About the Clear Separation of Functions and Responsibilities – Sunday, 30.5.2010

Posted on 1 June 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

According to the Preamble of the Constitution, the Kingdom of Cambodia is a multi-party liberal democracy. That different people make different observations and have different information and different opinions is natural – that these can also be expressed and discussed openly is legal under such a constitution, unless there is any criminal intent involved.

When putting the pieces for the Mirror together day by day, we encounter often confrontative news items which could be resolved easily by an open, mutual, clarifying consultation about facts and structural arrangements, which might overcome personal positions and feelings.

During the past week, we carried a report about a tragic event in India: “160 People Were Killed in a Plane Crash in India.” But this is not just a tragedy – it is necessary to investigate what led to this problem, in order to avoid similar events to happen in future. Naturally, questions about safety procedures have to be clarified – and there were some press reports claiming that the accident was the result of a soft handling of air safety regulations. When this discussion started, the management of Air India claimed to make a thorough investigation by themselves – and prohibited its employees to discuss related questions with the press. This resulted in further protests: “The striking employees were upset over the management’s gag order prohibiting some of its leaders to speak out in public on the Mangalore crash.”

In the meantime, the Indian government has set up a Court of Inquiry headed by a former high court judge, and a Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council with persons with a background in aviation, and experts in engineering and operations. They will conduct the inquiry, not Air India. And the strike was called off.

Does this mean that the Indian government does not trust the management of Air India? Maybe or maybe not – the fundamentally important point is that Operations and Safety are to be handled by two separate, independent bodies, which have to cooperate mutually.

Some months ago, I had an experience in Malaysia where this separation obviously works. – We were about 250 passengers, waiting to board a long distance night flight. But instead of calling us to board the plane, we were told that the flight is canceled, buses would transport us to different hotels and collect us again in the morning. So it happened – connections lost and schedules not met. The explanation: When the plane was prepared for departure, the air safety controller discovered that the pilot had landed only 11 hours ago – but no pilot is allowed to fly again, if not 12 hours passed between two flights. Malaysia Airlines had to accept this ruling from the air safety institution, though it meant a disruption of many schedules and a considerable economic loss. The airline had assigned the pilot – “just one hour too short should be OK” – but the independent safety supervisor rejected this.

Not good personal relations of different actors, and group or institutional loyalties assure smooth an safe procedures, but clearly defined, different institutions – which all have to refer to objectively defined rules. And these rules have to be kept and followed.

When Mr. Om Yentieng was recently appointed as head of the newly created Anti-Corruption Unit, it was reported that some persons from the opposition parties raised critical questions about him – this is a case where different people may have different opinions. But we did not see any critical questions raised against the fact the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit is also automatically a member of the Anti-Corruption Council, the body that is supervising the Anti-Corruption Unit. This is an objectively serious problem, whoever the person is. Everybody has to act responsibly in public offices – but this does not mean to be just responsible to oneself. Responsibility implies that one has to answer what is right and what is wrong to another institution. Where this is not structurally institutionalized, there is the danger that a conflict of interest may lead to wrong results.

Malaysian Airlines had the well founded interest not to disrupt its intercontinental schedule, and not to organize and pay for 250 hotel guests. But the air safety agency hand a different, also well founded interest: that the strict working schedules of pilots have to be kept.

When the US Securities and Exchange Commission [“The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation”] started to investigate the Australian mining company BHP Billiton, and links to the US$2.5 million which had been paid as tea money to “Cambodia,” this naturally triggered a public interest where and under whose authorities and according to which rules this money was used. Then an amount of US$20 million from the French oil company Total was added to the surprises, and additional millions from an Indonesian company.

Then allegations surfaced that the ban on sand export, imposed by the government, was not applied, and sand exports to Singapore continued.

Around the time when different partial answers related to payments were reported in the press (which could not be reconciled with each other) the Prime Minister tasked the Senior Ministers Sok An and Keat Chhon to present a consolidated answer to the National Assembly; then also the Ambassador of Cambodia in London offered to publicly discuss and refute such allegations, raised by the British NGO Global Witness.

But on 21 May 2010, the Cambodian Embassy in London withdrew the offer in a letter from which we quote:

On the issue you raised, I am pleased to advise that His Excellency Hor Nambora is no longer prepared
to enter into a public debate with Global Witness.

