Using Computers: Upholding Rights and Freedoms while Fighting Crime – Sunday, 18.7.2010

Posted on 21 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

The Ministry of Defense hopes that the use of computers will help better to cut down the names of ‘ghost soldiers’ from the salary lists of the military. This was expressed by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat, who said that the present census of all soldiers will be more accurate and thorough this year than in previous years. “It is an annual census to find out the real number of soldiers and of the children of those soldiers, and to cut out the names of soldiers who have retired or who died, or are not present anymore.” There are some traditional elements in this process, even surprising ones – if one assumes that soldiers would be known, present, and listed at their command posts: “All soldiers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces are required to show up at their command posts. The soldiers will there be asked to identify themselves by showing themselves and their ID numbers, as well as to specify the number of children they have at present in the lists… the names of soldiers who do not show up will be deleted from the salary lists of the Ministry of Defense.”

Considering the results of a similar exercise in 2008, where – according to Mr. Cheam Yeap, a member of the National Assembly from the Cambodian People’s Party – the government found 10,000 ghost soldiers and 10,000 ghost police, for whom salaries were regularly paid out (to whom?), the new findings might again bring considerable savings to the national budget.
Lieutenant General Chhum Socheat added that there is confidence that this year, the data will be accurate, because of the use of a computer system to store all documents.

The newly created Anti-Corruption Unit of the government will start with to collect about 100,000 declarations of assets, and this process is to be implemented before November 2010, “to facilitate a quick enforcement of the law.” Though the Anti-Corruption Unit is to keep all these documents, it has not been announced how this is going to happen practically. Even trusting the capacities of computer systems, it will be difficult to receive and file more than 1,000 asset declarations per day during the remaining days before November.

But the past week brought also a different reminder about the power of computer systems: Cambodian authorities began creating legislation against cyber crimes. “A workshop about the creation of legislation against cyber crimes was held on 13 July 2010 at the Council of Ministers, and government officials, officials of national and international organizations, and representatives of Internet Service Providers, of telecom companies, of technology companies, of publication institutions, and of other relevant fields participated in the workshop… The advancement of technology is a double-edged sword. It can make many things easier and provides abundant benefits for quick development. But it also creates opportunities for criminals to use it to commit various offenses.” This double reality was pointed out: that by now communication technology plays an ever growing role in society – but on the other hand, Cambodia is also experiencing similar problems and threat as they happen in other countries also, which can be a threat for security, economy, and the general and political life of a society.

This Cambodian workshop was held also to consider how other countries are dealing with this new world wide problem. The head of the Economic Crime Division of the Council of Europe, Mr. Alexander Seger, referred to the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime of 2001, which had been developed during four years before it was presented to the member states of the Council of Europe, but which is also open for other states to sign and to access, so that among the 47 countries which signed it, there are also non-European countries: Canada, Japan, South Africa, and the United States of America.

These preparatory efforts in Cambodia are considering the same range of criminal activities which happen also in other countries around the globe. “Cambodia has already experienced many problems that allow cyber criminals to commit offenses using such technology. There are many cases where all must pay attention, to prevent cheating on the Internet, to receive the inheritance from someone illegally, not to respond to electronic messages asking for passwords, or messages threatening someone, stealing of passwords, and the distribution of child pornography into computer systems, or the sending of spam mails.”

What is remarkable is the fact that the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime does not only point to the threats which can come from criminal use of the Internet, and to the need to protect society from them. Included in this document of 28 pages is also a warning that the need for criminal prosecution shall not violate fundamental rights of the citizens to be protected:

The member States of the Council of Europe and the other States signatory hereto,… Convinced of the need to pursue, as a matter of priority, a common criminal policy aimed at the protection of society against cyber crime, inter alia, by adopting appropriate legislation and fostering international co-operation;…

Mindful of the need to ensure a proper balance between the interests of law enforcement and respect for fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1950 Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the 1966 United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other applicable international human rights treaties, which reaffirm the right of everyone to hold opinions without interference, as well as the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, and the rights concerning the respect for privacy;

Mindful also of the right to the protection of personal data, as conferred, for example, by the 1981 Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data;…

Have agreed as follows:

Each Party shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offenses under its domestic law, when committed intentionally…

followed by chapters on Illegal access, Illegal interception, Data and System interference, Misuse of devices, Computer-related forgery and fraud, Offenses related to child pornography and to infringements of copyright, etc.

When representatives of governments, of the business community, and of civil society – according to the multi-stakeholder principle introduced by the United Nations for dealing with questions of the present Information Society – met in June for an Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum in Hong Kong, the issue of cyber security was also high on the agenda. While there was an emphasis on legal measures to assure the security and stability of the Internet, and on technical facilities to implement such controls, a group of civil society representatives from Southeast Asia made their common concern public in a 2010 Southeast Asia Civil Society Declaration on Internet Governance.

This Southeast Asian reflection starts with a references to the UN Summits for the Information Society of 2003 and 2005, especially with their Declaration of Principles, which the representatives of governments from around the globe had voted upon:

We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled in Geneva from 10-12 December 2003 for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, declare our common desire and commitment to build a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Building on this guideline, which had led to the setting up of the Internet Governance Forums, this civil society declaration says among others in a longer text:

Key Observations of the Asia Pacific regional Internet Governance Forum

In response to the first Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum Roundtable in Hong Kong on 15-16 June 2010, we, netizens, journalists, bloggers, IT practitioners and nongovernmental representatives from across Southeast Asia, offer the following observations from the Roundtable:

Critical issues of Internet governance in Asia should guide future discussions on Internet governance policy:

Openness

Open access to information is the right of every individual, a right that serves as a fundamental venue for one’s knowledge- and capacity-building. Access to information ultimately helps foster creativity and innovation, thus promoting sustainable human and economic development. Openness is key to a democratic and open society. Restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression online, such as state censorship which blocks Internet intermediaries, is one of the threats to open societies. Intimidation and state censorship facilitate self-censorship, a hazardous social phenomenon that further undermines democracy and openness.

