Within Six Months of This Year the Trade between Cambodia and China Amounted to US$627 Million – Saturday, 28.8.2010

Posted on 29 August 2010. Filed under: Week 679 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 679

Important Announcement

Would you please mouse-click, further up on this page here, on About The Mirror to read information about changes planned to be implemented, starting from 1 September 2010.

Thanks,

Norbert Klein
Editor of The Mirror

“Phnom Penh: The Counselor of the Economic and Commercial Section of the Chinese Embassy to Cambodia, Mr. Jin Yuan, said that according to Chinese customs statistics, within six months of 2010, the Cambodian-Chinese trade amounted to US$627 million, an increase by 37.70% compared to the corresponding period last year.

“He said in a press conference in the morning of 27 August 2010 that Cambodia is an important member of ASEAN and a neighboring country with long lasting friendship, and it has benefited from the development of a China-ASEAN free trade region. Cambodia and China has achieved fruitful results through their cooperation in economy and trade. Through such quick progress, the amount of investment between both countries this year will arise beyond the amount before the global financial crisis.

“Mr. Jin Yuan added that the export from Cambodia to China rose by as much as 108.70% compared to the same period last years. Products imported from China to Cambodia increased three times. Also, Cambodia became a major target of Chinese entrepreneurs.

“He went on to say that investments from China in Cambodia range from the textile and garment sectors to other multi-sectors, such as agriculture and the development of special economic zones. According to the Council for the Development of Cambodia, by the end of July 2010, there were 360 Chinese investment projects or 23% of all investment projects in Cambodia, and therefore, China is the top country with investments in Cambodia compared with other countries.

“He continued to say that through encouragement by the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Department of Supervision on Product Quality of China is discussing with the Ministry of Agriculture of Cambodia a Memorandum of Understanding about strengthening of general sanitation standards and plant sanitation, to solve the supervision of agricultural products such as rice and cassava that are exported to China. [See also China Quality Focus – a Western managed and operated company in China] He said, ‘We believe that through joint efforts of both sides, there can be solutions for the problems relating to the export of agricultural products by the Royal Government of Cambodia.’” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5288, 28.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2339, 28.8.2010

  • The Vietnamese President [Nguyen Minh Triet – Nguyễn Minh Triết] Congratulated the Big Achievements of Cambodia [in developing the country – he said so during his visit to Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7046, 28-29.8.2010

  • Cambodian-Thai Border Committees Fixed a Date for Meetings from 8 to 10 September 2010 in Bangkok
  • It Was Reported that Ebony Wood Trading Reoccurs in the Northwest on Land Roads and in the Northeast on Water Ways [Siem Reap and Ratanakiri]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3970, 28-29.8.2010

  • The Ministry of Justice Released a Letter to Warn Judges and Prosecutors Who Read Newspapers during Hearings and Assign Clerks to Assume Their Responsibility Instead

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #42, 28.8.2010

  • Thailand Announced to Continue to Provide Aid for the Construction of Road 68 [that connects the Krolanh district in Siem Reap to Oddar Meanchey and then continues to the Thai border; it costs US$42 million]
  • A Danish Man Was Arrested for Debauchery with Children [Siem Reap]
  • Customs Officers at the Chrey Thom Border Crossing Intercepted Illegal Wood [about two cubic meters] Prepared for Export to Vietnam [no responsible persons are yet caught – Kandal]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5288, 28.8.2010

  • Within Six Months of This Year the Trade between Cambodia and China Amounted to US$627 Million
  • Fifty Nine Workers [some are underage] Were Liberated when a Middleman Tried to Send Them Illegally to Work in Thailand [to work on fishing boats – Phnom Penh]

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Parliamentarians: Within Seventeen Years, Only Six Ministers Appeared to Make Clarifications in the Parliament – Saturday, 21.8.2010

Posted on 22 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Phnom Penh: According to the first study by Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, since the general elections in 1993, or within 17 years, only six ministers appeared at the parliament to clarify questions. But government officials explained that, based on the regulations, there clarifications can be given both directly and verbally, or through letters.

“Findings from the study were shown publicly in a press conference on 20 August 2010. The team leader of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, Mr. Son Chhay, said that since 1993, probably only six ministers showed up to respond to questions of parliamentarians in the parliament. That means also that within one 3 years period there was only one minister making clarifications. Until now, the Prime Minister has never come to answer to questions from parliamentarians following Article 96 of the Constitution. It is different from other democratic countries where prime ministers and government members regularly appear to give clarifications in parliament.

Article 96:

The deputies have the right to put a motion against the Royal Government. The motion shall be submitted in writing through the Chairman of the National Assembly.
The replies shall be given by one or several ministers depending on the matters related to the accountability of one or several ministers. If the case concerns the overall policy of the Royal Government, the Prime Minister shall reply in person.

The explanations by the ministers or by the Prime Minister shall be given verbally or in writing.

The explanations shall be provided within 7 days after the day when the question is received.

In case of verbal reply, the Chairman of the National Assembly shall decide whether to hold an open debate or not. If there is no debate, the answer of the minister or the Prime Minister shall be considered final. If there is a debate, the questioner, other speakers, the ministers, or the Prime Minister may exchange views within the time-frame not exceeding one session.

The National Assembly shall establish one day each week for questions and answers. There shall be no vote during any session reserved for this purpose.

“Mr. Son Chhay added that the procedures for questioning and for inviting ministers to appear are difficult. Sometimes, only two months after a request letter was sent there is a response, and sometimes it takes even up to one year. Some ministers do not care about answering questions from parliamentarians.

“A parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, presented a study about government members who did not properly adhere to the principles of the Constitution, which set the rules for questioning and answering to questions of parliamentarians through letters, or straight and verbally.

“Mr. Son Chhay said that 132 letters with questions were sent to members of the government in 2009, but they responded to only 23%, or 39 letters, from Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians. Within eight months of 2010, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians submitted 47 letters to the government, but only 15 letters received a response.

