A Senior Official of the Government Rejects the Summons to Appear at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – Thursday, 17.6.2010

Posted on 17 June 2010. Filed under: Week 669 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

“Phnom Penh: The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, rejected a warrant from a co-investigating judge of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Marcel Lemonde, who called some high ranking officials of the Royal Government to appear as witnesses. The rejection was made public on 15 June 2010 during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

“Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong said that he had already received the warrant from a co-investigating judge requesting him to be a witness. He added that, as Mr. Marcel Lemonde knows well, he was a prisoner, but he will not respond to the summons for legal reasons. According to the agreement between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations, a summons should have two signatures, both from one Khmer and from one foreign co-investigating judge.

Note:

Repeated from The Mirror of 10.6.2010 to explain that there had been two signatures, but one got crossed out later:

Disagreement among Co-Investigating Judges at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

The Cambodia Daily added on 10 June 2010 that Mr. Marcel Lemonde stated that the letter to start further investigations waited for three weeks to be signed. Then Mr. You Bonleng signed it.

The Cambodia Daily then quotes Mr. You Bonmleng’s letter from 8 June 2010:

  • “Throughout the process of reflection on your proposal and the ultimatum you imposed on me, I had thought that it seemed time to take action as part of cases 003 and 004; I therefore signed the draft rogatory letters on Friday, 4 June 2010.
  • However, upon more attentive and deeper consideration of the question, I think that it is not yet opportune to take action in cases 003 and 004.
  • So I permit myself to return to you the draft rogatory letters containing your signature, mine being crossed out, and we shall contemplate discussion on any measures concerning cases 003 and 004 in the month of September 2010.”

“Mr. Hor Namhong added, ‘Mr. Marcel Lemonde is a person from the legal field, but he himself does not respect the law as he signed this document alone.’ Therefore, as a member of the Royal Government that negotiated with the United Nations and signed the agreement between the government and the United Nations about the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, he cannot breach the agreement to follow Mr. Marcel Lemonde.

“Recently, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal had issued a warrant to invite leaders of the government to be witnesses in order to put further burden on the five former Khmer Rouge leaders in detention at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6984, 17.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 17 June 2010

Areyathor, Vol.17, #1444, 17-18.6.2010

  • A Military Police Officer Was Fatally Shot by an Unknown Person in Front of the Reatrei Singapore Restaurant [Phnom Penh]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #506, 17.6.2010

  • [UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia] Surya Subedi Praised Cambodia over [the efforts to conduct] Judicial Reform

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2277, 17.6.2010

  • [The President of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers] Chea Mony Announced there Will Be a Three Days Demonstration from 13 to 15 July [to ask for an increase of workers’ salaries, and to demand that the owner of the TACFAT garment factor has to obey the labor law]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #683, 17.6.2010

  • The Declaration of Property through Closed and Sealed Letters Might Be a Play of the Ruling Party [all members of the newly created National Anti-Corruption Council are required to declare their property]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6984, 17.6.2010

  • A Senior Official of the Government Rejects the Summons to Appear at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
  • Two Men Were Killed by Lightnings in Kompong Cham and Kompong Thom within the Same Half Hour

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #195, 17.6.2010

  • This Year the Number of People Killed by Lightning Dropped [during 5 months, there were 53 deaths, compared to the same period in 2009, when there were 73 deaths]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5226, 17.6.2010

  • Germany Promised to Grant More Aid [Euro 400,000, approx. US$500,000 to the Victims’ Unit of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] to Encourage the Participation by More Victims in the Hearing of Khmer Rouge Leaders
  • Japanese Businesspeople and Investors Come to Study Investment Possibilities in Cambodia

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People Losing Land and Housing Plan to Protest in Front of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Monday, 14.6.2010

Posted on 15 June 2010. Filed under: Week 669 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 669

“Phnom Penh: Human Rights activists said that many citizens who have land disputes and suffer from evictions without proper compensation plan to come from provinces and cities to protest and to express their difficulties to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Surya Prasad Subedi, on Monday, 14 June 2010.