Access

The Internet is for everyone; it is a public good. Yet a Digital Divide between those countries and communities with Internet access and those without persists, and has not been sufficiently addressed in discussions on Internet governance. Proceedings at the Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum indicated a higher priority must be placed on addressing not only the global digital divide, but also regional and national ones. While Singapore enjoys high Internet access rates (70% penetration), countries like Burma and Cambodia are at the other end of the spectrum (0.22% and 0.51% penetration, respectively), ranked the lowest of 200 countries studied in the World Bank.

Internet access is fundamental for progress. Various factors, such as political, economic and social development, poverty levels, and technological infrastructure affect whether and how often people can access the Internet. Internationally coordinated efforts must be made to address domestic policies that contribute to the digital divide in Southeast Asia and find solutions to bridge the gap.

Cyber Security

Definition of cyber security must include elements that address the right to privacy and to civil and political freedom.

An individual’s right over his/her own privacy, including personal data and information, must not be sacrificed…

Today’s information society connects personal IT devices directly to the outside world, no longer storing personal data on a single server. Given the involvement of the government and businesses (especially state-owned enterprises) in running such technologies, surveillance and identity theft remain a constant threat against Internet users.

In this regard, any national security policy must not deviate from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all international human rights covenants to which states are parties…

The references of the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime and of the Southeast Asia Civil Society Declaration on Internet Governance to human rights and freedoms, not only threatened by criminal action, but also by efforts to impose extensive control, are important reminders that security must be human security.

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A Census to Find Ghost Names of Officials of the Cambodian Troops Is Being Conducted – Tuesday, 13.7.2010

Posted on 14 July 2010. Filed under: Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

Note:

Sorry for the new delays – computer problems.
I hope to be back in Phnom Penh by the coming weekend.

Norbert Klein

“Officials of the Ministry of Defense began a countrywide census of military personnel in an attempt to cut out the number of ‘ghost soldiers’ from the salary lists of the Cambodian government. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense, Mr. Chhum Socheat, said on Monday that an annual census of all soldiers will be more accurate and thorough this year than those conducted in previous years.

“Mr. Chhum Socheat said, ‘It is an annual census to find out the number of real the soldiers and of the children of those soldiers, and to cut out the names of soldiers who have retired or who died, or are not present anymore.

“Under the arrangements for the census, which started last week, all soldiers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces are required to show up at their command posts. The soldiers will there be asked to identify themselves by showing themselves and their ID numbers, as well as to specify the number of children they have at present in the lists.

“Mr. Chhum Socheat added that the names of soldiers who do not show up will be deleted from the salary lists of the Ministry of Defense. All military officials and other personnel have to identify themselves before the end of this month. He added that officials believe that this year, the data will be accurate, because of the use of a computer system to store all documents, organized according to the received information. He said, ‘This time, we will conduct a census that is much more accurate than before. At the end, there will be hardly any ghost soldiers, due to the use of modern technology.’

“Mr. Chhum Socheat went on to say that he does not have detailed information about the current military forces or about the number of ghost names that the government had found in recent years. But he said that he will announce the results of the present census at the end of this month.

“Relating to this issue, a parliamentarian from the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the government found 10,000 ghost soldiers and 10,000 ghost police in a study in 2008.

“He continued to say that the effort is being implemented after Prime Minister Hun Sen had encouraged all institutions, including the military, to cut out the number of officials who exist only by name. Mr. Cheam Yeap said, ‘We are conducting a more thorough census. No one can falsify it.’

“A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, Mr. Yim Sovann, said that he supports the census in the military. He said, ‘I support the census to find the real number of soldiers,’ adding, ‘the number of these not-existing soldiers wastes million dollars of our national resources. We wait to see the results.'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #213, 13.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2299, 13.7.2010

  • US Under-Secretary of State [William J. Burns] Pays a Visit in Cambodia on 17 and 18 July 2010 [he will meet with officials of the government, of political parties, and of civil society organizations]
  • Police Checked a Storehouse and Found Many Tonnes of Fake Cosmetic Products in Veal Vong Commune [Prampir Makara district, Phnom Penh; a Chinese woman was arrested]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7006, 13.7.2010

  • The Angkor Sentinel 2010 Global Peacekeeping Operations Exercise Starts from 12 and will continue to 30 July 2010 [under the framework of the United Nations; the multi-nation exercise focuses on keeping peace in the case of riots by uprisings, terrorists, and criminals, and in the case of racial conflicts]
  • Yellow Shirt Leaders Demanded [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit to Cancel the Memorandum of Understanding about the Cambodian and Siamese Border from 2000 [claiming that it leads to a Thai territorial loss]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3930, 13.7.2010

  • [More than 100 veterans] Representatives of 620 Disabled Families [from Kompong Cham] Come to Ask for an Intervention by [Prime Minister] Hun Sen [in front of his residence in Phnom Penh] over a Social Land Allocation of 4,000 Hectares [to be distributed to them, but so far, they have not been provided with the land]
  • [Vice-president of the Sam Rainsy Party] Kong Korm: At Present the Powerful Are Creating Refugees Everywhere in the Country [as a result of evictions during land disputes]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #213, 13.7.2010

  • A Census to Find Ghost Names of Officials of the Cambodian Troops Is Being Conducted
  • The Russey Keo District Authorities Liberated More Than 250 People from a Company That Sends Workers [illegally] to a Foreign Country [to Malaysia – girls were locked up in a residence to receive training before they are sent; the owner of the residence and some other people were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5248, 13.7.2010

  • The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers of Mr. Chea Mony Suspended a Strike [after the worker’s salaries have been increased to a minimum of US$61 per month]
  • Ever More Cambodian Tourists Visited Malaysia during the Last Five Years [there was an increase of about 20% each year; in 2009, there were 43,146 Cambodian tourists, and within four months of 2010, there have already been 15,837]

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“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.”

