to resign] by Pro-[ousted former Thai Prime Minister]-Thaksin Red-Shirt Demonstrators

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Officials of the United Nations Criticize Serious Human Rights Abuses in Cambodia – Monday, 2.2.2009

Posted on 3 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

“Recently, human rights officials of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, issued a report denouncing that there were serious human rights abuses in the forced eviction of thousands of Khmer poor citizens from their houses in order to grab land. The report of the UN Human Rights Council noted that the number of evictions of citizens has increased throughout Cambodia.

Note:

Reference is made available to several UN resources here, including steps to access them.

UN Office for Human Rights

Select: Forced evictions in Cambodia make thousands homeless: UN expert

Press Release: Forced evictions in Cambodia make thousands of people homeless. 30 January 2009.

The following statement on the latest in a series of forced evictions in Cambodia was issued today by the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik.

“More than 130 families were forcibly evicted during the night of 23 and 24 January 2009 from Dey Krahom, in central Phnom Penh to make way for a private company to redevelop the site.

“The forced eviction was carried out in the middle of the night, without prior notice and the shelters belonging to this poor community were torn down and destroyed. This situation has grave consequences for all the victims, but particularly the women and children. Reports also state that prior to the eviction, the community suffered intimidation and community representatives and members were also subjected to criminal charges.

“It is regrettable that the ongoing negotiations with the residents were abandoned, casting aside a valuable opportunity to reach a just and lawful solution to this longstanding dispute. It is now of utmost importance that the rights of the residents to fair compensation for their lost homes and property and the provision of adequate alternative housing are fully respected.

“Unfortunately this is by no means an isolated case, and the increase in forced evictions throughout Cambodia is very alarming. Reports indicate that tens of thousands of poor people have been forcibly evicted and displaced, pushing them into homelessness and further destitution.

“In Cambodia, a consistent pattern of violation of rights has been observed in connection with forced evictions: systematic lack of due process and procedural protections; inadequate compensation; lack of effective remedies for communities facing eviction; excessive use of force; and harassment, intimidation and criminalization of NGOs and lawyers working on this issue.

“Forced evictions constitute a grave breach of human rights. They can be carried out only in exceptional circumstances and with the full respect of international standards. Given the disastrous humanitarian situation faced by the victims of forced evictions, I urge the Cambodian authorities to establish a national moratorium on evictions until their policies and actions in this regard have been brought into full conformity with international human rights obligations.”

The former Special Rapporteur on adequate housing conducted a mission to Cambodia in 2005 and presented a mission report on his findings and recommendations (E/CN.4/2006/41/Add.3). Concerns on forced evictions in Cambodia have been shared through a large number of communications by the Special Rapporteur with the authorities. These communications remain unanswered to date.

More information on the work and reports of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, including a series of pictures, is here; to see them, select
Photographs of the evictions (PDF) at the end of the text.

“The report of the UN Human Rights Council condemning the Cambodian government for human rights abuses was made after the eviction of the Dey Krahom residents in the Tonle Bassac commune, Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh, on 24 January 2009. In that event, citizens of more than 100 families were beaten wildly and machinery was used to demolish their houses brutally. These activities seriously violated the citizens’ living rights, and violated also human rights conventions of the United Nations.

“Through a statement on Friday, 30 January 2009, an expert officials of the United Nations [the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik] asked the Khmer authorities to suspend evicting residents from their houses, because it is against international human rights obligations. But the Phnom Penh authorities and the Hun Sen government do not care about the report of the UN Human Rights Council, and the corrupt Phnom Penh authorities still collude with the 7NG company of Oknha Srey Sothea to grab citizens’ land impudently. At present, the Dey Krahom residents victimized by the eviction require shelters and need urgent aid from national and international organizations, as well as from generous individuals.

“Local human rights officials observing the collusion between the municipal authorities and the 7NG company evicting the citizens from the Dey Krahom region, said that most citizens have not yet received proper compensation. In contrast, the 7NG company of iniquitous businessman Srey Sothea had set an ultimatum for getting compensation from the company.

“Local human rights organization officials said that the criticism by human rights expert officials of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, is in line with the real situation in Cambodia. In fact, that the municipal authorities collude with the 7NG company and ordered armed forces to evict the more than 100 families from their houses in the Dey Krahom region is a problem that cannot be glossed over. Therefore, the government, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, must consider how to respect human rights, in order to avoid criticism from all directions.

“Land dispute observers in Cambodia criticized the fact that during these last six months, abuses of citizens’ land, and evictions of citizens, happened more than before the fourth-term national elections on 27 July 2008. Even though the president of the National Authorities for Solving Land Disputes was changed, the number of land disputes could not be reduced. On the contrary, after Prime Minister Hun Sen, the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, appointed Bin Chhin as the president of the National Authorities for Solving Land Disputes to replace [Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An, land disputes grew more severe.

