“The King Called on All Development Partners of Cambodia to Provide Financial and Technical Support for Forestry Reform in Cambodia” – Sunday, 11.7.2010

Posted on 12 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

On Saturday, 10 July 2010, it was reported that the King had called on all development partners of Cambodia to provide financial and technical support for forestry reform in Cambodia.

At this occasion, we reprint part of the history before this call by the King, starting with an old statement by Global Witness from December 2004, continuing with texts which had all been in Cambodian newspapers in 2010 and had been translated and published in The Mirror – a historical review for further consideration.

Resign or be sacked
3.12.2004

With the advent of Cambodia’s Consultative Group (CG) donor meeting on 6 and 7 December 2004, combating corruption is once more at the top of the political agenda. In line with this renewed emphasis, Global Witness is calling on the Director of the Forest Administration to be made accountable for the rampant corruption within his own department.

“Ty Sokhun should do the honorable thing and resign. If not, the Prime Minister should sack him.” said Jon Buckrell of Global Witness.

Ty Sokhun was made Director of the Department of Forestry and Wildlife1 in 1998. Since then, corruption within the department has if anything got worse. The May 2000 Asia Development Bank [ADB] Forest Concession Review characterized the crisis situation in Cambodia’s forest as “…total system failure; resulting from greed, corruption, incompetence and illegal acts…” Since that time not one forest department official has been charged with corruption, let alone convicted…

“How can the new Forest Administration hope to address corruption if the people at the top remain the same?” said Buckrell. Ty Sokhun is hopelessly compromised by his familial links to the timber trade. His father-in-law, Khun Thong, is one of Cambodia’s most prolific illegal loggers. “Ty Sokhun’s failure to make public his familial links to the timber trade is a massive conflict of interest and is in itself reason enough to dismiss him.” …

Global Witness agrees with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s sentiments, of more than two years ago, that “while good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.” … Global Witness Press Release

And from the Khmer press in 2010:

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

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

“… ‘All military commanders, please remember that you have no authority to order soldiers to guard your mangroves. I tell you this for the future, because previously this happened… The role of the military is to fulfill obligations for the nation, not to guard your mangroves, please check this again! Please do not use soldiers and the military’s machinery to serve individual interests. If it still continues, do not say that I have not told you. How many stars showing your military rank you wear, though I wear only five stars, I will dismiss you even if you are wearing the big moon as the sign of your rank, I will dismiss you!’” – Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6870, 29.1.2010

The Authorities Intercept Wood Every Day, but Never Arrest the Wood Traders
24.3.2010

“After the Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, ordered to crack down on forestry crimes, the logging seems to continue even stronger, and some perpetrators drove luxury cars loaded with luxury wood in a procession of cars of high ranking officials to deceive the authorities.

“The authorities, including forestry administration officials, police, military police, and committees from the agencies from military and other units charged with suppressing forestry crimes and forestry criminals, intercepted cars and trucks loaded with wood and checked wood storehouses of some powerful people. But by now, the authorities have not arrested any traders to show their accomplishment to the Khmer public on television. …” – Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #634, 24.3.2010

Samdech Hun Sen Considers Forestry Crimes to Be Acts of National Betrayal
27.3.2010

“Phnom Penh: During a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen affirmed the position of the government regarding the campaign to strongly intercept forestry crimes, and not to give up. Although there may be barriers against it made of rock or of iron, any obstacles must be broken down.

“During the cabinet meeting yesterday, which took from morning to noon, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen spoke to all members of the Royal Government, saying that all related institutions, whether on the national or on regional levels, have to cooperate to intercept forestry crimes, and to reach the ringleaders. All authorities have to investigate this at every place to find the offenses and to arrest the offenders, the principal leaders, and other relevant persons, to be prosecuted without any exception regardless of how powerful those persons are, and whatever their relationships, because the suppression of forestry crimes is the suppression of criminal groups – their activities have to be considered as activities of national betrayal. …” – Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2212, 27.3.2010

Considering Forestry Crimes, Ty Sokun Should Not Be Allowed to Hold a Position,
but Should Be Punished according to the Law
7.4.2010

“Prime Minister Hun Sen announced yesterday morning, in a conference at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, to remove the director of the forestry administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. Such a removal of the holder of the same position, of a former head of the forestry administration – Mr. Ly Kim Han – happened also some years ago, making him feel heart-broken, and he died. But in Ty Sokun’s case, according to opinions expressed among the general public, he should face the law and receive punishment. To remove Ty Sokun, but to appoint him at the same time as Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, shows the great tolerance of the Prime Minister.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly announced the decision to take out Mr. Ty Sokun from the position of Director General of the Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, because he was involved in illegal wood trading. But Mr. Hun Sen did not specify any measures to be taken against Mr. Ty Sokun, and he reassigned him to the position of Under-Secretary of State of Agriculture. Prime Minister Hun Sen said on 6 April 2010 at the Chamkar Doung Royal University of Agriculture, that the head of the forestry administration, Mr. Ty Sokun, was involved in corruption related to forestry crimes, and that the authorities had recently started investigations to intercept them. …

