The United Nations and the Government Will Break the Stalemate about Corruption at the Tribunal – Wednesday, 25.2.2009

Posted on 26 February 2009. Filed under: Week 601 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 601

“Announcing to overcome a stalemate, after there had been discussions about how to prevent corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, officials of the United Nations and of Cambodia announced, on Monday [23 February 2009], a complicated program to solve complaints about irregularities which will provide equal responsibility for the international and for the Cambodian sides at this tribunal.

“Speaking to journalists at the Council of Ministers on Monday evening, the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sok An, and the Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs of the United Nations, Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen, believe that this new system will motivate donors to continue to provide funds to the Cambodian side of this tribunal, which will face a new financial crisis in a few months. Mr. Sok An told reporters, ‘I think that mutual understanding is the best basis for the administration of this tribunal to move ahead, and also the court will move ahead.’ He added that mutual understanding is important for a successful work of this joint process… Working together in this joint process will clear up all problems. Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen told reporters that he believed that this agreement will, finally, bring the discussion about corruption allegations over kickbacks to an end, which had emerged from the tribunal since it was about to begin, and which has caused some donors to halt funds. Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen continued to say that it is an important step in our joint efforts to deal with corruption problems, adding, ‘I think that the agreement that we have will be accepted positively by donor countries.’

“However, the new anti-corruption program suggested seems to be less than what UN officials sought during an unsuccessful discussion with the government in January. Early this month, Cambodian administrators said that during a private discussion in January, the UN officials suggested the creation of a large anti-corruption program for both sides at this tribunal, and for international independent code-of-conduct observers, to be placed into the existing Code-of-Conduct Committee and into the Extraordinary Chambers at this tribunal. Anyway, the program announced in the joint statement on Monday will include anti-corruption measures that cannot affect procedures that have already become valid at the Cambodian side in this tribunal, and it relates to the UN side, which had created its related mechanism, where there is only one person to receive complaints. After that, complaints from the Cambodian side or from the international side at this tribunal will be sent to a committee with an equal number of members of Cambodian and UN officials, which require to be composed of several members, or at least some agreement between both sides is necessary to take any action.

“The joint statement released on Monday did not clearly show how this new system can prevent similar events like during the previous years, when a number of Cambodian officials disagreed with the arrangements in the administration of this tribunal and informed UN officials about kickback corruption, which was then rechecked in New York by the Office of Internal Oversight Services. The findings of this inspection conducted by the United Nations were not made public, but it had been reported that there was a request to investigate corruption related to the payment of kickbacks to get employment at the tribunal.

“An observer of the Open Justice Initiative, Ms. Heather Ryan, said on Monday that her organization was disappointed with the results of Monday, adding that the Open Justice Initiative believes that the agreement mentioned does not talk about corruption allegations, and it is a step back in that whole effort. She went on to say, ‘We are concerned that the United Nations might make a very low level definition because of obstacles raised by Cambodia for the future joint efforts of an independent court.’

“The legal assistant of the defense lawyers of former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea, Mr. Andrew Ianuzzi, who has asked Cambodian court authorities to investigation allegations about kickbacks received at this tribunal, said that he met with Mr. Peter Taksøe-Jensen, but they rejected to comment about what they discussed.

“According to the statement of Monday, the United Nations and the government both have to release letters in the coming weeks to legalize the agreement, even though details are still being negotiated.” Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1415, 25.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #25, 25.2.2009

  • Mr. Hun Sen Warns He Might Dismiss [eight] District Governors and Revoke the License of Cambosix [a betting company, if they are found colluding to allow Khmer people to gamble]
  • Hun Sen: Global Witness Has No Authority to Ask Him Anything – He Is Not a Prisoner

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1882, 25.2.2009

  • To Revoke Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [regarding a violation of election campaigning rules, and charged by the National Election Committee] Is Not Difficult [said Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • Demonstrations Happens Again in Siam [Thailand – between 8,000 and 10,000 anti-government demonstrators support ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra]
  • Tamil Tiger Rebels Announces They Are Prepared to Accept a Ceasefire if It Can Be Coordinated by the International Community [Sri Lanka]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol.7, #349, 25.2.2009

  • Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Reacts Saying that the Global Witness Is a Global Cheating [without responding to any details or refuting the published specific allegations]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6587, 25.2.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announces a Hearing of “Duch” to Be Held on 20 March 2009
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Held a Hearing of [the former minister of Social Affairs] Ieng Thirith while [former deputy prime minister of the Khmer Rouge regime] Ieng Sary Was Referred to Hospital
  • [Around 10,000] Red-Shirt Demonstrators Surround the Government House [in Thailand]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3696, 25.2.2009

  • Development Projects in Cambodia Affect the Interests of Thousands of Khmer Families During the Last Three Years

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.16, #1415, 25.2.2009

  • The United Nations and the Government Will Break the Stalemate about Corruption at the Tribunal
  • The Number of Advisors of the President of the National Assembly [Mr. Heng Samrin] Is More Than 100 in Total [after 28 new advisors were appointed]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4830, 25.2.2009

  • The Permanent Committee of the National Assembly Will Summon a Meeting Regarding the Request to Revoke the Immunity of Mr. Sam Rainsy [on 26 February 2009]
  • Samdech Dekchor Calls on Workers Not to Strike Disorderly [not to strike for not important reasons] Which May Lead to Unemployment
  • The Cambodian National Council for Women Shows that There Were Many Cases of Human Trafficking [in 2008], but There Was Little Punishment
  • The Ministry of Defense Creates a Department of Politics and Foreign Affairs

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3489, 25.2.2009

  • 10,000 Soldiers [deployed doing non-military duties] Are Summoned Back to Barracks [by order from the Prime Minister to the commander-in-chief, Mr. Pol Saroeun, removing them from areas of land disputes where they were involved to protect certain economic interests]

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Chevron Suspends Undersea Oil Exploration in the Khmer Sea – Friday, 20.2.2009

Posted on 20 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“Too much corruption and bureaucracy at the National Petroleum Authority and at the Council of Ministers of the Hun Sen government motivates the big US petroleum company Chevron to suspend exploring natural oil and gas in Block A, offshore at the sea, 150 km from the Sihanoukville Port.