“Mr. Son Chhay added, ‘In 2009, we sent 24 letters to Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, and he responded to 13 letters. The Prime Minister answered more questions than others among the members of the government. The Minister of Interior, Mr. Sar Kheng, received 21 letters from parliamentarians in 2009 and he replied to 9 letters, and in 2010, he received 8 letters and he responded to 2.’

“Mr. Son Chhay went on to say that Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians sent 10 letters in 2009 and 2 more letters in 2010 to the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Mr. Kim Kean Hor, but he did not respond at all. Also, the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, did not respond to questions from parliamentarians.

“Mr. Son Chhay stressed that submitting letters to request clarifications and to invite members of the governments, including the head of the government, to appear to clarify questions from parliamentarians in the parliament itself allow the government time to defend itself and to present its achievements in the past. This also helps to encourages the government to work with responsibility. ‘We aim to strengthen the implementation of democracy and to consolidate national institutions.’

“Also, another statement was released by Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians over the loss of their roles in the parliament of Cambodia. Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians voiced strong concern about the possible disappearance of democracy in Cambodia, which is affecting national development and social tranquility more seriously.

“Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians appeal to the ruling party to immediately check to fix all the limitations in order to appropriately implement the principles of multi-party democracy, as stated in the Constitution of 1993.

“Responding to the above mentioned concerns, a spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Tith Sothea, said that to respond, there are two ways: responding by letter, or directly and verbally. So far, government officials frequently sent official letters, and sometimes they appeared directly in parliament to respond. He added that the government is formed by elections, and the Cambodian People’s Party, that won a massive support in the parliament, always rules the country following democracy and respecting the rights of the citizens, who are the voters. The government is not dictatorial or lawless. The government is on the right tract based on democracy. If the opposition party wants further reforms beyond this, it has to wait until it wins the elections.

“A senior member of the Cambodian People’s Party and a long standing member of the National Assembly, Mr. Cheam Yeap, said that the Cambodian People’s Party always obeys the laws and the Constitution since 1993. Also, [the president of the National Assembly] Samdech Heng Samrin, often allows more Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians than those from the Cambodian People’s Party to express their opinions along with the participation of national and international organizations that carefully observe the proceedings.

“In addition, during the press conference in the morning of 20 August 2010, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians announced that they have sent a letter to the US parliament and Senate to express their support for the United States of America adopting an amendment to financial legislation that requires US listed oil exploration companies operating in Cambodia to publicly disclose their expenditures and income. Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians consider that this law helps to promote transparency in the investment and in the management of income from mines, and in the oil and gas sectors in Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5282, 21.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2333, 21.8.2010

  • Thailand Sent Letters to the Ten Members of ASEAN to Suggest How to Solve the Disputes with Cambodia Bilaterally
  • After an Electric Fault Occurred [producing toxic smoke] in the M.V Factory, 120 Workers Fainted [Kompong Chhnang]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7040, 21-22.8.2010

  • A Railroad Construction Company Asked the Authorities to Crack Down on the Stealing of Concrete Supports and of Iron Bars [Kampot]
  • The Ministry of Labor Warned It Will Take Legal Action against Companies with Irregularities in Sending Workers to Malaysia [according to a meeting between the Ministry of Labor and 31 companies sending workers abroad]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3964, 21-22.8.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarians and a Human Rights Organization [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – ADHOC] Expressed Regret over the Verdict against Chi Kraeng District Residents [nine citizens were sentenced to 3 years imprisonment over a land dispute, but they will serve only 17 months and the rest will be suspended – Siem Reap]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #36, 21.8.2010

  • The Vietnamese President [Mr. Nguyen Minh Triet [Nguyễn Minh Triết]] Will Visit Cambodia [from 26 to 28 August 2010 in response to an invitation by the Khmer King]
  • Cambodia Does Not Accept a Bilateral Solution with Thailand [according the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong]
  • Only One of the Students [countrywide] Gets an A Level, and 81.90% Passed [or 87,561 students among the 106,908 candidates passed the Grade 12 examinations]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5282, 21.8.2010

  • Parliamentarians: Within Seventeen Years, Only Six Ministers Appeared to Make Clarifications in the Parliament
  • Ebony [2.377 cubic meters] and Wild Animals [about 166 kg, including snakes, big lizards, and turtles] Were Intercepted at the Chrey Thom Border Crossing [for export to Vietnam; no persons are yet caught – Kandal]
  • Scientific Evidence Shows that Chemicals Are Still Found in Food Sold at the Markets [affecting the health of the consumers – studies conducted by the Royal Academy]

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

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

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2329, 17.8.2010

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

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7036, 17.8.2010

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

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

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

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3960, 17.8.2010

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

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #32, 17.8.2010

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

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

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

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5278, 17.8.2010

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

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An Official Said the Visit to Singapore Benefits Cambodia – Wednesday, 28.7.2010

Posted on 29 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, returned to Cambodia in the evening of 27 July 2010, after paying an official visit to the Republic of Singapore for three days.

“At the Phnom Penh International Airport, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong, held a press conference, saying that the visit to Singapore was essential for Cambodia as it benefits Cambodia, since Singapore has a vigorous economic growth. Practically, within the first six months of 2010, Singapore achieved a 17% economic growth. Because Singapore is an important economic partner of Cambodia, both countries’ trade increased within these six months. Trade increased up to 62%, amounting to more than US$1 billion. Also, investments from Singapore are rising.

“During the visit, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen had discussions with the Singaporean prime minister, and both sides agreed to concentrate on mutual economic development and the exchange of their perspective on regional issues.

“The Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, made a speech during a business meal, organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Singapore in the National University of Singapore in the morning of 26 July 2010.