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Cambodia Is Side-Tracking in Implementing the Anti-Torture Convention – Monday, 28.6.2010

Posted on 3 July 2010. Filed under: Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

“The international community celebrates the 23rd anniversary of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Cambodia became a member of this convention in 1992.

“By now, it has been 20 years that Cambodia has become a member of the Convention Against Torture of the United Nations. Human rights group noticed that among the 146 members, Cambodia has achieved little improvement in implementing the Convention. In addition, Cambodia seemingly continues to hide torture against persons who have not been found guilty. Sometimes, torture against suspects became a habit.

“During the international anniversary commemoration, civil society organizations expressed strong concern over the violation of the Convention. Moreover, no thorough investigations have been conducted over torture and mistreatments against suspects who had not been found guilty but had been arrested. Some cases of torture against a person were extreme. In some cases, there was just a suspicion, but law enforcement officials acted beyond the law. That means law violations seem to have been grave, and victims often did not dare to react. Additionally, there was not much effort to seek legal intervention. Therefore, some law enforcement officials often committed wrongdoings.

“According to a statement by Cambodian civil society organizations, in 2007, Cambodia ratified the additional Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and this was seen as a positive step where Cambodia took up more obligations to create an independent protection mechanism to observe all prisons, so as to prevent the use of torture in Cambodia. But things did not go in line with the situation of the world, as it was seen that there were still cases where the agreements entered were neglected in the implementation, not following international laws.

“Civil society organizations called on the Royal Government of Cambodia to fully cooperate with the Committee Against Torture of the United Nations that will come to conduct a second assessment in Cambodia, in November 2010, on the measures taken to ensure effectively following obligations according to the UN Convention Against Torture, and to fully comply with the final observations of the Committee Against Torture. This is a reminder by civil society organizations for the Cambodian government to check what it agreed to carry out, when it became a member of the UN Convention Against Torture, and when it ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture in 2007.

“Torture was not only used against the accused, but also against some suspects to extort information from them. These are the results from the culture of impunity spreading in Cambodia at present, leading to extending of the application of torture against the accused and the suspects. Obviously, the use of ‘citizen courts’ (where citizens act directly, like in some cases where a mob lynched suspects and perpetrators), to sentence robbers is a sign also encouraging the spread of torture in prisons. Many people have been released from prison, but their behavior did not change, as prisons are not places that educate them to walk on the right way. In contrast, prisons are places where torture is used to extracy answers for the authorities. Thus, Cambodia is viewed as not strictly taking up what it had agreed to practice when it became a member of the Convention Against Torture.

“This is a disappointment for civil society, as there are many problems in prisons, especially the use of torture by the authorities during interrogations. Torture is an important topic, because in prisons there are many issues such as corruption and torture. Hopefully, as member of the Convention Against Torture for almost 20 years, Cambodia will make positive changes over some secret happenings in prisons, otherwise crimes cannot be cut down, since those released from prisons continue to cause fear to the society.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3917, 28.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 28 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #515, 27-28.6.2010

  • The Person Who Filmed Beautiful Girls Bathing in Holy Water is a Monk of the Srah Chak Pagoda [after a video clip leaked of nude women bathing in holy water, police investigated and found out that a Srah Chak Pagoda monk had hidden a camera to film them; he was arrested and defrocked – Phnom Penh]
  • The Wife of the Spokesperson of the US Embassy [Mr. John Johnson] Suffered Serious Injuries after a Car Accident [in Sihanoukville]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2286, 27-28.6.2010

  • The UN Special Rapporteur Surya Subedi Apologized to the Cambodian Prime Minister [for using the word “disappointed” as he could not meet with Mr. Hun Sen]
  • [The head of the National Authority for Combating Drugs] His Excellency Ke Kim Yan Asked Common Citizens to Be Brave to Report Real Information to the National Authority for Combating Drugs or Directly to Him If They Are Afraid that There Is Collusion [between police and drug smugglers]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #692, 27-28.6.2010

  • [The executive director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation] Thach Ngok Thach Said that Khmer Kampuchea Krom People Are Disappointed when Samdech Euv [the former King] Did Not Raise the Case of Yuon [Vietnamese] Mistreatments [of Khmer Kampuchea Krom people]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6993, 28.6.2010

  • More Than 200 Pieces of Luxury Grade Wood Were Seized [they had been gathered by wood traders to export them to Vietnam [no info about any punishment of the wood traders – Ratanakiri]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3917, 28.6.2010

  • Cambodia Is Side-Tracking in Implementing the UN Convention Against Torture

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5235, 27-28.6.2010

  • Human Rights Activists Called on the Cambodian Government to Implement the UN Convention Against Torture
  • The Construction of a Bridge of 2,215 meters at Neak Loeung [across the Mekong River in Prey Veng] Will Start at the End of 2010 [under grant aid from Japan]

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Sok An Clarified the US$28 Million Tea Money from the Total Company – Friday, 25.6.2010

Posted on 27 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

Note:

Apologies – delays of the publication may occur until 17 July 2010 because of my international travel.

Norbert Klein
At present still in Brussels/Belgium at the meetings of ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, but soon again on the way – to Canada. I am not yet sure when I will be able to send the Saturday installment – maybe tomorrow, maybe only later.

“The Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, officially provided a written clarification regarding oil and gas issues, as well as the US$28 million paid by Total after a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Son Chhay, had asked seven questions.