“Many said that after the Phnom Penh authorities colluded with the 7NG company to evict the Dey Krahom residents, citizens of the Group 78 in Tonle Bassac and citizens in the Boeung Kak region are very frightened, because they may soon face the same injustice like the Dey Krahom residents. Residents of the Group 78 in Chamkar Mon district’s Tonle Bassac and of the Boeung Kak region, appeal to local and international human rights organizations to help find solutions for them, so that they will not suffer human rights abuses like the Dey Krahom residents.

“Previously, important international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, frequently released reports criticizing human rights abuses in Cambodia, especially evictions of citizens. Reacting against such criticisms, the not trustworthy man Om Yentieng, the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the government and senior advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen, frequently denies the facts, claiming that the respect for human rights in Cambodia has improved. However, after the events on 14 January 2008, Om Yentieng could no longer conceal the fact, because victimized Dey Krahom residents gathered to protest at the residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Tiger Cave Tuol Krasaing headquarters.

“Human rights organization officials observing land violations in Cambodia assume that during the fourth-term government, set up through a unified and comprehensive vote, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, land disputes will not decrease, and what Hun Sen said about the possibility of a land revolution, is said as a kind of an empty predictiion. If Hun Sen were really willing to settle land disputes, this strong man of Cambodia will not allow senior officials, dishonest oknhas, wicked businessmen, and the armed forces to use execute power to grab citizens’ land as they liked and do at present.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3676, 2.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 2 February 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #39, 2-8.2.2009

  • 796 Education Officials Get Work Medals [for doing good work in 2008 – in Phnom Penh there are 9,905 teachers and education officials]

Bakong, Vol.10, #252, 1-2.2.2009

  • The Norodom Ranariddh Party Headquarters Was Put in Disarray by a Student Group and by Party Members [reflecting an internal factional split – Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1862, 1-2.2.2009

  • A Cambodian Private Hospital Association Will Be Created to Help Poor People
  • Siamese [Thai] Demonstrators Announced Having Controlled the Government House on Saturday Night

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #335, 1-3.2.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Is Angry with [the former RCAF commander-in-chief] Ke Kim Yan for Hosting a Party with Commanders with Funcinpec and Khmer People’s National Liberation Front [of Mr. Son Sann] Backgrounds on 5 January 2009
  • Three More Generals Are Removed from Their Positions [they are Lieutenant General Dam Vuthy, Lieutenant General Dam Dararith – they are brothers, and Lieutenant General Tan Phanna, who is a younger brother of General Chhin Chanpor who was recently removed as the deputy military police commander]

Meatophum, Vol.53, #720, 2-7.2.2009

  • Immigrant Police in Dar Commune Allow Yuons [Vietnamese] to Enter to Do Their Businesses Freely [by just paying some money – according to local citizens and merchants, Kompong Cham]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6567, 2.2.2009

  • A Truck [loaded with pigs] Collided with a Bus: A Tragedy on National Road 5 Killed Three People and Seriously Injured 15 Others [Pursat]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3676, 2.2.2009

  • Officials of the United Nations Criticize Serious Human Rights Abuses in Cambodia
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls on Those Loving Justice to Join the Sam Rainsy Party in Order to Protect the National Interest [he said so during an extraordinary congress of the party]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4810, 1-2.2.2009

  • An [unnamed] Owner of a Rubber Plantation Pays Compensation for a Woman Killed by the Daughter of Mr. Lar Sarith, a Well-Known Singer [she was released after about 20 hours detention – Phnom Penh. She had fled after the accident, but finally police managed to arrest her by shooting a car tire flat. The accident injured a moto-taxi driver and destroyed his vehicle – compensated with US$1,200 – but killed a woman – compensated with US$1,800]
  • The Fifth Person of a “Front for Uniting the Nation” [involved in planting explosive devices in Phnom Penh] Is Arrested and Brought to Court
  • Mr. Yet Chakriya Takes the Position of Prosecutor at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court [replacing Mr. Ouk Savuth]
  • Cambodia Asks Israel to Consider Importing Rice from Cambodia
  • The US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Admires Cambodia for Fighting AIDS Successfully
  • US$40 Is Released to Each Worker of the LA Factory for the First Step [to settle outstanding payments]
  • The Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea Cooperates with the Ministry of Environment of Cambodia

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3478, 1-2.2.2009

  • New Evidence to Accuse Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Kaing Gek Eav [also known as Duch – some videos provided by Vietnam about the Tuol Sleng prison showing detention rooms, tools for detaining prisoners, and many dead bodies, when Vietnam forces found this prison in January 1979]