“Samdech Hun Sen invited Singaporean businesspeople, who have never visited Cambodia, to come to study the Cambodian reality, take up investment opportunities, and meet with Cambodian commercial associations to seek partners and to cooperate to contribute to successful results together. He added, ‘You have capital, knowledge, and experience, and with the extensive potential of Cambodia, there are many places and opportunities where both countries’ economies can benefit from each other.’ Samdech Dekchor promised Singaporean investors and businesspeople to facilitate a favorable and friendly business atmosphere, to be widely open for Singaporean investments and businesses.

“Samdech Hun Sen asked Singaporean investors to establish rice milling factories in Cambodia, because Cambodia harvests lots of paddy rice each year, but the export of unprocessed paddy rice makes Cambodia to lose a lot of profits.

“It should be noted that both countries established diplomatic ties in 1965, but severed them in 1975. They were then reestablished in 1992.

“The trade from Singapore to Cambodia in 2009 amounted to more than US$208 million, while the Cambodian export to Singapore was more than US$481 million.

“From 1994 to 2010, the amount of investments from Singapore was more than US$570 million, concentrated in several sectors, such as tourism, industry, agriculture, and infrastructure.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5261, 28.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2312, 28.7.2010

  • According to the Opinion of His Excellency Hor Namhong [Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] the Sentence of Duch [the former Tuol Sleng Prison chief] Is Too Light [he was sentenced for 35 years in jail, but considering his prior imprisonment and a reduction of the penalty, he will serve only up to 19 years]
  • Twelve Foreigners and Two Khmers Were Seriously and Lightly Injured after a Bus Hit a Cow and Overturned [Kompong Thom]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7019, 28.7.2010

  • Duch’s Verdict Seems to Be Surprisingly Tolerant [based on the impression of Cambodian citizens; according to The New York Times] while the Cambodian Center for Human Rights Said It Is a Model for the Cambodian Courts
  • Workers of the PCCS Garment Factory Strike and Blocked the Russian Federation Boulevard [to demand the factory to re-employ a worker’s representative], but the Authorities Used Force to Disperse Them [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3943, 28.7.2010

  • The Committee for Free and Fair Elections [COMFREL] ((Note: if an Internet access brings up “http://www.comfrel.org/khm/index.php” – by deleting “khm/index.php” the English version of the COMFREL site should appear)) in Cambodia Criticized the Government for Using the Courts to Push the Opposition Party Away from Competition for the Upcoming Elections
  • A US Senator [Mr. John Kerry] and the Sam Rainsy Party Encouraged that an Independent Court Systems Be Established in Order to Eliminate Impunity in Cambodia

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #15, 28.7.2010

  • [Opposition party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Praised [the head of the Cambodian Red Cross] Her Excellency Bun Rany Hun Sen [for her effort to protect the honor of Khmer women]
  • The Royal Government Invests in the Improvement of National Road 5 [377 km from Phnom Penh to Banteay Meanchey; responsible for this is the Chamroen Industrial Development company of Cambodia to spend US$500 million; and the width of the road will be enlarged to 15 meters]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #224, 28.7.2010

  • Duch Will Appeal against the Sentence [that convicted him to 35 years in prison] while the World [France, Japan, the USA, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights] Welcome the Sentence
  • Ms. Mu Sochua Accepted Money from the Women Movement [collected for her, to compensate Prime Minister Hun Sen, as she lost in a defamation case]
  • The Ministry of Education Warned Dishonest Invigilators [who get bribes from students and allow them to cheat during the Grade 12 exams]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5261, 28.7.2010

  • An Official Said the Visit to Singapore Benefits Cambodia
  • Regarding Duch’s Verdict, Cambodia Says It Is Not Appropriate while a Foreign Country [France] Says It Is Good
  • [About 1,000] Yellow-Shirt Demonstrators [who protested in front of the UNESCO office in Bangkok] Demanded that the Preah Vihear Temple Is Excluded from the World Heritage List [it is related to the unilateral development plan of Cambodia in the Preah Vihear temple region]

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The Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Is Sentenced to Serve 35 Years in Prison – Tuesday, 27.7.2010

Posted on 28 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Phnom Penh: The former Tuol Sleng Prison chief Kaing Kek Eav was sentenced by the trial chamber of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to serve 35 years in prison, but this verdict was criticized in the general public, especially by victims of the Tuol Sleng prison.

“In the morning of 26 July 2010, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [ECCC] opened a hearing to announce the verdict in Case 001, on the former Tuol Sleng Prison chief Kaing Kek Eav. About 1,000 citizens and victims of the Democratic Kampuchea regime, as well as about 100 national and international reporters, participated in the event.

“During the announcement of the verdict, after the conclusion of the procedures had been announced at 11:05, the head of the trial chamber, Judge Nel Non, ordered Duch to stand up and he announced that after considering the evidence and all considerations from all sides, the trial chamber concluded that Kaing Kek Eav is guilty according to Article 5 and 6, and the new Article 26 of the ECCC about crimes against humanity and about the mistreatment of political prisoners, including the crimes against humanity of massacre as well as slaughter, slavery, detention, torture, and one rape case, as well as other inhuman acts, and a severe abuse against the Treaties of International Humanitarian Law, signed in Geneva on 12 August 1949.

“Judge Nel Non added that, based on the reasons mentioned in the judgment, the trial chamber does not consider any culpability of the accused over the allegation of genocide which violates Article 501, 506, and 500 of the criminal code of Cambodia of 1956 that can be prosecuted at the trial chamber, following the new Article 3 of the ECCC. He stressed that to determine the appropriate punishment, the trial chamber, considering all circumstances of the case, valued the burden of each punishment, including the atrocities committed against 12,273 victims, and the trial chamber considered also that there should be a reduction of the punishment of the sentence for the accused through a prison term with a limited period rather than to sentence him to life imprisonment. The reduction of the penalty is based on the cooperation of the accused with the trial chamber, his recognition of his responsibility, and his expression of remorse; therefore, the trial chamber decided to jail Kaing Kek Eav for 35 years. However, this verdict was strongly criticized by some victims of the Democratic Kampuchea regime, while some are satisfied with it.

