A Civil Society Group for Social Accountability and for Transparency Asked the Anti-Corruption Unit to Take Action on Tax Officials – Tuesday, 17.8.2010

Posted on 18 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Phnom Penh: A Civil society group for social accountability and transparency demanded the Anti-Corruption Unit to take action against a section of the tax collecting system for taking more money than what the invoices issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance state.

“In the morning 16 August 2010, a civil society group for social accountability and transparency organized a press conference at the Baitong Restaurant in Phnom Penh about their fight against corruption in the form of excessive tax collection for vehicles.

“The president of the Independent Democratic Association of Non-Formal Economy, Mr. Von Pov, said during the conference that every year from July to October, a tax collection is implemented countrywide by tax officials of the Tax Department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The collection is carried out in order to build up the national budget for the restoration and maintenance of public infrastructure, and all Cambodian citizens are obliged to pay tax on their vehicles, such as cars and motorbikes, though they suffer from the global economic crisis.

“Mr. Von Pov added regarding the tax collected by tax officials, that civil society groups for social accountability and transparency noticed that most citizens, who own vehicles, were forced by tax officials to pay an excess amount over that stated on the invoices issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. He added that at present, 1,391,565 cars and trucks, and 11,356,398 motorbikes [the number of motorbikes given is unrealistically high – that means that about 80% of all citizens, including babies and the whole rural population – own a registered motorcycle; we assume the number includes a mistype and may be 1,356,398 – Editor] have been registered and allowed to travel in Cambodia and they are required to pay tax. On average, if a vehicle is required to pay an additional amount of Riel 2,000 [approx. US$0.50] to tax officials, that means Cambodian citizens waste about US$1 million each year. This is corruption resulting from public officials using their positions as public officials to gain personal gain, so that corruption does not refer only to the stealing of money.

“Mr. Von Pov went on to say that to contribute to achieve the second stage of the Rectangular Strategy and to promote good governance, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, especially the Tax Department, must supervise tax officials so that they work following the official calculations for the collection of taxes. Also, the Tax Department must punish officials who commit offenses, or collect administrative fines from them, if they collect amounts beyond the tax invoices, and the Anti-Corruption Unit must take measures in such cases.

“A Coordinator of the East Asia and Pacific Social Accountability Network, Mr. San Chey, said that even though invoices are issued by the Tax Department, still excess tax collection happens, particularly in the Ponhea Leu district in Kandal and Prey Veng. He added, ‘We will submit reports within one week to the Tax Department to take action.’

“After there had been such criticism about excess tax collections by tax officials, the Tax Department released an announcement on 10 August 2010, where the third point reads, ‘Before paying tax, please read the tax tables posted publicly and pay accordingly the amount set in these tables. If tax officials demand more, please report their names and ID Card number to the Tax Department.’

“The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng, could not be reached for comments on Monday evening, but he used to say in a previous press conference that corruption relates not only to big money, but even 50 cents can also be considered as corruption.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2329, 17.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2329, 17.8.2010

  • A Civil Society Group for Accountability and for Transparency Asked the Anti-Corruption Unit to Take Action on Tax Officials
  • The Minister of Agriculture Called On Citizens to Eat Pork Again [claiming that the ‘blue ear disease’ of pigs does not infect people]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7036, 17.8.2010

  • Cambodia Adheres to Peaceful Positions; while in Cambodia, the Secretary General of ASEAN, Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, Asked Cambodia and Thailand to Be Patient [in solving their border disputes]

Meatophoum, Vol.54, #796, 16-21.8.2010

  • Cambodia Asked Vietnam to Help Solve the Border Dispute [with Thailand; according to a letter sent by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam – who is at present chairing ASEAN – to help either within the structure of ASEAN, or directly

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3960, 17.8.2010

  • Which Tax Officials are Punished for Forcing Citizens to Pay Excessive Taxes?

