Just Deny… or Investigate and Clarify? – Sunday, 25.7.2010

Posted on 26 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

After the acting Asia Director of Human Rights Watch had presented a report Off the Streets: Arbitrary Detention and Other Abuses against Sex Workers in Cambodia to the press, and this was reported on 21.7.2010, on the following day of 22.7.2010 there was already another press report: “The Government Dismissed the Report of Human Rights Watch.”

As this 76-pages report is based, as it states, on more than 90 interviews and group discussions with sex workers in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, and Siem Reap, one wonders how a government spokesperson could dismiss such a report on the day after its public presentation – a report that contains Testimonies from sex workers from around the country. The denial cannot be based on an investigation of the details and facts claimed to be real, with names and locations of witnesses, unless there is no respect for the persons quoted, not assuming that some of the terrible experiences they describe are correct and deserve legal clarification.

The press reported from the presentation that some of these cases were claimed to have happened: “Some members of the police abuse sex workers without ever receiving any punishment, and police punch them, beat them with rattan sticks, batons, and electric shock batons. In some cases, sex workers have been raped by police while they were in detention, and all sex workers have to pay bribes, or their money was simply stolen by police.”

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia says in Article 31:

“Every Khmer citizens shall be equal before the law, enjoying the same rights, freedom and fulfilling the same obligations regardless of race, color, sex, language, religious belief, political tendency, birth origin, social status, wealth or other status.”

What are the implications – under the Constitution – when statements by Cambodian citizens who claim to have been victimized and abused by police, including the allegation of regular impunity, are dismissed and not taken up by agencies which should rather care for equal justice.

Human Rights Watch did not only report their observations, they also made practical proposals, as reported in the Khmer press:

“…the report of Human Rights Watch suggests the creation of a special committee to thoroughly and independently conduct investigations on violence and the extortion of money by law enforcement officials, by security guards working in the parks, and by staff or volunteers of municipal social rehabilitation centers; this committee should have representatives from the government who are capable and respectful, as well as from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Department of Social Affairs, UN agencies, non-government organizations, and representatives of sex workers.”

It seems that all this has now been dismissed – and the alleged impunity may continue without being investigated? – No investigation and clarified about what was wrong, and what was true and has to be punished according to the laws of the country?

On 26.7.2010 the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia – the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – will announce its first verdict, on the former head of the Tuol Sleng prison. He is the only one of the five persons facing the court who has not denied the accusations against him.

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National Holidays: Labor Day – Sunday – Royal Ploughing Ceremony – Saturday/Sunday/Monday, 1.-3.5.2010

Posted on 3 May 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 662 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 662

While the time runs and runs evenly, the different calendars – related to the year of the sun, or related to the phases of the moon, or related to cultural history and social-political events – have their own ways. And sometimes they lead to interesting crossings.

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony, roughly at the beginning of the rainy season, marks the start of the planting time. And royal astrologers will observe the preferences of the drought animals during the ceremony, which food they prefer – offered to them on seven trays, with beans, corn, grass, rice, sesame seeds, water, and wine – to predict the coming season’s harvest.

We do not keep a record for The Mirror to compare the predictions with the actual results of the harvest several months later. But we just assume that there is some margin of error in the predictions, according to the different animals involved.

During the week, the Prime Minister criticized the big Institutions of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asia Development Bank, for making different predictions for the performance of the Cambodian economy by the end of the year. While the different economic benchmarks monitor and evaluate probably hundreds of data – every institution working independently – is it not surprising that their predictions, depending on so many factors not under their control – are still fairly similar?

The international financial turmoil has brought also a lot of unforeseeable changes for the Cambodian workers in the export and tourism industries, who create a major share of international income for Cambodia. Their work in the textile and shoe factories, and their work to serve foreign tourists visiting the country, is commemorated during Labor Day.

While some international tourist advisories advertise the Royal Ploughing Ceremony as an event worthwhile to visit and observe, some embassies advise tourists to avoiding meetings and events of the organized workers unions, as these may be related to conflicts in society.

One important, positive statement had been reported during the week. The Prime Minister was reported to have said, “Trade Unions Are Not My Enemy, and to Demonstrate Is Their Right.” Though Article 36 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia clearly states that “Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to form and to be member of trade unions,” also the notion can be found often assuming that there is a fundamental conflict between the government and the labor unions. Industry and labor have, by their very nature, different interests. But the experience of economically strong democratic countries with a market economy system – like France or Germany of Japan – shows that their strength grew from a political system which allowed for both strong unions and strong associations of industrialists.

In spite of this statement by the Prime Minister, tensions between the authorities and organized labor were building up before the Labor Day, because of the unresolved murder of the former leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Chea Vichea, who was killed in January 2004. Two people were apprehended at that time; when they were presented to court with the claim that they had confessed to have committed the murder, they revoked, but though there were no witnesses testifying against them, and no evidence beyond their confessions in prison presented, they were sentenced to 20 years in prison. Because of these publicly discussed irregularities, also the former King Sihanouk expressed his doubt that the real murderers were in prison. In 2007, the Appeals Court upheld their conviction, in spite of several witnesses assuring that one of the accused was not in Phnom Penh on the day of the killing, but 60 km away. After nearly five years in prison, the Supreme Court cited unclear evidence and called for a new investigation in December 2008; since that time, the two accused are provisionally out of prison. By now, there is no public information about what happened since.