“… Prime Minister Hun Sen stressed that at this time, there will be no tolerance for any official who got involved in forestry crimes. ‘We take hot measures to hit the heads of the main leaders. Therefore, the Prime Minister has to decide to do things, even if they hurt, in order to create models of law enforcement in the campaign to intercept forestry crimes.’ …” – Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3852, 7.4.2010

Important Officials from Sixteen Countries Come to Cambodia
to Discuss Appropriate Control Systems for Forestry Resources,
after an Unclear Suppression Campaign
6.5.2010

“… Recently, Cambodia has started to crack down on luxury grade wood trading, and after activities for one month, the authorities confiscated 6,000 cubic meter of such wood that was to be transported to China and Yuon. Some was to be exported to the international market via Singapore. …

“The illegal wood trading in Cambodia reduced the rich forestry resource during the 1960s of about 75% of the whole country to drop to only more than 30% at present, according to some environmental organizations. Forestry expert officials and some sectors of the authorities have been blamed for their collusion, committing illegal wood trading, but most of the actors are not brought to the courts.

“According to reports from forestry administration officials, 207 forestry crimes have been reported to the courts, but some traders with a title as an Oknha, or with close relations to high government officials, have not been charged, though they colluded to commit forestry crimes in Cambodia. Some forestry administration officials enjoy their lives with the wealth they gained from the illegal cutting down of trees. …” – Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3872, 6.5.2010

Records show 17 held for forestry crimes
9.7.2010

A total of 17 people are being held in pretrial detention in Koh Kong provincial prison on forestry-related charges dating back to 2008, according to a document provided this week by a prison worker who expressed frustration with the release last month of four forestry officials charged with involvement in an illegal logging ring.

The document shows that an additional seven people in the province have been convicted of forestry crimes and are serving sentences at the prison.

The official, who asked not to be named, said that all the people on the list were “poor” Koh Kong residents who had been arrested for such crimes as “collecting wood” and “clearing farmland.”

“It doesn’t seem very fair,” the official said. “Poor people who depend on clearing forest for their livelihood are convicted for up to five years for forestry crimes, while forestry officials involved with illegal logging rings are released.”

Although their case remains under investigation, the four Koh Kong Forestry Administration Cantonment officials were released on June 24 after being arrested in a raid amid a crackdown on illegal logging called for by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“The small fish is punished, but the medium and big fish never get punished.”

Chhin Long, the chief clerk for the prosecution at the provincial court, said Tuesday that he had seen a document signed by Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun and the prime minister requesting the officials’ release.

Chheng Kim Sun, director of the Forestry Administration, noted on Thursday that the officials were still being investigated and could be summoned back to court at any time. He defended the release of the prisoners, describing it as part of standard legal procedure.

“The court is independent, and the court’s decision-making process in this case would be the same for rich and poor people, powerful and powerless people. It is not biased to one side,” Chheng Kim Sun said.

But Un Than Aan, provincial coordinator for the rights group ADHOC, said that although the releases might have been legal, the poor are bearing the brunt of the government’s logging crackdown.

“The release of the four officials can be done according to court procedure, because they are able to provide the court with a permanent job and address,” Un Than Aan said. “Poor people aren’t released because they have no permanent job or address, and they are often found guilty of forestry crimes because there’s enough evidence against them.”

ADHOC President Thun Saray said the pattern was consistent with past crackdowns.

“The small fish is punished, but the medium and big fish never get punished,” he said. “That’s been my observation for the last 15 years.” – Phnom Penh Post, 9 July 2010

“The King Called on All Development Partners of Cambodia
to Provide Financial and Technical Support for Forestry Reform in Cambodia”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5246, Saturday, 10.7.2010

“Financial and technical support” – plus, as Global Witness had quoted a 2002 statement of the Prime Minister in 2004 – “While good policies do matter, their rigorous and consistent implementation remains vital.”

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Borders Link and Borders Separate – Sunday, 4.7.2010

Posted on 7 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

The Mirror carries regularly reports about incidents considered to be border violations, but much more frequently information about smuggling. Some people are caught and sent to court; the border with Thailand has been beyond regular control, so that finally an attempt had to be made that even a large number of illegal border crossings had to be brought under control, as The Mirror had reported on 10 June 2010, from which we quote again:

Illegal border entries closed in crackdown

Between 30 and 40 illegal border crossings in Banteay Meanchey province have been closed in an attempt to curb the smuggling of pigs, gas, petrol, fruits and expired perishable foods from Thailand to Cambodia, provincial officials said Wednesday.

“We have closed more than 30 illegal border crossing points along the border with Thailand to stop smuggling, and this closure is forever,” Banteay Meanchey deputy governor Im Phoansophal said…

He declined to provide any figures supporting this claim, though he accused local businessmen of resorting to smuggling in order to evade taxes.

“Businessmen have always used these illegal crossing points to smuggle their goods. They prefer to do things this way because they don’t want to pay tax on items, and they think it will cost less to just bribe local officials,” he said.