“Mr. Chum Mey, a victim of the Democratic Kampuchea regime who was under Duch’s control in the Tuol Sleng prison, told journalists that this tribunal has proceeded well since the start by allowing victims to visit the Tuol Sleng criminal center twice a week. But he regretted that the judges announced a verdict to sentence Duch only for 35 years in jail.

“Also a citizen from Kompong Speu, who went to watch the announcement of the verdict in the morning of 26 July 2010, said that he is satisfied with the verdict announced by the judges, because within 35 years, Duch might die in jail, as he is now already 68 years old. Other citizens who attended the event expressed also similar ideas.

“Ms. Hong Savath, 47, participating in the announcement of the verdict of Case 001 of the former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Kek Eav, alias Duch, cried until she almost fainted, when she had heard the verdict announced by the judges to convict him to 35 years in prison. She said that she wanted Duch to serve the rest of his life in prison, because her parents were killed and raped in the Tuol Sleng prison during Duch’s time in office.

“The spokesperson of the ECCC, Mr. Reach Sambath, said that morning during a press conference after the pronouncement of the verdict, ‘Today, the ECCC created an important historical milestone for the Cambodian people; this is the first time that a verdict was made against a person who committed serious crimes during the Democratic Kampuchea regime, after it was overthrown on 7 January 1979.’ He added that also in 1979, a verdict had been announced, but it was different in the point that those who were considered highly responsible for serious crimes were not present to answers to the accusations, as it happened in the present hearings. Since this court was established in 2006, Cambodian people in the whole country have observed and studied the procedural proceedings applied this time.

“Mr. Reach Sambath added that at the hearing during the announcement of the verdict of Duch, in the morning of 26 July 2010, there were about 1,000 persons attending, while millions of other citizens were watching and listening to the live broadcast on all television channels and on many radio stations, sharing the information nationwide.

“A co-prosecutor of the ECCC, Ms. Chea Leang, said during the press conference that such a decision is a historic event for Cambodia. It is more than 30 years since the Khmer Rouge Regime had fallen from power and was forced to stop its violence. Nothing can eliminate the pain and misery of many citizens and their families, but the verdict represents now a trustworthy legal action toward war crimes which were committed as a policy of the Khmer Rouge.

“Ms. Chea Leang went on to say that the co-prosecutors are considering to appeal the verdict on Case 001, checking whether it is acceptable or not.

“According to the announcement of the ECCC, Kaing Kek Eav is the first person brought for sentencing at the ECCC. Kaing Kek Eav used to be deputy chief, and later on chief of the S-21 Center, a security center with the duty to interrogate and kill any persons suspected by the communist party to be enemies of the Democratic Kampuchea regime.

“It should be noted that the verdict of former Tuol Sleng Prison chief Kaing Kek Eav, called Duch, for 35 years imprisonment, starts to count from the day of his arrest on 10 May 1999. But considering the cooperation of the accused and his recognition of his acts, 5 years are reduced, so that 30 years remain. Therefore, starting from the day of his arrest, Duch has still to serve only 19 years in prison, counting from the pronouncement of the verdict on 26 July 2010. Compared with the former Phnom Penh police chief Heng Pov [convicted to about 100 years in prison], Duch received a lower punishment.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2311, 27.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2311, 27.7.2010

  • The Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Is Sentenced to Serve 35 Years in Prison
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Promised that Cambodia Is Open for Singaporean Investors [he said so during his visit to Singapore, extending from 25 to 27 July 2010]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7018, 27.7.2010

  • A Former Prisoner of the Tuol Sleng Prison [Mr. Chum Mey] Reacted: I Cannot Accept the Verdict Sentencing Duch [to serve 35 years in prison, but when some years are deducted because he has been in prison already in the past, he has to serve only 19 years more]
  • The European Union Granted Euro 2 Million [approx. US$2.6 million] to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3942, 27.7.2010

  • The Verdict Is Announced to Sentence the Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief to a 35 Years Term of Imprisonment, but There Is Still No Prison to Jail Him
  • The Yuon [Vietnamese] Authorities Continue to Ban Khmer Citizens from Doing Rice Cultivation on Khmer Territory along the Border in Takeo [while the Khmer authorities in Takeo said that Khmer farmers have the full right to do farming along the border and Vietnam has no right to stop them]

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #14, 27.7.2010

  • Duch Can Get Out of Jail When He Is 92 Years Old
  • [The Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Said Thailand Will Not Recognize a Cambodian Map [not mentioned which map] during a Meeting in Brazil [he said if the World Heritage Committee meeting there agrees with the Cambodian request to develop the Preah Vihear Temple region, Thailand will have its strategies in place, not disclosing details at present, against such a decision]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #223, 27.7.2010

  • Duch Is Sentenced to Get 35 Years in Jail, but He Will Serve only still 19 Years when Considering the Time He Has Served already, however Victims Are Disappointed
  • The Opposition [Sam Rainsy] Party Asked for an Intervention by [the Minister of the Council of Ministers] Mr. Sok An [to allow 1,255 families in Siem Reap to reconstruct their houses and selling stalls, after they had been banned by the Apsara Authority, claiming it was against the law of the Angkor heritage area, as this act of the authorities affects their livelihood – Leang Dai commune, Angkor Thom district]
  • The Export of Garments in the First Six Months Increased by 10% [to US$1.3 billion – according to the Ministry of Commerce]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5260, 27.7.2010

  • Duch Killed 12,273 People – That Means He Serves One Day in Prison for Killing One Person
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Called on Singaporean Businesspeople to Take Up Investment Opportunities in Cambodia

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The Declaration of Asset Will Be Made before November – Thursday, 15.7.2010

Posted on 19 July 2010. Filed under: Week 673 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 673

Note:

Apologies again for the delay – I am back in Phnom Penh, but I returned with a defective computer. I hope within one day to be up to date again.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: The declaration of assets of officials of the Royal Government as well as of relevant civil society officials will be made before November 2010.