Note:

In the Yellow Pages directory for Phnom Penh, the Business Listings section has only the name, address, phone numbers, and an e-mail address of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority – but no Web address, as it is usual for the entries of enterprises and institutions, and the section “Profile” of the company does not provide any information: it is empty.

See also the Mirror of 4.12.2008:

US Oil Company Pays US$120 Million to Buy Oil Exploration License for Explorations at the Bottom of the Khmer Sea

“An official of Chevron said that the company has finished exploring oil and gas at the concession region in Block A, but cannot continue to start producing oil at this time, because there is much demand for under-the-table kickbacks, and another point is that the price of oil now dropped down dramatically. Therefore oil business activities in Cambodia will probably start again only in 2012.

“Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance [and Permanent Vice Chairperson of the Supreme National Economic Council] Hang Chuon Narong said during a forum on Cambodia’s Future Economic Development, on Wednesday 18 February 2009, that at present, Chevron is playing a game of waiting in Cambodia after they saw that the price of oil was drooping during the last six months. Hang Chuon Narong added, ‘The accusation that there is too much corruption and bureaucracy in Cambodia is not true, and this accusation is just a pretext of Chevron to delay the production of oil from the bottom of the Cambodian sea.’

“Hang Chuon Narong continued to say, ‘At this step, Chevron already finished exploring for oil in Block A. If Chevron would continue their development now, the first oil productions would start in 2012.’ He said also that the scenario that he predicted is expected to produce income of US$200 million in the same year 2012. Hang Chuon Narong predicted that Chevron will wait longer before beginning to produce oil from the gulf in Block A, because oil prices are declining in a serious crisis both in Cambodia and in the world.

“However, an official of Chevron, who asked not to be named, said that the falling oil prices in Cambodia and in the world are not the cause for suspending the process of oil exploitation in the Cambodian offshore sea. The obstacle is that the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority and the Council of Ministers require Chevron to negotiate new documents for oil production, for oil discovered in Block A, since the previous documents were only for exploration, not production. Now, exploration is finished. Therefore, there have to be new documents for oil exploitation for production, which require to spend a lot of under-the-table kickbacks. Moreover, also because of the declining oil prices, it makes the Chevron Company reluctant to continue oil exploitation, and it might suspend its operations until 2012, to reconsider. If the Chevron Company suspends the process until 2012, Cambodia will lose the US$200 million income from oil exploitation between 2009 and 2012.’

“As for Hang Chuon Narong, he said that Chevron will continue to produce oil in 2014 or 2015, depending on oil prices – everything depends on prices of oil only [by implication denying that there is corruption and bureaucracy as additiional factors].

“The assessment by Hang Chuon Narong over activities of the Chevron Company in Block A indicates another breakdown of hope of the Chevron Company to develop Block A in the future. On 5 February 2009, the spokesperson of the Pacific Regional Office, Mr. Gareth Johnston, announced that Chevron is trying to find a solution to develop the complicated issues in Block A.

“He emphasized, ‘We are in a process to evaluate many development decisions for resources in Block A to get profits from this difficult task. Mr. Gareth Johnston did not comment on oil prices in the world, and how it impacts on the suffering of the company for the development of Block A. One barrel of oil was only US$34.92 on 18 February 2009, which shows how much the price dropped from the highest at US$145 in July 2008.

“Mr. Gareth Johnston added that at present, Chevron is not in any discussions about the setting of a date to exploit oil in Cambodia, unless a real assessment is finished.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #36920.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 20 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #22, 20-22.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Told the US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] about Politics Violating Human Rights, the Economic Crisis, and Corruption

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #120, 20.2.2009

  • Siam [Thailand] Sends a Delegation to Apologize for Artillery Shells Landing on Khmer Territory

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1878, 20.2.2009

  • [12-year-old] Brother Was Killed and [11-year-old] Sister Was Raped and Murdered Cruelly [a 19 year-old boy was arrested – Kompong Cham]
  • Khmer Workers at Houses in Foreign Countries Are Valued as “House Helpers” [not as “house servants” – according to the Department of Labor of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training]
  • The US Embassy Donates 36 [M35A2] Trucks to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces for the Second Time

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #348, 20.2.2009

  • [The Deputy President of the Human Rights Party and former prime minister] Pen Sovann Said that the Persons Who Have the Most Land in Cambodia Are [the Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An and [the commander-in-chief] Pol Saroeun

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6583, 20.2.2009

  • The Head of the Government Encourages All Officials to Become Public Servants Who Serve the Citizens
  • Construction Site Is Started on the Bokor Mountain Summit, and Two National Parks [the Monivong Bokor and the Preah Suramarit-Kossamak National Parks] Are Delivered to the Sokha Hotel and the Sokimex Company [of Oknha Sok Kong – Kampot]
  • Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Welcomes the First Hearing of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #36920.2009

  • Chevron Suspends Undersea Oil Exploration in the Khmer Sea
  • [Duch’s Defense Lawyer] Ka Savuth Claimed that There Are Murderers [who were chiefs of different prisons during the Khmer Rouge regime] Who Killed More People Than Duch Did, but They Are Not Called to Court

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4826, 20.2.2009

  • Duch’s Lawyers Are Criticized to Have Looked Down on Victims [they are criticized by the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, Mr. Chhang Youk, regarding their opposition to include videos provided by Vietnam as new evidence, and regarding the use of the word “Vea” [something like “it” instead of “he” in a derogatory way, used by Duch’s defense lawyers Ka Savuth, to refer to Mr. Noung Chanpal – one of the children identified in the videos provided – in Khmer, it is not used to refer to adults, and it is not used except when older people call younger people like children, then it is consider to be rude]
  • Siamese [Thai] Police Arrested 40 [illegally immigrated] Khmer Construction Workers in Chon Buri
  • The Sasakawa Peace Foundation [笹川平和財団] of Japan Presents a New Goal, Focusing on Developing Human Resources in Cambodia – [The Foundation carries also an Interview with Mr. Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of the NGO Forum for Cambodia]
  • [A Khmer historian] Michael Trane: “Dinosaurs” at Angkor Were Sculptured through Imagination

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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

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Opinion Research Shows Result That the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Is Corrupt – Monday, 19.1.2009

Posted on 20 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“As Khmer judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal threaten, in January 2009, to sue co-defense lawyers of Nuon Chea, the former head of the People’s Assembly of the Democratic Kampuchea regime [the Khmer Rouge], they are destroying justice at the mixed court.