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Censorship: Thousands of Crude Porn Sites Accessible on Internet – One Khmer Artist Blocked – Sunday, 1.2.2009

Posted on 2 February 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

When the Cambodian government held a three day consultation in September 2001, the Prime Minister opened it with a speech on Public Awareness about Information Technology. Charting the future, he said:

“The government’s top priority is to use Information Technology – IT – to serve and to meet the day-to-day needs of the people. IT should become as an efficient means for the public to exercise their rights to get information related to the decisions made by the government and the conduct of government business in accordance with the principles of transparency and good governance…

“IT will help strengthen democracy, ensure transparency, promote good governance in government and community businesses. With regard to the economic and social aspect, IT will improve major public service delivery to the local people and allow them to monitor and receive regularly and timely all kinds of information.”

In February last year, the Prime Minister emphasized the importance of transparency again, more specifically in relation to economic development as a means of poverty reduction, in his keynote address 2008 Cambodia Outlook Conference: Mobilizing Cambodia’s Resources – Human, Natural, Financial – for Quality Development, Growth and Prosperity, when he said:

“A healthy private sector is the key to robust economic development and thus the government should ensure the legal framework for fair competition, transparency, accountability and productive relations with the public sector. The overall environment for enterprise will be strengthened through broadened good governance and human resources development. The public sector should also be strong in order to correct the market failures, essentially to reach the poor and disadvantaged.”

Recent days and weeks would have provided ample opportunity to demonstrate the promised open and transparent communication – using information technology, the telephone, and direct talk.

Unfortunately, in spite of repeated pledges to install official spokespersons in the different ministries and other government agencies, and even having trained 18 persons for this task and given them certificates, there is obviously a problem that the basic commitment to transparency – “for the public to exercise their rights to get information related to the decisions made by the government,” as the Prime Minister said – is disregarded.

Related to the Dey Krahom evictions, which continue to cause deep problems for the men, women, and children involved, we collected the following items from the Cambodia Daily in a single day – Friday, 30 January 2009:

  • “Shukaku representatives could not be reached for comment and CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin [the husband of the owner of the Shukaku company] turned off his phone when a reporter contacted him.”
  • At the office of the Boeng Kak Development committee, an employee declined to provide his name, but suggested, “I think you have to ask Phnom Penh Municipality.”
  • “Municipal Governor Kep Chuktema and his deputies Mann Chhoeun and Pa Socheatvong could not be reached for comment.”
  • After contacting the 7NG company, “a company representative said he would meet Thursday with the residents.” – However, when contacted Thursday, the meeting was canceled.
  • “Chhay Rithisen, director of the municipal land management department, could not be reached for comment. Deputy directors Sek Yorn and Sar Bamnang both directed questions… to Chhay Rithisen.”

Many people do not seem to care about the importance the Prime Minister has accorded to transparency and “to reach the poor and disadvantaged” when there are “market failures” which derail the ultimate goal of development.

Over the weekend there was another blow to transparency in Cambodia. It is widely acknowledged that, in addition to huge resources for knowledge, connectivity, and entertainment, the Internet provides access to pornography – according to experts, there are tens of thousands of pornographic websites. There is no technical Internet blocking of access to these sites in Cambodia, which, as Internet experts recommend that criminal violations of pornography abuse laws should be best handled through legal prosecution, not through arbitrary and ineffective blocking of Internet sites.

Now, however, though not blocking any real pornography sites, some Internet Service Providers in Cambodia have started to block access to the website of a Cambodian artist based in the USA:

When the web site of this Khmer artist became known through the press, he was strongly attacked, accused of destroying Khmer culture because he did not only paint pictures of Angkor Wat stone apsaras, but also of lifelike apsara dancers whose bodies were, like the stone carvings, not completely clothed.

He offers on his website professional hints in painting techniques, and he wrote also:

“I’m trying to build an online Khmer Arts community for novice artists, advance artists, graphic artists, tattoo artists, or anyone for that matter who is interested in Khmer Arts. We can share ideas, discuss about your designs, and network with other Khmer artists from across the United States and around the world.

“The meaning of life is an elusive concept that has been the subject of much philosophical, scientific and theological speculation. For thousands of years, men and women of every age, race, and culture have sought to understand the meaning of life. Throughout history, scientists and philosophers, theologians and artists, politicians and social activists, monks and sages, and men and women from all walks of life have discussed and debated many questions in the quest to discover the meaning of life.

“One of the central views in Buddhism is a non-dual worldview, in which subject and object are the same, and the sense of doer-ship is illusionary. On this account, the meaning of life is to become enlightened as to the nature and oneness of the universe. According to the scriptures, the Buddha taught that in life there exists Dukkha, which is in essence sorrow/suffering, that is caused by desire and it can be brought to cessation by following the Noble Eightfold Path.