When Chea Vichea was killed, Bradley Cox, who had made a documentary “Cambodia: Anatomy of an Election,” happened to be not far away, and he arrived some minutes after the killing. He was able to document the murder scene, and later follow the story further – the funeral, and the subsequent police and court actions.

Now the brother of Chea Vichea, Chea Mony, is the president of the Free Trade Union, and they had the plan to publicly show this documentary, “Who Killed Chea Vichea” [a trailer is available here]. The Khmer media had reported during the week various reasons why the authorities will not allow this documentary to be shown – the film would have to be first presented to the Ministry of Culture with a request to get it approved, or: this documentary has been imported illegally – while the Union intended to show it anyway near the place where Chea Vichea has been gunned down, while he was reading a newspaper.

This is a report from 1 May 2010 on the Internet:

1 May 2010 –
Cambodia screening is stopped before it starts

Cambodian workers who hoped to see Who Killed Chea Vichea? on Saturday didn’t get so much as a bite of popcorn before police intervened and tore down the screen.

Here’s what we’ve got so far, from witnesses on the scene:

The workers’ march arrived at the screening site, in front of the newsstand where Vichea was killed, around 5:00 p.m.

They were met by a force of some 100 police, many in riot gear, as well as local officials and a large group of other men not in uniform, presumably plainclothes security forces.

The organizers went ahead and erected the screen, which was made out of sheets. The police immediately told the main organizer, Rong Chhun of the Union Confederation, to take it down as he did not have a permit. When he refused, they pushed in and pulled it down.

Mr. Chhun returned with a second screen, accompanied by opposition members of parliament, but that screen too was seized.

The workers resisted only briefly. “We did not want to have a big scene as we were outnumbered,” said one participant. “They were there to break down anything and for sure it would have been real force had we resisted and shown the movie.”

So far there are no reports of any arrests or injuries.

So the film was not shown publicly – in Cambodia. But the events of 1 May 2010 will probably contribute to get much more attention for it internationally, where it is scheduled to be shown at the following film festivals:

filmfestivals

filmfestivals

The demonstrations on 1 May 2010 of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia were not focused on the past. The ILO report in The Mirror from last Friday, 30.4.2010, “More Than 1,500 Workers Die Every Year in Cambodia because of Occupational Accidents” shows more problems ahead, in addition to the demands to raise the minimal wages – while facing the consequences of the international economic crisis, including an increasing competition for garment exports from other big exporters in the region – from China and from Vietnam.

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ADHOC Encourages the Siamese Authorities to Investigate Shootings against Khmer Citizens Who Crossed the Border Illegally – Thursday, 4.3.2010

Posted on 4 March 2010. Filed under: Week 654 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654

“The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC] again appealed to the authorities of the Siamese [Thai] government to investigate cruel shootings by Siamese solders against Khmer citizens who just crossed the border illegally to find jobs to earn their daily living.

“The chief investigator of ADHOC, Mr. Ny Chakriya, said in a press conference at the organization’s headquarters in the morning of 3 March 2010, ‘We ask the [Cambodian] authorities to please put pressure on the Thai authorities and soldiers who fatally shot innocent Cambodians.’

“The appeal was made towards the international community, especially all signatory countries respecting human rights, to look at the cruelties of Siamese soldiers against Cambodian civilians, because since 2008, it has been observed that more than 20 Khmer citizens had been shot dead or wounded.

“Mr. Ny Chakriya said that such cases were seen happening from 2008 to early 2010, but the Thai authorities have not conducted any investigations. According to Mr. Ny Chakriya, this call being made during a press conference is another invitation to the Siamese authorities and government to take urgent actions to investigate the crimes, according to the laws, in order to show that Siam [Thailand] is a country that respects the law.

“To reflect the atrocities of Siamese authorities and soldiers against Khmer citizens, during the Wednesday conference, ADHOC invited victims who had been able to escape from shootings by Thai soldiers, and victim’s families, to tell journalists about their sufferings.

“Ms. Boun Tha, 43, living in Sla Kram commune, Siem Reap, whose children were shot dead, recalled that Siamese authorities had called her to take the bodies of her children, but along the way, she saw that some Thai persons dragged her children’s bodies and kicked them like animals.

“She added, ‘It was very cruel; they had covered and bound my children’s eyes and they kicked my children with their boots, disfiguring their faces. They were very bad. They mistreated innocent Khmer citizens.’

“In addition, she stressed that according to those who witnessed the event directly, her 18-year-old son cried for help from his father many times until he fainted. After that, they hit his face with their boots and shot him.

“According to ADHOC, by now it has been already 20 months during which 20 Cambodians suffered from shooting, torture, and killing by Thai soldiers along the Cambodian-Thai border. But so far, the Thai authorities have not shown a real intention to investigate, accuse, and prosecute the perpetrators, in order to provide justice to the Cambodian victims.

“Therefore, ADHOC criticized that the Siamese authorities do not show respect for human rights. Quite in contrast, there are no actions taken against perpetrators, which seems to mean that the Siamese authorities are allowing such bad violence to happen.