“In a statement released on 9 January 2009, the 15 Khmer judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia threatened to sue three foreign defense lawyers, defending ‘Brother Number 2,’ Nuon Chea, by taking legal action. Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers lodged a criminal complaint at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to investigate corruption allegations at this tribunal, which had been reported for a long time. Because the allegations says that Khmer judges and other officials paid kickbacks to high-ranking Khmer officials to get employed at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, earning thousands of dollars salaries every month.

“The complaint by Nuon Chea’s lawyers was lodged at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, to investigate Mister Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers, who is in charge of Khmer Rouge Tribunal affairs, Mister Sean Visoth, the director of the Office of Administration of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and Mister Keo Thyvuth, the former chief of the personnel section of the tribunal.

“The defense lawyers of Nuon Chea had not mentioned the names of Khmer judges in their complaint, nor in their statement for the journalists, who had gathered at the Municipal Court last week to report about the process of that complaint. However, the judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal seem to know by themselves that Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers’ complaint will really lead the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to investigate them, because Khmer judges may have also agreed to let high-ranking Khmer officials to cut part of their salaries as kickback in exchange for the agreement to let them work as judges in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“The deputy prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court started to summon some Khmer officials from the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for questionings about corruption, in order to find evidence and witnesses of corruption related crimes, because the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was created in an attempt to seek justice for around 1.7 million Khmer victims who died during the Black Pajamas regime, lasting 3 years, 8 months, and 20 days. But now, this tribunal committed corruption and is making international groups to loose trust in it.

“Besides the role to seek justice for victims under the Pol Pot brutal genocidal regime, it is hoped that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will play a model role for the court system in Cambodia to perform just and independent hearings and judgments, and to eliminate corruption and impunity (a state of no punishment for the powerful and the rich who commit different crimes, but who are not brought to be prosecuted). But such hope almost dissolved when allegations about a corruption scandal at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal emerged recently in public.

“The acting director of the lawyers section of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Richard Rogers, said that the reaction by the Khmer judges against the complaint of Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers can be perceived as if this mixed tribunal were reluctant to deal with the allegations of corruption by kickbacks, and this can frighten witnesses of Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers.

“Mr. Richard Rogers added, ‘Now the public sees that the judges of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, that is expected to be a neutral defender of justice, is threatening to take legal action against Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers. The judges should have thought thoroughly before making such a threat, as it seems that they are afraid that Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers’ complaint is also a complaint against themselves.’

“According to a new research by the Human Rights Center at the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Richard Rogers said that a survey conducted in Cambodia among 1,000 young people shows that 23% of them considered the present Khmer Rouge Tribunal to be corrupt, and one third of them think that the judges of the Khmer Rouge tribunal are not just.

Note:

So We Will Never Forget – Results of a Cambodian survey on attitudes about social reconstruction and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. – Presentation in English with translation to Khmer, Friday, 23 January 2009, auditorium, Paññasastra University, Phnom Penh, at 14:00.

“Mr. Richard Rogers went on to say that this research again supports the perception of many people that the corruption allegations at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have to be settled with transparency, if the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is to maintain justice under the eyes of the Khmer general public. Mr. Richard Rogers added, ‘Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers must know well the extent of this corruption, if corruption really occurred, in order to decide whether that corruption affects the rights for just hearings of their defendants or not’

“The Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s co-investing judge You Bunleng said that Nuon Chea’s defense lawyers’ complaint affects the reputation of the judges and of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as a whole. Mr. You Bunleng continued to say that Nuon Chea’s lawyers linked those judges in their statement given to the press. Nuon Chea’s lawyers should make efforts to work hard to find evidence to defend their case, otherwise they will be sued for defamation by the Khmer judges.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3669, 19.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 19 January 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #6, 19.1.2009

  • Civil Society Organizations [Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, Cambodian Defenders Project, and Cambodian National Research Organization] and [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarian Condemn the Heng Development Company for Using Armed Forces to Shoot at Citizens
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Asks the Government to Prepare a Special Budget of US$500 Million to Face the Challenge of the Economic Crisis

Deum Tnot, Vol.2, #329, 19.1.2009

  • The President and Members of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia Inform [the Phnom Penh municipality] about a Flower March to Honor the Soul of Mr. Chea Vichea on the Fifth Anniversary of His Death [the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia was murdered on 22 January 2004]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1850, 18-19.1.2009

  • Every Year, 1,800 Cambodian Women Die During Childbirth [according to the Chargé d’Affaires of the European Commission in Cambodia, Mr. Rafael Dochao Moreno]
  • During Recent Years, Cambodia Achieved Macroeconomic Stability [according Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon, the average income of a Cambodian citizen per year increased from US$247 in 1994 to US$625 in 2008]
  • An Australian Man Was Found Lying Dead in a [Phnom Penh] Guesthouse on the Day He Was to Leave to Sihanoukville
  • A Girl Had Lied that She Escaped from the House Where She Worked for a Wage in Fact Had Escaped from Her Own House [after quarreling with her older brother; her mother came to take her back from police, and she apologized for her daughter’s lies – Phnom Penh]
  • Israel Prepares to Declare a Ceasefire Unilaterally for Three Weeks in Gaza

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #329, 18-20.1.2009

  • [The president of the Cambodian Action Committee for Justice & Equity] Suon Serey Ratha Asks [the Minister of Interior] Mr. Sar Kheng to Release more Information about Murder Cases [of politicians, artists, trader union leaders, journalists, and monks] and about Arrest Murderers Made, Leading to Prosecution

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #186, 18-19.1.2009

  • The Government Should Take Action against the Heng Development Company That Used Armed Forces to Shoot at Citizens [injuring three people in Kandal]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6555, 19.1.2009