First, we believe it would be inappropriate to share a platform with representatives of your organisation
since it would appear you have a politically-motivated and hidden agenda to discredit the legitimately-
elected Government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Second, it seems clear that your group is starting to lose credibility and respect within the international
community, not least for the irresponsible and devious way in which you operate…

In short, as your group, leadership and campaigners certainly suffered from epilepsy and other mental disabilities, it would be more prudent for any Cambodian representatives or officials, not to take part in the debate.

Epilepsy is disease defined in medical terms as “a disorder of the central nervous system characterized by loss of consciousness and convulsions” – it is surprising that the Cambodian embassy claims to have such medical data on the staff of Global Witness, quite apart form the whole style of this official letter.

We do also not have any information that Global Witness “is starting to lose credibility and respect within the international community.” – Global Witness shares the list of their supporters publicly:

Trusts and foundations

  • Adessium Foundation
  • The Blue Moon Fund
  • The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • The DOEN Foundation
  • The Fledgling Fund
  • The Ford Foundation
  • The Jocarno Fund
  • The Joffe Charitable Trust
  • Foundation Open Society Institute (Zug)
  • The David and Elaine Potter Foundation
  • The RH Southern Trust
  • The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund
  • The Roddick Foundation
  • The Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation
  • The Sigrid Rausing Trust
  • The Staples Trust
  • The Wallace Global Fund

Development organisations

  • Concern Worldwide
  • Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (Hivos)
  • Oxfam Novib
  • Trocaire

Governments

  • Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • DFID – Department for International Development (UK)
  • The European Commission
  • Irish Aid – Irish Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (Sida)
  • Norad

To accuse Global Witness leadership of “epilepsy and other mental disabilities” is probably not making an impression on the supporters of the world wide activities of Global Witness. It will rather bring embarrassing questions, asking to explain how an embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia can act in such a non-professional way.

In Cambodia today, to make such a public statement, might this lead to a court case for disinformation and defamation.

Again: this is not first of all a question about the person who wrote this letter. It is a question in which way, in the diplomatic service where such a letter was written, responsibility is exercised – not only personally by oneself and for oneself – but in a way that one institution, or one part of the institution, has to submit itself to another institution, to clarify what is acceptable, and what is not, for the Kingdom of Cambodia.

During the week, the question has also been raised, whether somebody from outside tries “to teach” something to Cambodia. This may happen occasionally, but it is not as important as that the field, as described by the Constitution, is kept open to exercise the freedoms of expression and opinion. The article about Mr. Vann Molyvann, who has shaped the image of Phnom Penh and some other places in the contry, is such an example. In spite of his historical role and his achievements, he felt compelled to resign, when his professional judgment as an architect and as a long term protector of Khmer traditional culture was overruled for shot term economic gain. To listen to him is worth while. Not only because this previous warnings about the over-use of ground water in the Angkor area have now – finally – been seen as a real problem which may lead to the collapse of some of the old temples – similar to the destruction of more modern, but historical buildings in Phnom Penh and other cities, that are being destroyed and replaced by modern business buildings, for economic gain.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

Back to top

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

The Municipal Court Upholds the Decision that the Complaint about Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Not Be Dealt with – Tuesday, 10.2.2009

Posted on 11 February 2009. Filed under: Week 599 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 599

“Phnom Penh: The Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to uphold the decision that the complaint of the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea, the Brother Number 2 of the Khmer Rouge regime, will not be dealt with. This is based on a judgment by the deputy prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr. Sok Kalyan, on 5 February 2009. This judgment was published on Sunday.

“Deputy Prosecutor Sok Kalyan, responsible for handling the case, told foreign defense lawyers of the former president of the Khmer Rouge National Assembly, that the complaint regarding corruption allegations at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will not be taken up to be settled.

“Yesterday, on Monday evening, 9 February 2009, Mr. Sok Kalyan clearly explained the decision, that the corruption allegations case will not be taken up, because the evidence does not state that a crime is imminent, and the perpetrators are not known.