“It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing oneself from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things. From this, one can attain a higher level of existence and finally reach Nirvana and that will be the meaning of my life.

“I believe in constructive criticisms! But lately, I’ve received many unwanted complaints regarding that some of my works disgraced the Khmer culture. Judging from the complaints, I wonder how we as Khmer will be able to make it in the 21st century.”

A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Information announced the intention to “publish services through electronic systems under the control of a law which is being drafted.” This announcement causes great alarm – not only because history has shown that the introduction of censorship of art has often been the entry point to suppress other freedoms, but because the Cambodian Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and publication, and the state has to uphold impartiality and protect the rights and freedoms of citizens (Articles 41 and 109).

The wide intent of the draft of this legislation became clear when it was stated:

“All Internet Service Providers which ask for licenses from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication must, in advance, also ask for a second license from the Ministry of Information if this law is adopted, because these companies allow Internet users to connect networks and to use data in different networks.”

Does this mean, for example, that the Ministry of Information might refuse to license the apsara pictures on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which all foreigners see when they apply there for a visa?

Official Visa Application Site

Who in the Ministry of Information will be the authority on expressions of art, or decide – to quote the same Secretary of State – if “pictures can evoke sexual feelings” and should be prohibited? Is the work of art of one person a greater assault on the cultural traditions and remnants of the country than the destruction of the historic Bassac Theater, and now the threatened destruction of the landmark Renakse Hotel, which is the former Ministry of Justice and part of the architectural environment of the Royal Palace?

In the early years of the Internet, when the present Minister of Information was a secretary of state at the same ministry, he wrote an e-mail in 1999 to Bill Herod, one of the Internet pioneers in Cambodia, which was published internationally in the UNDP supported Digital Review of Asia Pacific 2003/2004, when the South China Morning Post in Hongkong had written there would be Internet censorship in Cambodia:

“Dear Sir,

“I do not know where SCMP got this news (“Planned Net law ‘threat to democracy,’” May 31, 1999) , but I can assure you that I am the one who has been fighting and continues to fight for the freedom of Internet access and the free flow of information in general. Everyday I find in my e-mail all kinds of information including some mail insulting me.

“This is a fact of life. When we never attempt to control the import of books and magazines into Cambodia why would we want to block the Internet?…

“Please be assured that I am very supportive of this form of communication and I will spare no effort in defending it. I hope you can help communicate this assurance to all of your subscribers and, if you have any problem concerning this issue, please feel free to contact me.

“Your sincerely,

“Khieu Kanharith”

It is important to recognize that questions of “Cambodian culture” are raised regularly by many different kinds of news. For example, the almost weekly news about the brutal rape and murder of Cambodian children raises questions about how this destruction of human culture is being handled, and no efforts to block the Internet in Cambodia could ever prevent that.

Furthermore, the blocking of the Reahu site will be reported around the world and will attract much more attention than the site would ever have received without such action. That is what also had happened when the introduction of 3G mobile phones was delayed – for fear they could deliver pornography to those who can afford the high cost of this new 3G technology, while crude pornography continues to be cheaply available all over the country where CDs are being sold.

What a pity, that there will again be a flood of negative attention on Cambodia, just as it happened when the prohibition of the Global Witness book on deforestation problems Cambodia’s Family Trees stimulated worldwide attention, which it never could have gained without the prohibition.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

The wide international interest The Mirror finds is reflected in the fact that during the last two days only, people in 45 countries read The Mirror.

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Many More High-Ranking Officials Close to Ke Kim Yan Face Removal from their Positions, and Generals at Military Garrisons and at Divisions Are in Panic – Saturday, 31.1.2009

Posted on 2 February 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“Recently, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Tea Banh confirmed that the Cambodian military is as stable as normal, after the change of the commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces – RCAF – on 22 January 2009. Tea Ban’s claim was made after General Ke Kim Yan was removed from his position of RCAF commander-in-chief by Prime Minister Hun Sen on 22 January 2009, while the Khmer-Siamese [Thai] border disputes have not yet been solved and Khmer and Siamese troops are still in a tense mutual confrontation.

“The former RCAF deputy-commander-in-chief, General Pol Saroeun, was appointed RCAF commander-in-chief instead of General Ke Kim Yan quickly and unexpectedly on 22 January 2009. The shift of the RCAF commander-in-chief triggered concerns among some generals at military garrisons and at divisions, being afraid that they too might be removed from their positions eventually. Especially those who were close to General Ke Kim Yan are worrying that they might loose their positions.

“Regarding the above concerns of military officers with the rank of general, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Tea Banh affirmed that there are no such shifts to come. Also, another high-ranking official of the Ministry of Defense, who asked not to be named, said that so far, the government has no plan to change more military commanders, and a recent meeting and agenda for the next military meetings do not mention the shakeup. But, according to some unofficial sources, there will be more changes affecting many other generals in the future, particularly those who were close to General Ke Kim Yan.