“The UN Special Rapporteur, Mr. Surya Prasad Subedi, is on a 10 days mission in Cambodia, starting from 8 June 2010. Mr. Surya did not intend to take up land disputes and the evictions of citizens as important topics to discuss them with the head of the Cambodian government. He mentioned only the judicial reform as the subject to be discussed, to find solutions during his third visit to Cambodia.

“An official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Uoch Leng, said that on 14 June 2010, many citizens who are victims of land disputes in several provinces and cities will come to protest in front of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia at House Number 4, Street 302, Boeng Keng Kang I commune, Chamkar Mon district, Phnom Penh.

“This activist said that the protest aims to express the difficulties of citizens losing land due to the activities of the rich and of the powerful, and due to the provision of economic concession land to private companies, which affect and make citizens lose the land on which they depend for their lives.

“Mr. Uoch Leng added that on 14 June 2010, there will be citizens from the Kompong Tralach district in Kompong Chhnang, the Kandal Stung district from Kandal, the Chi Kraeng district from Siem Reap, the Romeas Haek district from Svay Rieng, the Thpong and Oral districts from Kompong Speu, and the Srae Ambel district from Koh Kong, citizens from the Boeng Kak Lake area in Phnom Penh, and some other citizens involved in land disputes.

“According to ADHOC, since early 2010, 42 citizens were jailed over land disputes at different provinces and cities. 187 citizens were accused by courts relating to land disputes with private companies, officials, and the rich, such as in Svay Rieng, Takeo, Siem Reap, Kampot, Preah Vihear, Kompong Thom, Kompong Speu, Battambang, and Oddar Meanchey.

“About 150,000 citizens have been evicted from their homes on the basis of not transparent decisions by the courts.

“Regarding the plan of citizens from different areas to protest, an advisor of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, considers that officials of some non-government organizations which tend towards the opposition, take the opportunity to benefit from the visit of Mr. Surya.

“Mr. Tith Sothea, an adviser of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, added that those organizations encourage the UN human rights Special Rapporteur to solve land disputes so that they can apply for more international funds for their own organizations.

“Mr. Tith Sothea said the government is conducting reforms on land disputes, and the concessions of many companies had been withdrawn by the Royal Government after it became obvious that there was no development. He added that the plan of citizens from provinces and cities to protest on Monday, 14 June 2010, is within their rights, and their demonstration will not be prohibited by the authorities.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 18, #5223, 13-14.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 14 June 2010

Deum Tnot, Vol.3, #107, 14-15.6.2010

  • The Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers Called on Workers [in the whole country] to Suspend Their Work on 13, 14, and 15 July 2010 [to ask for an increase of their monthly salaries to at least US$70, and to demand that factory owners have to obey the labor law]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #503, 13-14.6.2010

  • The Authorities Allow 237 Families, Victimized by a Fire [at the railway block in Tuol Kork] to Settle on the Same Area [they will not be required to relocate to a new area – Phnom Penh]
  • About 100 Workers at the Seratic Garment Factory Fainted because of Inhaling Gas Leaking from some Pipes

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2274, 13-14.6.2010

  • The Supreme Court Ordered the [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Ms. Mu Sochua to Pay a Fine [roughly US$4,000 for losing a defamation case with Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • The Ministry of Information Ordered to Stop the Broadcasting of the Program of [the director of a development and training organization, providing education about democracy via radio at FM 90 in Phnom Penh, FM 90.25 in Battambang, FM 88.5 in Kompong Thom, and FM 90.25 in Oddar Meanchey, who is also the president the League for Democracy Party – “Think Together – Decide Together – Act Together” – who is a [dissident] former Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Khem Veasna [claiming that the programs did not follow the principles set by the ministry, as the programs were often used for political propaganda]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6981, 14.6.2010

  • Within Three Months of this Year, Thai Products Imported to Cambodia Amounted to US$700 Million [and Cambodian products exported to Thailand were only about US$24 million]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3905, 14.6.2010

  • The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] Denied that It Encourages Citizens Losing Land to Meet with the UN Human Rights Special Representative This Morning [there had been such accusations against ADHOC, but the accuser is not mentioned]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #192, 14.6.2010