“According to the letter of Mr. Sok An sent to the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, on 9 June 2010 and released on 24 June 2010 to respond to Mr. Son Chhay’s questions, it explains that the Royal Government never provided licenses to any oil company for exploitation, but signed oil deals to allow companies to study and explore oil and gas resources. Companies with which such oil deals have been made by the Royal Government are:

Campex,
Chevron,
CNOOC [China National Offshore Oil Corporation],
CPHL Petroleum,
Enterprise Oil,
GS-Caltex,
Idemitsu,
JCL Petroleum,
JOGMEC [Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation],
Kris Energy,
Kuwait Energy,
Lunin,
Medco,
Mitsui Oil Exploration Company,
Petrovietnam,
Polytec Petroleum Corporation,
Premier Oil,
PTTEP,
Resourceful Petroleum,
Singapore Petroleum Corporation,
Total,
Woodside.

Some of these companies had given up and left, because the oil and gas resources they were researching cannot be developed commercially.

“Responding to the questions that Mr. Son Chhay had asked, ‘What policies allow companies to gain profit before they get exploitation licenses?’ – Mr. Sok An said that these companies are qualified, they have sufficient techniques and resources to explore, they have proper programs responding to the needs for exploration, care about the environment, have the ability to enter into competition, they can provide appropriate benefits to Cambodia, and they meet other points stated in the regulations for oil exploration from 1991.

“Responding to the questions, ‘What payments do they have to make before they get a licenses? What payments have to be made into the state budget? If there are such payments, since when have such payments been implemented?’ – Mr. Sok An said that the companies do not have to pay all money before they receive oil deals. But when a company gets a deal, they might pay some money, like reward money for signing, and money for a social development foundation. But they are not obliged to pay it, and it depends on negotiations based on the expected oil potential. In the case that there is money paid, like reward money for signing, paid into the state budget, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Petroleum Authority deposits it into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia. The money is the income from oil for the Royal Government of Cambodia to be used, and the use of the money is not dependent on the companies signing the oil deals, like in the case of the social development foundation. The money for the social development foundation is also deposited into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia, but before the money can be taken out to be spent on any projects, there needs to be a discussion with company that signed the oil deal, as, in general, that money is used to serve the development in areas designated when the oil deal was signed.

“Another question is, ‘Where has the US$28 million payment of the Total company been used, and where has this been published? What policies were used to determine the amount of US$28 million?

“Mr. Sok An responded that the amount of money paid by Total is US$26 million (US$20 million as reward money for signing, and US$6 million was for the social development foundation). The rest of US$2 million is for processing the administrative work which the company volunteered to pay for the long term. No money has been paid to any individual who is an official of the Royal Government. The government manages and uses the income from the oil and gas resources through the same entrance and exit [that is the national budget]. As for the social development fund into which the oil companies paid, it is not so much and it depends on the potential of the resources; the foundation had been established in 1995.

“Mr. Sok An made these clarifications in response to the Sam Rainsy Part parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, who had sent a letter with questions on 7 May 2010, through the National Assembly.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #784, 25.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 25 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #513, 25.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Absolutely Firmly Ordered that No Primary Schools and Health Centers Should be Sold [especially those in Phnom Penh – previously, some primary school directors and heads of health centers had sold or relocated institutions for their own benefit]
  • The [SBJ] Bank of Vietnam Invests US$3 Million in Gold Minerals Development in Cambodia
  • More Than 6,000 Families at the Northeast Received Free Treatments from American Medics

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2284, 25.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Called On Citizens to Obey the Traffic Laws during the Inauguration of the Sky Road [in Phnom Penh]
  • Australia Has the First Female Prime Minister [Ms. Julia Gillard] after a Grim Party Revolt

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #784, 25.6.2010

  • Sok An Clarified the US$28 Million Tea Money of the Total Company

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #690, 25.6.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Must Cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] to Arrest the Persons Who Made the Grenade Attack in Front of the [former] National Assembly, to Be Convicted like [the Cambodian Freedom Fighters leader] Chhun Yasith [convicted to serve a life time prison term for attempting a coup d’etat in Cambodia in 2000]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6991, 25.6.2010

  • The 24th Synthesizing Report of the ILO Shows the Recovery of the Garment Sector [in Cambodia – the rate of export within five months of 2010 was more than that within the corresponding period last year; the rate of employment increased a little since 1 November 2009 and the rate of unemployment which results from the global financial crisis is stable – it is not deteriorating]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #690, 25.6.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Leader [Mr. Sam Rainsy] and Parliamentarian [Ms. Mu Sochua] Who Are Facing Arrest Will Attend the ASEAN Free Parties’ Forum in the Philippines as Honorary Speakers [from 27 to 29 June 2010]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #201, 25.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Said that the Sam Rainsy Party Was Also Involved in the Unsuccessful Coup [by the Cambodian Freedom Fighters – CFF]
  • Thai Soldiers Shot and Killed a Khmer Worker when He Was Returning from Work [accusing him of illegally trafficking motorbikes across the border – the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, condemned this fatal shooting and waits for an explanation from Thailand]
  • The Mong Riththy Group [Company] Invests US$10 Million to Plant Rubber Trees at a Seashore Region in Sihanoukville in 2010 [on 5,000 hectares of land]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5233, 25.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Asked the Ministry of Transport of China to Invest to Construct [many] Roads in Cambodia According to the Built-Operate-Transfer [BOT]

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Samdech Hun Sen: Chinese Aid Helps Strengthen the Independence of Cambodia – Thursday, 24.6.2010

Posted on 27 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, said that Chinese aid not only helps with the development of Cambodia, but it also helps strengthen the independence of Cambodia.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said so to the delegation of the Chinese People’s Army led by Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun, Political Commissar of the General Armament Department of the Ministry of Defense of China in the evening of 23 June 2010 at the Council of Ministers.

“The minister in charge of accompanying the Prime Minister’s delegation, Mr. Sri Thamrong, told reporters after the meeting that Samdech Hun Sen had said that China has assisted Cambodia a lot, both with grant aid, and with loans including with loans without interest, to help restore and develop Cambodia. That aid not only assists Cambodia with the development, but also consolidates the national independence of Cambodia.

“Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun told Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen that his visit to Cambodia at this time is to implement two obligations. The first, he was ordered by the Chinese President, Mr. Hu Jintao, to deliver 257 military trucks to Cambodia as soon as possible, also guaranteeing their 100% quality. The second task is to strengthen cooperation between both countries, especially between the troops of the two countries.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that the quick implementation, like with the speed of a rocket – of Mr. Hu Jintao’s order within 48 days, shows the good relation and cooperation between the countries, the governments, the people, and the troops of both countries.

“Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun considers Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen as a good and real friend of the Chinese people, especially because he firmly adheres to the One-China-Policy.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen again confirmed the position of the Royal Government of Cambodia that it is the clear political position of Cambodia, since the time of the former King, and it continues for the current Royal Government of Cambodia, to adhere to the One-China-Policy without any change.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5232, 24.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 24 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #512, 24.6.2010

  • The Vietnamese President: Cambodia and Vietnam Have Good Cooperation [he said so during the private visit to Vietnam by Samdech Euv (the former King), Samdech Mae (the former Queen), and the present King]
  • The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization [NEDO] of Japan Plans to Implement Two Projects in Cambodia [setting up of modern rice milling machines at the community level, and producing clean water]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2283, 24.6.2010

  • Japan Provides Grant Aid [of about US$131 million] to Finish the Construction of the Neak Loeung Bridge [across the Mekong River on National Road 1 from Phnom Penh to Vietnam] before February 2015
  • An American Federal Court Convicted [the leader of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters – CFF] Chhun Yasith – to Life Imprisonment [for conducting an (unsuccessful) attack to overthrow the Cambodian government – on 23 and 24 July 2002, there was armed attack in Phnom Penh by the CFF to overthrow the government; during this attempt, three members of the CFF were killed, and some others were arrested; some members of the armed forces of the government and some common citizens were injured]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #689, 24.6.2010

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: I Am Not Worried about the Warrant of the Yuon [Vietnamese] Puppet Court, as It Is a Problem of the Whole Nation [the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has published an arrest warrant for him, over the accusation of faking public documents and of spreading misinformation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6990, 24.6.2010

  • The Ministry of Labor Published Books with Instructive Policies for the Prevention of AIDS/HIV [to promote knowledge about HIV/AIDS]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3914, 24.6.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Encourages Factory Owners to Provide Wages to Workers Who Had a Forced Work Stoppage during the Inauguration of the Sky Road [constructed to reduce traffic jams; the owner of the TACFAT factory does not want to provide them wages for the time of work stoppage – and announced to welcome if workers report this to related institutions, and especially to the Ministry of Labor – Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #200, 24.6.2010

  • A Cambodian Official [the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong] Welcomes the Conviction of Chhun Yasith to Jail for Life for Attempting to Overthrow the Cambodian Government
  • The First Sky Road in Cambodia [built to relieve the traffic jam at the Kbal Thnol Roundabout, spending about US$7 million] Will Be Inaugurated This Morning

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5232, 24.6.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen: Chinese Aid Helps Strengthen the Independence of Cambodia
  • Thailand Arrested More Than 200 Khmer Citizens, Accusing Them of Creating a Village in Thailand [in the district of Aranyaprathet, in the province of Srakeo, 4 km from the Cambodian-Thai border]
  • The Sydney University of Australia Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Culture to Conduct Archaeology Studies in Preah Vihear

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The Ministry of Industry Cooperates with JICA to Strengthen Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Cambodia – Wednesday, 23.6.2010

Posted on 25 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

Note:

Apologies – delays of the publication may occur until 17 July 2010 because of my international travel.

Norbert Klein
At present still in Brussels/Belgium at the meetings of ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy cooperates with the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA] with the intention to strengthen and to encourage the productivity development of small and medium scale enterprises in Cambodia.

“The head of the Department of Industry of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Meng Sak Theara, said to Deum Ampil on 22 June 2010, that the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, and JICA, an organization of experts experienced in the development of small and medium scale enterprises, is carrying out projects to promote the capacity and productivity of small and medium scale enterprises in Cambodia to be more competitive, and they are also publishing strategies that small and medium scales enterprises can use.

“He added, “The Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, and JICA, having experts in assisting the study of shortages and challenges of each enterprise, assigned an analyst to work out ways to be better able to engage in competition to increase productivity.

“He added also, ‘The Ministry is cooperating with JICA to fulfill two important tasks. First, to organize a work team to directly check factories and enterprises by choosing six companies to implement policies under the guidance of the Ministry and of JICA. The second task is to create different policies to promote productivity and competition.

“An advisor of JICA, Mr. Miyashita Yuichiro, talked on 22 June 2010 during the workshop about the experiences of Japan in encouraging the development of small and medium scale enterprises, and about the implementation of programs in Cambodia, saying that Japan always cares about and supports the Royal Government Cambodia, and at present, JICA is expanding its private sector activities in Cambodia, especially for the development of small and medium scale enterprises.

“He added that the collaboration between the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy and JICA will be able to guarantee the sustainable development of small and medium scale enterprises in Cambodia.

