Saturday, 31.5.2008: The Condition of Prisons in Cambodia Remains Difficult

Posted on 1 June 2008. Filed under: Week 562 | Tags: , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 562

“Phnom Penh: Cambodia has twenty four provinces and municipalities, but there are twenty five prisons countrywide. According to observations and research conducted by the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – on prisoners of eighteen prisons in 2008, prisoners in Cambodia still face many difficulties, and the prisons have not yet reached the standards set.

“The director of LICADHO, Ms. Pong Chiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru] told Khmer Sthapana that, according to their research, conducted four times a month on prisoners in eighteen prisons from among the 20 prisons, the conditions of prisons in Cambodia are still very difficult.

“Difficulties exist because prisons are very narrow and old, the roofs leak, such as in the prisons in Takeo and in Kompong Thom. The number of prisoners increased, but the prisons have not been increased, so that in some rooms up to thirty or forty prisoners are together, making each room very crowded and hot, and the electricity is often cut; this affects their health – if any of them has a disease, the others are infected, and sometimes there was violence among them.

“Another major problem is food; the state provided only Riel 1,000 [approx. US$0.26] per prisoner per day, which is now increased to Riel 1,500 [approx. US$0.39]. Still, this is not enough to cover the expenses, because the prices of all goods increased, and food is also expensive, making food supplies in prisons to be a problem.

“Another important issue is the shortage of medicines; sometimes there were not enough medicines and sometimes prisons lack medicines and doctors, because there is no money; and when a prisoner fell seriously ill and needed to be referred to a hospital, sometimes, there was no fuel to run the car. The basic problem is funding.

“According to the Prison Conditions in Cambodia 2007 report of LICADHO, observing eighteen prisons from 1999 to 2006, the number of prisoners continually increased. In 1999, there were 3,282 prisoners; in 2002 there were 5,302 prisoners; in 2003 there were 5,711 prisoners; in 2004, there were 6,296 prisoners; in 2005, there were 8,238 prisoners; and in 2006, there were 8,835 prisoners.

“Separately, by April 2008, the number of prisoners had climbed up to 9,315 in total, among them there were 579 minors – among them were fourteen little girls – and 8,736 adult prisoners, of whom 546 were women (this is the figure of the prisoners of the eighteen prisons observed and researched by LICADHO).

“Dr. Pong Chiv Kek continued that the numbers of prisoners steadily grows, but we do not know whether this is because the actions of the police become more efficient, or because the number of crimes increases. She said she does not have statistic about the prisoners who had been released and those who had entered the prisons, or of those who had been caught and then been released.

“However, some penalties are reduced three times per year, based on proposals by prison officials, after they have established that prisoners have corrected themselves. The first reduction of penalties is conducted on Khmer New Year, the second on Visakh Bochea Day, and the third at the Water Festival. On the other hand, according to Article 27 of the Constitution, the King has the right to grant amnesty.

“Regarding information that there were bribes paid by some prisoners’ families to prison officials in order that the officials include their children’s or relatives’ names into the list proposing to reduce heir penalty, Dr. Pong Chiv Kek said that LICADHO is not sure, because there is no concrete evidence. However, she acknowledged that she has heard such information, but there is no proof.

“A prison official said that the prison conditions are being improved and they are moving to more improvements, like now, a new prison is being constructed in Takhmao [Kandal]; though the government does not have enough funds, there are countries cooperating like Australia that helps repairing some buildings. Related to health care and the improvement of the prisons’ environment, prisoners are allowed to go out of their cells for one to two hours, and there is also education and short term skill training, such as sewing and reading books. Some prisons have been converted to become rehabilitation centers.

“Dr. Pong Chiv Kek supports the educational plans at the rehabilitation centers, for example, facilitating prisoners to go out of their cells to read books, to learn something in short training courses, or to sew something so that they do not feel bored, in order to improve their mental attitude to get rid of violence and other bad habits. She went on to say that the use of soft methods in guidance and education is better than using strong methods like hitting people, because violence will make them feel angry and they will want to take revenge after they are released, and will be worse than before.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #24, 31-3.5-6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 31 May 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1655, 31.5.2008

  • The Government Considers Corruption as a Social Disease [says Deputy Prime Minister Bin Chhin, in charge of preventing corruption]
  • The US Will Provide Thirty One Big Trucks to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces
  • Prices of Food in the World Will Continue to Increase until next Year [according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #166, 31.5.2008