“Nevertheless, some senior-officials of the Ministry of Defense said that the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, Prime Minister Hun Sen, appointed many more Generals and high-ranking military officers as his advisors, besides their current positions, after stripping General Ke Kim Yan of his rank. Some observers assessed that that Prime Minister Hun Sen appointed many Generals and high-ranking military officers as his advisors in an effort to assemble a strong military power, but it wastes many national resources. Therefore, generals and high-ranking military officers at garrisons and at divisions are very concerned, after Hun Sen quickly and unexpectedly removed Ke Kim Yan from the position of RCAF commander-in-chief.

“According to a source from the Ministry of Defense, when General Ke Kim Yan was removed from his position on 22 January 2009, 507 other military officers were also removed from the bodyguard unit of the president of the Senate, who is also the president of the Cambodian People’s Party, Chea Sim, and were sent back to their barracks. Among them, two brigadiers; the number of the bodyguard unit’s forces of Chea Sim were cut down to only around 100. This receives much attention by national and international observers, because they think that it is Hun Sen’s maneuver to reduce the bodyguard force of Chea Sim below what he had planned.

“Reacting to the above case, the recently promoted RCAF commander-in-chief, General Pol Saroeun, said on Thursday, 29 January 2009, that the redeployment of bodyguards is not a revocation, as those soldiers will not be shifted from their places forever. General Pol Saroeun told reporters, ‘We just bring them back to undergo more [military] training.’ The RCAF commander-in-chief added that there are still 100 soldiers to protect Chea Sim, because he is a top leader. Separately, on Wednesday, 28 January 2009, General Pol Saroeun also tried to halt rumors among some units of the armed forces about the removal of some more senior military officers, after the very quick removal of General Ke Kim Yan.

“On Thursday, reporters could not reach Chea Sim’s bodyguard chief, General Chhoeun Chanthan, for comments. However, the RCAF commander-in-chief General Pol Saroeun said that General Chhoen Chantan is not ranked down or removed. General Hem Savy, an officer of Chea Sim’s bodyguard unit, said that the order for 507 soldiers to go back to their military bases at Battalion 70 was made on Sunday, 25 January 2009, and there will be more removals. General Hem Savy told reporters, ‘We were removed following orders of the government.’

“An officer close to General Pol Saroeun, who asked not to give his name, hinted that around 10 more military commanders close to Ke Kim Yan and to Chea Sim might be removed, if they do not turn to support the powerful vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, Prime Minister Hun Sen. In the meantime, Hun Sen might organize a strategy to remove also Chea Sim from the position of president of the Cambodian People’s Party, because at present, Hun Sen holds the whole military power.

“Observers of the Cambodian People’s Party’s internal affairs noticed that before Ke Kim Yan’s removal, Hun Sen held only about 60% of the power. But after the changes, Hun Sen controls 100% of the power, even though Sar Kheng is holding the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. Obviously, the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, held by Sar Kheng, are also considered to be of concern, because Hun Sen can demote him any time.

“Observers of the Cambodian People’s Party’s internal affairs went on to say that after Hun Sen has already cleared out military commanders and police chiefs close to Sar Kheng and to Chea Sim, he may organize new internal arrangements of the party, and force Chea Sim to leave the position of the president of the Cambodian People’s Party, so that he can take up that position himself. Furthermore, he might reduce the power of the current secretary-general of the Cambodian People’s Party, Say Chhum, by putting his in-law, Sok An, into this position. As for the position of Sar Kheng, Hun Sen can remove him whenever he wants, but after having removed Ke Kim Yan, if he would also remove Sar Kheng, it might affect the Cambodian People’s Party internally and cause turmoil.

“High-ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party said that now, the internal power of the Cambodian People’s Party is totally controlled by Hun Sen, and if Hun Sen really has the ambition to become president of the Cambodian People’s Party, it is very easy, because when Ke Kim Yan was removed as RCAF commander-in-chief and Pol Saroeun was assigned to replace him, there was no reaction from Chea Sim’s and Sar Kheng’s factions, but they just kept silent and let Hun Sen create storm and rain as he liked.