  • [With more than 60,000 thumbprints attached] Citizens Victimized by Land Disputes Plan to Send a Petition to the Prime Minister [to ask for his intervention]
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] Plans to Go to China at the End of June [for a medical checkup]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5223, 13-14.6.2010

  • People Losing Land and Housing Plan to Protest in Front of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • The Export of Cambodia to France Increased [to Euro 83 million or approx. US$100 million in 2009, compared to 2008, when it was Euro 82 million], while There Are More French Investments in Cambodia [amounting to more than Euro 90 million or approx. US$108 million – [no 2010 figures given here]]

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The Conditions of the US$1.1 Billion Aid Require Hun Sen to Keep His Promise about Reforms and to Adhere to Policies of Transparency and Good Governance – Wednesday, 9.6.2010

Posted on 10 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“Donors and aid organizations provide development aid to Cambodia because they want the Cambodian government to create mechanisms to fight corruption, effectively implementing an anti-corruption law. In 2010, Cambodia received pledges of US$1.1 billion of aid from donors, where Japan provides US$131 million, comparable to China that provides more than US$100 million. The third big donor is the United States of America that provides US$68 million, Germany more than US$65 million, and Australia more than US$61 million. Besides, the Asia Development Bank, the World Bank, and many other global institutions provide most of the rest of the aid amounting to US$352 million.

“Also, twelve organizations of the United Nations provide more than US$86 million, and European countries, including through the European Commission, provide more than US$255 million, among which Germany provides most with US$65 million.

“Besides the intention to see the government organize anti-corruption mechanisms, the donors and aid organizations as well as international financial institutions focus on the plans to maintain macro-economic stability and to reduce the poverty of Khmer citizens, by suggesting that increased aid efficiency is essential, and they hope that the Cambodian government will use the aid efficiently and transparently, to encourage economic growth. If Cambodia cannot achieve economic growth, poverty alleviation will be difficult. Therefore, the donors and aid organizations will step up their mechanisms to carefully monitor the use of aid.

“The country director of the World Bank in Cambodia called for concentration to strengthen the economic basis, like through the improvement of competitiveness and of the investment atmosphere, the provision of concession land that benefits the poor, solutions for citizens who lose their land, public administration reforms, and especially the improvement of transparent control and use of income from natural resources.

“The International Monetary Fund, an institution that provides technical assistance on finance and banking, suggested that the Cambodian government has to cut down the national deficit that increased by 6% in 2009 down to 5% by eliminating tax exemptions, though they are important to attract investors.

“Formerly, in order to attract investors to Cambodia, the government decided not to tax factories or enterprises newly opened during the first two or three years, depending on whether those factors or enterprises had gained profit or lost.

“Also, the representative of the European Union demanded the improvement of education quality and the promotion of primary education, fields which are still weak. He said that the number of people who cannot attend school is still high. Thus, the government has to ensure that boys and girls have equal opportunities to go to school, so as to increase educational opportunities for girls. And the government has to decrease the number of students that drop out from school.

“Not only in Cambodia, but also in other developing countries in the world, financial aid is crucial for the development of these countries.

“Among the more than 14 million Khmer citizens, about 4 million live under the poverty line. In 2006, Cambodia received more than US$700 million financial aid, and the figures keep increasing from year to year, where in 2010 the aid pledges increased to US$1.1 billion. Nevertheless, expert officials estimated that in 2011, the aid will decline to US$958 million and in 2012 to US$750 million.

“The opposition parties suggested to donors and aid organizations not to provide aid to the government, accusing the government of committing corruption, and the government does not use the aid properly. But the aid keeps rising anyway.

“It is good that the government is successful in trusting donors and aid organizations in its ruling. But what the government had promised is not just to satisfy the donors. The government must work on its weak points and should not arbitrarily react against criticisms. Particularly, it should be able to carry out its commitment to conduct public administrative and judicial reforms, to strengthen the transparent management of income from oil and gas resources, and to strengthen the effective implementation of the anti-corruption law.