  • Chea Ratha Admitted to have Been Ms. In Soklida’s Lesbian Partner for Three Years, but She Denied that She Was Related to the Violent Crime [of an acid attack on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt – she told a local FM radio station in Phnom Penh on 30 May 2008 from Thailand]
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Pushes the National Assembly to Summon [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Be Questioned over the Nominations of Countless Advisors Which Wastes National Funds


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #24, 31.5.2008

  • Investment Rate in Cambodia Declines to Nearly 50% Early 2008 [according to a report of the Council for the Development of Cambodia]
  • The Condition of Prisons in Cambodia Remains Difficult
  • Child Sex Abuse Threatens Cambodian Children [according to reports from LICADHO]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3474, 31-1.5-6.2008

  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime [UNODC] Finds that All Kinds of Drug Crimes Dramatically Increase in Cambodia [link undated – probably August 2007]
  • Yuon [Vietnamese] Soldiers in Uniform Could Enter Khmer Territory Easily [on 25 May 2008 at Bavet international market, Svay Rieng]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4603, 31.5.2008

  • The National Election Committee Announced the Result of Numbering the Parties on the Ballots

    1. Norodom Ranariddh Party
    2. Khmer Democratic Party
    3. League for Democracy Party
    4. Cambodian People’s Party
    5. Khmer Anti-Poverty Party
    6. Khmer Republican Party
    7. Sangkum Yutethor Party (the Just Society Party)
    8. Funcinpec
    9. Sam Rainsy Party
    10. Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party
    11. Human Rights Party]

  • There Are More Than 10,000 People Who Have AIDS in Cambodia [according to an announcement by officials of the National AIDS Authority of Cambodia]
  • Domestic Violence Reduces the Income of a Victimized Family by One Firth [Minister of Women’s Affairs Ms. Ing Kantha Phavi said in a press conference]
  • An Aid Donor from Japan Checked the Clearing of Mines to Restore Roads and Canals [in a region of Battambang – to open the way for the organization Good-Earth-Japan to implement their plan to help prevent flooding during the coming rainy season – pictures and Japanese text]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: The oil price spiral – special investments – and a comparison of the activities in Myanmar and in China

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Thursday, 29.5.2008: Legal and Judicial Reform Remain Main Problems for Cambodia

Posted on 30 May 2008. Filed under: Week 562 | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 562

“Phnom Penh: The Senate of Cambodia, in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Center for International Migration and Development, held a conference about ‘Legal and Judicial Reform for the Modernization of the Kingdom of Cambodia’ on 27 May 2008.

The chairperson of the Commission on Legislation and the Judiciary of the Senate, Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun, stated, ‘The main problems for our commission to deal with are the legal and judicial reforms towards modernization.’

“Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun said that strategies for reforms in the fields of legislation and of the judiciary were adopted by the Royal Government in June 2003, to consider four basic areas: individual rights, democracy, the separation of powers, and legislation [cf. the address on ‘Doctrine of Precedents, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances‘ by Minister Sok An at a ‘Workshop on National Vision and Priorities on the Rule of Law and Judicial Reform,’ 10-11 June 2002].

“Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun hopes that the Royal Government will speed up the reforms on legislation and the judiciary, and also push to take policy initiatives to promote the wider provision of legal and judicial services, which are key conditions for a continuous development of social justice and for poverty alleviation.

“Mr. Kong Phaleak, a professor of law and a member of the Arbitration Council, mentioned that the legal and judicial reform process in Cambodia, from the past until now, has four main concerns: the general view of the legal and of the judiciary reforms, strategies for organizing the reforms, the implementation of the reforms, and the results of the implementation of the legal and judiciary reforms.

“The professor said that the general view of the legal and judiciary reforms is related to the political will of the Royal Government of Cambodia, where a Council for Legal and Judicial Reform was created in 2002. A permanent coordinating unit was created in 2002, and a project management unit was also created in 2002.

“Mr. Kong Phaleak stressed that the goal of the legal and judicial reforms is to create a state of law and a court system which can be trusted and which have the necessary stability to support the policies of individual rights, the separation of powers, and of the legislative process.

“The professor raised the question, ‘What should be done to achieve the goal of the legal and judicial reforms?’ Strategies for organizing the legal and judicial reforms have to consider basic values when organizing related documents, and these involve the four basic considerations of the Constitution of 1993: those views are individual rights, democracy, the separation of powers, and the constitution itself.