  • The [Khmer Rouge] Tribunal Recognizes only 42 of the Approximately 2,000 Civil Party Plaintiffs [no reasons given]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3669, 19.1.2009

  • Opinion Research Shows Result That the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Is Corrupt

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4798, 1819.1.2009

  • The Kandal Provincial Governor Claims the Control over the [contested] Land by the Heng Development Company Is Legal [Mr. Chun Sirun said that the company has many legal documents for the land, based on the verdict number 40V, dated 2 October 2006, and on the verdict number 12V, dated 26 February 2007, released by Kandal court, and the police said that protesters hit them and broke the windows of two machineries of the company]
  • The Government Issued an Order that Civil Servants Have to Retire whn Reaching the Age Limit [of 55 – an extension is not allowed]
  • A Man Who Raped His [16-year-old] Daughter Almost 40 Times Is Arrested [Sihanoukville]

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Perception and Reality – Again – Sunday, 18.1.2009

Posted on 19 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 595 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 595

In the Mirror, we have taken up the public importance of perceptions several times over the years.

Actually, we had raised this question at the beginning of the publication of The Mirror on the Internet in January 2007, with reference to Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia under the tile “Perception and Reality.” At his inauguration, he had pointed to the important role of perceptions held by the public – which may or may not conform to reality, but are nevertheless extremely important for the political situation of a country.

And Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar, as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, took up the concern for the role of perceptions, saying that “negative developments do not contribute to creating a climate of confidence in the world, which is vitally necessary for all of us, regardless of different faiths and beliefs, to live in peace and harmony.”

Not only the reality is important – but how it is understood and interpreted what is heard and seen – this too is extremely important. Some good things may be misunderstood as if they were bad. But if many things heard and seen result in negative perceptions, it can have deeply devastating consequences for a seemingly well functioning society.

This week, we list up some reports – really not knowing how the public can help to clarify what is confused, to avoid moving further down into the dark.

The international Human Rights Organization Human Rights Watch had, in its 2009 report covering the situation of many countries, also criticized Cambodia.

Human Rights Watch does not report only about notoriously criticized countries like Myanmar, but it deals also with the human rights situation – to name some more countries – in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and in the United States of America. Many of these countries take problems raised very seriously.

The brief Cambodia section of the Events of 2008 is followed by about 20 additional, detailed background documents

The content of all this is – unfortunately – not new: criticism of the criminal justice system, cases of intimidation, violence, imprisonments. Endemic impunity, rampant corruption, and illegal plundering of natural resources. And: Cambodia is due to be reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Commission in December 2009.

Most cases had been reported in the Khmer press during the year, quite a number also we had mirrored.

The official Cambodian reaction was reported in the Cambodia Daily as follows:

“Om Yentieng, head of the government’s human rights committee, dismissed the report’s findings, saying Human Rights Watch was defaming the country with lies and, in the process, making themselves foolish.

‘I refuse all of the accusations,’ he said, ‘they are just trying to make up things, or they just want to spoil heir name. They are playing the role as a puppet in order to gain an advantage for themselves.’”

(Cambodia Daily, 16 January 2009)

As an illustration of the gap between this perception and the reality we point to some reports mirrored during the past week – small and big events:

  • When people need public certifications or documentation, there are often no publicly displayed fees, saying transparently what is to be paid – “The price of a certificate, to get employment, to register the place of residence, or to get married is US$5.00, but the price goes up with its urgency – US$5.00 for one month – US$45.00 for 15 days, US$100.00 for one week, and US$150.00 for one day.” Similar arrangements may be in place in other countries too. But the report claims what is said to be general knowledge: “…these extra charges do not go to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.”
  • When a family had lost their new born son in a hospital formerly supported by Japan, the following financial dealings were reported. They had been going on for some time, but nobody had dared to speak up. – “There are notices written on the walls of the Japanese hospital with big Khmer letters on blue background, saying please do not pay anything to the staff, but only to the cashiers. Patients who are not able to pay for the services are invited to contact a monitoring group, and if someone asks for money in addition to the prescribed fees, they should be reported to the monitoring group. The service charges are approx. US$3.50 for a woman delivering her first baby; the normal room charge is approx. US$2.50 per night. – However, everything is different from the above prohibition notice. Each patient pays extra money in addition to the services, such as approx. US$10.00 to US$30.00 for doctors, approx. USUS$2.50 to each medical staff who injects three syringes three times per day etc. A woman said that, when the head of her baby appeared half way, first the doctors asked her how much money she would offer them. That woman offered them approx. US$12.00, but the doctors demanded more. Because she begged that that was all the money she had, they agreed. This is an incredible story, but that was what that woman said herself. Another woman staying in the next bed offered the doctors US$5.00, but only when they arrived at the sum of US$30.00 they agreed.”
  • When defense lawyers at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal were unable to get information about alleged kickbacks of Khmer staff – to higher level persons, for having received their positions – which would have satisfied them that there will be no unfairness in the trials, they finally filed a request for clarification of these corruption allegation at the Phnom Penh court. Now they feel intimidated by judges who prepare to sue them for defamation – instead of being grateful that the allegations could be refuted by a court forever.
  • When a delegation from the Senate and from human rights groups tried to inspect and to check forest sites allegedly cleared for planting rubber trees in Ratanakiri, the DM Group, the company under suspicion, prevented them from fulfilling their task.
  • When a Danish Woman had bought several thousand over-the-counter painkiller tablets with codeine, that can be easily and legally bought at many pharmacies all over Phnom Penh, and she tried to mail them at the Post Office – they are cheap here, and she hoped to sell them abroad to make some small extra money to support her son – she was arrested. Now she was convicted to serve 15 years in prison and fined approx. US$7,500 for drug trafficking. None of the press report said anything about any involvement with illegal substances.
  • When 234 families felt threatened as owners of their land by the Heng Development Company, they were satisfied that the Kandal provincial court had confirmed their land rights on 26 February 2007. But now the company deployed machinery and started to clear their land. When the legal owners protested, the company told them that the Kandal court had made a wrong judgment. The Military Police in Kandal Stung, led by their commander – a nephew of the director of the Heng Development Company – deployed 20 to 30 armed military police who opened fire with their AK-47 rifles – at least three men were seriously injured.
  • When it was reported that the US company PHI Mining had bought the Indochina Mining Corporation, now a subsidiary of PHI Mining, and that it now cooperates with the Cambodian company Angkor Metal Corporation, it was not big news. But maybe it had been big news before, and we had missed to see it – or it should have been big news. As we have mirrored yesterday, his cooperation relates to Cambodian natural resources , where the initial valuation of this copper ore area is estimated at USUS$1 billion. And we also mirrored yesterday that the Angkor Metal Corporation does not disclose much about itself in the way other companies do, though the US partner company writes that the “Founders of Angkor Metal Corporation include a son and a son-in-law of Mr. Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, thus ensuring political support to acquire and extend mining license.”
  • The Constitution of Cambodia says:

    The National Assembly shall approve the national budget, State planning, loans, financial contracts, and the creation, modification and annulment of tax. (Article 90)

    We do not have information about any public bidding for the financial contract for national mineral resources, which the Angkor Metal Corporation finally got, neither do we have information on the status of the National Assembly approval procedures for the project and loan agreements – in the range of US$500 million – which are, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, already signed by Cambodia and by Kuwait.

    As stated initially, in public politics the perception of what is going on is often more important for the public democratic process than the reality – so we raised all the issues above – all based on information which was either in Cambodian newspapers, or which is available publicly on the Internet. Prime Minister Badawi had accepted, therefore, the need for self-criticism in searching for the reasons for such perceptions. But at the same time he considered it necessary to engage in identifying what he saw as “wanton violations of human dignity, natural justice, human rights and international law.”

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    Foreign Co-Defense Lawyers of Nuon Chea File a Complaint about Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – Friday, 9.1.2009

    Posted on 10 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

    “Phnom Penh: A foreign co-defense lawyer of [former Khmer Rough leader] Nuon Chea demanded the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to open an investigation regarding corruption allegations at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. This demand was made through a complaint to the Royal Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday on 8 January 2009. The Royal Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Count has not yet accepted this criminal complaint [on 8 January – Note: But on 9 January he did]

    “Representing a group of three foreign co-defense lawyers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Michiel Pestman presented this complaint to the Royal Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. The plaintiffs declared to be victims of a violation of the criminal law of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia [UNTAC] of 1992, the plaintiffs especially raised the allegation of corruption in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, which can lead to destroy the basic right to receive just hearings.

    “Through the complaint, the three foreign co-lawyers, Mr. Michiel Pestman, Mr. Victor Koppe, and Mr. Andrew Lanuzzi, as plaintiffs, base their complaint on a statement of the Open Society Justice Initiative [OSJI] of February 2007, a report by UNDP, and some local press articles. These documents alleged that the general staff as well as some judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal paid a portion of their salaries to higher officials of the Cambodian government, in response to having received their positions at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

    “The foreign co-defense lawyers mentioned also the history of facts related to previous corruption allegations related to the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

    “The foreign co-defense lawyers of Mr. Nuon Chea asked the Royal Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to open an investigation about corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

    “They said they make this demand, because their efforts to receive information from the Cambodian side and from Deputy Prime Minister Sok An regarding the accusations about corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal had not been successful, because no information was provided. That is why the foreign co-defense lawyers concluded that the people mentioned above and others acting similarly might violate the UNTAC criminal law of 1992, or other similar rules of prosecution by directly coordinating to help each other and to encourage corruption relating to the assignments at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal during the continuing investigation.

    “Coming once in the morning and once again in the afternoon to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, on 8 January 2009, Mr. Michiel Pestman told reporters that the clerks did not accept his complaint, even though he had tried to deliver documents of complaint to the Royal Prosecutor’s clerks, and he had indicated that foreign lawyers would come again to meet them at 3:00 p.m. on 8 January 2009. But the clerks still did not accept the complaint and required them to come to the court again on Friday, 9 January 2009.

    “Mr. Pestman added that the clerks had said that the complaint lodged by the foreign co-defense lawyers was a special one so they need to first talk to their superiors.

    “Mr. Pestman went on to say that the corruption allegation, related to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, is a serious problem, and it can negatively impact on rights of the accused so that they not receive just hearings; it is a major concern of everyone involved in the process of these procedures.

    “He went on to question with great concern how the Khmer Rouge Tribunal could provide justice to his defendants without clarification? Paying a portion of the salaries of officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to high ranking officials of the government makes these officials of the court unable to work independently.

    “Mr. Pestman clearly indicated that staff of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal did cut a portion of their salaries as a kick-back to high ranking officials of the government, depending on reports published by the United Nations, but he did not know who those Khmer staff were, and to whom they had paid their money.

    “Nevertheless, the spokesperson of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Reach Sambath, did not make any comment on the complaint of the foreign co-lawyers, filed at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Mr. Reach Sambath considers the corruption case at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to be a past problem, for which no facts had been found to support it. But he emphasized that the Cambodian side in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is highly committed to fight inequities. The court created a mechanism with a code-of-ethics councils and with mail boxes for staff to lodge complaints regarding corruption.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4790, 9.1.2009

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Friday, 9 January 2009

    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1842, 9.1.2009

    • Samdech Hun Sen Told Thailand to Re-Consider the Timing and place of the ASIAN Summit [now planned for 27 February to 1 March 2009, in Chiang Mai]
    • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia Reacts against the Thai Authorities for Not Allowing Cambodian Tourists to Enter Thailand [from a tourist cruise ship on 25 December 2008 – although they held Thai visa – saying that they did so, because they were concerned about security problems]
    • Owner of a Shoe Factory Leaves More Than 100 Workers on the Day when the Salaries Were Due [the owner of the factory, a colonel, ordered his bodyguards to intimidate the workers not to protest, while workers, mostly underage girls, shouted that they have no money to buy rice and to pay to travel back to their home villages and towns]
    • Rate of Patients and People Who Died from Malaria Declined in 2008 [the number of patients was 46,931, and the number of deaths was 155, while in 2007 there were 59,848 patients and 219 deaths]
    • The Thai Central Bank: The Occupation of the Airports [in 2008] Caused Siam [Thailand] to Loose US$8.3 Billion

    Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #320, 9-10.1.2009

    • Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Kasit Piromya Will Meet Samdech Hun Sen on 25 and 26 January 2009 to Solve Border Disputes [according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kong]
    • Terrorist Leaders Who Planted Explosive Devices [in Phnom Penh] Are Arrested [in Poipet, police said that the suspects were involved also in the setting of explosive devices at the Cambodian-Vietnamese Monument on 29 July 2007 in Phnom Penh]

    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #322, 9.1.2009

    • If People Reaching Retiring Age Still Collude to Delay Retirement, Why not Scrap Every Retirement Law All Together???