“According to ADHOC, the victims and their families who encounter such atrocities from Siamese solders, together with other witnesses, will file lawsuits related to these crimes committed by the Thai authorities. It is time that the Siamese authorities take notice of these complaints, and they have to respond to what happened.

“In the meantime, the human rights organization ADHOC warned that there must be no more such serious human rights violations without punishment according to the laws. ADHOC stressed that the political tension between Cambodia and Siam is not the reason that the military of their country shows their anger in this way against innocent people. ADHOC said the military tension between Cambodia and Thailand is not an appropriate reason for fatal shootings of weak and innocent people.

“However, regarding serious human rights violations by Siamese solders and their authorities, both civil society and Cambodian citizens demand the government to increase honest investments in Cambodia and to halt grabbing land of farmers for wicked investors.

“This is the only way to reduce the risky migration of Khmer citizens [abroad looking for employment]. Also, this will help to keep the government’s face from being embarrassed, as it happened recently, when it was reported that Siam and Yuon [Vietnam] sent Khmer beggars back to Cambodia. Otherwise, that Khmer officials are rich, only around 18% of the millions of Khmer citizens, as found by the Asian Development Bank, is just the richness of millionaires on a garbage dump.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3823, 4.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 4 March 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1432, 4-5.3.2010

  • A Woman Was Attacked with Acid, Burning Her Body while She Was Riding on a Motorbike with Her Boyfriend from a Restaurant [the two perpetrators are not yet identified – Phnom Penh]

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #425, 4.3.2010

  • Cambodia Needs US$800 Million for the Development of Renewable Energy [according to the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2192, 4.3.2010

  • Two Chinese Men Were Convicted to Serve Twenty 29 in Prison and Three Khmers [15 years] for Drug Production and Smuggling [Phnom Penh]
  • [Vietnamese] Migrants Doing Day-Businesses [like selling fuel and charging batteries] Discharge Waste into the Rivers [but the authorities do not care about it – Kompong Chhnang]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #617, 4.3.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Summons Mr. Sam Rainsy [now in France], to Appear on 9 March 2010 [regarding a government lawsuit over border issues]
  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Son Chhay: Cambodia Needs Much More Time so that the Power of the Courts Become Stronger Than Individual Power [of some powerful people – therefore the courts are not yet independent]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6899, 4.3.2010

  • The United States of America Plans to Deliver Statues of the Buddha and Khmer Artifacts to Cambodia in July 2010 [those artifacts were trafficked to America and identified them as belonging to Cambodia – so they are to be returned]
  • [More than 300] Citizens from Eleven Villages Protest over Land Clearance Activities by a Company [the Kompong Speu Sugar Company, which affects their farmland; the company invests to plant sugarcane on 9,000 hectares of land – Kompong Speu]
  • [Twenty four] Korean Volunteer Doctors Provide Free Treatment for Khmer Citizens, Especially Teachers and Students [in Sihanoukville]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3823, 4.3.2010

  • ADHOC Encourages the Siamese Authorities to Investigate Shootings against Khmer Citizens Who Crossed the Border Illegally

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #123, 4.3.2010

  • Cambodia Will Do Military Exercises by Shooting [200] BM21 Rockets [in Kompong Chhnang]; It Is Not a Show of Muscle, but to Strengthening the National Defense Capacity
  • [Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy] Suy Sem: Electricity Supply Will Rise by 25% in 2010 [as Cambodia gets additional power from Vietnam]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5141, 4.3.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: Cambodia Has Already Prepared a Draft to Sue Thailand at the UN Security Council for the Aggression Committed [at the Preah Vihear region]
  • Samdech Dekchor Encourages All Television Stations to Produce and Broadcast National and Cultural Arts

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A Criminal Police Official Did Car Racing Contrary to His Role, and a Car Mechanic Criticized Him and Was Assaulted for It Seriously – Tuesday, 15.12.2009

Posted on 16 December 2009. Filed under: Week 643 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 643

Note:

Apologies for the delay – no electricity yesterday afternoon and evening.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: A deputy director of the lower criminal police office of the Phnom Penh Police was accused by citizens of using violence, and using a pistol to threaten and shoot at a car mechanic, at the Heng Heng car garage, located at House 12, Street 39, Srah Chak commune, Daun Penh district, Phnom Penh, at 7:35 p.m. on 13 December 2009.

“The victim, who was tortured, is Khat Dara – called Chhoam, male, 25. He stays at House 28, Street 216, in Khmuonh commune, Sen Sok district. He is a car mechanic of the Heng Heng car garage.

“Witnesses at the site said that relatives of the owner of the Heng Heng car garage, and mechanics were having dinner. Suddenly, two cars, one a dark green Corolla and the other one a golden ‘Shark’ Camry [popular name as the front part looks like a shark’s head], came racing each other; the drivers seemed heavily drunk. Some said that they raced in the center of Phnom Penh as if it were in a Hong Kong action movie. While the two cars went across the Heng Heng car garage compound, a mechanic, Khat Dara (who later became victimized) shouted to warn children not to cross the road, being afraid an accident might happen. The driver of the Corolla seemed to hear it and stepped on the brake, but was hit by the Shark Camry following from behind, that hit the back of the Corolla, damaging its bumper and number plate. Then the owner of the Corolla stepped out: he is known as the deputy director of the lower criminal police office of the Phnom Penh Police, his nick name is Tivea 06 [‘Anniversary 06’] while the owner of the Shark Camry is a military police official.