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #32, 17.8.2010

  • Cambodia and Iran Signed an Agreement to Create an Economic Committee in Order to Step Up Economic Cooperation [economic cooperation between Cambodia and Iran will focus on on tourism, the oil industry, investments, agriculture, industry, Iranian export of technical services and engineering, and the exchange of expert delegates]
  • Three People Were Killed and Three Others Were Injured by Lightning [Kompong Cham]
  • Police Burnt again Chicken Meat of No Quality, but Have Never Caught a Persons Who Owns It [Banteay Meanchey]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #238, 17.8.2010

  • Prosecutors [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Appealed against the sentence of Duch, [the former Tuol Sleng prison chief, who was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, but considering his past jail term and the reduction of punishment, he will have to serve only about 19 more years]
  • Thailand Arrested a Cambodian Man Accusing Him of Spying [as he walked near a Thai military base; according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, he might be released after there was investigation and a request for his release by Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5278, 17.8.2010

  • A Vietnamese General [Le Van Dung] Visits Cambodia to Consolidate the Military Cooperation between the Two Countries
  • Six People Were Killed and Ten Others Were Slightly Injured in Traffic Accidents [in Phnom Penh and Preah Vihear, on 15 August 2010]
  • The Club of Cambodia Journalists Reacted against the Detention of a Kampuchea Thmey Journalist [as he was detained just for a minor traffic accident; the Club of Cambodian Journalists expressed concern, and considers it as a violation of human rights, protected by the Constitution of Cambodia]

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Cambodian People’s Party Officials Were Accused to Be Behind the Creation of Reservoirs – Thursday, 12.8.2010

Posted on 13 August 2010. Filed under: Week 677 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 677

“The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen, naming some district governors and commune chiefs, saying that the Ministry suspects them as being involved in collusion to protect illegal reservoirs which are ruining the Tonle Sap lake.

“During a session of the Tonle Sap Authority yesterday [11 August 2010], the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Lim Kean Hor, stated that many local authorities collude with merchants to encourage farmers to claim that they own those reservoirs in an attempt to protect the reservoirs, whereas they are not allowed to be created around the Tonle Sap lake.

“He said, ‘We reported and sent the name list of those people to Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen to consider and to decide an appropriate measure.’

“He added that he and his fellow officials just follow the Prime Minister’s order.

“In April, the Tonle Sap Lake Authority received an order from Prime Minister Hun Sen to demolish illegal reservoirs around the Tonle Sap lake, as well as those the Region 2 and 3 that are determined as conserved areas of flooded forest.

“239 illegal reservoirs set to be demolished in Region 2 are located in the six provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Thom, Pursat, and Siem Reap.

“The president of the Tonle Sap Lake Authority, Mr. Lim Kean Hor, stated also that 45 reservoirs were destroyed since 25 June 2010 and 288 markers were put in those regions.

“He added, ‘Though rainy reason blocks the destruction of those reservoirs and though we temporarily suspended the destruction, we still watch over the issues every day.’

“According to Mr. Lim Kean Hor, almost 10,000 hectares of the wet area surrounding the Tonle Sap lake are destroyed each year for the creation of reservoirs, the expansion of agricultural land and fishing lots, and of charcoal business operations.

“Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhayly said that the potential of the Tonle Sap lake can support the living of nearly four millions Cambodian people settling around the lake.

“He added, ‘The Tonle Sap lake is an important pulse of economy, of environment, and of culture in Cambodia.’

“He went on to say, ‘We must cooperate to protect and conserve the Tonle Sap lake and engage in the conservation for the development of eco-tourism.’ However, he said, ‘The Cambodian People’s Party must acknowledge what we did, because party officials such as district governors and commune chiefs signed on documents to allow the creation of those illegal reservoirs.'” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #235, 12.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 12 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2325, 12.8.2010

  • [The Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology] Lim Kean Hor Warned that Commune Chiefs and District Governors Should be Sued if Flooded Forest Is Still Being Destroyed by Wicked People
  • Documentary Books about Duch’s Sentence Will Be Distributed this Morning