“If the government can achieve success following its commitments, we believe that the aid to be provided in 2011 would be more than that in 2010.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #777, 9.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #499, 9.6.2010

  • Cambodian and Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Had an Armed Clash at Ou Cham Bak Point in the Trapeang Prasat District [in Oddar Meanchey; one Cambodian army commander said that Thai soldiers started shooting at Cambodian soldiers first, but the spokesperson of the Cambodian Ministry of Defense says that this is not clear – but nobody was wounded]
  • Spain Provides a Loan of US$5 million for Development over a Period of Three Years [2010 to 2012, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals]
  • [Mr. José Mujica, a former left wing guerilla fighter, elected president in 2009] The President of Uruguay Is the Poorest President in the World [he owns no house and drives a car that cost only US$1,900; he gets US$11,000 as his salary, but he donates one fifth to the funds of his party, and the rest of the salary to the state funds to construct infrastructure for people in poor areas]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2270, 9.6.2010

  • The Forestry Head of the Sandan Commune Intercepted More Than 400 Cubic Meter of Wood Hidden by a Trader [so far nobody has been arrested – Kompong Thom]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #777, 9.6.2010

  • The Conditions of the US$1.1 Billion Aid Require Hun Sen to Keep His Promise about Reforms and to Adhere to Policies of Transparency and Good Governance

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6977, 9.6.2010

  • The Appeals Court Maintains the Judgment of the Municipal Court That Rejects the Request [of opposition party president Sam Rainsy] to Create an Independent Border Committee [to check the putting of border markers in Svay Rieng]
  • Fake $100 Notes Worth US$10,000 Were Planned to Be Trafficked into Phnom Penh [but were intercepted; a man was arrested – the Banteay Meanchey police suspected a taxi that carried no passengers but drove very fast towards Phnom Penh – Kandal]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3901, 9.6.2010

  • Corruption and Interference by Politicians into the Judicial System in Cambodia Must Be Reformed in Time

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #189, 9.6.2010

  • Four Companies [names not mentioned] Continue to Dredge Sand at the Koh Kong Beach [sand dredging is supposed to have been forbidden, and it affects the fish yield ]
  • Another Car Assembly Company Will Be Established [in Cambodia; the Khmer First Car Company, owned by a Chinese national, will be established in Phnom Penh to assemble trucks – brand name not mentioned]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5219, 9.6.2010

  • The Senate and the National Assembly Appointed Members of the Anti-Corruption Council [Mr. Prak Sok, a former member of the Constitutional Council, is the representative of the Senate, and Mr. Tob Som is the representative of the National Assembly]
  • The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Employment in Charge of Foreign Commerce of France [Ms. Anne-Marie Idrac] Visits Cambodia [from 9 to 11 June 2010, to boost Cambodian-French cooperation]
  • 11.54 Cubic Meter of Ebony Wood Was Intercepted [the car driver run away from the truck – Prey Veng]

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Challenging Times – What Kind of Change to Come? – Sunday, 25.1.2009

Posted on 26 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

On 20 January 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America, change started to come. Never before had so many people around the world be able, through TV and the Internet, to participate form afar – never before was also so much interest expressed, in the new presidency of this country by a crowd of more than a million people in Washington, and many more around the globe.

To refer here to these events may be an occasion to remember the years of Administrative Reform and Judicial Reforms in Cambodia, and the efforts to see spokespersons authorized in the different sections of the Cambodian administration, so that the Cambodian public will not have to read, time and again, that one official refers an inquiry to the next, and the next does not have time to speak to a journalist. And the public, the people – “The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country” according to Article 51 of the Constitution – are not informed what is being done and why – even in such important situations that they trusted the commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces for many years, and now he is no more there, and the population – civilian and in uniform – does not know why they should withdraw the confidence they had held for many years.

During the long and difficult election campaign, there had been different slogans leading to the inauguration, becoming more and more specific: “Hope and change” – “Hope is not enough” – “Change you can believe in” – not only believe in, but real “Change we need.” And change started to happen. First of all there is an openness for communication, through the media, to the people. It was reported that the new president visited the White House media quarters and press office – places that the former president is said to have avoided – because there, people ask questions and expect clear answers.