“The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Senior Minister Om Yentieng, said during a press conference in the morning of 14 July 2010 that the Anti-Corruption Unit will proceed with the procedure of the declaration of assets of relevant officials, including officials of the Royal Government appointed by sub-decrees and royal decrees, as well as other officials including those of civil society organizations, and the declaration will be conducted before November 2010, to facilitate a quick enforcement of the law. He added that there are about 100,000 persons in Cambodia who are required to declare their assets. The duty of the Anti-Corruption Unit is to keep all documents. Also, the Anti-Corruption Unit has the right to check those documents anytime.

“Relating to a question from journalists about how much money is to be considered as corruption, Mr. Om Yentieng said that an amount to be considered as corruption does not need to be up to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Riel 1,000 to Riel 2,000 [US$0.25 to US$0.50] can also be considered as corruption, and there are many types of corruption, like the provision of licenses and permissions, or the offering of sexual pleasure which can also be considered as corruption. He said that improper activities of traffic police who fine citizens without giving them a receipt for the fine paid can also be considered as corruption.

“Mr. Om Yengtieng added that the declarations will be made officially, and the procedure does not protect corrupt people as the opposition parties have said, because the procedures had granted full rights to the opposition parties to express their ideas during the discussions and adoptions of the law in the National Assembly, but the decision [to terminate the discussions] were within the rights of the president of the National Assembly. He believes that this law will proceed smoothly. He went on to say that as soon as this law had been released, some officials required to declare their asset felt afraid. Thus, it is not a simple matter.

“The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit stated during the press conference that the Anti-Corruption Unit has a fivefold mission:

  1. Lead the fight against any acts of corruption.
  2. Fight against corruption of all forms, in all sectors, and at all levels.
  3. Proceed following three legal procedures: to educate, to prevent, and to punish.
  4. Fight corruption with participation by the general public.
  5. Fight corruption with participation by international agencies.

“Also, the Anti-Corruption Unit is always aware of a recommendation by the president of the National Assembly to prevent its members from committing corruption, as they are more in danger to commit corruption than others. As there are difficulties to fight corruption, the Anti-Corruption Unit is provided with some special rights to act.

“Mr. Om Yentieng stressed that all personnel of the Anti-Corruption Unit, including the watchmen at the Anti-Corruption office, have to declare their assets. There are two types of penalties for corruptions: misdemeanors and felonies, which cover 7-days to life imprisonment.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2301, 15.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 15 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2301, 15.7.2010

  • The Declaration of Asset Will Be Made before November
  • The Sharing Experience for Adapted Development [SEAD] Delivers 40,000 Books of a Services Directory for Vulnerable People [the books, which list 280 organizations, 25 units, 85 hospitals, and 220 health centers will be provided to staff of the government and of non-government organizations that work with vulnerable children and families to be used as their reference in offering necessary services to those people]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7008, 15.7.2010

  • More Than 100,000 Officials Will Have to Declare Their Assets and Debts Every Two Years
  • Cambodia and the United States of America Will Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations [from 18 to 24 July 2010 in Phnom Penh and in Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3932, 15.7.2010

  • More Than 100,000 Officials Are the Target to Declare Their Assets, according to a Report when Cambodia Hosted an Anti-Corruption Conference
  • Khmer Citizens Have Not Received the Right for Just Hearings, as Guaranteed by National and International Laws [according to observations by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights cooperating with the US Agency for International Development and the East-West Management Institute in 199 hearings at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #215, 15.7.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected UN Criticism [over the proceedings of the defamation case of the opposition politician, Ms. Mu Sochua, and Prime Minister Hun Sen, saying that this relates to internal affairs of Cambodia; recently the spokesperson of the United Nations, Mr. Rupert Colville, stated that Cambodian courts have been used as weapon to restrict the freedom of expression]
  • Vietnam Supplies Additional 20 Megawatt of Electricity to Cambodia [in response to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s request, amid the increasing demand for electricity in Cambodia; according to an agreement signed by both countries, Vietnam promised to supply 200 megawatt of electricity to Cambodia by 2009, but by now, Vietnam can supply only 120 megawatt due to a lack of electricity in its own country]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5250, 15.7.2010

  • Cambodia Earns Riel 6,000 Million to Riel 7,000 Million [US$1,380,000 to US$1,610,000] Each Year from Fishery Yield [each year 500,000 tonnes of fish are caught – according to the director general of the Department of Fisheries Administration, Mr. Nao Thuok]
  • Three Cars Loaded with Ebony Were Intercepted in the House of a Military Official in Stung Treng [but he has not been yet arrested]

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Cambodia Warned UN Officials Not to Interfere in Cambodian Affairs – Friday, 9.7.2010

Posted on 10 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia accused the director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Christophe Peschoux, claiming that he acted beyond his role when he criticized the deportation of two Thai red-shirt activists on Monday 5 July 2010, and the Ministry warned that such comment from him might make the government reconsider his presence in Cambodia.

“On Wednesday, 7 July 2010, the director of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, Mr. Christophe Peschoux, spoke to local media, saying that the deportation of the two Thais are ‘political decisions’ which lack appropriate procedure.

“In a letter dated 8 July 2010, the Ministry reminded Mr. Peschoux that he has no right to make such a criticism, as it relates to decisions within the exclusive right of the Cambodian government. The letter ends with the following remark, ‘Any such activities in future will make the Royal Government of Cambodia to decide over his presence in Cambodia.’