    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #178, 8.1.2009

    • The Announcement of a Hearing of a Danish Woman and Her Son Accused of Dealing with Drugs Is Delayed [to 15 January 2009]

    Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6547, 9.1.2009

    • Car Loaded with Corn Hit Anti-Tank Mine, Killing Three and Injuring Six Lightly and Severely on National Road 57 [Ratanak Mondol, Battambang]
    • Explosion Echoed behind the Office of the Prime Minister [Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, of Thailand – no one was injured]

    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3661, 9.1.2009

    • [International co-prosecutor of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Robert Petit Has Not Given Up the Demand to Investigate Six New Suspects [although the Khmer co-prosecutor of the tribunal, Ms. Chea Leang, released a statement opposing his demand]; Hearing of [the former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] Duch Will Start in March

    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4790, 9.1.2009

    • Foreign Co-Defense Lawyers of Nuon Chea File a Complaint about Corruption at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal
    • Customs Income in 2008 Was More Than US$290 Million, Which Was 30% Over the Expectation [it declined by 7.5% compared to 2007 – according the Customs Department director, Mr. Pen Siman]
    • A Dead Female Dolphin Floated Down in Front of Wat Chrouy Thma in Kompong Cham

    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3471, 9.1.2009

    • World Bank Increases Access to Telecommunication Services for Poor Citizens in Five Provinces [Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, and Pursat]

    Wat Phnom, Vol.16, #8002, 9-11.1.2009

    • [Phnom Penh governor] Mr. Kep Chuktema Plans to Spend US$10 Million [foreign money] on Public Lighting in Phnom Penh

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    Friday, 19.9.2008: The United States Expects that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will No Longer Be Involved in a Corruption Scandal

    Posted on 20 September 2008. Filed under: Week 578 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 578

    “The United States expects that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal will no longer be involved in a corruption scandal in the future, after the US pledged to grant US$1.8 million to the mixed tribunal to seek justice for the victims who died during the Killing Field regime. This information is based on statements of the spokesperson of the US Department of State Sean McCormack during a press conference in Washington on Tuesday, 16 September 2008 [see the full text at the end].

    “Mr. Sean McCormack stated, ‘We believe that the court is now capable of meeting international standards of justice, and our decision at this time to identify funds reflects our belief that the court has the capacity to respond effectively and appropriately to these allegations.’ He said that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal still has more to do, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have made significant strides to overcome international concerns about corruption, mismanagement, and political influence, including adding a new international deputy administrator from the United Nations side, strengthening management practices, and establishing procedures to deal with allegations of wrongdoing.

    “It should be remembered that previously, employees of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal had repeatedly raised the problem of kickbacks in exchange for getting employed, but it was never officially announced that there were any perpetrators or who they are. As a result of suspicion, the UN Development Program office had suspended more than US$300,000 for a period of time, suspending the payment of salaries for Khmer staff in July. Then, the head of the Khmer Staff Department was removed from his position, as a big corruption leader at the Khmer side of the court, but it seems that nobody really dares to touch him.

    “The international community and many donor countries, especially the United States, hesitated to grant more funds to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, because of the [not yet clarified allegations of a] corruption scandal. However, the United States, through its Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. John Negroponte, who visited Cambodia recently, pledged to grant US$1.8 million to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, so that it can proceed smoothly. Mr. Sean McCormack added that the US Department of State had already shared information about this attempt to help Cambodia to try the former Khmer Rouge leaders.

    “Mr. Reach Sambath, the spokesperson of the [Cambodian section of the] Khmer Rouge Tribunal, said that the granting of US funds is mainly a political sign, and the tribunal welcomes this decision by the United States as a correct one. He went on to say that although this grant is small, it is better than nothing, and though it comes late, it is better than nothing. Mr. Reach Sambath boasted that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is strongly committed and has created clear plans to deal with corruption, like by the nomination of two ethics monitoring officials, and the reassignment away of the director of personnel.

    “This spokesperson hinted that the trial of Kang Kek Iev – called Duch, the former Tuol Sleng Prison chief – might happen in October or in November, after some procedural problems between the co-investigating judges and the co-prosecutors will have been clarified. Some officials of civil society organizations and observers are keenly observing this problem, because they want to see that the trial of the suspects to happens soon, in order to find justice for the victims. However, if there is more delay, the funds from the United States will be spent wastefully, and the Khmer citizens still do not see the light of justice.

    “The Khmer Rouge Tribunal, which has suffered from allegations of a corruption scandal, needs approximately US$50 million in addition, to cover expenses until 2010, out of which approximately US$10 million are to come from the Cambodian side, and approximately US$40 million are needed from the United Nations. At present, many observers are waiting to see whether the trial – which is planed to take place this late October – of Khiev Samphan, who had filed an appeal to be temporarily released from detention, will proceed smoothly or not. If the trial of Khiev Samphan in October faces complications and is delayed again, like it happened already on 23 April 2008, it is not easy for the tribunal to seek additional millions of dollars.

    “Although the US government announced to ask for parliamentary approval for a grant of US$1.8 million to the [UN, not the Cambodian section of the] Khmer Rouge Tribunal budget during the recent visit by the US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, some observers of the processes of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal do not expect that this mixed tribunal can find justice for the victims who were killed during the killing filed regime, because previously, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal had spent already millions of dollars wastefully, while Khmer citizens in general have been waiting for justice nearly 30 years. Furthermore, irregularities and a corruption scandal at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have not yet been clarified.