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7032, 12.8.2010

  • In the First Six Months, There Were 3,065 Traffic Accidents, Where 908 Persons Were Killed [a decline by 26 deaths – compared to the same period in 2009], 2,807 Were Seriously Injured, and 2,807 Persons Were Lightly Injured [in Cambodia countrywide]
  • The Royal Government Gave Koh Pich Land Titles [to the Oversea Cambodian Investment Corporation of the director general of the Canadia Bank, Mr. Pung Kheav Se; the Koh Pich island covers a total area of 100 hectares and was contracted for 99 years for development]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3956, 12.8.2010

  • The US Senate Reduced the Military Aid to Cambodia by Half for 2011 to US$500,000 [considering also the deportation of 20 Uighurs by the Cambodian government to China]
  • The Tonle Sap Authority Plans to Seize All Rice Fields in the Flood Forest Areas and Warned that Some Officials Will Be Jailed [according to officials, more than 360,000 hectares of the total area of more than one million hectares of flooded forest have been destroyed]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #28, 12.8.2010

  • The Parliament Will Suggest to the Ministry of Economy to Monitor Tax Officials [as there are irregularities in tax collection; a parliamentarian, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that he will ask the Ministry to take action against corrupt officials who collect tax more than the set amount]
  • The Ministry of Health Called on the 24 Municipal Governors to Join to Take Measures to Combat Infectious Diseases

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #235, 12.8.2010

  • An Iranian News Agency Said that Cambodia Opposes Sanctions [the Fars News Agency of Iran quoted the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, during his visit to Iran, as having said, ‘The policy based on sanctions is condemned everywhere and only constructive and positive policies can settle the problem]
  • A Man Was Arrested on Suspicion of Distributing Leaflets against Leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party [Phnom Penh]
  • Cambodian People’s Party Officials Were Accused to Be Behind the Creation of Reservoirs

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5274, 12.8.2010

  • Cambodia Will Have a New Professional Association to Respond to Hazards of Chemical Substances [a New Professional Association will be created on 19 August 2010; it aims to gather experts in chemicals to conduct studies and to participate to prevent hazards from chemicals in Cambodia]

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Mr. Hor Namhong Will Sign an Oil Cooperation Agreement with Iran – Friday, 6.8.2010

Posted on 7 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation plans to pay an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran from 10 to 11 August 2010.

“An Undersecretary of State and spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong, spoke to Kampuchea Thmey on 5 August 2010, saying that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, will make an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran for two days from 10 to 11 August 2010, and he will leave Phnom Penh on 8 August 2010.

“He added that the visit aims to strengthen and expand ties between Cambodia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as to encourage visits between leaders of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other senior leaders.

“According to an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated 5 August 2010, in response to an invitation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia will pay a formal visit from 10 to 11 August 2010.

“The delegates include a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Long Visalo, the head of the Cambodian Petroleum Authority, Mr. Hou Vicheth, and many other senior officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

“During the visit, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong will meet with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran [see the Constitution], Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the chairman of Iranian parliament, Mr. Ali Larijani. He will also have bilateral talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Minister of Petroleum, Mr. Masoud Mir-Kazem, and the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Mehdi Ghazanfari.

“According to the announcement, the visit aims at consolidating ties between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to encourage the exchange of visits between leaders of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and other high ranking officials. Also, a Memorandum of Understanding about cooperation relating to oil will be signed.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2320, 6.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2320, 6.8.2010

  • Mr. Hor Namhong Will Sign an Oil Cooperation Agreement with Iran
  • Her Excellency Bun Rany [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife] Was Re-Elected as President of the Cambodian Red Cross for the Fifth Term

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7027, 6.8.2010

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Print Documents about [Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief] Duch’s Sentence to Be Distributed to the General Public [5,000 copies, containing details related to the sentence]
  • 1,000 People [representatives of the Royal Government, of local and international organizations, of the United Nations, and of ethnic minority tribespeople] Will Celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People in Siem Reap

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3951, 6.8.2010

  • The Number Khmer Migrant Workers to Malaysia and Siam [Thailand], Where Some Suffered from Torture, Doubled in Early 2010 [according to the Cambodian/Khmer Worker Recruitment Agency [no website found]; in the first six months of 2010, it has sent 5,776 legal workers to Malaysia and 2,409 workers to Thailand]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #231, 6.8.2010