“The President of the Royal Academy for the Legal Professions, Mr. Tep Darong, intervened by pointing to the fact that the law is a tool which plays a most important role to guarantee economic growth, the progress of politics, of the culture, and of many other sectors.

“Mr. Tep Darong stated that a large number of judges and prosecutors working in the courts countrywide were not educated in professional legal educational institutions. Their basic capacity is low, which makes it difficult to implement important laws which will be adopted soon.

“Dr. Jörg Menzel, a Senior Legal Advisor to the Senate, said that in the process of the legal and judicial reforms in Cambodia, one should look and focus on minor points and start from there.

“Dr. Menzel raised as an example that now, when traveling at night and the traffic light is red, still there are vehicles crossing. At this point it is necessary to think what people should do when there are traffic lights, but people do not obey them.

“A Senate member from the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Kong Korm, said that so far, legal and judicial reforms have not yet clearly focused on the separation of the legislative, the executive, and the judicial powers, as well as on the decentralization policy – all this is very difficult.

“Mr. Tep Darong explained that so far, the separation of the three powers has not yet been clearly established, i.e. the separation is still weak.

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia:

Article 128:
The Judicial power shall be an independent power…

Article 130:
Judicial power shall not be granted to the legislative or executive branches.

“He affirmed that if we want to achieve the separation of powers, we have to wait until an elected party fully adopt that absolute principle of law. Talking about decentralization, a part of the [executive] power is transferred to the communes, but this is not the whole power.

“He added that the reason why the Royal Government proceeds step by step is that the capacity for training for commune councilors is limited, and most of the commune councilors have a low level of knowledge.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4601, 29.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 29 May 2008


Cambodge Soir, Vol.1, #27, 29-4.5-6.2008

  • ‘If We Can Reduce Domestic Violence, the Number of Divorces Will Also Decline’ [says Director of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – Dr. Kek Galabru]


Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #108, 29.5.2008

  • [Municipal Governor] Kep Chuktema Is Successful in Moving Citizens from Expensive Areas to Suburbs [where there is no development, and the very poor infrastructure makes it difficult for them to live there]


Deum Tnot, Vol.1, #18, 29-30.5.2008

  • Minister of Social Affairs and Labor H.E. Ith Sam Heng and the Director of a Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor Mr. Chea Son Have Been Criticized over Their Partisanship [nepotism in employment]
  • Rubbish Piles of the CINTRI Company [rubbish collection] Destroy the Beauty and Reputation of Phnom Penh, the Heart of the Country


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1653, 29.5.2008

  • There Are Some Reactions [from the Sam Rainsy Party, the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and Funcinpec] Related to the Survey Results of the [US bases] International Republican Institute [which show that 77% of citizens think that the government walks in the right direction]
  • [Human Rights Party president] Kem Sokha Will Hold a Farmers Congress on 30 May, but Some in Civil Society Said It Is Political Trick


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #164, 29.5.2008

  • Former Yuon [Vietnamese] Expert [Mr. Uy Tin] Talked about the Invasion by Yuon Soldiers into Cambodia [in 1979 – he said that the war in Cambodia by Vietnam was caused by China, he accused China to have urged the Khmer Rouge to fight against Vietnam in order to weaken Vietnam, which had just been united after the war against the US]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6357, 29.5.2008

  • Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen]: Some Developing Partners Are not Qualified because They Believe Other Reports and Do Not Ask the Government
  • The House Arrest of [Burmese elected democracy leader] Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi Was Extended for One More Year [on Tuesday, 27 May 2008]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3472, 29.5.2008

  • The US Checks the Possibility to Provide Funds to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4601, 29.5.2008

  • Samdech Dekchor: ‘Reforms Are Crucial to Make the Royal Government to Die or to Live’ [he said so on 28 May 2008 in the annual review meeting on financial reform]
  • Legal and Judicial Reform Remain Main Problems for Cambodia
  • The Ministry of Public Works and Transport Called the Sou Guon [phonetic] Company to Evaluate the Use of Old Trucks [which cause many problems on the roads]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3320, 29.5.2008

  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh]: Hun Sen Wants to Take Me to Prey Sar Prison, so Why Not they Arrest Murderers Murdering Film Stars, Singers, and Politicians?


Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #666, 29.5.2008

  • Poipet Immigration Police Cause Damage to Khmer Laborers [by extorting money from Khmer poor laborers]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: The oil price spiral – special investments – and a comparison of the activities in Myanmar and China

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