    “Khmer citizens inside of the country and abroad want that the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders should occur soon, as long as they are still alive, so that the real reasons that led to the killing of more than 1.7 million people during their time in power from 1975 to early January 1979 can be revealed. Therefore, if there is further delay, those former Khmer Rouge leaders might die before the trial takes place, because already at present, they became older, and some of them had been suffering from serious illness and had often been sent to Calmette Hospital.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3569, 19.9.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Friday, 19 September 2008


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1750, 19.9.2008

    • Samdech Hun Sen and Samdech Krom Preah [Norodom Ranariddh] Extend Friendly Wishes to Each Other; Amnesty Letter for Samdech Krom Preah Arrived at the Royal Palace on 18 September 2008
    • The Ministry of Economy and Finance Has Not Taken Any Action to Decrease the Price of Fuel Following Samdech Hun Sen’s Order
    • The Murder Case of the Journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer [Mr. Khim Sambo and his 21-year-old son] Reaches a State to Call Those Who Know Much to Be Asked [medical doctors of Calmette Hospital, editor of The Cambodia Daily, Mr. Dam Sith, editor-in-chief of Moneaksekar Khmer, staff of ADHOC and of LICADHO]


    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #247, 19.9.2008

    • [Opposition party President] Sam Rainsy Affirms that on 24 and 25 September 2008, There Will Be No Opposition Party Parliamentarians Present to Satisfy the Face of the Cambodian People’s Party


    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #102, 19.9.2008

    • The Head of the Government Affirmed His Final Position Regarding some Political Issues Related to the Opposition Parties [he warns to sue Sam Rainsy for insulting the new National Assembly by saying that it is a thief, ghost, wind, and a Yuon (Vietnamese) National Assembly]
    • Vendors of the New Market Plan to Protest in Front of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s House [related to the plan to narrow their stalls]
    • US Military Medics [from the US Tripler Army Medical Center] for Smile, Sound, and Sight, Treat Khmer Citizens Free of Charge [from 10 to 19 September 2008]


    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6454, 19.9.2008

    • Thai Prime Minister [Somchai Wongsawat – สมชาย วงศ์สวัสดิ์] Responds Positively to Continue to Negotiate with Cambodia [after Prime Minister Hun Sen’ request for negotiations]
    • Delegations from Hong Kong and from [South] Korea Look for Development in Sihanoukville [with plans build new towns, casinos, hospitals, stadiums, hotels, a public zoo, golf courses, resorts, and seashore and on-the-sea recreation sites, and also preserving a natural forest park]


    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #34, 19.9.2008

    • The United States Expects that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will No Longer Be Involved in a Corruption Scandal
    • [Sam Rainsy Party Deputy Secretary General] Mu Sochua: 20% or 21% of Khmer Citizens Lack Food [she raised this problem, based on a survey by the Cambodia Development Resource Institute]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4698, 19.9.2008

    • Cambodia Criticizes Thailand for Lying to the World by Announcing that the Ta Krabei Temple [located in an unmarked border region] Belongs to Them
    • Vietnam Sends Seventeen Khmer Citizens Home, Whom They Rescued from a Leaking Ship
    • Digging up of Khmer Ancestral Graves Happens Again in Thma Pouk [probably by artifact plunderers – Banteay Meanchey]


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3411, 19.9.2008

    • The Court Summons Representatives of the Citizens and of the Company over the Boeng Kak Lake Land Dispute Today [after citizens had filed a complaint, requesting to stop the dredging of sand to fill the lake]

    Cambodia related section of the press conference at the US Department of State on 16.9.2008
    Source:
    http://useu.usmission.gov/Article.asp?ID=B76C5503-996F-4F03-AAC0-749F4312BA5D

    QUESTION: Did you manage to get answers to the two questions that I had at the end of the briefing yesterday,…[on] the Cambodia issue?

    MR. MCCORMACK: As a matter of fact, we did. And I have on Cambodia – I have some –…
    I’ll just read – I have a few points on this. I’ll read them off to you and see if they’re useful.

    We are committed to helping Cambodia in its efforts to hold Khmer Rouge leaders accountable for their crimes. The State Department has notified Congress of our intention to provide $1.8 million to help the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the E-triple-C, complete its task. We believe that the court is now capable of meeting international standards of justice, and our decision at this time to identify funds reflects our belief that the court has the capacity to respond effectively and appropriately to these allegations.

    While the court still has more to do, the ECCC has made significant strides to overcome international concerns about corruption, mismanagement, and political influence, including adding a new international deputy administrator, strengthening management practices, and establishing procedures to deal with allegations of wrongdoing.

    Nonetheless, the court must still take appropriate steps to address the current allegations and hold responsible those involved.

    QUESTION: And this was – a similar message was conveyed by the Deputy [Secretary of State Negroponte] when he was there?

    MR. MCCORMACK: Well, the issue was discussed by the Deputy in Phnom Penh.

    QUESTION: Yeah, but, I mean – but he told them that they were going to get the money.

    MR. MCCORMACK: I have not spoken with the Deputy, so I can’t vouch firsthand for his message. But the issue was raised.

    Click here to have a look at the last editorial – how the whole Khmer press withholds the final, decisive document from the public, before the Preah Vihear Temple was listed as a World Heritag Site.

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    Saturday, 9.8.2008: Officials and Staff of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Have Not Received Their Salaries because of a Corruption Scandal

    Posted on 10 August 2008. Filed under: week 572 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 572

    “Recently, the UN Development Program office [UNDP] decided to delay the transfer of funds for the salaries of more than US$300,000 for Khmer officials and staff of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, after there were complaints about corruption at the Cambodian side. The delayed salaries for around 250 Cambodian officials and staff are for July.

    “Ms. Amy Brown [phonetic], UNDP public relations officer, explained by e-mail that the decision to delay the transfer of salary funds for the Khmer staff was made after new claims about corruption had been made. At present, UNDP and donor countries are reviewing everything related to the case. She explained that the UNDP had decided to delay the transfer of the salaries in order to assure the integrity of the funds.