  • Cambodia Soldiers Prohibit Thai Vendors from Selling Goods in the Area of the Ta Moan Temple
  • The Opposition Party Lawyer [Mr. Chuong Chou Ngy] Warned to Walk Out of the New Hearing [on 9 August 2010 on Mr. Sam Rainsy’s case over the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers], if Two Prisoners Are Not Present [claiming that they are important witnesses]
  • Vietnam Will Step Up Investment to US$1 Billion in Cambodia Next Year [in the oil and gas sectors, electricity production, mineral exploration, rubber plantations, and agricultural product processing]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5269, 6.8.2010

  • Carts Transport Wood move like for a Kathen Procession [a Buddhist ceremony with long processions] into the Angkor Chum and Puok Districts [without any interceptions from the authorities – Siem Reap]
  • Forty American Billionaires Pledged to Donate Half of Their Property for Humanitarian Affairs [according to: http://www.givingpledge.org]

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Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Consider the New Demonstration Law as a Constraint on the Power of the People of Cambodia – Thursday, 22.10.2009

Posted on 23 October 2009. Filed under: Week 635 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 635

“The National Assembly has adopted a demonstration law limiting demonstrations to not more than 200 people. This law is considered by the opposition parties as a restriction of the power of the people in Cambodia. However, government representative claimed that this new law helps maintain social stability.

“During the session of the National Assembly yesterday, 21 October 2009, 76 parliamentarians out of 101 raised their hands to adopt this demonstration law, while the parliamentarians from the Sam Rainsy Party and from the Human Rights Party did not.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy told reporters in the morning of 21 October 2009, ‘At present the government cares only about cracking down on demonstrations and wants to eliminate the right of citizens who have reasons to protest.’ The people will get angry and feel pain when they want to present what they demand, but cannot do it though their demands are right. The government does not solve the citizens needs, but wants to intercept their presention.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy stressed that the Sam Rainsy Party wants to organize the country rightly, to eliminate the root causes of demonstrations, but the government just eliminates the demonstrations. Regarding the law limiting the number of people to only 200 to participate in a demonstration, Mr. Sam Rainsy said that it is a ban anticipating the expression of the power of the people in Cambodia.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy said, ‘They do not want that large scale demonstrations can be held. If large scale demonstrations are held, the state fears the power of the people. People take power to control the country to serve the real benefit of the people, but not to serve the benefit of any dictatorial party or any dictators or their groups.’

“Mr. Sam Rainsy said that the Sam Rainsy Party does not support this law, as it has gaps which the state could use as a pretext to prevent people from demonstrating peacefully. It abolishes citizens’ right to express their opinions through peaceful demonstrations.

“The president of the Human Rights Party, Mr. Kem Sokha, spoke to journalists expressing the same view as Mr. Sam Rainsy: that this demonstration law banishes people’s power in Cambodia, especially when citizens want to demonstrate to demand that leaders resign from their positions. He said, ‘For example, citizens may want to demonstrate over politics… to demand that some leaders resign.’

“Mr. Kem Sokha added that in countries that practice democracy, people can hold demonstrations to demand that some leaders leave their positions – which is called people’s power. While in Cambodia, it is now to be assumed that the Ministry of Interior will not allow this kind of manifestation, using the reasoning that it might be against national security, or against safety and public order. These are pretexts that governments use to prevent the people from demonstrating. Mr. Kem Sokha said that also the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians do not support this law.

“When asked whether this law interdicts people’s power or not, Mr. Kem Sokha said, ‘Of course. We see the direction. After we heard the words of the parliamentarians of the ruling party, it seems that they are afraid of the power of the people.

“A democratic regime is a regime where power can be changed peacefully, and leaders are established through general elections. But if the elected leaders act against what they had promised, citizens can demonstrate for a change of power.

“An investigating official of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Mr. Oum Sam Ath, said that limiting the number of people who can participate in a demonstration is not right for a country that practices democracy.

“This demonstration law also requires demonstration leaders to inform the authorities in advance, and Mr. Oum Sam Ath explained that the need to request for a permission, and this 5-days in advance, requires then to wait to see whether the demonstration is permitted or not – which is a new restriction, including the limitation of the number of demonstrators. This law is not according to the concept of democracy.