“After he came out of his car, strongly smelling of wine, the police officer Tivea 06 shouted, ‘Who shouted at me?’ and the mechanic, Khat Dara, called Chhoam, walked towards this police official to tell him that he had no intention to shout at him, but he just warned the children not to cross the road. In response, Mr. Tivea 06 pulled his two inch pistol, to hit the victim on the head many times, then he kicked the victim very hard, which he should not do, as he is a police official who has to enforce the law. Next, Mr. Tivea 06 and his partner, known as a military police official, dragged the victim into the Chen Dom Dek Pagoda, where he continued to hit him all over, and even tried to shot at him twice, but it was fortunate that the gun did not work.

“A Witness added that as Mr. Tivea 06 got angry because his gun did not work, he then called his fellow police through a walkie-talkie, to come with three motorbikes to the site to handcuff and to take the victim to the lower criminal police office of the Phnom Penh Police.

“A Phnom Penh police official said that when the victim arrived at that station, Mr. Tivea 06 remained angry, and used an electric wire to shock the victim, so that he fainted. After that, probably because the cruel torture was heard by a brigadier of the Phnom Penh Police, Mr. Tivea ordered his fellow police to use a towel to wipe the blood from the victim’s face, and to change his clothes, and to send him by car to the Calmette Hospital.

“Citizens who witnessed the event condemned Mr. Tivea 06, now the deputy director of the Phnom Penh lower criminal police office, saying that he should not be a police official who has to enforce the law. If he is good at assaulting innocent citizen like this, he should go to Preah Vihear, because the government is seeking strong persons to protect the border from many enemies! The family of the victim, of Khat Dara, will lodge a complaint at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to find justice. Citizens at the site of the event shouted loudly that the deputy director of the Phnom Penh lower criminal police office, Mr. Tivea 06, should be a model for citizens in obeying and implementing the law, but he is a cruel person, who actively broke the law, and he should not be allowed to keep on working, as he is such bad model.

Koh Santepheap tried to ask for clarification from Major Neang Sokna, called Tivea 06, in the evening of 13 December 2009, but could not reach him.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6831, 15.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #362, 15.12.2009

  • The Siamese [Thai] Spy Was Freed, while [the Thai ousted and now fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Came to Visit Hun Sen
  • The First Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Vietnam [Mr. Nông Đức Mạnh – Nong Duc Manh], Will Visit Cambodia on 17 December 2009 [in response to an invitation from the King]
  • Robbers Gunned Down the Wife of a Village Chief, and Took Away Riel 17 Million Safely [approx. US$4,250 – Pursat]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2124, 15.12.2009

  • [The Minister of Industry, Mines, and Energy] Suy Sem: In Late 2011, Electricity Costs in Cambodia Will Be Cheaper [because of the Kamchay hydro-electric dam which will produce 193 megawatts when it operates, and in addition, 200 megawatts from Vietnam will have been connected]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #696, 15.12.2009

  • The Court Requires Sam Rainsy [who is now abroad], to Appear over an Accusation of Destruction of State Property [for removing Cambodian-Vietnamese temporary border makers], and for Creating a Nationalist Incitement

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #555, 15.12.2009

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Arrived at the Border, and Found the Fact that Farmers Had Lost Some of Their Rice Fields [to Vietnam]; Soldiers and Police Armed with Shields and Electric Batons Blocked the Way of the Parliamentarians [to check the temporary border markers]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6831, 15.12.2009

  • A Criminal Police Official Did Car Racing Contrary to His Role, and a Car Mechanic Criticized Him and Was Assaulted for It Seriously
  • The Construction of a Water Pumping Station [in Svay Pak commune, Russey Keo district], Starts, so that the North of Phnom Penh Should No Longer be Flooded [it can pump 50.4 cubic meters per hour, and the construction will be finished within 9 months]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #67, 15.12.2009

  • The Authorities Announced Not to Issue Land Ownership Titles for Some Regions [in Phnom Penh: seven regions in the Tonle Basak commune, Chamkar Mon district, claming that those regions are “complex” – no further explanation]
  • In 2010 Cambodia Will Yield 7.3 Million Tonnes for Paddy Rice, Where 3.2 Million Tonnes Can Be Exported [according to the Ministry of Agriculture]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5073, 15.12.2009

  • The Thai Spy Was Released and Returned to Bangkok after Directly Receiving the Letter of Pardon from Samdech Dekchor [Hun Sen at his resident]
  • A Soldier Truck Loaded with Wood Hit People and Overturned Suddenly, Killing Two and Injuring More Than 10 [Siem Reap]
  • The United States Donated a Set of Devices to Scan for Radioactivity, Worth US$3 Million, to the Cambodian Government
  • The Italian Prime Minister’s Nose and Teeth Were Broken because a Miniature Replica of the Milan Cathedral was thrown at him by a man [who was then detained]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1833, 15.12.2009

  • The Authorities Failed to Prevent Citizens and Opposition Party Parliamentarians to Check the Border Markers [in Svay Rieng – they went around the road blocks]

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The Prime Minister Said that to Summon More Khmer Rouge Leaders for Questioning Is Fatal – Friday, 4.12.2009

Posted on 5 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

“The Prime Minister said, ‘Some do take the opportunity to use the Khmer Rouge court again and again… it is a fatal case. I do not interfere in the court affairs, but the court did not put off the war [with the Khmer Rouge]; and be careful, in case the court creates war and division in the society again…’

“This statement was made by Prime Minister Hun Sen again on 3 December 2009 during the 27th International Day of Disabled Persons in Phnom Penh, in relation to the intention of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to summon more people to testify.