“Observers said that even though Tea Ban had said that there is no more change to come for internal military affairs, information about the removal of more military officers close to General Ke Kim Yan was eventually disclosed. These disclosures worry generals and other high-ranking military officers at different garrisons and divisions very much, because they are afraid that also their positions can be affected. That means the removal of Ke Kim Yan is causing serious internal problems in the Cambodian People’s party, especially it is strongly and uncontrollably shaking the military situation.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #34, 31-1.1-2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 31 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1861, 31.1.2009

  • The Authorities of the Russey Keo District Office Ordered to Remove [around 20] Floating Houses along the Tonle Sap Riverbank [to maintain social order]
  • Somali Pirates Hijacked German Ship Loaded with [liquefied petroleum] Gas and Arrested Thirteen Sailors
  • UN Officials Met with [Rohingya] People Who Are Held in Detention in Thailand [after having been sent on boats floating on he sea]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #332, 31-2.1-2.2009

  • Human Rights Abuses in 2008 Increased [by 25% compared to 2007; according to the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO, there were 381 cases in 17 provinces and cities in 2008 – 212 cases related to land disputes – and there were 16,725 victims involved by 2,669 abusers, where 9.19% were abused by military personnel, 4.25% by military police, 17.59% by police, 16.80% by civil officials, 3.41% by court officials, 6.82% by business companies, 12.07% by civilian people, 8.92% by unidentified people, 1.05% by mobs, and 18.90% by different groups]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #334, 31.1.2009

  • Four-Star General Moeung Samphan Is Stripped of His Rank and More Than 3,000 Weapons of [RCAF Commander-in-Chief] Ke Kim Yan’s Supporters Are Taken Away
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Holds an Extraordinary Congress Today

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #194, 31.1.2009

  • The Norodom Ranariddh Party Will Be Changed into the Khmer Front Party, if there Is No Solution [for the dismissal of a high-ranking member of the party]
  • [Three] Citizens Who Had Been Detained regarding a Land Dispute Are Released [after several-days protests by around 140 families to release them – Siem Reap]
  • Cambodia Hopes that the New Envoy of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Cooperates with the Government Well

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6566, 31.1.2009

  • [Anti-government] Red-Shirt Demonstrators Gather in Front of the Cambodian Embassy [in Bangkok] to send a letter saying that the Thai government and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya are not just, and are not real representatives of the people; then they moved on to the Laotian and Vietnamese embassies]
  • Fire Destroyed More Than 50 Houses of People Doing Fishing at the Tumnup Rolork Region [Sihanoukville]
  • The National Bank of Cambodia Signed an Agreement with the National Bank of Laos [to strengthen bilateral cooperation in banking]
    US$1.5 Million [granted by World Bank, controlled by the Emerging Markets Consulting Program] to Help Exporting Companies to Open Export Market Access, for a Program of the Ministry of Commerce [this program will assist financial and technical sectors in order to help to increase their exports to new markets]
  • North Korea Cancels All Agreements with South Korea

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #34, 31-1.1-2.2009

  • Many More High-Ranking Officials Close to Ke Kim Yan Face Removal from their Positions, and Generals at Military Garrisons and at Divisions Are in Panic

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4809, 31.1.2009

  • The Municipality Issues a Statement Denying Allegations [by non-government organizations, some international organizations, and opposition parties] to Have Used Force to Evict People from the Dey Krahom Area [some further information by pictures is here]
  • 2009: FAO Grants US$2.25 Million for Strengthening Agriculture
  • Community Health Insurance Program Is Another Choice for Poor People
  • Cambodia Continues to Encourage Thailand to Return Khmer Artifacts Soon [that Thai authorities caught from illegal smugglings from Cambodia]
  • More Than One Million People Demonstrated against French President Nicolas Sarkozy [regarding his economic policies to reduce the number of permanent staff of state institutions, especially in schools, which disappoints and makes French people angry – France]

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

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The Municipality’s Plan to Cut Down Illegal Constructions in the City – Thursday, 29.1.2009

Posted on 30 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“Phnom Penh: In the morning of 28 January 2009 the Phnom Penh authorities held a meeting at the meeting hall of the municipality which was presided over by a deputy Phnom Penh municipal governor in charge of cadastral work, Mr. Mab Sarin; also the deputy chief of cabinet of the Phnom Penh Municipality, Mr. Koet Chhe, the director of the Department of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Mr. Chhay Rithisen, all district deputy governors, and some other relevant officials participated. The major intention of this meeting was to awaken and to encourage cadastral officials to focus on preventing illegal constructions happening, and to improve the situation by taking action to reduce illegal constructions.

“The deputy municipal governor, Mr. Mab Sarin, said, ‘We are really embarrassed that we have enough commune and district authorities and expert officials, but no one seems to knows that illegal constructions are going on in their localities until the construction is finished; when citizens informed them, they said they were surprised. We do not believe that the authorities do not know when illegal constructions are going on, because no one knows better about every construction than the local officials. We meet therefore to discuss methods to achieve solutions, and somebody must take real responsibility for such problems. If you still say that you do not know, you will receive administrative punishments or be shifted out from work.’