“However, a representative from the Ministry of Interior claimed during the session of the National Assembly since a few days ago that this law ensures social stability.

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Nuth Sa An, said that the Ministry will ask the government to develop a policy how to publicize this law among the citizens.

“Though this law limits the number of people to 200 who can join a demonstration, Mr. Sam Rainsy said that this is not acceptable, and the Sam Rainsy Party plans to hold big demonstrations in the future. Mr. Sam Rainsy said that a planned big demonstration – though a specific date has not yet been set – is a demonstration to assemble tens of thousands of citizens victimized by land disputes from the provinces and cities countrywide.

“It should be noted that people’s power exists in many countries in the world, like in the Philippines, in Siam [Thailand], and in Indonesia.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #514, 22.10.2009

Note:

Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia

Article 51:
The Kingdom of Cambodia adopts a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism.
The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country.
All power belongs to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, The Senate, the Royal Government and the Judiciary.
The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be separate.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 22 October 2009

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1416, 22.10.2009

  • Three Korean Men Raped a Karaoke Parlor Woman in a Room while She Was Drunk [they were arrested – Siem Reap]

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #317, 22.10.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Shows the Green Light to Receive [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra and He Prepared a Residence [in Cambodia] for Him as a Friend
  • The Number of People Confirmed with A/H1N1 Has Increased to 202 Cases, and the Number of Deaths Remain at Three
  • The Iranian Government Asked to Step Up Cooperation with Cambodia [especially between the parliaments of the two countries – according to the Iranian ambassador to Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2078, 22.10.2009

  • 143 Countries Promised to Support the Cambodian Candidacy as a Member of the World Heritage Committee
  • A House Was Burnt Down Completely because the Firefighter Trucks Did Not Come, though They Had Been Called [Siem Reap]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #514, 22.10.2009

  • Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha Consider the New Demonstration Law as a Constraint on the Power of the People of Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer edition], Vol.1, #31, 22.10.2009

  • The Civil Aviation Authorities Will Write a Letter to the Government to Permit Siem Reap Airways to Fly Again
  • Cambodia Cannot Sell Rice to the Philippines this Year [because there is high local demand after typhoon Ketsana hit Cambodia]
  • Burma Rejects Request [of ASEAN] to Release Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi [Burmese elected democracy leader]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5027, 22.10.2009

  • Prime Minister Samdech [Hun Sen]: Mr. Thaksin Can Come to Cambodia Anytime He wants and I Prepare a House to Welcome Him
  • Exclusive Interview of Rasmei Kampuchea with the South Korean President, Lee Myung-Bak [he said ‘Samdech Hun Sen cares very much about the development of the Cambodian economy, and both of us have similar views and intentions on many problems;’ the investment by Korea in Cambodia increased 75 times within 12 years from 1997 to 2009; Mr. Lee Myung-Bak is a close friend of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and he had been nominated as advisor to Mr. Hun Sen in 2000]
  • Cambodia Reacts against some Thai Members of Parliament for Suggesting to Prevent Cambodia from Becoming a Member of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1813, 22.10.2009

  • A Promise Was Made Again [by government officials from the Cambodian People’s Party] to Adopt an Anti-Corruption Law by the Middle of Next Year

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 4 February 2009

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

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

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1864, 4.2.2009

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

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

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

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #196, 4.2.2009

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6569, 4.2.2009

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3678, 4.2.2009

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4812, 4.2.2009

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

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

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

    And:

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

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

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.


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The Supreme Court Releases Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun – Friday, 2.1.2009

Posted on 3 January 2009. Filed under: Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 593

“Phnom Penh: This is a rare and almost incredible decision in the Cambodian court system during these latest decades. The Supreme Court decided to provide justice to Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun by releasing them from prison [on bail]. This was decided by the Supreme Court on 31 December 2008 during the hearing on the murder of Mr. Chea Vichea.