“This letter is similar to one sent in March to the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Douglas Broderick, which had warned to expell him from Cambodia for criticizing the process taken by the government for the adoption of the anti-corruption law.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, said on 8 July 2010 that the letter was sent to Mr. Peschoux to alert him to respect a memorandum of understanding, signed on 1 January 2010 with the government. He added, ‘It does not mean that we want to expell him, but we just want to alert him.’

“Mr. Peschoux could not be reached for comment on 8 July 2010.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #211, 9.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 9 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2296, 9.7.2010

  • Workers Will Receive a Minimum Salary of US$61 per Month from 1 October 2010 [before that, the minimum salary is US$50; the president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, Mr. Chea Mony, announced a plan to strike on 13, 14, and 15 July 2010 to demand an increase of the minimum salary to US$70]
  • Because of Jealousy, a Man Killed His Wife by Cutting Her Throat [he was arrested – Pursat]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7003, 9.7.2010

  • Cambodia Is Open for Equity Ownership by Foreign Investments [according to the World Bank, Cambodia will allow foreign investors to take up to 100% of ownership in all sectors, except for electricity and the ports]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3927, 9.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Plans to Hold a Press Conference [about the courts and justice in Cambodia on 15 July 2010] a Day Ahead of the Deadline to Pay a Fine [for losing in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s defamation case]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #211, 9.7.2010

  • Cambodia Warned UN Officials Not to Interfere in Cambodian Affairs
  • Defense Lawyers [of former Khmer Rouge leader Nuon Chea] Asked [the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] to Investigate Political Interference into the Affairs of the Tribunal [they said that the government is interfering to threaten the right of their client in judicial hearings; the government opposes to question government officials and investigations of other former Khmer Rouge leaders]
  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Decided to Detain the Second Wife of Oknha Khov Chily over the [failed] Murders [of the wife and a daughter of a Senior Minister of the Cambodian People’s Party, a former FUNCINPEC minister of Public Works and Transportation, Mr. Sun Chanthol – Phnom Penh]
  • The Green Light Is Given for Marriages between Cambodians and South Koreans [the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, said that the ban on marriages is lifted after the Cambodian government has organized a clear monitoring mechanism against fake marriages and human trafficking]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5245, 9.7.2010

  • A Gay Man Was Killed and His Body Was Thrown Away at Kilometer 6 [of National Road 5, in the Russey Keo district of Phnom Penh; perpetrators are not yet identified]
  • Two People Died and Fifty Seven Others Are Having Severe Diarrhea [Svay Rieng]

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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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The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee Appealed to the Armed Forces to Protect the Interest of Citizens More Than That of Traders – Wednesday, 2.6.2010

Posted on 3 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“Through a press conference on Tuesday, 2 June 2010, groups of civil society organizations in Cambodia, including the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, the NGO Forum on Cambodia, and the Cambodian Housing Rights Task Force, appealed to the armed forces to protect the interest of citizens, and not that of private companies and traders.

“In the press conference also communities that are affected by land grabbing by companies participated. Also citizens of the Boeng Kak lake community that are facing land grabbing and eviction by the Shukaku company of Senator and Oknha Lao Meng Khin from the ruling party, citizens of the Amleang commune in the Thpong district, Kompong Speu, who are vigorously protesting against land grabbing by the Kompong Speu Sugar and the Phnom Penh Sugar companies of Senator and Oknha Ly Yong Phat from the ruling party, and citizens from Romeas Haek district in Svay Rieng, who suffer from land grabbing by the Peam Cheang Rubber Plantation company, participated.

“A representative of the Boeng Kak lake community in Phnom Penh, Ms. Huot Mony, told the story that has led to violations and intimidations, to grab their land and houses by the Shukaku Inc. company, where many citizens are staff of the Prime Minister’s advisory committees that came to settle there since 1980. In 1993, the number of citizens in the area increased. On 6 April 2006, the Phnom Penh Municipality summoned citizens to meet at the Srah Chok pagoda, informing them that all the citizens in the Boeng Kak lake area would receive land titles – but it then became quiet.

“What makes the Boeng Kak lake residents feel very disappointed and hurt is that the notification of the Phnom Penh Municipality, dated 6 February 2006, said that the Boeng Kak lake area is leased for 99 years for US$79.2 million, with the rate of US$0.60 per square meter, to the Shukaku Inc. company, to develop the area of 133 hectares, where 40 hectares are lake surface.

“Through this agreement, 4,252 families in the Boeng Kak lake area in the Srah Chok commune, Daun Penh district, have been seriously affected by the dredging of sand by the company to fill in the lake. This Boeng Kak lake representative added that the company had laid sand dredging pipes that cause the posts of their houses to become unstable, and they had ordered the authorities to threaten and to prevent citizens from repairing their houses. Some families took out their belongings and the inhabitants moved away, as they were afraid of the danger that their houses might collapse.

“Many problems had happened to the Boeng Kak lake residents – some are concerned that their houses might be burnt down, people might get electric shocks, or their houses might collapse. Sobbing while she was speaking, this representative called on the international community to think about the poor citizens who face evictions, before they decide to grant aid to the Cambodian government.

“Also, a representatives of citizens from the Kompong Speu community in the Amleang commune said that their condition is not much different from what the representative of the Boeng Kak lake area had mentioned.

“This representative said that the Amleang commune residents had worked on their rice fields since before the Khmer Rouge regime, except during the Khmer Rouge regime, and then after 1979, they continued to live on their land, doing farming. Just early this year, Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s company had ordered machinery to clear their farmland and to ban them from farming on their land.

“Facing such a situation leads to serious disappointments, and the activities of the government and of these companies are not a sign of poverty alleviation, but they add a heavier burden on the citizens. In the meantime, it was noticed that when protests against land grabbing took place, private companies often used armed forces to intimidate the victimized citizens. Some cases led to shootings at the citizens, but the perpetrators were not brought to be punished.