“On 30 November 2009, the lawyer of a Khmer Rouge leader demanded that the investigating judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal question Prime Minister Hun Sen and some government officials, for having politically interfered in the affairs of this court. But yesterday, the head of the government, Mr. Hun Sen, stated that he does not interfere in the court affairs, but he just pointed to intentions to destroy the peace, which could hardly be recovered by summoning more former Khmer Rough leaders for questioning. This kind of an expression of concern is considered by a foreign defense lawyer of a former Khmer Rouge leader to be a criminal offense.

“Nuon Chea’s defense lawyer mentioned Prime Minister Hun Sen’s words, saying in September 2009, that the Prime Minister stated that he himself fled from the communist regime in 1977, adding that witnesses do not need to testify at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“Nuon Chea’s defense lawyer, Mr. Michael Pestman, said to the news agency AFP and was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post, for their publication on 30 November 2009, as saying, ‘Mr. Hun Sen really told all summoned witnesses that they do not need to cooperate with the tribunal. That means he committed a criminal offense and it seriously affects the legal investigations of this court.’

“A similar suggestion, which AFP had received, mentioned the words of government officials they had used in October 2009 that the six parliamentarians and high ranking officials of the government, summoned by this court, do not need to testify.

“Mr. Pestman added, ‘Mr. Hun Sen’s statement is affecting the hearings to seek justice for our clients, because those government officials are direct witnesses whom we need for this process.’ He added, ‘At least, these words can weaken the legitimacy of the court.’

‘Yesterday morning, Mr. Hun Sen did not exactly refer to any Khmer or foreign lawyers, prosecutors, or judges, but stressed that this measure intends just to provoke turmoil in Cambodia.

“Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘They try to create turmoil in order to exploit the benefits for themselves.’

“After the celebration of the International Day of Disabled Persons yesterday, Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘From 1993 till now, when Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, and other leaders of the Khmer Rouge cabinet arrived back, we considered this as the stage where the political and military organizations of the Khmer Rouge had been dissolved.’

“Mr. Hun Sen added that he would rather let the Khmer Rouge Tribunal fail, than would he let it to create a new war in Cambodia. He stated, ‘A hearing is just a hearing, but the peace must be kept also, and national unity must be maintained. You must balance these. Do not play with them, it can be fatal; and 100,000 to 200,000 people would die if there would be war again; who will then call the Khmer Rouge, or go to call them back from the forest again? I am old now. When I went to call the brothers and sisters [the former Khmer Rouge people] back from the forest, I was not yet 50 years old… I would rather let the court fail, but I will not let war break out. I want to say this clearly to the people. If the court fails, let it be.’

“Mr. Hun Sen is the 7th person who was to be summoned to testify.

“Even though Mr. Hun Sen is worried about the breaking out of war again because of the summons for more former Khmer Rouge leaders, the former prime minister of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea in the 1980s, Mr. Pen Sovann, supports the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to summon more former Khmer Rouge leaders to testify, who are now high ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party.

“On 8 October 2009, Mr. Pen Sovann told Khmer Machas Srok related to this case that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is an independent and professional court which can provide justice to Khmer citizens who are victims of the Khmer Rouge. He said, ‘Nobody who was involved in the past Khmer Rouge history, no politician, should interfere in this court, because this court is independent… I support this court as it has its rights, its independence, and its role.’

“Prime Minister Hun Sen frequently warned that there will be instability if this court continues to summon more former Khmer Rouge leaders for questioning. But Mr. Pen Sovann claimed that there will not be any instability. He went on to say, ‘I think that this could not happen. It is only the personal opinion of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen; he wants to protect persons of the former the Khmer Rouge Regime.’

“The four top former Khmer Rouge leaders, who are at present already being detained, are the former head of state, Mr. Khieu Samphan; the former president of the National Assembly, Mr. Nuon Chea; the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ieng Sary; and the former Minister of Social Affairs, Ms. Ieng Thirith; in addition, there is also the former S-21 (Tuol Sleng) prison chief Duch, who was a middle level leader, who was brought first to the hearings.