Obviously, these 30 to 40 border crossings had been used regularly and formally – though illegally – for some time, before there was an effort made to put this chaotic situation to an end. This surely does not mean that there is no illegal border crossing going on any longer at the Cambodian-Thai border, which extends for about 800 kilometers, for long stretches through forested areas.

When a Thai newspaper published a report, saying that Thai anti-government activists, suspected of having been involved in the bombing of a building in Thailand during the recent violent confrontations in Bangkok, had entered Cambodia, Cambodian government officials quickly denied this and accused the Thai government and the Thai media of making false accusations against Cambodia.

The Phnom Penh Post reported on 29 and 30 June 2010:

In a statement issued Monday, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers said there was no evidence the men had entered Cambodia. The statement also called on the Thai government to end what it described as a “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia…”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Monday that the allegations were “stupid.”

“Cambodia completely denies this kind of provocative information,” he said…

In addition to arguing that there was no evidence that the two fugitives were in Cambodia, the Council of Ministers statement called on the Thai government to end its “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia,” and accused it of “fanning acts of provocation against the Kingdom of Cambodia.” …

But Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,… also said the names of the two fugitives cited in the report on Monday – Warisaya and Kobchai – had not appeared on registration lists at the border.

“The border always registers people when they cross the border, and the two names mentioned as suspects were not on that list,” he said. “They raise incorrect information. When Thailand has problems, they blame Cambodia.”

“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information,” he said.

“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”

These official and massive Cambodian denials – assuming that nobody could have crossed the border without having their names registered in an official border crossing list – were combined with accusations against the Thai government and media, requesting “they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information.”

This war of words was accompanied by the forwarding of a document by the Spokesman and Deputy Director for Press Department of the Office of the Council of Ministers, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit – a document written by Pen Ngoeun, an Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers and member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers, representing “only the personal opinion of the writer, and does not reflect under any shape and form the opinion of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit nor that of the Office of the Council of Ministers.” In spite of this disclaimer, it is interesting that this long document was widely published at this time and with this background, asking: WILL THAILAND’S ENMITY TOWARDS CAMBODIA END.

This long document is accusing that Thailand, since 150 years, has taken a negative attitude against Cambodia. “This writing is not a piece about history, but as far back as the eyes can see, the Kingdom of Thailand has kept its enmity towards Cambodia,” which is similar to “the current state of mind of the government of Abhisit Vijjajeva, with ‘former terrorist’ turned foreign minister Kasit Pyromya, and the malicious and machiavellic [deputy prime minister] Suthep Thaugsuban at his sides…” This negative attitude was also the cause which made Cambodia to entrust its destiny to French colonial rule. “Thailand always acts like a hungry mad dog that missed a good piece of meat and had never stopped dreaming about it, since.”

“Finally, Thailand has made official, its territorial ambition on Cambodian territories in 2007 in Christchurch, New Zealand during the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee by presenting for the first time to such an important international gathering a map dressed up unilaterally and secretly by Thailand and thus laying claim on an area of 4.6 km sq. inside the Cambodian territory near the Temple of Preah Vihear, as an objection of various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List.

Would Thailand wake up from the bad dream of a hungry mad dog? It had to be decided by Thailand. It had nothing to do with Cambodia.”

It is appropriate to say that not only persons in positions of political leadership will have to find ways to help to establish good neighborly relations. This will also be necessary in Cambodia, not only by using a different type of language, but also by seeing some facts, not published in Cambodia and therefore hardly seen, and therefore also not considered in Cambodia.

What this Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers and member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers calls “various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List” related to the contested 4.6 square kilometers around the Temple of Preah Vihear, is described with quite different words in a document, based on a meeting at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on 18 June 2008, inscribing the Temple “without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple” – “without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary.” The related map, superseding the maps formerly presented in Cambodia’s nomination file, signed by the chairperson of the Border Committee of Cambodia Var Kim Hong at the same time, is here:

Cambodian map around Preah Vihear Temple

Cambodian map around Preah Vihear Temple

Joint Communique

The meeting was held in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.

During the meeting both sides agreed as follows:

  1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.
  2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.
  3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;
  4. Pending the results of the work of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) concerning the northern and western areas surrounding the Temple of Preah Vihear, which are identified as N. 3 in the map mentioned in paragraph 1 above, the management plan of these areas will be prepared in a concerted manner between the Cambodian and Thai authorities in conformity with the international conservation standards with a view to maintain the outstanding universal value of the property. Such management plan will be included in the final management plan for the Temple and its surrounding areas to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre by 1st February 2010 for the consideration of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;
  5. The inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List shall be without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) of the two countries…

Finally, after, and in spite of all the strong denials and accusations, the two Thai bombing suspects, Kobchai Boonplod and Varisareeya Boonsom, were arrested in Cambodia and handed over to Thai authorities.

We recall:

“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information.”

“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”

Will this now – with reversed roles – be considered and implemented in Cambodia?

