Why Do They Not Simply Compare the Maps Publicly? A Question to Both Sides – Sunday, 7.3.2010

Posted on 8 March 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

Apologies for the delay – there was no Internet connection available the day before. – Norbert Klein

After France had established its colonial presence in a region which was then known as “Indochina” – Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam – the governments of France and of Siam – since 1932 called Thailand – started to exchange opinions about how to clearly defining a borderline between the territories under French and under Thai control, where no borderline had been defined before. For a certain region, without much population and remote from all political centers, they agreed that the border should follow the watershed. But as the French military had more modern equipment for land measuring and mapping, it was agreed that the French would do the surveying and then report to the government of Siam. The French side produced their draft maps and reports in 1904 and 1907, but in one region – in the area of the Preah Vihear temple ruins – their borderline did not follow the watershed line, which ultimately lead to the present conflicts. Looking back at the technical and logistical facilities of that time, it is not so surprising that different interpretations emerged which could not easily be clarified on the spot.

But nowadays, it is surprising that there are doubts where a certain spot on the ground is, represented on a map. There may be, of course, disagreement to which country that spot belongs, but not where it is in terms of its geographical coordinates.

It is really surprising to observe that a conflict exist nowadays at the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, and that it leads to continuing escalation. This comment is not debating the legality or illegality of removing a border post. Only the conflictive interpretations of the location of this border post are raised here.

Many high end mobile telephones sold in Cambodia have a GPS facility – a Global Positioning System – which, in a couple of seconds, can display the geographical coordinates – the longitude and latitude data – where the user of this phone stands. But recent reports made conflicting claims related to the removed border post: whether it was on the borderline between Cambodia and Vietnam, or whether it was inside of Cambodian territory, and which maps are correct or not.

The Mirror had carried reports about these conflicting claims:

  • [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarians Asked the Government to Explain the Position for the Setting of Four Temporary Border Markers [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border – Mr. Sam Rainsy had published data, based on satellite based GPS verification, showing that the border markers are set inside of Cambodian territory — but the geographical coordinates were not in the press]
  • A Government Official Announced to Sue Mr. Sam Rainsy; [the head of the Cambodian Border Committee] Mr. Var Kimhong: Maps Accusing the Government [over the setting of border markers with Vietnam, used by Mr. Sam Rainsy] Are Fake
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Called Mr. Sam Rainsy a Traitor [for creating trouble at the Eastern border with Vietnam, while Cambodia is having border issues at the Western border with Thailand]
  • Sam Rainsy Responded to Hun Sen, Saying the Cambodian Leader Himself Fakes Maps and Does Not Even Know Where the Country’s Border Is
  • Observers said that both Mr. Sam Rainsy and Prime Minister Hun Sen had shown an intention to review maps
  • [The opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: My Map and the Government’s Map Must Be Compared to See Which One Is Recognized Internationally

Yes: both maps have to be compared, and the geographical coordinates of the original location of the removed border posts has to be taken by any GPS capable mobile phone and entered into the different maps.

Though we tried to observe the Khmer press carefully, we have not seen any newspaper which published both maps side by side, with the location of the border posts entered. If there had been such a publication, we missed it and would appreciate to be notified.

To collect the different data should be easy, and it would immediately clarify the situation and the conflicting positions objectively. It is extremely surprising that such comparison of data has not been made public, but instead accusations and counter accusations were made, even involving the courts.

One can only hope that both maps and the geographical coordinates, which any owner of a GPS capable phone can take by visiting the site, will be published and the the courts – and the public – can quickly see the related data.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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The Municipal Court, Notorious for Corruption, Describes the Shortage of Judges for Hearings – Saturday, 3.1.2009

Posted on 4 January 2009. Filed under: Week 593 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 593

“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court, ranking first in committing corruption among the courts countrywide, described on Monday that it lacked judges for hearing 6,500 cases in 2008. Being unable to solve many cases like that, makes that hundreds of accused persons are detained beyond the legal limit, which states that the detention of an accused or of a suspect can be up to a maximum of six months. Then they have to be brought to court for a hearing, and if the court cannot find them to be guilty, they must be released immediately. However, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and Khmer courts in different provinces do not abide by this legal procedure, and continue to detain thousands of people for many years without conviction, which is against legal procedure and seriously violates the rights of the accused.

“The president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Chiv Keng, notorious for being biased toward the rich and frequently causing poor people to loose their cases, said that in 2008 the Phnom Penh Municipal Court did not solve around 6,500 cases, while by the end of 2007, there had been 9,200 unsolved cases. If one compares the two years, in 2008 there were more of the normal complaints filed at the municipal court solved than in 2007, because in 2008, there were only 6,500 complaints not solved in time, while in 2007, there had been 9,200 left unsolved.

“Chiv Keng said, ‘This does not mean that we received fewer complaints than last year. We received a similar number of complaints like last year, but this year, we worked more effectively, and the number of judges has also increased.’

“Chiv Keng, who was just promoted as an excellency in 2008, added that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court received between 3,000 and 5,000 complaints on average per year. He said that in 2008, also more complaints than in 2007 were addressed.