When the new president signed some executive orders in front of TV cameras, before he signed them, he read parts of them and explaining what is meant, for the public to understand. And it was announced that e-mail alerts and Internet blogs would be used for “timely and in-depth content” about the administration’s policies:

“The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. We will publish all non-emergency legislation to the Web site for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.”

And in terms not only of changed style, but also of content, the president made some fundamental policy declarations in his inaugural address:

“Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

One cannot but remember that Prime Minister Hun Sen had made similar declarations in relation to the ongoing violence by the rich or on behalf of the powerful, when he had said already in 2002:

“We are conscious that corruption in the public machinery, be it judiciary or administrative or any other, increases transaction costs for everyone and reduces predictability in law enforcement and implementation of government’s policies… The government believes that enactment of adequate laws and regulations to prevent and punish corruption is crucial for addressing this problem. In this spirit, the Royal Government is committed to finalize the draft of the Anti-Corruption Law before the end of June 2003.”

In December 2005, the Prime Minister had warned that if illegal land seizures were not brought under control, they could lead to a farmers’ revolution.

And – interestingly enough – it was the Chinese People’s Daily Online which reported on 13 February 2007 the concerns of the Cambodian Prime Minister (we missed to see this reported in the local press):

“The land grabbers dare to get a lot of land illegally while we have always appealed again and again to stop. The land grabbers are not simple people, and they must be powerful people in the government. I asked the question, do they dare to conduct a coup d’etat in the future?” And he is quoted to have replied himself that they really dare to do so. “So before they conduct a coup d’etat, we need to take action against them.”

We do not have an explanation for what is happening now – in spite of these words.

When the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch had raise critical question about many countries, including Cambodia, the leader of the Cambodian government’s Human Rights Commission is quoted to have quickly dismissed their statement, elaborated with 20 detailed documents, as “defaming the country with lies. – I refuse all of the accusations, they are just trying to make up things.”

Human Rights Watch had also criticized then USA. The new president’s executive orders to bring change to the detainees at Guantánamo Bay and to the harsh interrogation methods, some of which the new attorney general – the US minister of justice – called torture, remove some of these accusations.

In the meantime, when people from 234 families, to be evicted from land, assured to them by a court order, were protesting, they where shot at – not by illegal private thugs hired by a company, but by members of a Military Police unit.

The Dey Krahom Community on 24.1.2009

The Dey Krahom Community on 24.1.2009


Yesterday, on Saturday, the protracted negotiations – with residents of the Dey Krahom area in Phnom Penh, who claimed that the compensation offered to them for being removed 20 km away, with no school for their children, and no possibility to continue to earn a living like now, where they used to live since many years, are different from the original promise for new arrangements in place – came to an end. They were replaced by destruction and forced eviction.
The police and the people

The police and the people.


Teargas was used, and electric batons – their existence in Cambodia had frequently been denied by the authorities.
Teargas

Teargas


Electric baton

Electric baton


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This action was taken in support of the 7NG Group, the parent company of 7NG construction. The pictures of their website shows big villas on wide green lawns – housing for the few very rich. There website has even a section Code of Conduct. But when one clicks on it, it responds: “We are sorry… – This webpage is under construction.” Is it an irony, or is it just the truth that it shows two big construction machines at work?

dk-kb-grader
According to public discussion, neither the transfer of this public land – originally “3.60 hectares of social land concession granted by the Royal Government of Cambodia to the seven Dey Krahom communities” – into private business use is procedurally and legally very transparent. Nor does the 7NG Group presented detailed plans for the commercial use of the land – except that it is for high class housing and maybe a shopping center – rumors in the absence of transparency. The Mirror has regularly reported information that the construction sector of the Cambodian economy is facing severe problems. The construction boom in Phnom Penh during the last years resulted in many high rise and high price buildings being constructed or being under construction, which now have to be scaled down or abandoned. But the 7NG company can go ahead?

Phnom Penh has not seen anything similar to what what President Obama could say to a new senator, who has dedicated herself to public, not high priced, housing:

“During her career, Kirsten Gillibrand has been a strong voice for transparency and reform in government and shares the belief that government should be open, accessible and work for all of our citizens. In Congress and as special counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she worked to strengthen public and private partnerships to invest in infrastructure and New York’s economy.”