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Environmental Pollution Has to Be Reduced in Four Industrial Target Areas – Monday, 22.2.2010

Posted on 23 February 2010. Filed under: Week 653 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 653

“Phnom Penh: The garment industry, brick kilns, rice milling, and the rubber processing industry are frequently considered by environmentalists as causing environmental pollution, which contributes to climate change in Cambodia as well as producing greenhouse gases, released into the atmosphere, a major source of global warming.

“The Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, is developing strategies to deal with the four target areas to economize the use of raw materials, to reorient the industry to create less pollution, and to use energy resource which effectively cut down environmental pollution.

“The chief technical advisor of the Cambodian Cleaner Production Program, Dr. P.K Gupta [Director of the National Productivity Council/National Cleaner Production Center of India], said during a consultation workshop about Industrial Energy Efficiency at the Sunway Hotel in the morning of 19 February 2010 that the reduction of greenhouse gases in Cambodian industry is a project of the Global Environment Facility approved in 2009. In Cambodia, it is found that the garment industry, brick kilns, rice milling, and the rubber processing industry are the most polluting fields compared to others. They play a most important role to develop the industry based economy of the country, consume the most fuel, and therefore emit most of the polluting smoke. Officials of the Ministries of Industry and of the Environment are looking for ways to reduce fuel consumption by shifting to other sources of energy for the production in these fields, sources that do not need high capital input and save electricity.

“A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Dr. Sat Samy, said, ‘Anyway, industrial development must be combined with environmental protection – otherwise we will spend much time and money to find remedies for the destruction caused by environmental pollution resulting from development.’ He added that in recent years, global climate change made journalists, politicians, and many other people around the world to pay more attention to, and to worry about the threats to the environment which can lead to climate change, floods, droughts, and global warming, that go against the desired social sustainable situation that human beings necessarily need for their everyday lives.

“The Technical Director General of the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Lonh Heal, said, ‘The four target areas are the ones on which efforts to reduce environmental pollution needs to be concentrated, because they contribute to climate change. Much scientific evidence shows that the release of greenhouse gases into the environment by human activities is the major source of global warming. Cambodia is a country that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1995. As a signatory country we have to prepare to fulfill the contracted duties about greenhouse gases in our national plans. Therefore, this workshop is an effort to coordinate between the Ministries of Industry and of the Environment under an Industrial Energy Efficiency Program of the Global Environment Facility. The workshop was held for one day to consult about how to make changes that benefit both industrial operators and reduce environmental pollution.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5132, 21-22.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 22 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #416, 21-22.2.2010

  • During a Raid at Dawn in a Restaurant Suspected of Dealing with Drugs, Nineteen People Were Arrested [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2183, 21-22.2.2010

  • While Wood Removed from an Old House Was Being Loaded on a Truck, Military Police Blocked it to Extort Riel 300,000 [approx. US$75, though there was sufficient documentation permitting the transport – Battambang]
  • A Truck Loaded with Containers Hit a Motorbike Driver, Killing Two People Immediately [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #735, 22.2.2010

  • The Export [of garments] Dropped by More Than 40%, and More Than 50,000 Workers Lost Their Jobs

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6890, 22.2.2010

  • That the Charges against [two] Local Human Rights Defenders and a Reporter [of Radio Free Asia] Were Dropped Was Welcomed [by the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights]
  • A 13 Year-Old Pitiable Girl Was Raped by Two Men, Two Brothers [not relatives of the girl – who escaped – Kompong Chhnang]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.17, #3814, 22.2.2010

  • The United Nations [through the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination] Warned that It Will Provide Asylum for Khmer Kampuchea Krom People if the Cambodian Government Does Not Provide Them with Khmer Citizenships

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #116, 22.2.2010

  • The King Will Leave for China for a Medical Checkup Today
  • Cambodia Will File a Complaint against Thailand Today at a Thai Provincial Court for Secretly Convicting [six] Khmer Citizens [to serve two years and three months in prison, without letting the Khmer authorities find lawyers for them – they entered Thai territory illegally to look for and to cut and steal luxury wood – [[the Cambodian wood merchants who would have benefited most are again not being targeted]]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5132, 21-22.2.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Supports the Government to Solve Border Issues with Thailand Appealing for International Help
  • Environmental Pollution Has to Be Reduced in Four Industrial Target Areas

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1878, 22.2.2010

  • The head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, Was Beaten by a Traffic Police, Injuring His Head [he was stopped by police and was fined Riel 5000, as his wife did not wear the seat belt; after that he started to drive, but another policeman beat him, through his car’s open window, and used rude words, though he was confused and thought Mr. Chea Mony had not yet paid the fine; Mr. Chea Mony asked the traffic police not to use violence against citizens]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Two Villagers Were Arrested over the Removal of Temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Markers – Thursday, 24.12.2009

Posted on 25 December 2009. Filed under: Week 644 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 644

“Phnom Penh: The Svay Rieng court, on Wednesday morning of 23 December 2009, ordered the authorities to arrest two of the five villagers that are accused of removing temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers.