“Deputy prosecutor Sok Kalyan added that normally, when deciding to take up a case, a prosecutor decides to address a fact by pointing to individuals involved in a crime. But checking all evidence in the complaint of Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers, nothing indicates that a crime is imminent to happen in relation to the accusation about corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Mr. Sok Kalyan added that another point is that the complaint of Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers is a defamatioin complaint and does not point out why individuals are suspects in this corruption case. They say that it was just heard that there was corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, but there is no document to prove the nature of what is called corruption. And it does not point out clearly to the individuals suspected of receiving bribes.

“This refusal to take up a corruption case at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was made after the prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had summoned Mr. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers to question them, to defend their case one or two times, and he had planned to summon many other witnesses for questioning.

“Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi said as a plaintiff that Mr. Nuon Chea’s foreign defense lawyers are surprised that the Municipal Court decided not to take up the case. He had met with the deputy prosecutor, Mr. Sok Kalyan, on Wednesday [4 February 2009] morning, and he had been told that there were plans to question many other witnesses. However, within just 24 hours, this decision was reversed.

“Mr. Nuon Chea’s foreign defense lawyers have not yet decided how to appeal this decision. Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi said that the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea must think carefully, before they appeal, as they have two more months to present a complaint to the Appeals Court, to take up the corruption complaint at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to be dealt with.

“However, finally Mr. Sok Kalyan concluded that the a decision not to work on this corruption complaint is possible because there is no imminent pressure. This is so, because the prosecutor checked the different procedures based on evidence, and there is no evidence proving an immediate danger of crimes being committed, as had been the original accusation.

“On 8 January 2009, the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea, Mr. Michael Pestman, Mr. Victor Koppe, and the assistant lawyer Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi, as plaintiffs, lodged a complaint at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. In the complaint the foreign defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea asked to clarify corruption allegations at the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. They claimed that corruption would affect the process of hearings of the former Khmer Rouge leaders.

“Talk about a corruption scandal at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal started in early 2007, when the Open Society Justice Initiative released a corruption report. But officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal at the Cambodian side, as well as government officials, denied it and considered this corruption scandal to be just a claim without a basis facts.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4816, 8-9.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #10, 10.2.2008

  • Mr. Hun Sen Curses Critics Distorting Facts to Fall into the 800th Level of Hell [cursing civil society, non-governmental organizations, and opposition parties that criticize the Cambodian government, saying that it lets some local companies backed by powerful officials to use armed forces to evict citizens from their houses to grab their land and throw them out into the suburbs, and criticize that foreign aid for Cambodia is wasted, and corruption makes citizens poorer and poor, resulting in a big gap between the rich and the poor]


Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #114, 10-11.2.2009

  • Some Casinos Let Khmers Enter Which Is against the Prime Minister’s Order
    National Real Estate Appraisal Association of Cambodia Is Inaugurated under the Presidency of [Minister of Economy and Finance] Mr. Keat Chhon


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1868-#1879, 8-10.2.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen Denies that [ousted Thai prime minister] Thaksin Is in Koh Kong [as claimed by Bangkok Post]
  • Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation Calls on Monks to Attend the 2nd Anniversary Demonstration Celebration this Morning [to remember a demonstration held by Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks in Kleang province [now Sóc Trăng province] in Vietnam
  • A Bad Forest Fire at Southern Australia Killed 128 People [present estimate may be up to 230]
  • Russia Allows the United States of America to Transport Military Supplies through Russia to Afghanistan


Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #338, 10.2.2009

  • [1,055] Staff of the Railway Station Demand 20% Increase of Their Salaries Following Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s Words [who had promised that their salaries would be increased]
  • The Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia – NICFEC – and the Committee for Free and Fair Elections – COMREL – Will Not Deploy Observers for the [district and provincial/city council] Elections on 17 May 2009 [they said that their organizations are facing financial problems, and COMFREL added that these indirect elections are useless]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #340, 8-10.2.2009

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Will Summon Three-Star General Heng Hong to Question Him about Taking another Man’s Wife [in view of the new monogamy law]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6573-#6573, 9-10.2.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Recommends that the Production of Films Related to Monks Must Pass through the Ministry of Cult and Religion, and Samdech Sanghareach [the head of one of the two Buddhist Orders, in order to avoid problems]
  • 20 Universities from Britain Start to Exhibit together Their Information to the Education Sector in Cambodia
  • Many Bullets Were Shot in the Air to Threaten Citizens Not to Construct Houses; the Provincial Governor Issues Order to Arrest Five Soldiers [Preah Vihear]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3682-#3683, 9-10.2.2009