Where are the 7NG plans to be located in view of the warning, quoted by the Chinese international media? Are they among the group about which Prime Minister Hun Sen has “always appealed again and again to stop” – or is the Cambodian government maintaining the position nationally, which President Obama has denounced as wrong internationally: “that power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please… Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

The experience of many people to be marginalized and to be pushed further out, for the benefit of powerful and rich interests, will not help to build a human, peaceful, an just society. This is not how the hearts and minds of people can be won.
dk-kb-distressed
People close by were watching: Will they be next?
dk-np-whonext
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[Pictures: courtesy of Karl Bille, LICADHO, Monika Nowaczyk, Nestle Poell G. Lagaya, Makenzi Travis]

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Wednesday, 15.10.2008: European Community Observers Said that There Were Deficiencies during the Fourth Term National Election Which Do Not Conform with International Standards

Posted on 16 October 2008. Filed under: Week 582 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 582

“On 14 October 2008, the European Community held a press conference at Le Royal Hotel to present the final observation report of the fourth term parliamentary elections on 27 July 2008, as well as to provide clear recommendations to guarantee that the election system in Cambodia will comply to international standards, following democratic policies.

“Mr. Martin Callanan, the head of the European Community election observers group, made in the press conference some important recommendations of the European Community regarding requirements to guarantee an independent and unbiased state of the election authorities and the media in Cambodia. He added also that the European Community presents recommendations to improve the legal system and framework controlling the elections, a well as voter registration and the education for voters.

“Mr. Martin Callanan, the head of European Community election observers group, presented some recommendations to reform the election process as follow:

“The Cambodian government must take action to guarantee that the National Election Committee is a body that is fully independent, in order to promote trust and acceptance among all political parties and voters.

“The legal system and the framework controlling the National Election Committee, especially the different pieces of legislations and procedures, should be made to be easier to understand, and they should be consolidated.

“The Form 1018 [to be provided as identification to some voters at polling stations] should be abolished before any election in the future.

“The Ministry of Interior should increase the distribution of election information cards and improve the monitoring process.

“Village chiefs should not be allowed to play a major role to distribute election information cards.

“The Cambodian government and the National Election Committee should start an open discussion to find choices to facilitate and to improve procedures for voter registration.

“An atmosphere of free and unbiased publication must be created of independent institutions to monitor publications. Institutions of the government, including the National Election Committee, and civil society organizations, should give priority to participate and to broadly educate the citizens with specific goal sets.

“Mr. Martin Callanan continued that the fourth term parliamentary elections were better and peaceful. However, the elections still had deficiencies and did not clearly follow international standards – which also resulted in a lack of trust from citizens and from election administrators.

“Mr. Martin Callanan spoke also about human resources and measures of the state, using mostly officials of the ruling party, especially, it was reported that information, donations, and money were distributed to voters. He added that the Cambodian government must take action to guarantee that the National Election Committee is an independent body, in order to provide trust to political parties that participate in the elections, and to the Khmer citizens.

“Mr. Martin Callanan went on to say that village chiefs should not be provided with a major role to distribute election information cards, and the government and the National Election Committee should organize discussion meetings, so that the elections are improved and become better acceptable.

“Different relevant institutions must set clear resting time, related to election activities and the campaign.

“Mr. Martin Callanan said that when there are complaints from political parties that participated in the elections, particularly related to the election results, there must be very just solutions. In the meantime, the National Election Committee must monitor the accounts of each political party and the money that each political party has.

“Regarding the murder of a journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer on 11 July 2008 before the fourth term parliamentarian elections, Mr. Martin Callanan encouraged the Cambodian government to investigate and arrest the murderers to be punished according to the law, in order to provide clear information about the murder of this journalist.

“As for the investigation to find the murderer who shot dead Mr. Khim Sambo, a Moneaksekar Khmer journalist and his son, Khat Sarinpheata, on 11 July 2008, when they came from their evening exercise at the Olympic Stadium, the [US] FBI and the Khmer authorities have finished drafting a wanted poster with a sketch of the faces of the murderers, using identification provided by witnesses who were at the site of the murder.