“The two villagers are Ms. Meas Srey and Mr. Prum Chea. Both of them own rice fields, and they claim that they are now lost because of the Cambodian-Vietnamese border marker demarcation in Svay Rieng.

“Their families and activists said that Ms. Meas Srey and Mr. Prum Chea followed the provincial court’s summons on Wednesday morning, 23 December 2009, and both of them were then arrested at 11:00 a.m of the same day.

“Another villager, Ms. Neang Phally, planed to appear at the Svay Rieng municipal court also on Wednesday afternoon, but after the two villagers were arrested at the court, she immediately decided to escape.

“Two other villagers Ms. Prak Koen and Mr. Khan Chea were also summoned by the Svay Rieng court to appear on Thursday morning, 24 December 2009.

“Meanwhile, [opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy was summoned by the Svay Rieng court to appear early next week on 28 December 2009. But now, he is in France and will not follow the court’s summon.

“Ms. Meas Srey, Mr. Prum Chea, Ms. Neang Phally, Ms. Prak Koen, and Mr. Khan Chea are villagers in the Samroang commune, Chantrea district, Svay Rieng, and they are accused by the provincial court of intentionally destroying the temporary border marker Number 185. The removal of this temporary border marker was led by Mr. Sam Rainsy at the above location on 25 October 2009.

“The older brother of Ms. Meas Srey, Mr. Meas Prel, said that he accompanied his sister to the provincial court on Wednesday morning and waited for her outside the court over one hour. Then he saw a police car carry her and Mr. Prum Chea away from the court.

“At that moment, Mr. Meas Prel sought help from the human rights NGO ADHOC in Svay Rieng. Contacted by phone, Mr. Meas Prel called on the court to release his younger sister [and another villager], because they all lost their land because of the setting of temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers. Now they lost their land. Moreover, they were detained.

“The ADHOC coordinator in Svay Rieng who is observing this case, Mr. Nget Nara, asked the court to free the two villagers and lift the charges against these poor people.

“Mr. Nget Nara stressed that the court should take a humanitarian position into consideration, because arresting these people is like killing them and their families. We are in a paddy rice cultivating region, and those arrested people are just caring for their families. In addition, the arrest of villagers living along the Vietnamese border makes other villagers afraid and not daring to protest over other documented cases of injustice.

“The investigating judge of the Svay Rieng municipal court, Mr. Long Kesphirum, who had issued a summons and ordered the arrest of the two villagers temporarily over the removal of temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 17, #5081, 24.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 24 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #369, 24.12.2009

  • Cambodia Rejected [Thai Deputy Prime Minister] Suthep’s Claims Accusing that [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Uses Cambodia as a Place to Attack Bangkok
  • Samdech Hun Sen: Only Retired Soldiers Who Have Real Difficulties Can Receive Social Concession Land
  • [A police official,] Mr. Neang Sokna, Called Tivea 06 [“Anniversary 06”], Who Appeared in Court to Explain the Case where He Assaulted a Car Mechanic

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2132, 24.12.2009

  • A Second Confidential Document about the Plan to Murder Thaksin Shinawatra Leaked [according to The Nation; the plan is presented by the opposition party and it is supposedly made by the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kasit Piromya]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #562, 24.12.2009

  • Two Farmers Who Lost Their Rice Fields because of the Border Marker Demarcation [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border] Were Detained by the Khmer Authorities
  • Nearly 20 Khmer Parliamentarians [from the Sam Rainsy Party] Asked [the Minister of Justice] Ang Vongvathana to Release [Khmer Machas Srok editor-in-chief] and Ruos Sokhet

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6839, 24.12.2009

  • The Royal Government of Cambodia Rejected the content of an Interview of [the Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva with Asia Satellite TV Thailand, [saying that if Cambodia secretly listened to the conversation between a Thai engineer and the First Secretary of the Thai Embassy [claiming that this was the way the Cambodian authorities new about the fact that the air traffic engineer gave the Flight Plan to the Thai embassy], Cambodia needs to explain it, otherwise it will affect the country’s view under international eyes]
  • Because of Jealousy, a Cruel Man Brok His Wife’s Neck to Kill Her and Buried Her Body to Hide the Evidence [he was arrested – Kompong Cham]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #74, 24.12.2009

  • The Khmer Authorities Are Seeking Two Uighur People Who Escaped [in Cambodia before 20 others were deported to China]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #505081, 24.12.2009

  • Son Chhay Submitted Questions and Videos to Seek an Explanation in the Border Marker Case [the video is about the removal of border markers by citizens and by Mr. Sam Rainsy, and about a later visit by Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians – Mr. Cheam Yeap, a parliamentarian and member of the central committee from the Cambodian People’s Party, said that the request of Mr. Son Chhay [for clarification] cannot be implemented, unless there is a decision from the standing committee of the National Assembly, led by Samdech Heng Samrin. But by Wednesday evening, the committee had not yet received Mr. Son Chhay’s request.]
  • Two Villagers Were Arrested for Removing Temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Markers
  • [Two or three] Robbers Entered a House and Attacked a 14-Year-Old Girl, Killing Her with a Cleaver, Taking Away Gold and Money [Battambang]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1840, 24.12.2009

  • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy: The Real Court [suing him for removing temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers] Is in Hanoi

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Thaksin Shinawatra and Chavalit Yongchaiyudh Come Together to Receive the Thai Spy Today – Monday 14.12.2009

Posted on 15 December 2009. Filed under: Week 643 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 643

“Phnom Penh: The Thai former prime minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, and the Puea Thai Party president, Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, will come together to receive the Thai spy Siwarak Chothipong at the Prey Sar Prison today [13 December 2009]. This is according to a high ranking official of the Royal Government.