“Mr. Mab Sarin added, ‘We do this in order to cut down illegal constructions. The authorities do not want to start conflicts with anyone; that is, the authorities have to enforce the laws which have been made. Previously, letters were issued to stop some illegal constructions, but until there were solutions reached, most of the constructions had almost been finished, and the administrative work was slow, exactly because of the lack of action of the district authorities.’

“The director of the Department of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Mr. Chhay Rithisen, admitted that some of his officials are really afraid to stop illegal constructions of the rich and of powerful officials, because sometimes, when they take action, there were complaints lodged at the courts against those officials, and they suddenly and unexpectedly became the accused. He requested that, regarding the above problem, the municipality should create a committee at municipal level, like a committee to check excavation pits and buildings sites, where all agencies cooperate, including armed forces, so that it will be efficient, because until now, ‘when we go to check illegal constructions, our people were prohibited to enter by bodyguards of the owners of the construction sites, and sometimes cadastral officials were even arrested.’

“The deputy chief of cabinet of the Phnom Penh Municipality, Mr. Koet Chhe, said that previously, when cadastral officials and district authorities went to stop illegal constructions, both sides did not get along with each other well, because there was no cooperation at all. Sometimes, when the authorities went to stop or crack down on illegal constructions, powerful officials had letters from higher officials permitting their constructions. ‘However, as the Phnom Penh authorities, we have enough possibilities, and we are willing to use them, and if there are problems, we also have two lawyers to get the courts involved.’

“Mr. Koet Chhe went on to say that from now on, the municipal authorities will go to check all localities regularly, and the relevant local authorities must be responsible for all illegal constructions. This plan is to achieve improvements. ‘That means that we must not let illegal constructions spread like mushrooms, and the local authorities must hold responsibilities in their respective localities. ‘

“Illegal constructions not only cause anarchy, but also affect the beauty of the city.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6564, 29.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1859, 29.1.2009

  • [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Lost His Cases against [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong in France. A French court convicted him of defaming th Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong by writing that he was involved with the Khmer Rouge regime as the former Boeng Trabaek prison chief]
  • Samdech Krom Preah Reacts Against the Statement of the Democratic Front of Khmer Students and Intellectuals [he reserves the right to sue any individual or group that says or writes something defaming him]
  • An Ambulance of the Bopha Meas Clinic Competed for an Injured Person with a [state] Ambulance of the Kossamak Hospital, like Taxis Fighting for Customers [when the ambulance of the Kossamak Hospital arrived at the site of a traffic accident on 27.1.2009, staff of the Bopha Meas ambulance rushed to lift the victim into their ambulance and drove away – this violates the ban by the Ministry of Health for all non-state ambulances to assist patients]
  • Sun Chanthol [the former Minister of Public Works and Transport] and Neav Sithong [Kompong Cham parliamentarian] Leave Funcinpec to Join the Cambodian People’s Party

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #192, 29.1.2009

  • Dey Krahom Residents Filed Motion to the King and to the National Assembly to Help to Intervene to get the US$20,000 Compensation for Each Family
  • Local Civil Society Official [Mr. Moeung Son – founder of the Khmer Civilization Foundation] Voices Concern about the Spread of Chinese Culture over Khmer Culture [although some state institutions were found closed during the Chinese New Year, the Minister of Information said that no government officials stopped to work]
  • During Three Days of the Chinese New Year, More Than 20,000 Tourists Visited Sihanoukville, and Four People Died in Traffic Accidents
  • America Will Deploy 20,000 Marines to Afghanistan [in six to eight months]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6564, 29.1.2009

  • The Municipality’s Plan to Cut Down Illegal Constructions in the City
  • Cambodian Army Commander Is Unhappy when Siamese [Thai] Army Commander Led Troops into the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Area without Information
  • Peruvian Ambassador Is Interested in the Potential of Tourism in Cambodia

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4807, 29.1.2009

  • Financial Crisis Might Put Cambodia to Face Human Trafficking [a project coordinator for an United Nations Inter-Agency, Lim Tith, said that after workers loose their employment abroad, not all of them will return to their homeland, because they need income to improve their livelihood and maintain their honor – and these reasons can be used as a trap to easily harm workers to be trafficked]
  • Forestry Chief Insulted and Hit [Thngai Nis] Journalist’s Head with a Torch, and Military Police Shot to Threaten Him Not to Take Pictures of Loading Wood into a Train [Kompong Chhnang]
  • Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen]: Cambodia Already Created Measures to Face the Global Economic Crisis [he said that the government had prepared a budget of more than US$500 million, now also suggested by the Sam Rainsy Party to face the crisis]
  • The Prime Minister Prohibits Councils of the Capital, of Provinces, Cities, and Districts, to Create Ties with Taiwan [in order to abide by the one-China policy]
  • [Four] Robbers Notorious for Robbing Gold Stalls in Many Provinces, Are Arrested by Banteay Meanchey Military Police
  • In 2008 the French Embassy Provided More Than 3,200 Khmer Citizens with Visas to Live in France
  • Thailand Prohibits the Distribution of one Issue of The Economist because of Writing about the Royal Family

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The Waiting to Receive Justice in Cambodia – Wednesday, 28.1.2009

Posted on 29 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“Banteay Meanchey: Aunty Im Savoeun [now a member of the National Assembly, elected as a member of the Cambodian People’s Party] remembers what hurt her the most – it was when she lost her husband after he was tortured by the Khmer Rouge. Her husband had stolen a potato because he had been starving, and then he was beaten to death.