“After a four-hour hearing, the president of the Supreme Court who was presiding over the panel of five judges, the judge Dith Munty, announced to return the murder case of Mr. Chea Vichea to the Appeals Court for reinvestigation and retrial. The Supreme Court decided also to release Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun on bail, but requires them to be present on the dates that the court authorities decide.

“Judge Dith Munty explained that this decision was made because the murder case of the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia five years ago needs further investigation, as there are gaps in the procedures, and there is insufficient evidence.

“After the decision of the Supreme Court, the accused Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were immediately brought back to the PJ prison, to wait for the release order from the Supreme Court.

“This decision was welcomed by the families of the released, by civil society organizations, and by the embassies observing the murder case of Mr. Chea Vichea; and the decision was considered to be a new turning point for the Cambodian court system.

“With great happiness, Born Samnang’s parents, Ms. Nuon Kimsry and Mr. Voun Phon, expressed their satisfaction beyond words, outside of the court room, considering that the court had really brought justice.

“The president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, who observed the hearing with keen interest, welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. This decision is a new turning point in the court system in Cambodia. Now impunity will be eliminated in future by the correct implementation of the law.

“Representatives of several embassies had observed the hearings of the Supreme Court, and the US Embassy released a statement welcoming the decision to release the accused Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun [on bail].

“A few days before the hearing, the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, Human Rights Watch, the International Trade Union Confederation, the Observatory for Protection of Human Right Defenders, Amnesty International, and the Treatment Committee, 21 organizations of human rights defenders communities, had released statements asking the Supreme Court to provide justice to the accused Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun. Civil society organizations believed that both of them are not the real murderers oft Mr. Chea Vichea.

“A Secretary of State of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, said that the decision of the Supreme Court about the murder of Mr. Chea Vichea is not related to reforms of the court system. He said also that that decision was not made according to someone else’s will or according to political considerations. It is a decision on which no one has the power to influence it, it is the will of the judges who have brought suspicions to an end through the process of the law.

“However, analysts of the murder case of Chea Vichea think that the Supreme Court made this decision because some of the police who built this case (Heng Pov’s group) are mostly criminals, and are now detained. Another point is that Mr. Heng Pov had also said that the former powerful police chief, who had recetly died, was also involved in the murder case of Mr. Chea Vichea. Therefore it is now the time that the Supreme Court acts independently to provide justice to the accused, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, who were imprisoned nearly five years.

“It should be noted that during the hearing of the Supreme Court on 31 December 2008, both Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun claimed that they are not the real murderers who shot dead Mr. Chea Vichea. As for the defense lawyers of the accused Born Samnang and of Sok Sam Oeun, they raised arguments to defend both of them. Sok Sam Oeun’s defense lawyer, Mr. Hong Kimsuon, claimed that both suspects are just persons that the police used to play a farce. Born Samnang’s defense lawyer, Mr. Chum Sovannaly, claimed that Born Samnang’s confession in this case is only a creation by the police who are incompetent [to arrest the real murderers]. They are Mr. Heng Pov’s group who persuaded and used money to lure Born Somnang and created fake evidence to put blame on both.

“The accused Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun had been arrested on 28 January 2004 and were convicted to serve 20 years in prison by the Phnom Penh court, for killing Mr. Chea Vichea on 22 January 2004.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4783-#4784, 1-2.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 2 January 2009

Chakraval, Vol.17, #2838, 2.1.2009

  • Police Has a Spokesperson; [Major-General Kiet Chantharith] Becomes the Spokesperson

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #103, 2-6.1.2009

  • Economist: Prices Can Drop As Long as There Is Intervention from the Government
  • Olympic Market Vendors Protest against the Thai Bunrong Company That Asks Them to Pay Vendors Stalls’ Prices 6 Months before Contracts End
  • Israel Rebuffs the United Nations’ Request for a Cease Fire
  • 10,000 Iranians Volunteer to Register Their Names to Commit Suicide Bombings in Israel

 
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1835-#1836, 1-2.1.2009

  • Rare Photos Describing Events 30 Years Ago [about the victory over the Khmer Rouge regime on 7 January 1979] Are to Be Exhibited Next Week [at the Wat Phnom Exhibition Center]
  • 266 People Died and 1,103 Were Injured by Traffic Accidents in Phnom Penh in 2008
  • Being Discouraged by Poverty and Being Handicapped, a Man Decided to End His Life by Setting Himself and His House on Fire [Banteay Meanchey]