“An Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Heng Sokong, said that in 2009, hand made products of small and medium scale enterprises comprised up to 99.7%, while the macro enterprises contributed only 0.3% [among the 100%, the macro enterprises contribute only 0.3% of that total percentage in this field].” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #511, 23.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #511, 23.6.2010

  • The Ministry of Industry Cooperates with JICA to Strengthen Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2282, 23.6.2010

  • Sixty One Suspects [40 men and 21 women] related to Human Trafficking and Rape Were Brought to Courts in the First Six Months of 2010 [there were 140 victims, 26 were under the age of 15]
  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Plan to Check [Cambodian-Vietnamese] Border Markers in the Ponhea Kraek District this Morning [23 June 2010 in Kompong Cham, as they suspect that there is a loss of Cambodian territory to Vietnam]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #688, 23.6.2010

  • Oknha Khit Meng and Oknha Sok Kong Are Excluded from the List of Persons to Declare Their Property as Required by the Anti-Corruption Law [because both of them do not hold any position in government]
  • The Fulbright Program Provides Scholarships to Seventeen Khmer Students to Further Their Education in the United States of America

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6989, 23.6.2010

  • Samdech Euv [the former King], Samdech Mae [the former Queen], and the King Make a Private Visit to Vietnam [from 22 to 25 June 2010]
  • Cambodia and France Signed an Agreement to Cooperate in Repairing the Ba Puon Temple [in Siem Reap, with a grant of Euro 480,000 or approx. US$589,000] and to Fight against Fake Medicine Products [with a grant of Euro 123,500 or approx. US$151,500]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3913, 23.6.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: Cambodia Should Change the Habit of Praising Itself and Should Stop Cursing International Organizations That Criticize Something in Cambodia [the Secretary General of the Council for Administrative Reform, Mr. Ngor Hongly, had praised that the Royal Government of Cambodia has determined that the Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency, and the national development plan are successful. The two strategies aim to enhance the macro-economy and the development with sustainability and equity, and poverty reduction. Mr. Son Chhay regarded this speech as boasting]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #199, 23.6.2010

  • Vietnam Wants to Establish Flights from Đà Lạt [Da Lat – a touristic area in southern Vietnam] to Angkor [in Siem Reap]
  • 257 Military Trucks Donated by China Arrived in Phnom Penh

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5231, 23.6.2010

  • Expert Official [the head of the Border Committee of Cambodia, Mr. Var Kim Hong]: [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Map Is Fake [he claimed that the 1:100,000 map deposited at the United Nations in 1964 does not have grids, while the map that Mr. Sam Rainsy published on the Internet has grids; the Phnom Penh municipal court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Sam Rainsy for faking public documents and spreading disinformation]
  • The German Ambassador [Mr. Frank Markus Mann] Would like to see Cambodia Returning to Normal Diplomatic Relations with Thailand

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The Prime Minister Ordered the Authorities to Collect and Report the Numbers of Disabled People – Tuesday, 22.6.2010

Posted on 24 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

Note:

Apologies – delays of the publication may occur until 17 July 2010 because of my international travel.

Norbert Klein
At present in Brussels/Belgium at the meetings of ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

“Phnom Penh: In the morning of 21 June 2010, the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia called on the authorities countrywide of all levels to collect and report the accurate numbers of disabled people, in order to facilitate the creation of policies as well as of procedures to assist the disabled people.

“The speech of the head of the Royal Government was welcomed by officials from the opposition parties and from civil society organizations in Cambodia, but they appealed on the Prime Minister to monitor the implementation by himself – otherwise the implementation by local authorities may not be effective.

“Presiding over the closing convention at the National Institute of Education, and the third anniversary of the creation of the Cambodian Veterans Association, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, said, ‘I call on the municipal and district authorities and other related authorities to check how many veterans live in their localities, and among them, how many are poor so as to set up programs to assist them.’

“An opposition party parliamentarian, Mr. Chea Poch, spoke to Deum Ampil on Monday evening, saying that he strongly supports what the Prime Minister said, adding that Samdech Hun Sen really thinks about the benefits of Cambodia’s disabled people. But he asked Samdech Hun Sen to monitor the situation himself, as some officials do not take up his recommendations.

“Mr. Chea Poch added, ‘Since 1992, and later in 1998 when the war ended, the Prime Minister mentioned this issue, but local authorities do not listen. Therefore, I suggest that Samdech Hun Sen takes practical steps.’

“As an example for a similar situation Mr. Chea Poch pointed to the case of illegal logging, which had led to the removal of the Director of the Forestry Administration in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ty Sokun, but he was not arrested and jailed. On the contrary, he has been promoted.

“A senior investigation official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Chan Soveth, praised the concern of the Royal Government of Cambodia and of the Cambodian Veteran Association, so that there should be only few disabled people found begging or causing trouble in the society.

“However, Mr. Chan Soveth regretted that the government just creates awareness, but does not initiate programs to support the daily lives of disabled people – now they feel disappointed, though they had sacrificed themselves for the country, but assistance should not be provided based on nepotism.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen clearly said that the help for disabled people should be provided without nepotism; that means that all will get help without considering their political orientation.

“Regarding this point, the head of the Royal Government asked to check certain salary lists to prevent the selling or buying and the mortgaging of materials provided to disabled people.

“He said, ‘I ask that those who bought Provisions booklets [to administer the salaries and and material donations] for disabled people to return the booklets to them, either free of charge or by selling them back at appropriate prices.’

“The Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation, Mr. Ith Samheng, said during the convention that all veterans receiving support from the state in 2010 are 90,605 families or 268,082 persons, and the monthly funds spent on them amount to Riel 6,419,834,848 [approx. US$1,503,000].

“Mr. Ith Samheng added that during the convention, additional members of the central committee of the Cambodian Veterans Association were nominated, where there are 66 members, among them additional 10 permanent members, two additional deputy heads, and three more deputy general secretaries. In total, there are 161 members and 17 permanent members in the central committee of the Cambodian Veterans Association.