“This official said that the information about the arrival of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will be hidden to some extent. But Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh arrived at Cambodia since yesterday morning on 13 December 2009.

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, spoke to Kampuchea Thmey, as saying that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will really come to Cambodia to receive the Thai spy who will be released on Monday. But Mr. Khieu Kanharith did not specify the actual date, but just said that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra will arrive on 12 or 13 December 2009. As soon as Mr. Thaksin arrives at Cambodia, he will go to meet the Thai spy in the Prey Sar Prison, to visit him with his mother.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith added that after Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra has met the Thai man, he will meet with Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen on Monday. Then he will meet economists at the Ministry of Economy and Finance like before.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith stressed the arrival of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra is not a secret, because he already became an important official of Cambodia. As an economic advisor, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra might do some work abroad to contact with investors to come to invest in Cambodia.

“As for the Thai government of Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva, after receiving the information about Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, that he comes to visit Cambodia again, he is seeking to send a diplomatic note again, asking Cambodia to extradite Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, according to AFP.

“Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva told this news agency that even though the previous request for extradition was rejected by the Cambodian government, his government will not give up sending a request again.

“A high raking official of Cambodia said that what we decided previously is not different from now, because Cambodia does not like twisting words like the Thai government. Thus, Cambodia will not care about any requests of the Thai government to extradite Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra.

“Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra said on the Internet by Twitter on Saturday that he plans to visit three countries in Asia. He said the visit to those countries would take seven to eight days. But he did not specify those countries’ names.

“According to a high ranking official of the Council of Ministers, when Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra arrives, he will go to meet the Thai spy at the Prey Sar Prison at 4:30 p.m. on 13 December 2009, and that spy will be released from prison on 14 December 2009.

“The official added that the president of the Puea Thai Party, Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, will accompany Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra. According to the official, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra and Mr. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh expressed their appreciation towards the head of the Cambodian government, especially King Norodom Sihamoni, who pardoned the Thai national.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2123, 13-14.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 14 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #361, 13-14.12.2009

  • Two Cooks Were Attacked [in two separate cases]; One Was Shot Dead and the Other One Was Stabbed into One of His Eyes [perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]
  • Three People Died and Two Were Seriously Injured, in a Traffic Accident on National Road 5 [two cars cashed into each other – Phnom Penh]
  • The Ministry of Women’s Affairs Celebrated the National Day against Human Trafficking on 12 December

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2123, 13-14.12.2009

  • Thaksin Shinawatra and Chavalit Come to Receive the Thai Spy Today
  • An Official of the Ministry of Interior: The Sam Rainsy Party Can Visit, but Cannot Remove Border Markers [in Svay Rieng]
  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs] Mr. Hor Namhong: This Year Cambodia Can Cultivate Much Paddy Rice, but there Is a Lack of Milling Machines to Mill Paddy Rice for Export

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #554, 13-14.12.2009

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Continues to Seek Thumbprints from Citizens for Asking the King to Deliver Immunity to Mr. Sam Rainsy [his immunity was suspended for removing border markers]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6830, 14.12.2009

  • The Court: Sam Rainsy and His Accomplices, Are Accused of Removing the Cambodian-Vietnam Temporary Border Markers, and Inciting [racial] Discrimination [Svay Rieng]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #66, 14.12.2009

  • The Thai Spy Will Be Released This Morning under the Presidency of Mr. Hun Sen and Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra
  • Police Arrested 968 Demonstrators in Copenhagen [among 30,000, for throwing bricks and breaking windows during demonstrations about global climate change – Denmark]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5072, 13-14.12.2009

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Welcomes to Release [of the Thai engineer], but the Thai Opposition Party [Puea Thai Party], Asked Him and [the Minister of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya to Thank [Prime Minister], Hun Sen
  • An Agricultural Official: In 2009 and 2010, Cambodia Will Have More Than Three Million Tonnes of Paddy Rice [compared to last year, there were also about three million tonnes]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1832, 14.12.2009

  • The FBI Report on the Grenade Attack on 30 March 1997 Was Released [it was quoted from The Cambodia Daily – 9/10/11 December 2009 – as saying, ‘Investigators believed in 1997 that they had uncovered evidence to implicate security forces loyal to the Cambodian People’s Party in the grenade attack on an opposition rally in Phnom Penh that year, which killed at least 16 people.’]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Outlook into 2009 – Sunday, 11.1.2009

Posted on 12 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Would you like easy access to several of The Mirror editions directly from your browser? You can ‘subscribe’ for free!