 
Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #317, 2.1.2009

  • It Is Time to Call [former Phnom Penh police chief, now jailed in Prey Sar Prison] Heng Pov to Reveal the Farce That He Made after the Murder of Chea Vichea [because he had organized to force Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun to confess that they killed Mr. Chea Vichea]
  • On 5 January 2009 Human Rights Watch Will Release a Book about Yuon [Vietnamese] Violations against Monks and against Khmer Krom People

 
Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #173, 1.1.2009

  • [Royal Cabinet advisor] Prince Sisowath Thomico Appeals to Royal Family Members to Stop Doing Politics
  • Deaths from Dengue Fever in Cambodia Declined [from 407 people in 2007 to 65 people in 2008]

 
Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6540-#6541, 1-2.1.2009

  • Observation during the First Day of the Implementation of the Traffic Law in Phnom Penh Shows that 85% of Drivers Wear Helmets
  • Cambodian Railways Concludes Work in 2008 and Issues Directions for 2009 [in 2008, 233,854 tonnes of goods and 4,924 passengers transported
  •  

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4783-#4784, 1-2.1.2009

  • The Supreme Court Releases Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun
  • Buddhist Circles Ask that the ‘Where Elephants Weep’ Opera Apologizes and Stops Performing [because there is criticism by some Buddhists and Monks in the audience. – Note: As this is an opera, all actors sing, also the monks – which seems to have been the rigger for the complaint; on TV station canceled already a program where it had been announce that ‘Where Elephants Weep’ would be broadcast]
  • In 2008, the Government Borrowed US$279.5 Million [and received US$109.3 million as grant aid from financial institutions and foreign countries – according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
  • [Father King] Samdech Euv Is Admitted to a Beijing Hospital for Blood Transfusion [because of leukemia]
  • The United States of America Trains Cambodian Officials about Oil Resources Management
  • The US Embassy Welcomes the Decision of the Supreme Court over [the president of Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Mr. Chea Vichea’s Case [where Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were released on bail]
  • Cambodia Joins to Share Condolences for the Death of Former Malaysian King [Tuanku Ja’afar Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman – at the Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh]
  • Eldest Daughter of Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen [Hun Mana] Gets Married [to Mr. Dy Vichea, a Son of the former Director General of the National Police Hok Lundy, who recently died in a helicopter crash,]
  • Fire in a Night Club in Bangkok Killed 60 People Crossing from 2008 to 2009 [it is said that the fire was caused by firecrackers released inside of the club]

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.

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Saturday, 12.7.2008: New Measures of the European Union for Biofuel Were Shown to ASEAN Countries

Posted on 13 July 2008. Filed under: Week 568 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 568

“In a regional workshop organized in Jakarta on 11 July 2008, the European Commission discussed its proposal for a new Directive (European legislation) on renewable sources of energy, including biofuels.

“Participants from all ASEAN countries attended this event. This workshop was chaired by Ambassador Alistair MacDonald, the Head of the European Commission Delegation to the Philippines, and important speakers in this workshop were senior experts from the Energy, and from the External Relations Directorates-General of the European Commission in Brussels. Also, officials of four ASEAN countries presented their countries’ policies about renewable energy and biofuel.

“The drafts Directive, which is expected to be adopted early next year, has set the policies for renewable energy for all states which are members of the European Union, so that the use of renewable energy among the use of other energy resources in the European Union will increase. This Directive is part of the climate change policies of the European Union, and it aims to define renewable energy goals on the national levels, setting joint obligations in order to achieve a use of 20% of renewable energy, and setting minimum goals to use at least 10% of energy in the form of renewable energy, such as biofuel, in transportation, by 2020, which has to be accomplished by all member states.

“Consequently, it is expected that bioenergy production in Europe will increase, and the import of plant oil used in biofuel in Europe will also increase.