“Also, civil society organizations demand that the authorities speed up the investigation to arrest the murderers who killed Mr. Khim Sombo and his son, to be prosecuted according to the law, after the FBI helped to draft a sketch with the faces of the murderers. Civil society organizations said also that the murders of journalists have started since 1992, and the authorities have never arrested the murderers and those who are behind them, to be convicted according to the law; therefore, when they write and criticize anything related to powerful, rich, and corrupt people, journalist always face threats and murder.

“Observers of the fourth term national elections in Cambodia acknowledge that the assessments in the report of the European Community observers are in line with the real situation related to the irregularities during the elections. This means that the 27 July 2008 elections have not reached international standards, therefore it is necessary to reform the National Election Committee urgently, so that the next election will not suffer from irregularities.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3588, 15.10.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1768, 15.10.2008

  • [Former] Khmer Rouge Who Killed [an English] Deminer [and his Khmer translator at Anlong Veng] Were Sentenced to Serve 20 Years in Prison
  • A Royal Family Member [Prince Sisowath Chakreynupol, a personal assistant to Prince Thomico] Announced to Volunteer to Serve the Army to Protect the Country
  • A Court Decided to Unjustly Arrest and to Jail a Rape Victim [a man who raped her promised to marry her, but finally, his parents arranged to marry him to a daughter of a village chief, and the raped woman was accused of attempting to kill that man – Kompong Chhnang]


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #117, 15.10.2008

  • Siam [Thailand] Increases Troops and Deploys Tanks and Cannons along the Border
  • The Authorities Constructed a Sewage System with the Wrong Technology and Now Demands US$3,000 from the Citizens [to repair the system – Russey Keo, Phnom Penh]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6473, 15.10.2008

  • There Is No Fighting at the Intry Field; Cambodia Announced that All Siamese [Thai] Withdrew before 12:00 a.m. [of 14 October 2008, the ultimatum set by the Cambodian Prime Minister – but the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs declares: “What we can confirm is we haven’t done any withdrawal… We think we are doing our duty on our land… If Cambodia does resort to the use of force in accordance with its so-called ultimatum, Thailand will have to exercise its right of self-defense.”]
  • The International Buyers’ Forum Still Buys Garments from Cambodia Which Is a Good Information for the Textile Industry which Is Worth US$2.6 Billion [according to the International Finance Corporation and ILO]
  • [Kampot] Residents Are Afraid of Flying Pieces of Stone and Do Not Dare to Go to Their Cultivation Fields, because a Company is Blasting in a Quarry to Get Gravel [for sale]
  • The Leader of the Philippines [President Arroyo] Asks ASEAN to Discuss the Financial Crisis


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3588, 15.10.2008

  • European Community Observers Said that There Were Deficiencies during the Fourth Term National Election Which Do Not Conform with International Standards
  • Promise to Conduct Judicial Reform While this Field Is Notorious for Corruption Is Just a Promise Made to Get Aid [the promise was made by Minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An during a meeting with the donor community]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4716, 15.10.2008

  • Samdech Hun Sen: “Chinese Economic Growth Does Not Threaten Asia” [but it is an opportunity for countries next to China and for ASEAN countries to benefit from investment, commerce, and other sectors from China, since it is an Asian country with the biggest reserve capital]
  • Drugs Spread to Everywhere in the Country [according to Mr. Lour Ramin, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs. 35.1% of drug users in Phnom Penh contracted AIDS in 2007]


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3425, 15.10.2008

  • A Decision on the Bail Request of Ieng Sary [a former Khmer Rouge leader] Will Be Announced on 17 October 2008

Click here to have a look at the last editorial: We all need peace, not war.