“On 7 October 2009, the French investigating judge, Mr. Marcel Lemonde, and also a co-judge of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, summoned six high ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party to give testimony. Those six officials are the president of the Senate and of the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Chea Sim; the honorary president of the Cambodian People’s Party and president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin; the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong; and two other senators, Mr. Sim Ka and Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun. Mr. Hun Sen is the 7th person of the Cambodian People’s Party who was summoned for questioning and to testify.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #546, 4.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 4 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #353, 4.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: I Would rather Let the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Fail Than Let the Country Fall into War Again
  • The Prime Minister Encourages the Provision of Job Opportunities to Disabled People [he said this during the celebration of the International Day of Disabled Persons; at present there are 19,232 disabled people in Cambodia; their rate declined from 2% in 1998 to 1.4% in 2008]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2115, 4.12.2009

  • The Number of People Infected with A/H1N1 Increased to 480 [and there were five deaths]
  • An American Official [Ms. Diane Whitten from the US embassy in Phnom Penh] Wants That More Khmer Students Study in the United States [and return to develop the country]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #689, 4.12.2009

  • The United States Helps to Prepare the Angkor Guard Military Exercises in 2010 in Cambodia, with 23 Countries Participating [US$1,800,000 was granted to prepare an area for the exercises]
  • The Ministry of Health Closed Three Clinics within One Week [the Beijing Clinic in Ratanakiri, and the Russey Keo, and the Bopha Meas Clinics in Phnom Penh, where recently patients died because of neglect, and for not following some principles of the Ministry of Health] while Some Big State Hospitals Are Privatized

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #546, 4.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Said that to Summon More Khmer Rouge Leaders for Questioning Is Fatal

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6822, 4.12.2009

  • The Former Malaysian Prime Minister Brings Donations for Cambodian Muslim People Who Suffered from a Big Fire [in Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #60, 4.12.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: I Do Not Interfere in the Court [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Foreign Investment Dropped by Almost 100% in October this Year [the investment was only US$15.5 million while last year during the same month, it amounted to US$869.8 million; according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), it declined due to the collapse of banks where many investors had asked for loans for investment]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5064, 4.12.2009

  • Cambodia Denied that Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Went to Welcome the Mother of the Thai [alleged] Spy at the Airport [when she came to visit her son]
  • Cambodia Asked the Former Malaysian Prime Minister to Look at Cambodian Rice [for possible export to Malaysia]
  • A Man Rides a Bicycle across 12 Countries to Collect Donations for Cambodian Disabled Persons [Mr. Ben King, New Zealander; look at http://bikeben.com]
  • Cambodia Asked China [through a Chinese parliamentarian delegation] to Help Train Human Resources to Repair and Preserve Temples and to Find a Ship That Sank in Koh Kong [during the 14th or 15th century]
  • The First European Union – Asian Cultural Event Will Be Organized [on 4 December 2009 at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1826, 4-6.12.2009

  • The Diplomatic Dispute between Siam [Thailand] and Cambodia Is Destroying the Plan to Construct the ASEAN Railroad [to connect the ASEAN states to the South of China]

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The Government Explains Land and House Taxes and the Road Taxes’ Increase – Tuesday, 1.12.2009

Posted on 2 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol.13, No.641

“Phnom Penh: Government officials and parliamentarians from the Cambodian People’s Party explained in detail the regulations for setting of taxes on land and houses, and the increase of road taxes in 2010. This decision is part of the decisions for the national budget for 2010 which the National Assembly discussed and approved on Monday 30 November 2009.

“Defending the national budget draft for 2010, officially known as a financial management law for 2010, during the parliament session on Monday morning, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon, said that the increase of road taxes and the collection of taxes for real estate including land, houses, buildings, and constructions are a measure to seek additional income while Cambodia is encountering an economic and financial crisis.

“Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon added that measures of the government to create taxes on land and houses is not expected to bring in much here in Phnom Penh, because there are 180,000 houses from which only US$3 million to US$9 million can be made. This tax collection will surely be made from high ranking officials and rich people, but it does not have an impact like the tax rates of land and houses in foreign countries, where up to 1% of the total value is charged. In our country, it is only 0.1%. The government will use it to reduce the state support of resources to under national levels and to expand taxation culture which is a movement for direct tax income in the future.

“Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon stressed that this new tax was created after proper studies, by an assessment committee, but it is not to frighten the people.

“This statement of the Minister of Economy and Finance is a defense and a response to the criticism of Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians when the parliament begun discussing to approve a draft of the national budget for 2010.

“The total national budget for 2010, about US$2 billion, was criticized by the Sam Rainsy Party because of the increased expense allocated for national defense and security, which amounts to about US$274 million, while expenses allocated for agriculture and contributing to the development of the national economy were increased by only 5%.

“Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians also opposed the policy to collect land and house taxes, and to augment road taxes from automobiles, which is proposed as a measure to increase income for state expense in 2010.

“Parliamentarian and spokesperson of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, said during the parliament session that to augment road taxes and the collection of land and house taxes are strange moves and cannot be supported. Both the rich and the poor cannot cry during the economic crisis at present, because their houses and their land cannot be sold, and some even are indebted to banks.

“The parliamentarian Yim Sovann suggested that the government should try to be brave to collect other taxes, like from visits to the Angkor Wat Temples [contracted to a private company], from forest exploitation, from land contracted out as economic concession land, and to monitor the selling of state property, so that it becomes transparent. Doing so, the state will have increased income and does not need to collect taxes from houses and to increase the road tax.