“It should be noted that Prime Minister Hun Sen is the head of the Cambodian Veterans Association, together with three deputy heads: Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam On, and Minister Ith Samheng.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #510, 22.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #510, 22.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Ordered the Authorities to Collect and Report the Numbers of Disabled People
  • The Prime Minister: The Use of the Word “Disappointed” by [the UN Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia] Surya [because he could not meet the Prime Minister who was not well] Is a Big Insult [for the leader of Cambodia; he suggested Mr. Surya should have said instead he “regretted” this; Mr. Hun Sen personally regards this as a serious insult against him as a patient, so that he could not offer to meet with Mr. Surya]
  • Three Siblings Were Attacked by Acid by [two] Unknown Persons [they suffered minor injuries – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2281, 22.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Cambodia Was a Peaceful Island [country with peace and no war] before the Coup on of 18 March 1970 [by Field Marshal Lon Nol] [Though there was internal war with the Khmer Rouge movement, and part of the country was used by North Vietnamese troops which led to the bombing in these areas by the US air force]
  • A Man Who Trafficked [twelve] People to Be Sold in Siam [Thailand] Was Sent for Seven Years to Prison

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #687, 22.6.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Continues to Ask Samdech Euv [the former King] to Discuss Border Issues with Yuon [Vietnamese] Leaders [during his present visit to Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6988, 22.6.2010

  • A Woman Was Killed and Her Body Was Cut to Pieces and Thrown Away at the Pich Nel Valley [perpetrators are not yet identified – Kompong Speu]
  • The Internet Service Provider EZECOM Provides Free Internet Access to Universities

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #198, 22.6.2010

  • The State Has Provided More Than 20,000 Hectares of Land to Veterans [countrywide so far]
  • Internet Game Centers Are Opened Again after They Were Considered to Be Legal [before the authorities had closed places operating computer games regarding it as gambling. After the Minister of Information explained the difference between games and gambling, game centers are now allowed to open gain]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5230, 22.6.2010]

  • 3rd July 2010 Is the Deadline for [opposition party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay Her Fine to the Treasury [for losing a defamation court case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A Mother and Her Son Were Killed in a Store by Fire [allegedly from burning incense sticks]

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Not Everything Legal is Considered Legitimate – Sunday, 20.6.2010

Posted on 22 June 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 669 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

A Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health spoke against the economic exploitation from blood donations and blood infusions during an event at the occasion of the World Blood Donors’ Day. Did she say that the financial transactions related to blood donations and transfusions are illegal? No. They are legal. But she still considers these business aspect as “totally against the moral of medical professionalism, and such behavior must be avoided.”

We encounter here a situation where something that is legal is still being considered not to be legitimate. No law is violated, but still some people claim to have good reasons to say that it is not acceptable.

And the Secretary of State elaborated further about the consequences of such a discrepancy, when – from a moral perspective – a legal but illegitimate action leads to a loss of “trust from the general public” in medical institutions which are involved in such actions.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Subedi, is quoted to have made a similar remark. Speaking to journalists he said that several reasons: “the lack of resources, institutional problems, and the interference from outside of the court system have created institutions which are not trusted by citizens.”

He did not say that the law is violated – but still: the result is not trusted by many citizens.

Probably it can be said that many actions which caused the sufferings and the deaths of many people under the Khmer Rouge regime were implemented according to the law – the laws of that time – and still a basic feeling for justice considers them not to have been legitimate.

To question legality in the name of legitimacy is not without problems – but still it has to be raised in every society which is built on basic human values, such as the values stated in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia; nobody can avoid to face this dilemma.

As reported by Reuters, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia stated at the end of his third mission to Cambodia on 17 June 2010, that he was troubled by the land disputes and the apparent inability of the poor to get a fair hearing in court. And in a reference to the government’s tough stand on dissent, he expressed concern about what he called a narrowing of the political space for debate. He has the duty to report the results of this visit to the UN Human Rights Council, and he will do so in September 2010. Again: there was no statement claiming that laws are violated – but also a clear indication that he understands that there is doubt and lack of trust in the courts, and in the legitimacy of the results of court actions, felt and expressed by many people.

Facing this situation , the head of the government’s Cambodia Human Rights Commission is quoted to have said already that he expects that the assessment by the UN Special Rapporteur will not be correct, as he was in the country only for a short visit.

It is a general phenomenon that flawed or wrong information and opinion can best be countered and maybe corrected by open and transparent communication – but this may also lead to clarify that there are different, even opposing opinions.

The rapporteur, Mr. Surya Subedi, expressed also that he was disappointed that he could not meet the Prime Minister – a meeting had been scheduled only for the end of his 10-days visit, and the visit could not materialize because the Prime Minister was unwell.

In response, the Prime Minister criticized Mr. Subedi, considering it as a sign of disrespect that he said he was disappointed about the Prime Minister’s illness. “Every time he’s come here, I’ve met him,” Hun Sen said. “From now on, I’ll see him just once a year. I hope he will hear this: I’m ill, I don’t need to report to you,” Hun Sen added, accusing Subedi of wanting to “colonize” his country.

The necessary exchange of information and of opinion with Mr. Subedi, as the United Nations appointed Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, will not become easier. When Cambodia was “colonized” like many other countries by European powers and by Japan were colonized, this was done with military threat or lethal force. It is not obvious why this service of the United Nations, agreed upon with the Royal Government of Cambodia, looking into the status of the human rights situation in Cambodia, considering the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the laws based on it, is an effort to colonize Cambodia.

If it were not that hundreds of people would demonstrate – often holding pictures of the Prime Minister and the First Lady whom they trust that they will help them to find justice – and thousands of people gave their thumb prints to raise their concerns, considering that they have been unjustly evicted – Mr. Subedi would not listen. He listened also to these people after meeting government representatives and members of the judiciary. And these people are among the ‘masters of their own country” according to Article 51 of the Constitution, and they have the right to struggle, with all other sections of society, that the application of the law is felt to be legitimate.

Where this social consensus is lost – like recently in large section of the Thai society – this can lead to serious problems.

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Subedi: The Court System in Cambodia Still Has Difficulties in Providing Justice for Cambodian Citizens – Saturday, 19.6.2010

Posted on 20 June 2010. Filed under: Week 669 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

Note:

1. Apologies for not having had any publication on Friday – a National Holiday, Birthday of the Queen Mother – and providing the Saturday issue only late on Sunday. I had difficulties to receive the draft materials in time.