  • Ethnic Minority People in Bu Sra Commune, Pechr Chenda District, Mondolkiri, Prepare to Protest against the Khov Chily Company Again [over a land dispute – according to human rights officials]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4816, 8-9.2.2009

  • The Municipal Court Upholds the Decision that the Complaint about Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Not Be Dealt with
    Thailand Announces to Open the Border Crossing to the Preah Vihear Temple, while Cambodia Denies to Do the Same [the Cambodian government said what Thailand announced is just to reopen a Thai national park along the border near the Preah Vihear Temple]
  • Cambodian Embassy in Britain Reacts to the Global Witness Report [saying that it is stupid]
  • Japanese Investors Come to Study to Improve the Transportation Sector in Cambodia
  • A Thai Tourist Airline [Bangkok Airways] Offers Flights from Cambodia to Samui Island [in Thailand, starting from now until 30 June 2008]
  • Cambodia Confiscated Nearly One Kilogram of Heroin at the [Phnom Penh International] Airport [and a Taiwanese man was arrested]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3482, 8-9.2.2009

  • Around 200 Olympic Market Vendors Were Surprised when the [Thay Boonrong] Company Detained One of Their Representatives Yesterday [after vendors decided to send a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen, to ask for his intervention regarding the rising prices of vendors’ stalls in the market]

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 )

Wednesday, 20.8.2008: A British Newspaper Says that If Hun Sen Does Not Change the Way of Ruling, Poor People Will Seek Different Means to Achieve Justice

Posted on 21 August 2008. Filed under: Week 574 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 574

“Regarding endless land disputes almost everywhere in Cambodia under the rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen, The Guardian, a British newspaper, published an article on Sunday about the rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party, which had changed Cambodia from a dictatorship to a free market country, making the economy to develop very quickly, and building pagodas, roads, bridges, schools, and cinemas. However, the newspaper said that this free market system led to speculation in real estate properties such as buildings and land for profit; heritage is for sale, and the US dollar became their king.

“The article in The Guardian, which was quoted by Radio Free Asia for broadcasting yesterday, noted that land, owned by citizens since the 1980ies, can now be lost easily, because of the invasion by some capitalists who are close to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The Prime Minister is generally regarded as part of a ‘nouveau riche’ kleptocracy that siphons off foreign aid and ignores protests about human rights. It is said that Hun Sen used to care about the poor people for a long time, but it is regrettable that Hun Sen now cares only about the rising value of real estate properties and does not care to strengthen the nation, where the society suffers from an imbalance of concerns for justice for the economy.

The Guardian of Britain continued, ‘If Mr. Hun Sen had honorably resigned from his position in 1998 [after the surrender of the Khmer Rouge], he would have receive a good name among world leaders in history.’ This newspaper said that Hun Sen brought peace to Cambodia, but he has sacrificed the poor on the altar of an economic boom. This newspaper compared Hun Sen to some leaders of Brazil and Bolivia in South America who originally came also from the poor sector of society, but he has no plan to protect the poor who suffer under the powerful

[It is interesting that this detailed rendering of the article in The Guardian does not render the reference to the Khmer Rouge who ‘were backed militarily by China and diplomatically by the west’.]

“This well-known British newspaper went on to say that although Hun Sen is smart and intelligent and has political skills, Hun Sen’s success was based on survival, not on a vision for the future. If Hun Sen does not change his way of ruling, poor people will seek different means to achieve justice.

“Political and economic observers in Cambodia agree with the analysis of this article published on Sunday, 17 August 2008, in The Guardian, considering it to be an analysis that is in line with the current situation in Cambodia. Actually, Prime Minister Hun Sen, the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, also comes originally from a peasant class background, but he does not protect the weak farmers at all who are violated by powerful people. Obviously, farmers, who suffer from land grabbing by high-ranking officials, dishonest oknhas, wicked merchants, and military officials, come regularly to protest in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house at the ‘Tiger Cave’ Tuol Krasaing, but there are no effective solutions coming from Hun Sen for the victimized farmers.