“Non-government organizations raised six important demands to the government:

  1. The citizens must be involved in all developments.
  2. There must be proper compensation and agreements when dealing with land disputes.
  3. There must be more effective land dispute mechanisms.
  4. Arrests of citizens over land disputes must be stopped.
  5. The government should be involved in solving land disputes, based on proper procedures.
  6. Armed forces should protect the interests of citizens, and not that of powerful traders.

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3895, 2.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #493, 2.5.2010

  • Land Disputes Increased in 2010, though Land Prices Dropped [according to the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee – more than 80 organizations were involved in 236 cases in 2009, compared to the corresponding period in 2010, there is an increase by 34.3%]
  • More Than 200,000 [Cambodian] Workers Are Working Illegally in Thailand [and seriously suffer from the exploitation of their labor – according to the Ministry of Interior]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2264, 2.5.2010

  • The United States of America Increases the Visa Fees to the USA from 4 June 2010 [from US$131 to US$140 for non-immigrant visas]
  • The King Issued a Royal Decree to Finalize the Appointments of Four Officials, and to Nominate Five Others [as advisors and under-secretaries of state; all of them are officials from the quota of FUNCINPEC]
  • The Number of Traffic Accidents within Five Months of 2010 Decreased, but the Number of Deaths Rose [there were 2,626 cases in 2010 which dropped by 145, but 804 people were killed, an increase by 11 deaths]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #671, 2.5.2010

  • [President of the National Assembly] Heng Samrin Does Not Allow Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians to Visit and Monitor the Putting of Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; the Sam Rainsy Party claims that the marker is planted on Khmer territory, while the government denies it]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6971, 2.5.2010

  • Traffic Accidents in 2009 Made the Government Waste US$248 Million in 2009 [1,717 people were killed and 7,022 others suffered from serious injuries]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3895, 2.5.2010

  • The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee Appealed to the Armed Forces to Protect the Interest of Citizens More Than That of Traders

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #184, 2.5.2010

  • Land Disputes Might Be a Hot Agenda in the Meeting between Cambodia and Donors Today
  • Cambodia Expressed the Position Not to Extradite [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin to Thailand [while the Thai government plans to send arrest warrants for Mr. Thaksin to 187 countries]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5213, 2.5.2010

  • The Forests in Oddar Meanchey Might Bring in US$30 Million from the Voluntary Carbon Market
  • A Tropical Strom Hit Two Districts in Siem Reap and Destroyed 373 Houses
  • Samdech Hun Sen Called on All National Institutions to Strongly Pay Attention to Children [he said so during the 61th anniversary of the International Children’s Day]
  • The National Assemblies of Cambodia and of Iran Encourage the Governments of Both Countries to Establish Embassies
  • Within Three Weeks, Nearly Riel 2 Million [approx. US$470] Has Been Charged from Those Throwing Away Rubbish in Public Places

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Cambodia Rejected Report of Amnesty International – Friday, 28.5.2010

Posted on 29 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“A government official rejected a report of Amnesty International on 27 May 2010. Amnesty International released its Amnesty International Report 2010 on human rights, saying that forced evictions affect the livelihood of thousands of families.

“The report mentions one case of the Group 78 in the Tonle Basak commune, Phnom Penh, and another case in the Chi Kraeng district, Siem Reap, where security forces used weapons to shoot at protesters injuring them. In conclusion, regarding forced evictions, Amnesty International wrote that there were at least 26 such cases, where 27,000 people, mostly the poor, were evicted.

“The report continues to say that police had arrested 149 people protesting against land grabbing. It says, ‘The rich and powerful continued to abuse the criminal justice system to silence people protesting against evictions and land grabs.’

“The spokesperson of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Tith Sothea, blamed the writers of the report that they did not study the actual situation in Cambodia before they started writing the report. Mr. Tith Sothea commented, ‘This group just want to control Cambodia, but does not help Cambodia with anything. They just attack the Cambodian government without any basis.’

“Amnesty International claims that they had sent their delegations to Cambodia several times; they wrote in this report that accusations against perpetrators raping women and girls were not always made, due to the weakness of the implementation of anti-corruption legislation by the courts and the frequent use of monetary arrangements outside of the court system [without criminal investigations and convictions]. The report adds that such solutions are normally made by negotiations between law enforcement officials and victims, to make the victims withdraw their complaints. Quoting different publication, the report noticed that the number of cases of rape of women and girls in general, as well as violence against women sex workers, keeps increasing. And these cases happen to victims who are younger and younger [many are below the age of 10].” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5209, 28.5.2010

Note:

In order to facilitate the evaluation of the controversial Amnesty International Report 2010, we select here the section of the Cambodia Country Report.

Amnesty International Report 2010

Amnesty International Report 2010

Forced evictions continued to affect thousands of families across the country, predominantly people living in poverty. Activists from communities affected by forced evictions and other land confiscations mobilized to join forces in protests and appeals to the authorities. A wave of legal actions against housing rights defenders, journalists and other critical voices stifled freedom of expression. The first trial to address past Khmer Rouge atrocities took place. The defendant, Duch, pleaded guilty, but later asked to be acquitted.

Background

At least 45,000 garment factory workers lost their jobs as a result of the global economic crisis and a number of companies reduced salaries. Surveys indicated growing mass youth unemployment as some 300,000 young people faced joblessness after completing their high school and bachelor degrees. For the first time, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered Cambodia’s state report, which the authorities had delayed submitting for 14 years. The Committee identified serious shortcomings in the implementation of a number of treaty obligations, including those relating to the judicial system, housing, and gender inequalities. Cambodia’s human rights record was reviewed under the UN Universal Periodic Review in December.

Forced evictions

Forced evictions continued to affect the lives of thousands of Cambodians. At least 26 forced evictions displaced around 27,000 people, the vast majority from communities living in poverty. In July, a number of international donors called for an end to forced evictions “until a fair and transparent mechanism for resolving land disputes is in place and a comprehensive resettlement policy” is established.