2. I upload the Saturday publication in transit from the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum in Hong Kong on the way to the regular meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – ICANN, the organization handling the global Internet address system – in Brussels, and further travel beyond, to Canada and the USA. This travel will also result in some irregular timing of the publication of The Mirror during the next weeks.

But we still try to keep up the publication regularly, though with some delays.

Norbert Klein

“The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia stated at the end of his third mission to Cambodia that serious flaws in the Cambodian court system affect the courts’ abilities to provide justice for common citizens.

“Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, Mr. Surya Subedi, said that the lack of resources, institutional problems, and the interference from outside of the court system have created institutions which are not trusted by citizens from all levels of society. He said, ‘More and more citizens had been jailed because of flaws in the court system, and such failures to provide justice are on the rise.’

“Mr. Subedi added that such cases relate especially to land disputes and to the freedom of expression. He added, ‘I am concerned about the impact from land disputes and from the relocation of common citizens… and the decline of political freedom to discuss issues the society is facing which result in complaints against journalists, human rights activists, and political opposition of defamation, disinformation, and incitations.’

“During his 10-day visit to Cambodia concentrating on the judicial system, Mr. Subedi met with the Khmer King, Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, high ranking officials, judges, members of the civil society, and parliamentarians. But Mr. Subedi said that a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday, 17.6.2010, was canceled due to health reason. He went on to say, ‘I will find other ways to convey my messages to the Prime Minister.’

“Citizens had directly delivered to Mr. Subedi a petition asking him to intervene to supprt their cases. On Monday, 14.6.2010, for a short time, he met with representatives of citizens involved in land disputes in Kandal, Kompong Speu, Kompong Thom, and Siem Reap.

“The next day, Mr. Ruos Sokhet, a journalist in jail, asked Mr. Subedi to intervene of behalf of his case. Mr. Ruos Sokhet has been jailed since November 2009 for sending a text message insulting Mr. Soy Sopheap, a well-known television presenter.

“Mr. Subedi stated that in his position, he cannot work on any specific complaints, but he said that direct visits show specific forms in the operations of the judicial system in Cambodia. He added, ‘The voices of the citizens are crucial for me, to specify the need for reforms in the court system, and to see what other sectors must also be reformed.’

“He continued to say that he asked the government to create a clear timetable to implement his recommendations on the court system. He said, ‘This is an obligation implemented voluntarily by the Cambodian Government, and I hope that the government will take up its commitment.’ Mr. Subedi will report the results of this visit to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2010.

“The head of the Cambodia Human Rights Commission, Mr. Om Yentieng, said that he does not know what Mr. Subedi will report to the UN Human Rights Council, but he said that the visit was short, so the assessment of the court system is not accurate. He suggested that the United Nations should create a work team to work with the government on human rights. He said, ‘In order to produce a proper report, they should create a work team to cooperate with the government, so that they have the details and additional information before they conduct any assessments.’

“The spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, informed Mr. Subedi about the political bias of the courts, and especially about the complaints against the president of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, and the case of the parliamentarian Ms. Mu Sochua, who are strongly critic of the court system. He added that with the possibility to reach international institutions of the United Nations, Mr. Subedi can bring positive changes for Cambodia. He said, ‘So far, I have less and less trust, but we will wait and see.’” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #196, 18.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 19 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #507-508, 18-19.6.2010

  • Chinese Military Assistance, 257 Military Trucks and 50,000 Military Uniforms, Have Arrived
  • The United States of America Delivered Seven Valuable Types of [Khmer] Artifacts to Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2278-2279, 18-19.6.2010

  • Mr. Om Yentieng Apologized to Samdech Dekchor Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen [for building a statue, though the Prime Minister is still alive – according to Khmer tradition, a statue of a person is normally created only after that person has died. The statue had been erected in front of the Anti-Corruption Institution; Mr. Om Yentieng built it as a sign of his own respect to Mr. Hun Sen, but he had not informed him; in the meantime the statue has been removed]
  • Cambodia [through the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers] Denied that Two Red-Shirt [anti-Thai government] Leaders Are Hiding in a Casino in Poipet
  • Facing a Series of Robberies, 200 Citizens Volunteer to Cooperate with the Police to Strengthen the Security of Their Villages and Communes [by establishing groups to patrol the Sangkae district, Battambang]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #684, 18.6.2010

  • [UN special rapporteur] Surya Subedi Told Ms. Mu Sochua that He Will Raise the Issue of [opposition party president] Sam Rainsy’s Return when He Comes to Cambodia Next Time

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6985, 18.6.2010

  • The Municipal Court Issued a Letter to Demand that Mu Sochua Pays the Fine – while She Is Leaving the Country to Bring a Petition to [US President] Obama

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3909-3910, 18-20.6.2010

  • The Government Released Circular Number 3, Ordering the Authorities to Clear Temporary Shelters [established on state land] Which Causes Misery for the Poor Countrywide
  • The Ministry of Justice Issued a Warrant for the Third Time to Arrest Persons of a Mixed Authorities’ Group [of police and soldiers] Who Shot at Citizens in the Chi Kraeng District [injuring four citizens], while the Siem Reap Court Has Not Identified the Perpetrators [the people were shot at on March 2009 when they protested against court decisions handing over disputed land to other groups of citizens, believed to be used by some rich and powerful people; the Ministry of Justice issued the warrant, ordering the Siem Reap Municipal Court to arrest the perpetrators]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #196, 18.6.2010

  • Subedi: The Court System in Cambodia Still Has Difficulties in Providing Justice to Cambodian Citizens
  • Cambodia Should Speed Up Handling Procedures at the Borders [to facilitate export and import – according to a visiting senior economists of the World Bank, Dr. Peter Malvicini]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5227-5228, 18-19.6.2010

  • Ms. Mu Sochua Will Face Six-Month Imprisonment if She Does Not Pay the Fine [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A Truck Loaded with Stones Hit a Motorbike from Behind, Killing Two Persons [Phnom Penh]

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.

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