    “The UN spokesperson of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Mr. Peter Foster, said that some Cambodian officials and staff had lodged complaints to the UN relating to corruption and to some other irregularities. A UN oversight office in New York checking internal problems is investigating these cases.

    “Regarding the aforementioned problems, Ms. Helen Jarvis, a public affairs official of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, did not explain the reasons for the delay of the Khmer staff salaries, she just considered it to be related to a late availability of the funds for the salaries. She said, ‘As it is known already, there are US$300,000 for the salaries for July, but we do not yet have the possibility to provide the July salaries. However, all together we are still waiting for much bigger funds than the funds to provide the salaries.’

    “Both Ms. Helen Jarvis and Mr. Peter Foster explained that negotiations are proceeding to solve these problems, and solutions will be found soon. It is not the first time that the Khmer staff of the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal receive late salaries, but it is the first time that the UNDP delays the Khmer staff’s salaries in order to investigate corruption.

    “In early 2007, an organization concerned with law reform activities, which has its seat in New York in the USA – the Open Society Justice Initiative – revealed that it had received information about Cambodian staff paying part their salaries as a kick-back to officials of the Khmer government in return for having been employed at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. What the Open Society Justice Initiative had raised made Sean Visoth, the head of the administration of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, very angry, and he announced to stop cooperating with this US organization.

    “It should be noted that the UNDP administers the funds to provide the salaries of Khmer staff from the Cambodian section of the site.

    “This new scandal makes the public aware that the international community starts to have less and less trust in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, because the scandal of 2007 is not yet solved, and now there is another shameful scandal. It is therefore not so easy for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to seek additional millions of dollars to operate until the end. So far, in addition to Japan, France, Australia, and Germany, no other countries provide additional funds for this mixed tribunal [with a Cambodian and a United Nations component].

    “Recently, officials of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal reported that the trial of Kang Kek Ieu, called Duch, the former chief of the Tuol Sleng Prison, will be conducted in September or October, but what causes serious concern is that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is facing a serious financial crisis – and it is facing a shameful corruption scandal. So this crisis might delay the trial of former senior Khmer Rouge leaders, where all the suspects, who are being detained in the special Khmer Rouge Tribunal detention center, are old and have serious and alarming illnesses.

    “Nevertheless, Khmer citizens in Cambodia and abroad want the trial of Duch, as well as of other former senior Khmer Rouge leaders, to happen as soon as possible as long as they are still alive and are able to reveal facts while standing trial. But if the trial is still delayed, the suspects detained for trial might die one by one, and the secrets of the Killing Field regime will be buried with their deaths. Therefore, the sooner the trail of the former senior Khmer Rouge leaders is held, the better, because the health of Khiev Samphan and of Ieng Sary is getting worse.

    “Observers of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal since it was started said that, if this mixed tribunal has the intention to find justice for more than 1.7 million Khmer citizens who were killed during the Killing Field regime, the trial of Duch has to happen in September or October as planned. If not, it means that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal has no intention to find justice for the victims, and Khmer citizens will never see the light of real justice. Therefore the international community and donor countries must press on with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, to try the suspects soon as a warning for the next Khmer leaders not to repeat a cruel massacre like the former Khmer Rouge leaders committed.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3534, 9-10.8.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Saturday, 9 August 2008


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1715, 9.8.2008

    • The Situation at the Ta Moan Temple Seems to Be Unchanged; Khmer and Siamese [Thai] Troops Patrol the Temple Together
    • A Mother Led [her three] Children to Plant Corn in a Field and Stepped on a Mine and Triggered an Explosion which Killed Her [7-year-old] Son and Seriously Injured Three Persons [including the mother, and her five-year-old and nine-month-old daughters]


    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #212, 9.8.2008

    Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #69, 9.8.2008

    • The Cambodian Center for Human Rights Welcomed the Commitment of the Government [expressed trough a speech by Prime Minister Hun Sen to arrest the murderers and those who are responsible for the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo and of his 21-year-old son]
    • Three Opposition Parties [the Sam Rainsy Party, the Human Rights Party, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party] Plan to Boycott the Swearing-In Ceremony [planned for the inaugural session of he new parliament on 24 September 2008]


    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6419, 9-10.8.2008

    • Samdech Dekchor [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Requests to Construct a Road to the Preah Vihear Temple and a Road from Anlong Veng to Srah Eaem
    • A Book about “Understanding Trauma in Cambodia” Is Published on a Website [of the Center for Social Development, on the role of psychology for Cambodian people]
    • [Thousands of] Exiled Tibetans Hold Demonstrations in Nepal and India [7 August 2008]


    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3534, 9-10.8.2008

    • Officials and Staff of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Have Not Received Their Salaries because of a Corruption Scandal
    • Yuon [Vietnamese] Authorities Are Restricting the Rights of Kampuchea Krom Khmer Citizens in [former] Svay Tong District, Moat Chruk Province [so called in Khmer in French colonial time, now part of Vietnam, called An Gian Province] More Strongly [by not allowing them to set up satellite television antennas at their houses – click here for information from Vietnam with reference to the Khmer population]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4663, 9.8.2008

    • Appeals Court Decided to Allow Ms. Chea Ratha’s Assistant [Mr. Ea Vuthea, involved in an acid attack on Ms. In Soklida’s aunt on 8 May 2008] to Be Temporarily Released from Detention; Ms. In Soklida Continues to Hide Herself at a Safe Place because of Fear [of revenge]
    • Price of Electricity in Pursat Increased to US$0.50 per Kilowatt [from the previous price of US$0.40]; It Increased Two Days after the Election Day
    • [Former Thai prime minister] Thaksin: I Will Not Escape from the Country [regarding his court cases, that he might be sentenced to jail]


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3380, 9.8.2008

    • USAID Sponsored to Produce a Serial Drama [describing the Cambodian legal system] Which Will Be Showed on Televisions Starting Late This Week
    • Civil Society Organizations Call on Generous People to Help the Families of Soldiers Who Are Protecting the Borders [at the Preah Vihear regions]

    Click here to have a look at the last editorial – where we try to provide our readers with important information which all publications in Cambodia – as far as we can see – are not providing; but the international community knows more – we wonder how long the Cambodian public can be held uninformed.

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