“Political and economic observers in Cambodia added that just some days after the fourth term elections on 27 July 2008, suddenly land disputes erupted again brutally, such as in Stung Treng, Ratanakiri, Mondolkiri, Kratie, Kompong Chhnang, Kandal, Svay Rieng, Kampot, and Battambang. These reoccurring problems have not been solved by the National Authority for the Resolution of Land Disputes, administered by Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Senior Minister of the Council of Ministers. Therefore, some officials concerned with social affairs assume that there might be more serious land disputes, under the soon to be formed fourth term government, than there were under the third-term government.

“ These officials said that the fourth term government will be again led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, but Hun Sen does not have any clear policies to solve land disputes; therefore, land disputes will really erupt in all provinces countrywide. Another point is that those who use their power and violate citizens by grabbing their land are mostly high-ranking officials, dishonest oknhas, wicked merchants, and military officials, all are from the Cambodian People’s Party, and Hun Sen does not dare to disturb them. At last, a land revolution might break out, as predicted by Hun Sen himself, because the patience of the victimized citizens is limited, if the government does not take any action to solve the problems in time.

“Economic analysts said that the fourth term government, again led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, as vice-president of the Cambodian People’s Party, might not lead to real growth of the national economy, because Hun Sen does not have economic skills and he can only borrow money from foreign countries and ask for funds from the international community, to extend the breath of his government. Moreover, Hun Sen does not have any clear policies to fight corruption; he just says so to make it sounds nice, like the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Mr. Joseph Mussomeli, had clearly criticized. Even inflation and the price of fuel and of goods are skyrocketing, which affects the daily life of citizens – but Hun Sen is incompetent to solve these problems.

“Economic analysts continued to say that economic growth in 2008 will be lower than in 2007, and economic growth in 2009 will decline further compared to 2008, because of corruption and bureaucracy in important state institutions, where such affairs are spreading stronger without any intervention. This means that the government, led by the same incompetent prime minister and state institutions controlled by the same corrupt officials, will not make the economy grow; even foreign loans will be lost because of corruption. This will make poor citizens to suffer more, because the little economic growth is only for the benefit of corrupt officials and for partisans of powerful leaders.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3543, 20.8.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 20 August 2008


Areyathor, Vol.15, #1351, 20-21.8.2008

  • [Bayon Television] Director-General Hun Mana [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s daughter] Accuses Sophon Magazine of Defamation and an Extortion Attempt for US$3,000 [from her staff member – the magazine wrote an article titled, ‘Does Sim Solika have a love triangle relation?’]


Chhanteak Kaun Khmer, Vol.1, #1, 20-27.8.2008

  • Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Is Eying the Position of President of the Constitutional Council
  • Many Illegal Sawmills Operate in Prey Nob District [Sihanoukville]


Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #82, 20-26.8.2008

  • [Kompong Cham Governor and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s older brother] Hun Neng Considers Khmer-Siamese [Thai] Border Dispute to Be a Military Exercise between a Battlefield Front and a Rear Battlefield [cooperation between troops and people]


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1724, 20.8.2008

  • [US Ambassador Joseph A.] Mussomeli: Historically, Relations between America and Cambodia Have Never Been as Good as They Are These Days


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #77, 20.8.2008

  • No New Agreements at the Meeting [about Preah Vihear between Cambodian and Thai foreign ministers] in Hua Hin [Thailand]
  • 70% of Vegetables at the Phsar Daeum Kor Market Are Imported from a Neighboring Country [that is from Vietnam]


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3543, 20.8.2008

  • A British Newspaper Says that If Hun Sen Does Not Change the Way of Ruling, Poor People Will Seek Different Means to Achieve Justice
  • Sam Rainsy: Sam Rainsy Party Has Appropriate and Strong Evidence to Reject Election Results


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4672, 20.8.2008

  • [Deputy Chief Observer of the European Union’s Election Observation Mission] Graham Elson: [4th Term Parliamentary Election] Was Good but It Did Not Reach International Standards

Click here to have a look at the last editorial – apprehension while waiting for the results of challenging alleged election fraud, the final official election results, and the forming of a new government

Back to topkhmer rouge

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )

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