Click on Subscribe to The Mirror (it is to the right of the text, underneath Have a look at last week’s editorial and Previous editorials). You are offered several possibilities to select from. If you do not have any other preferences, we recommend:

Subscribe to this feed using Live Bookmarks

After you click on Subscribe Now an icon will be added to your browser. If you click on it, you have quick access to The Mirror.

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

Observing a wide range of discussions about the future, there are two fields which get most prominent attention: the economy – and the state of law.

As the Cambodian economy – internationally – depends much on the export of garment products and on international tourism, and on a construction boom, we did mirror related reports:

The garment industry was a sure bet in the past – in every of the previous years, this sector grew by 15% to 20%. But this was not an assurance for the future. The situation is bad, but not too bad, some observers say:

In Cambodia 73 factories were closed in 2008, making nearly 25,000 workers unemployed. But 64 new factories opened, absorbing 10,000 new workers. – The export of garments to international markets dropped by 2%, while before, it was expected that it would drop by between 5% and 7%. Therefore the global financial crisis affected this sector very little.

Others are more careful to express their hope: While at present the future looks really to dark, things may change:

Presently received orders will be finished by February and March 2009, and there are no buying orders for May and June 2009.

But buyers from the United States of America probably wait until the new president takes his position in mid January, then they will continue buying.

Investments in the construction industry are also facing big problems:

All construction projects of high rise buildings to develop the city to become a modern city are mostly based on foreign investment in Cambodia. Therefore large scale investments, like those by Korean investors planning constructions for the city, are delayed.

The labor unions say that 30% of the construction workers are laid off, and various projects are suspended; and it is forecast that in 2009 the decline will continue.

And tourism?

The Minister of Tourism recognized that the global financial crisis and the confrontation with Thailand in the Preah Vihear region slows the number of tourists to Cambodia down, but Cambodia will make all efforts to guarantee the safety of tourists, and to promote the further growth of tourism.

The loss of everyday jobs and income for the families is a consequence resulting from the decline in the number of tourists to Cambodia since July 2008.

Such reductions in the economic possibilities are also reflected in the cautious employment policy of the government for new graduates, in spite of the fact that their number is increasing year by year:

The Cambodian government decided to reduce the recruitment of new civil servants from 9,000 to 8,000 to work at different ministries and departments in 2009.

To reduce employment alone will not be sufficient. We will watch out for reports about other determined decisions how to contain and to save expenses.

The plan to spend US$10 million on public lighting in Phnom Penh is surprising in this context. Even if it is intended to do this with a foreign loan, it is not only a liability to be paid back; after the investment is done, a lot of electricity will have to be paid for. Public taxpayer money will have to be spent regularly for the electricity, and this money will go to the producers of electricity; more and more private companies will profit from this.

Of course there is the hope for big oil money in the futue. And the international community has pledged around one billion dollars of aid for 2009.

The scholarly wisdom from the field of Economics and of Business Administration has not prevented a global economic meltdown of a size never before experienced. Now there are many efforts under discussion, what kind of political will and political action is needed to control the economic problems so that they do not get totally out of control. The myth about the “self-regulatory powers of the market” led into global crisis; new bold legislation and new government interventions are now being called for internationally.

There is new movement also in Cambodia in the field of the role of law.

The new year started with an almost unexpected news from the past: after five years of doubts and mistrust in police and in court actions, related to the 2004 murder of the labor leader Chea Vichea, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were released on bail, because, as the Supreme Court judge Dith Munty explained, there is a lack of clarity: the case needs further investigation, as there were gaps in the procedures, and there is insufficient evidence.

There will have to be a lot of explanation to be done, why previous investigations were not done correctly, and how it was possible that gaps in the procedures – which had been pointed out by many, including by the former King – could not be rectified without keeping two persons in prison for five years.

Now the police waits already one whole week for the green light from the court to start the new investigation. It is probably the correct procedure now to wait for the court again. When there is a lack of clarity, new investigations are to be made, according to the law, independently from any outside influence, also independent from the executive branch of the government, according to the Constitution of the country.

Article 51 of the Constituton says:
“The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country. All power belongs to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, The Senate, the Royal Government and the Judiciary. The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be separate.”

But it is at least surprising that the effort by three persons, accredited by the Bar Association of Cambodia to act at the courts in Cambodia, met with difficulties when hey tried to file a law suit. They want to initiate a clarification by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court about allegations of irregularities at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. They had not been able, in spite of their efforts over several months, to receive certain pieces of information – as we had mirrored on Friday, 9.1.2009, in detail from the Khmer press.

What is even more surprising – not based on any legal expertize, but just on common sense – is that the appeal to a court of law to bring clarity, is not welcome, but is met by an expression of regret. The national judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia criticized this appeal to a court with the argument, that they had entered into service at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal on the basis of a Royal Decree, signed by the King.