“Therefore, this Directive also sets requirements for the environmental sustainable production of biofuel, to guarantee that biofuel, which is part of the renewable energy policy of the European Union, is produced by using sustainable methods which do not harm the environment. The European Commission will regularly check and report on the influence of bioenergy production on the prices of food, although recent analysts showed that there is only little impact.

“Southeast Asia is a region which produces a lot of plant oil, especially palm oil. This Directive will create many new opportunities for all of the Southeast Asian Countries, because it will likely lead to increasing imports from oil producing countries into the European Union.

“With the price of oil at current levels, more use of renewable energy is seen as a good choice for the economy. Moreover, these forms of energy also contribute to guarantee the security of energy supply, and they contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emission.

“However, some hazards for the environment were also pointed out regarding the use of biofuel. The sustainability requirement has to guarantee also that the biofuel policy is not against the goals of environmental protection. The same requirement will be implemented for biofuel produced in the European Union as well as in other countries outside of the European Union. Therefore the same requirements everywhere do not present an obstacle against trade. This requirement aims to achieve a minimum level of the emission of greenhouse gas, and it aims to follow some other required conditions related to the environment, especially to protect bio-diversity.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1691, 12.7.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 12 July 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1691, 12.7.2008

  • New Measures of the European Union for Biofuel Were Shown to ASEAN Countries
  • [Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong: Khmer Artifacts Stolen from the Preah Vihear Temple by Thailand Will Be Reclaimed Back [he stated during a press conference on 8 July 2008]
  • Metered Taxis Started Their Business in Phnom Penh [by Global (Cambodia) Trade Development Co. Ltd., a Chinese company] [on 11 July 2008]
  • Pailin Has Still 207.8 Square Kilometer of Land Infested with Landmines [according to Mr. Heng Ratana, deputy director of Cambodian Mine Action Center – CMAC]
  • [Former Thai Prime Minister] Thaksin Ranks Sixteenth among the 40 Richest People in Thailand


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #197, 12.7.2008

  • [President of Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Rong Chhun Asks [Minister of Education] Kol Pheng to Intervene in the Case of Lost Salaries of Teachers in Remote Areas
  • “The Line of Those Who Steal from the Nation” and Some Dishonest Businesspeople Are Cleaning Their Names through the Preah Vihear Temple [by distributing money to help citizens and soldiers there]


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #47, 12.7.2008

  • Only 200,000 [of 340,000] Workers Will Go to Vote [because of the rise of the price of goods and of transport – according the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Mr. Chea Mony; but the secretary-general of the National Election Committee Mr. Tep Nitha Rejected this number]
  • Khmer Citizens Are Disappointed with the Flow of Thai Pigs into the Country
  • Situation in the Middle East Is Tough after Iran Tested Its Missiles


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6395, 12.7.2008

  • [Mr. Khim Sambou] A Reporter of Moneaksekar Khmer [a Pro-Sam Rainsy Party newspaper] and His Son Were Shot by [two] Unidentified Men after Returning from Exercising at the Olympic Stadium [the father died after he was referred to hospital while his son is in a serious condition – 11 July 2008]
  • Director of KCBN Travel [Oknha Heng Tola] Plans to Spend His Company’s Money to Gather Tourists and Bring Them to the Preah Vihear Temple [every week in order to help the people living at the mountain, after the border-crossing was closed by the Cambodian authorities]
  • The United Nations Asks for US$300 More for Burma


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4639, 12.7.2008

  • President of the Puea Pandin party [which is part of the coalition government of Mr. Samak] of Thailand Escapes from an Arrest Warrant [over a corruption case] to Hide Himself in Poipet [according to Thai media on 11 July 2008 – he and another candidate were found guilty, after the Thai Election Commission had asked the Thai Supreme Court to revoke their electoral rights, after they had been found to have arranged transport for people to attend their campaign rally, and had handed out cash to voters]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3357, 12.7.2008

  • Civil Society Wants to See Khmer Politicians to Be Brave like Siem [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affairs [Nappadon Pattama] Who Resigned from His Position

Have a look at the last editorial – Without freedom of information AND an active use of this freedom, emotions can easily lead to dangerous misunderstandings.

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