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Friday, 13.6.2008: 1,344 Primary Schools Will Receive Breakfast Again

Posted on 13 June 2008. Filed under: Week 564 | Tags: , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 564

“Phnom Penh: The World Food Program [WFP] announced that, with important special funds received, it can begin again the program to provide breakfast to children at primary schools. Funds which have just been received enable the WFP to distribute food to different schools in Cambodia soon, in order to provide food to children for the period of three weeks before these schools go into vocations. The provision of US$5.4 million at the last minute was made at a time when WFP was almost forced to stop its breakfast program in Cambodia, because food prices are more and more expensive, and at that time it faced a shortage of funds. The contribution is part the funds of WFP to help to keep these programs running in each country, and to continue to provide food aid, although prices of food are more expensive than before.

“Mr. Thomas Keusters, the WFP country director in Cambodia, said, ‘WFP is delighted to hear the news of new funds. Now, food can be distributed to 1,344 primary schools; so that the breakfast program for primary schools will restart, and it will continue until 5 July.’ Mr. Thomas added, ‘However, the future fate of the meal program will very much depend if we will receive donations in the coming weeks and months.’ WFP announced in March that its program could not continue to help the government and other partners to improve the attendance of primary school students at their classes. The shortage of funds and the rising cost of food made it impossible to buy the needed food. Rice supplying companies did default on their contracts with WFP, citing that prices of imported rice were higher than before.

“The Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, Mr. Im Sethy said, ‘The achievement of the Millennium Development Goals for primary education is one priority of other priorities of the Cambodian government. We would like to thank the international community for this support.’” Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6370, 13.6.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 13 June 2008

Areyathor, Vol., #1334, 13-14.6.2008

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay Asks for Explanation from [Minister of Information] Mr. Khieu Kanharith about the Closure of Radio FM 105.25 MHz>/em> [in Kratie]


Chakraval, Vol.16, #2785, 13.6.2008

  • [Phnom Penh] Municipal Court: During the Period of Six Months [of 2008], There Were More than 700 Lawsuits for Divorce [only 7% of all lawsuits were filed by men]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1666, 7.6.2008

  • Civil Society Ask the Eleven Parties Not to Use Alcohol for Propaganda to Attract Voters
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Law and Judicial Reforms with the German Technical Cooperation [GTZ] Was Signed [on 11 June 2008, agreeing on three priority strategies for law and judicial reforms – 1. Support for an the Ombudsman system for Cambodia to be included; 2. Support for surveys at the local level about the knowledge of laws and about the capacity of some Ministries to draft laws; and 3. Support for the printings of law collections and of legal standard documents]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #176, 13.6.2008

  • National Election Committee [NEC] Is Creating Suspicion Among All Political Parties about Ballot Fraud [because the NEC made the final decision to print the ballots without political parties attending]


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6370, 13.6.2008

  • 1,344 Primary Schools Will Receive Breakfast Again
  • Actions against the Illegal Logging in Phnom Kuleaen National Park Has Been Called for [in Siem Reap]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4614, 13.6.2008

  • French Company [Ream Resort with Alain Dupuis as president] Invests US$250 Million in the Construction of a Resort in Ream [near Sihanoukville]
  • Banks in Cambodia Are Making Loan Interests to Decline
  • Officials of Seventeen Non Government Organizations Joined the Workshop on a New Tuberculosis Project [for research on and treatment of tuberculosis]
  • A Woman Was Robbed of US$27,000 [which she had just withdrawn from a bank] in a Pharmacy in the Center of Phnom Penh


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3332, 13.6.2008

  • Well-Known International Organizations [Human Rights Watch’s Asia and Amnesty International] Condemn the Arrest of [the editor-in-chief of Moneaksekar Khmer] Mr. Dam Sith


Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #679, 13.6.2008

  • Son Chhay Complains Why New Commune Councilors Are Reshuffled so Late [to replace those who left the Sam Rainsy Party to Join the Cambodian People’s Party]
  • US Naval Criminal Investigative Service Holds Workshop about Forensic Assessments for Cambodian Law Enforcement Officials [from 9 to 14 of June]
  • Russia Seized Two Fishing Ships Flying the Khmer Flag [but all fishers are not Cambodian nationals, they are Russians, Indonesians, and Koreans – 12 June 2008]

Have a look at last week’s editorial: Realizing that energy problems are not simply oil problems – so what shall we do?

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