“She was quoted by Mr. Denis D. Gray, writing for the of Associated Press, as saying, ‘I could not help my husband, because there was no medicine. What could be done was only sympathy, and to shed my tears.’

“This 64-year-old woman, like many other women in Cambodia, who suffered half of their lives, is waiting to receive justice. This waiting continued since after the end of the Khmer Rouge politics [in 1979], which had destroyed the law and the judicial system.

“The United Nations supported court, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, had recently announced to bring the first of five Khmer Rouge leaders for prosecution: on 17 February 2009, the first hearing will be held to try one of the Khmer Rouge leaders who held high responsibility. That person is accused of crimes against humanity. Hearings of four other persons to find justice and peace of mind for victims are not expected to begin before 2010. 504 seats are prepared for observers to listen to the hearing of Duch (Kaing Gek Eav), the former chief of the Torture Center Tuol Sleng. As for the others – such as former head of state Khiev Samphan, former deputy prime minister Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, the former minister of Social Affairs and the former strict ideological leader of the movement Nuon Chea – they will be put in prison for the maximum period; there are many countries involved in the process of this tribunal which has been awaited for a long time and which is now finally in progress. Even though it is facing challenging difficulties, it will help to identify what happened, and to close the history of those dark activities of the past.

“Aunty Savoeun said that in these hearings, at this tribunal, there are only 5 to 10 accused – there is no balance, because the Khmer Rouge killed millions of people. She lost four members of her family, and many other families lost some of their members. She said, ‘My beloved husband and son will never return to see me, but they have to receive justice.’

“Highly agitated by communism, the Khmer Rouge’s vision was to damage and to destroy Cambodian traditions and society, until there was nothing left besides falling back to year zero. The Khmer Rouge turned the country into a place of slaves and into a desert without freedoms and rights. At least 1.7 million people, some say more than 2 million, died of killings, starving, and illnesses.

“An official of New-York-based Human Rights Watch, Mr. Brad Adams, said, ‘When more than two million people died, it is not enough to try five to ten perpetrators and then say: Now everything is finished.’

“What we want is that victims and members of thousands of families who died receive acceptable justice; that is, at least between ten and twelve Khmer Rouge leaders should be brought for prosecution.

“Mr. Adams is an American who observes the progress of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia since even before this court was created, he has worked 13 years related to Cambodia, but the progress is slow. It is very important as the clock’s hands move. Some accused died, are ill, and old.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4806, 28.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1858, 28.1.2009

  • Opposition Parties [the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party] Ask [Minister of Economy and Finance] Keat Chhon to Explain [polices to face] the Economic Crisis
  • The Democratic Front of Khmer Students and Intellectuals Suspend Their Political Support for Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh, because of being disappointed by his inactivity, by the lack clear strategy, and by leading depending on his officials]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6563, 28.1.2009

  • Two Human Traffickers Are Arrested Who Had Trafficked 10 Boys Over the Border for Thai Owners [the parents had been persuaded to let their children work in Thailand where they could earn a lot of money, but the parents had to pay them Riel 250,000 [approx. US$62] per child – Koh Kong]
  • [Kompong Chhnang] Court Summons 4 People, but 70 Others Come [in order to accompany their representatives regarding a land dispute]
  • Tens of Thousands of Tonnes of Khmer Potatoes Are Stuck, while Siamese [Thai] Authorities Prohibit Thai Merchants to Buy Them
  • The 7NG Company Informs [Dey Krahom Residents] to Register Their Names to Receive Houses and Vendor Stalls [31 out of the 91 families agreed to take houses at Cham Chao, Dangkao, Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4806, 28.1.2009

  • Waiting to Receive Justice in Cambodia
  • A [28-year-old] Woman Who Was Raped Appeal for Justice, while the Man Who Raped Her Is Released by the [Pursat provincial court after he had been detained for three months]
  • [Anti-Thai government] Red-Shirt Demonstrators Warn to Surround the Government House on 31 January 2009
  • A Woman Delivers Eight Babies in Los Ageless
  • More and More Americans Go to Serve the Army while Unemployment Increases

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

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