“The National budget law for 2010 says that taxes will be collected from real estate such as land, houses, buildings, constructions, and others, with a value over Riel 100,000,000 [approx. US$25,000]. The tax will be collected annually at a rate of 0.1% of the total value of the real estate. But the tax excludes agricultural land, and land and buildings of the government, of communities, or individuals who serve religious or humanitarian activities. But houses for normal citizens must pay taxes.

“The budget law for 2010 foresees also an increase of taxes on means transportation including automobiles (road taxes):

  1. Vehicles with a power over 12 HP to 17 HP, within 5 years from their production date, have to pay Riel 500,000 [approx. US$125] each year, and after the 5th years, it is Riel 360,000 [approx. US$90].
  2. Cars with a power over 17 HP to 24 HP, within 5 years from their production date, have to pay Riel 1,600,000 [approx. US$400], and after the 5th year, it is Riel 1,200,000 [approx. US$300].
  3. Cars with a power over 24 HP, like Lexus’ and Land Cruisers, had to pay only Riel 1,000,000 [approx. US$250] for road tax in the previous year, but next year, they will be charged Riel 2,000,000 [approx. US$500].
  4. As for passengers’, general transportation, and tourists’ cars with a power of 12 HP, and small motorbikes, their taxes are kept at the same level.

“However, 106 parliamentarians among 109, who were present during the session on Monday morning, raised their hand in favor of the overall content to accept the draft of the national budget for 2010 to be discussed and approved. The Parliament session continued until Monday afternoon, and the parliament plans to continue to discuss the national budget law, which consists of 6 chapters and 20 articles, on Tuesday morning.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5061, 1.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #350, 1.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Ordered All State Institutions and Provincial Authorities to Review All Agreements with the Siamese [Thai] Government
  • More Than 40 Persons from Civil Society Organizations of Cambodia Will Attend the Geneva Meetings [on 1 December 2009, of the UN Human Rights Council, of the first Universal Periodic Review of human rights practices in Cambodia]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2112, 1.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor Considers [Thai prime minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva and [Thai foreign minister] Kasit Piromya as Evil Persons for Cambodia [but he proclaimed to support all Thai investors]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Warned Members of the Royal Family Who Speak Publicly Affecting the King’s health
  • The Odor of a Decaying Body of a Woman Was Found in the Forest, and It Is Assumed that it is a Case of Rape Murder [Kandal]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #543, 1.12.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Got Angry with [the Thai Minster of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya after [the Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Rejected Negotiations to Restore Diplomatic Ties [as long as the convicted and fugitive former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is an official adviser to the Cambodian government

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6819, 1.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: Agreements with Thailand Were Suspended, and Even Scholarships for Students Were also Suspended, so that Nobody will Owe Any Gratitude to Thailand
  • Illegal Loggings Still Exist without Any Effective Measures to Prevent Logging in Kompong Thom

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #57, 1.12.2009

  • The Khmer Prime Minister Warned Thai Leaders Not to Look Down on Khmers, and He Suspended all Aid from the Government of [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva
  • [Former Khmer Rouge leader] Nuon Chea’s Lawyer [Mr. Michael Pestman] Asked the Court to Investigate the Prime Minister for Political Interference [in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal; Mr. Pestman said that Mr. Hun Sen had told all witnesses not to cooperate with this tribunal, accusing Mr. Hun Sen of committing a criminal mistake, which seriously affects legal investigations by this court]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5061, 1.12.2009

  • Samdech Hun Sen: [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Should Stop Finding Ways to Press Cambodia
  • The Government Explains Land and House Taxes and the Road Taxes’ increase
  • A Car Struck a Motorbike, Killing One and Injuring Three [Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1823, 1.12.2009

  • Vietnamese Garments with Cambodian Labels [“Made in Cambodia”] to Be Exported to America Are Found [to exploit the Cambodian export quote limits from Vietnam

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The Wind Changes Its Direction: Chea Ratha Was Sentenced to Serve 18 Years in Prison – Saturday, 28.11.2009

Posted on 30 November 2009. Filed under: Week 640 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 640

“Phnom Penh: The Appeals Court of Cambodia issued a surprising decision, sentencing Ms. Chea Ratha [a former military police brigadier general, who had a lesbian relationship with actress In Soklida] for 18 years to jail for an acid attack against the aunt of the actress In Soklida, and also other accomplices are to be imprisoned. The decision made by the Appeals Court at this time is totally in contrast to the former decisions made by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to dismiss the accusations against the accused persons.

“The acid attack against Ms. In Soklida’s aunt had been brought for a hearing and judgment by the Appeals Court on 27 November 2009, with Mr. Seng Sivutha as the head of the council of judges, with Mr. Nhoung Thul and Mr. Thou Monei as members, and with Mr. Hean Rith as representative of the prosecutors.