On 16/17 July 2009, security forces forcibly evicted Group 78, a community group in Phnom Penh, after a deeply flawed legal process. The last 60 families had no choice but to dismantle their houses and accept compensation that prevented them from living near their former homes and workplaces. Most of the families were relocated outside the city with few work prospects.

After civil society criticism, the World Bank attempted to strengthen safeguards in a multi-donor supported Land Management and Administration Project to protect security of tenure for people in urban slums and other vulnerable areas. In early September, the government responded by terminating its contract with the Bank.

Human rights defenders

The rich and powerful continued to abuse the criminal justice system to silence people protesting against evictions and land grabs. Police arrested at least 149 activists for their peaceful defense of the right to housing.

On 22 March 2009, security forces shot at unarmed villagers in Siem Reap province, injuring at least four people. The villagers, from Chikreng district, were protesting against the loss of farmland that had come under dispute. By the end of the year, no authority had investigated the shooting, but police had arrested at least 12 of the villagers, two of whom were subsequently convicted of robbery for attempting to harvest their rice on the disputed land. Seven were acquitted but remained in arbitrary detention pending a prosecutorial appeal.

Informal representatives from communities in most provinces increasingly formed grassroots networks,
jointly voicing concerns over forced evictions and intimidation.

International justice

In March, the historic first hearing of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC, Khmer Rouge Tribunal) took place with the trial of Kaing Guek Eav (known as Duch). Duch was commander of the notorious security prison S-21. During the 72-day hearing, survivors and victims of Khmer Rouge atrocities heard for the first time evidence against “those most responsible.” Duch admitted responsibility for crimes committed at S-21, including killing about 15,000 people.

The trial of four senior Khmer Rouge leaders was in preparation, and the International Co-Prosecutor submitted requests to open investigations into an additional five suspects. The Cambodian government spoke out against additional investigations saying they could lead to unrest, apparently in an attempt to exert influence over the tribunal.

In July, co-investigating judges decided to allow “confessions” obtained by torture as evidence in the case of Ieng Thirith. This breached the “exclusionary rule” in Article 15 of the UN Convention against Torture which binds the ECCC.

Freedom of expression –

A series of prosecutions of people who criticized government policies had a stifling effect on freedom of expression.

Courts sentenced newspaper editor Hang Chakra, and the director of an NGO, both affiliated to the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), to prison terms for peacefully expressing views.

The Phnom Penh Court convicted Mu Sochua, Secretary-General of the SRP, of defamation for filing a complaint – also for defamation – against the Prime Minister. She had no legal counsel because her lawyer had withdrawn from the case after receiving threats of legal action for speaking about the case at a press conference. Mu Sochua received a non-custodial sentence.

On 10 July 2009, one of the few remaining opposition-affiliated daily newspapers, Moneaksekar Khmer (Khmer Conscience), stopped publishing. The editor, Dam Sith, issued a public apology for articles, over which the government had requested a criminal investigation for “incitement.”

By the end of the year, police had made no progress on the investigation into the murder of Moneaksekar Khmer reporter Khim Sambor. He had been killed by unknown assailants during the July 2008 elections.

Legal, constitutional or institutional developments

On 12 October 2009, the National Assembly passed the new Penal Code. This retained defamation as a criminal offense. Opposition parliamentarians and civil society groups criticized a new Law on non-violent demonstrations, passed by the National Assembly in October. Authorities routinely denied permission for demonstrations and the law, if adopted, risked codifying such restrictions.

Violence against women and girls

Prosecution of rapists remained rare, due to poor law enforcement, corruption in the courts and widespread use of out-of-court financial settlements. Settlements were typically arranged by law enforcement officials and stipulated that the victim withdraw any criminal complaint. Reports indicated that rapes of women and girls, including sex workers, continued to increase, with the age of victims falling.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Cambodia in March/May, September and October/December.
  • Cambodia: Urban development or relocating slums? (ASA 23/002/2009)
  • Cambodia: After 30 years Khmer Rouge crimes on trial (ASA 23/003/2009)
  • Cambodia: Briefing for the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: 42nd session, May 2009 (ASA 23/004/2009)
  • Cambodia: Borei Keila – Lives at risk (ASA 23/008/2009)

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 28 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #489, 28.5.2010

  • The Government Rejected the Criticism [by the Sam Rainsy Party] over the Setting of Border Markers in Takeo [government official said that the claim by the Sam Rainsy Party that the Border Marker 270 was put in a rice field of a Cambodian farmer is only based on the farmer’s claim]
  • A Group of Ten Robbers Was Arrested [in Kompong Speu]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2260, 28.5.2010

  • UNDP: Cambodia Has the Opportunity to Reduce Poverty and to Boost Development through Income from the Mineral Sector

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #667, 28.5.2010

  • Parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party Voted to Add More Members to the Council of Ministers [“the cabinet”], Which Makes this Institution to Have Too Many Members

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6967, 28.5.2010

  • The Owner of the Phnom Yat Cloth Shop Was Threatened at Gun Point by a General [the victim’s family filed a complaint against the general – Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3819, 28.5.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: We Do Not Support the Nomination of More Government Members, Which Is Unnecessary, as Cambodia Is Poor

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #181, 28.5.2010

  • The National Assembly Voted to Nominate More Officials, as Requested by the Cambodian Government [one was appointed at the Prime Minister’s office, and ten others as secretaries of state at various ministries]
  • A New Elevated Road Will Be Constructed in the Disputed Boeng Kak Development Area

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5209, 28.5.2010

  • Cambodia Rejected Report of Amnesty International
  • The Opposition Party Asked for a Postponement of the Setting of Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Posts in Takeo [as Border Post 270 was put in a rice field of Khmer farmer]
  • Kangwon Province of the Republic of Korea Donated Four Firefighter Trucks and Twelve Ambulances to Siem Reap

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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