This case brings a basic problem of perception to the public, whether this society will live up to its constitution, where an independent judiciary is to find out what is right and what is wrong, or whether positions of rank will have precedence. Do the national judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia not trust that the courts can fulfill their duty?

The fact, that a person had an illustrious career to which he was properly appointed, is no reason not to clarify by the courts and on the basis of the law in a transparent way, whether a person has acted properly or not. When Heng Pov, who was, over the course of time, undersecretary of state, and assistant to the Minister of the Interior, and then police commissioner of the city of Phnom Penh – who had had all the proper appointments – was put to the test by the courts, he failed and is now in prison.

Whoever is innocent, should be happy to have this finally confirmed by a normal, public court. Why not?

Please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Looking Back and Looking Ahead – Sunday, 4.1.2009

Posted on 5 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 593

The beginning of a new year always challenges us – to look back, and to look ahead. In both cases we may gain some orientation. We know, more or less, what happened – but do we understand why? Are we satisfied with what we know? What do we like to continue, and what to change?

Or do we try to look more into the future than into the past? Looking forward to 2009 – but is it with fear, or with hope? May be we have our own clear plans what to do – but will we be ale to make things work out, because many others have the same hopes – or not?

Obviously, we cannot get all the lifetime prosperity, harmony, and affection which people wished for us so that the New Year would be a Happy New Year. But could we, maybe, foresee and say more – not for us as individuals, but for the society were we live?

The last couple of days provided two strong indications about that – but of a contradicting nature.

A paper reported that the president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had said – though without using these words – that we do live in a society which is not governed by the law.

Quite a strong statement – because the Phnom Penh Municipal Court court “lacked judges for hearing 6,500 cases in 2008. Being unable to solve many cases like that, makes that hundreds of accused persons are detained beyond the legal limit, which states that the detention of an accused or of a suspect can be up to a maximum of six months. Then they have to be brought to court for a hearing, and if the court cannot find them to be guilty, they must be released immediately. However, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and Khmer courts in different provinces do not abide by this legal procedure, and continue to detain thousands of people for many years without conviction, which is against legal procedure and seriously violates the rights of the accused.” By the end of 2007, there had even been 9,200 such unsolved cases.

Not some uninformed and ill-intended observers said this, but the president of the Phnom Penh Municipal court.

And the future?

The president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court “acknowledged that Khmer courts are not yet quite in good order; therefore all Khmer courts need many more years to improve.”

The Court Watch Bulletins of the Center for Social Development describe what the accused – guilty or not – will have to endure for years to come (according to the time line given by the president of the Municipal Court): “The municipal court conducted hearings for three criminal cases every day, and half of those hearings lasted only not more than 20 minutes. So the period for hearing each case was very short, just enough to read the verdicts by which the court defined punishments, or defined who were the losers and the winners in a conflict. The result is that each case is not clearly analyzed according to the procedures of the law, and according to the facts. Therefore it is seen that frequently the rich and high ranking officials won cases against poor people, and against people who are not powerful in society.”

The president of the Municipal Court states now that one of the reasons for these regular violations of the law is a lack of staff at the courts: there are not enough judges and not enough prosecutors! There is no reason to doubt this. But we do not remember to have seen, in the press over the years, that the leadership of the courts, the leadership of the Ministry of Justice, the leadership of the government as a whole – responsible in different ways to upheld a state of law – has decried this situation, leading to regular gross violations of basic rights of citizens according to Cambodian laws, and initiated urgent efforts to rectify this situation.

The situation has an even worse aspect, when one considers that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng was quoted to have acknowledges that there is corruption among high ranking police officers.

But is all his going to be rectified – not immediately, but consistently, and step by step, without unnecessary delay?



The Supreme Court Released Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun on 31 December 2008 on bail – they had been arrested on 28 January 2004 and were convicted to serve 20 years in prison by the Phnom Penh court, for killing the labor union leader Mr. Chea Vichea on 22 January 2004.

But the president of the Supreme Court explained now that the present decision – to release them on bail – was made because the murder of the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia needs further investigation, as there were gaps in the procedures, and there is insufficient evidence.

This decision was widely welcomed – as it initiates a reconsideration not only of what really happened five years ago, but it will also be necessary to clarify:

  • What went wrong with the investigation of the police, and why?
  • What went wrong at the initial court procedures, when evidence offered by the defense was disregarded, and why?
  • What went wrong when the Appeals Court on 12 April 2007 upheld the convictions of Born Samnang and of Sok Samoeun, in spite of many indications raised in the international and national public – including by the former King – that the initial process was flawed, and why was there no new investigation ordered by the Appeals Court?

There is hope that the present decision of the Supreme Court will lead to justice for the two persons who spent already five years in prison.

But tis is only one side of the problem. The Supreme Court created an opportunity like never before, to go into detail, to clarify what went wrong and why, and who may have to take responsibility for what went wrong, and bear the consequences according to the law.

Not a revision of old, or the promulgation of new legal procedure will make Cambodia a state under the law – only the strict application of the law will help to bring change.

There was never a better chance for this than since the recent decision by the Supreme Court.


Please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.


Back to top

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...