“The judgment decided to uphold Decision 82, dated 31 August 2009, of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, but rejected Point 1, which is related to punishments for all who had been charged. The new decision of the Appeals Court exempts Meas Mao, male, 40; and Meas Chandy from the charge of illegal gun use, but sentenced them to serve 18 years in prison for violating the right of an individual, and for planned and attempted murder. Chea Ratha, female, 43, was removed from the charge of illegal use of a weapon, but she is convicted to serve 18 years in prison for planned and attempted murder. Ie Puthea, male, 33, and San Savuth, called San Sanut or Nut, 29, were freed from the charge of using a weapon illegally, but are to be imprisoned for 15 years for violating the right of an individual, and for collusion in a planed and attempted murder. Siek Sophal, male, was removed from the charge of using a weapon illegally, but is to be jailed for 15 years. Chan Dara, male, was removed from the charge of using a weapon illegally, of violating the right of an individual, and of collusion in an attempted murder, that means he is free from all accusations. All the six accused persons were ordered to pay to cover the cost of the medical treatment and to compensate the plaintiff with US$100,000, and an arrest warrant was issued to arrest those who escaped.

“It should be noted that the acid attack against Ms. In Soklida’s aunt occurred on 8 May 2008 in front of the RHAC Hospital on street 433, Tuol Tumpung 1, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh.

“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court had sentenced to dismiss the accusations against all accused persons, but the plaintiff’s lawyer later appealed against this judgment, and there was also a complaint from the prosecutor of the Appeals Court dated 23 September 2009.

“The reason leading to this new judgment is that there was an acid attack against the victim Ya Sok Nim, Ms. In Soklida’s aunt, by two unidentified persons, who rode a 2008 Viva motorbike, and then stopped behind her to attack her with acid, and escaped.

“After the event, the victim’s husband lodged a complaint to the authorities to solve the case according to the law, but he could not identify the perpetrators’ faces.

“According to a note of the victim read by a clerk, a day ahead of the attack, bodyguards and Chea Ratha came to her house to ask for information about her niece (In Soklida), but she said that she did not know where she was. They asked to check in the house, but they still could not find her. Then they left.

“A few days later, Chea Ratha phoned to warn her, ‘If you do not deliver In Soklida, there will be bloodshed.’ This i was recorded, and her voice was played in the municipal court. Later on, the acid attack happened on 8 May 2008.

“Sok Chey, a person who witnessed the event, said he saw two men, whose faces he could not identify as they wore masks, but remembers their appearance, as they appeared behind the victim, attacked her with acid, and escaped.

“After that, police arrested two perpetrators, after showing their photos to the victim. The victim was sure that they were the perpetrators, bodyguards of Chea Ratha, as the victim had gone to the accused’s house [Mr. Chea Ratha’s house].

“After hearing the information and conclusions from the prosecutors, the Appeals Court took the decision as mentioned above.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5059, 28.11.2009

Note:

The Camboia Daily reported on Saturday/Sunday 28/29, November 2009:

“Mr. Ratha’s defense attorneys Keo Ya and Nach Try, who had lobbied Cabinet Minister Sok An ahead of the municipal court trial of Mr. Ratha seeking his intervention to have the case dropped, said they were unaware of their client’s whereabouts. Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said on Thursday that the lawyer’s letter was not considered in any way by Mr. Sok An, as it was the work of the courts.”

“There was no report that the office of the Deputy Prime Minster rejected this attempt, requesting an illegal act of influencing the court.”

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 28 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #348, 28.11.2009

  • The Asian Development Bank Provides a US$10 Million Loan to Cambodia to Counter the Impacts of the Economic Crisis
  • Cambodia Has a Family Counseling and Strengthening Center Called “Mlub Kruasa Center [“Family Shade” – in Phnom Penh, assisted by the French government]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2110, 28.11.2009

  • [Former Tuol Sleng prison chief] Duch Asked the Court to Release Him [he said so during the last hearing of Case 001 on 27.11.2009 at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Because Somebody Just Looked Straight at His Face, Man Drew a Gun and Shot to Kill Another Man among the Crowd [the victim was injured while the perpetrator was arrested – Phnom Penh]
  • A Ghanaian Man Was Arrested after His Girlfriend Reported that He Was Involved in Cross Border Drug Smuggling [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #541, 28.11.2009

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Asked [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Send the Border Demarcation Document with Yuon [Vietnam] to the National Assembly

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6817, 28-29.11.2009

  • A Loan from Thailand Was Canceled, but Government Officials Said that Cambodia Has Sufficient Resources to Improve the 117 km of Road 68 [spending about US$41 million without the Thai loan -the Road 68 goes from Kralanh district in Siem Reap to Ou Smach and Samrong districts in Oddar Meanchey]
  • Nineteen Companies Received Economic Concession Land of More Than 80,000 Hectares, where Some Companies Are Having Disputes with Citizens [according to a report of the forestry authorities in Kompong Thom]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5059, 28.11.2009

  • The Wind Changes Its Direction: Chea Ratha Was Sentenced to Serve 18 Years in Prison
  • In 2010 the State Starts to Collect Tax from House Owners [at 0.1% of a the value of a house]
  • The Sihanoukville Port Announced the Start the Construction of a Special Economic Zone [on 70 hectares of land]
  • Two Girls Who, They Are Aunt and Niece [to each other, 6 and 7 years old] Were Raped by a 14-Year-Old Boy [the teenage boy was arrested – Banteay Meanchey]
  • [Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs] Kasit Piromya: Thailand Will Not Negotiate with Cambodia as Long as [Thai fugitive ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Is Still Advisor [of the Cambodian government and of Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • A Suspect Involved in the Massacre in the Philippines Was Charged

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