“Chiv Keng went on to say that at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, the number of judges was increased in 2008 from 9 to 16, and it is planned to increase the number up to 45 judges in a few more months in 2009; it will also be requested to increase the number of prosecutors to 25, while at present, there are only 8 prosecutors.

“Chiv Keng continued to say that the space available for work is also a problem for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court; therefore the municipal court plans to construct a building with six floors in the compound of the present Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“According to the last Court Watch Bulletin [Volume 5, #23, October 2008], published by the Center for Social Development, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court had only two hearing rooms in September 2007 in which the municipal court conducted hearings for more than 884 criminal cases between October 2006 and September 2007.

“The same report added that the municipal court conducted hearings for three criminal cases every day, and half of those hearings lasted only not more than 20 minutes. So the period for hearing each case was very short, just enough to read the verdicts by which the court defined punishments, or defined who were the losers and the winners in a conflict. The result is that each case is not clearly analyzed according to the procedures of the law, and according to the facts. Therefore it is seen that frequently the rich and high ranking officials won cases against poor people, and against people who are not powerful in society.

“The executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, Mr. Sok Sam Oeun, said that he saw some progress in the Khmer court system, but there is a lot more work that the court has to do.

“He said, ‘Courts should make their judges more independent than they are at present, so that the judges can decide about the various complaints by themselves.’

“Chiv Keng acknowledged that Khmer courts are not yet quite in good order; therefore all Khmer courts need many more years to improve. Chiv King pointed out, ‘Now we are not 100% in good order, but we have made many reforms, and now, we do not hear as much criticism about corrupt courts as three or four years ago.’

“Chiv Keng added that at present, courts have ways by which citizens can report about inactivities of courts, or about different rule violations by courts. Chiv Keng continued to say that Cambodia needs more than 300 judgesT and prosecutors in addition countrywide. At present, Cambodia has only around 200 judges and prosecutors.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3656, 3.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 3 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1837, 3.1.2009

  • The Department of Information Denies Radio Free Asia Broadcast that Citizens Are Forced to Set Flags [in front of their houses to welcome the upcoming 7 January [1979] victory festival]
  • Former Thai Prime Minister [Somchai Wongsawat] Joins Samdech Hun Sen’s Daughter’s Wedding [Phnom Penh]
  • There Were More Than 8 Million Voters in the Voter Lists of the National Election Committee in 2008
  • Thieves Entered to Break a Safe in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Taking Riel 20 Million [approx. US$5,000]
  • The Number of Beggars at the Beaches in Sihanoukville Increase
  • A Senior Leader of Hamas Killed by an Air Strike Attack by Israel on Gaza
  • Cuba Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Revolution

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #174, 3.1.2009

  • A Korean Man Committed Suicide by Hanging without Any Known Reason [Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6542, 3-4.1.2009

  • Three Explosive Devices Were Destroyed [by the Cambodian Mine Action Center – CMAC] – Police Conclude as a First Assumption that the Aim Was that the Sound of Explosions Should Trigger Disturbance [one hand made explosive device was set in front of the Ministry of Defense and two others were found west of the TV3 station – Prampi Makara, Phnom Penh]
  • A Girl in a Sugar Cane Plantation Was Raped by Three Wild Workers; One of Them Raped Her and the Ears of the Two Others Were Bitten [all of them were arrested – Koh Kong]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3656, 3.1.2009

  • The Municipal Court, Notorious for Corruption, Describes the Shortage of Judges for Hearings
  • [The president of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party] Sam Rainsy: Because of the Events of 17 April 1975 [when the Khmer Rouge regime took full control of Cambodia], There Were the Events of 7 January 1979 [which led to the invasion by Vietnam – critical appraisal of the 30th victory anniversary over the Khmer Rouge]
  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Ieng Sary Sent to and from the Calmette Hospital More Frequently because of Serious Illness
  • Siamese [Thai] Minister of Foreign Affairs [Kasit Piromya] Is Pressed to Resign after He Phoned to Ask for Negotiations about Border Disputes with [the Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs] Hor Namhong [according to the Bangkok Post, he is pressed to resign by officials from the ruling Democratic Party of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4785, 3.1.2009

  • The Acid Attack on In Soklida’s Aunt Is Sent to Court to Be Sentenced; this Is ‘Special,’ Compared to the Cases of Tat Marina, Touch Sunich, and Pov Panhapich [who also suffered acid attqcks, because police take quick [[???]] action for what happened on 8 May 2008, while for the three other women, so far no perpetrators have been found and convicted; it is seen that Ms. In Soklida, a film star, is richer, because now, she owns a car taken away from Ms. Chea Ratha by police, and she has her own bodyguards]
  • Defense Lawyers of Victims Warn They Will Resign from Work in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [if there is no money for them]
  • The Royal Government Creates a Committee for the Management of Concessions and for the Rehabilitation of the Cambodian Railway [financed by the Asian Development Bank]
  • Siamese [Thai] Prime Minister Orders Investigations of Phone Call Threats against Him

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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