Thursday, 25 June 2009

Study hard, but please come back


Photo by: Eleanor Ainge Roy
Australian Alumni Association director Kieng Rotana.


Written by Eleanor Ainge Roy
Thursday, 25 June 2009

Australian Alumni Association director Kieng Rotana tells Education & Careers about his time spent studying in the land down under and reminds students about their duty to their country

Kieng Rotana earned a master's degree in health education from Sydney's New South Wales University in 1998. He was 28 when he left for Australia, and had a bachelor's degree in pharmacology. He is now the director of the Australian Alumni Association, and vice president of university relations and student affairs at Pannasastra University of Cambodia.

Why did you go to Australia to study?
In 1998, there were few scholarships available to Cambodians, and AusAid scholarships were the biggest at the time - 25 per year. You had to work for the government to apply for the scholarships, and I was employed by the Ministry of Health at the Svay Rieng Provincial Hospital.

Tell us about your experiences studying in Australia.
At the beginning I knew nothing about Australia. In Cambodia at that time we didn't have master's degrees at all, so I had no idea what it was. The first week in Australia I had orientation, and I didn't even know how to use a bank card, how to open a bank account, how to catch a bus or a train, how to use the library, how to rent a house. I had to be taught everything.

At the beginning I stayed on campus, where I met a Cambodian family who owned a restaurant called Mekong Restaurant, and they told me to stay in Cabramatta if I wanted Asian or Cambodian food. But it was too far away, and dangerous at night, so I lived in Fairfield and just spent my weekends at Cabramatta.

Uni life was fantastic. I learned a lot from Australia, not just in university but outside - culture, lifestyle. I did experience culture shock. I used to be an English teacher before I got a scholarship, but the first few weeks and days in Australia it was hard for me to understand what people were saying. It was easier in the professional environment of university, but the outside spoken language was difficult.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I learned a lot from Australia, not just in university but outside - culture, lifestyle.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The study was very challenging. I had no experience of using a referencing system when I wrote my assignments because we don't use one in Cambodia, but in Australia if you don't reference its called cheating, a serious problem.

How did studying in Australia help your career today?
When I graduated, I came back to Cambodia and started working at Pannasastra University, back when it had just begun. There were only a few hundred students then, so Pannasastra is my baby.

I think, firstly, I gained knowledge of working in a multicultural environment in Australia because all my classmates there were from everywhere, Bangladesh, India, Canada and Thailand, and my teachers were American.

Secondly, I gained self-confidence. I feel more comfortable working with foreigners because of my Australian degree. And, thirdly, I feel proud to use my knowledge to help Cambodia develop, and particularly Pannasastra. If you look at the leaders of Pannasastra and many of the other universities in Cambodia, we all have degrees from foreign countries.

What does the Australian Alumni Association do?
We meet each other two or three times a year and we are sponsored by AusAid, IDP and the Australian Embassy. When we meet we talk, network, share information about job opportunities and give lectures on our specialised fields.

Do you have any advice for Cambodian students leaving to study in Australia?
You have to study very hard because English is our second language. My classmates spent one or two hours reading an article, and I had to spend double or triple. But also be aware of not just studying in university but learning from outside the classroom as well. In terms of culture, history and classmates that come from different countries - you benefit a lot from other students. And then bring your knowledge back to help the Cambodian nation.

The do's and don'ts of networking

Written by Sean Power And SANDRA D' Amico
Thursday, 25 June 2009

HR ADVICE

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Sean Power And
SANDRA D' Amico

AS discussed in last week's article, Cambodia offers many opportunities for young professionals to network with their peers. Professional networking can advance your own career as well as the interests of your employer.

However, give some thought to how you network. Just as good networking can propel your rise to the top, bad networking can cause lasting damage to your reputation within the business community. Networking is a skill, like any other. It takes time and effort to learn how to network effectively.

Below, we outline some of the do's and don'ts of professional networking at corporate events, such as conferences, dinners and training seminars.

What to do

- Before you arrive, think about what you would like to achieve from the networking event. Are there particular people you want to meet? Is there a particular issue you want to discuss? Have a clear focus for your networking.

- Think about how best to describe your company and your position. Have answers ready for the inevitable questions, "What do you do?" and "What does your company do?" Try to make a good impression but without stretching the truth.

- Bring plenty of business cards with you. In Cambodia, you are generally expected to swap business cards with anyone with whom you are talking. Not only does this give you their contact details for future reference, but a quick glance at their card tells you all you need to know about their name, job title and organisation. This will help you start the conversation in the right direction.

- Try to make your conversation interesting. Have confidence in yourself to talk about general business, industry or social issues - but without being controversial or inappropriate.

- Remember that networking is a two-way street. Look for opportunities to provide a favour, not just to ask for one.

- After the event, follow up quickly on any referrals or offers of help. If you promise to help somebody, do it without their having to remind you. Be sure to thank the person for any help or assistance that he or she provides you.

After the event, try to keep the relationship "alive" through regular or occasional contact - provided the other person is not too senior. A quick phone call or email can be sufficient. Stay in touch even when you don't need something from them. Don't only make contact when you need a favour, as they might feel exploited.

What not to do

Don't be too timid. It can take time to feel comfortable at networking events, but don't be paralysed by your shyness. If you feel very intimidated, gain some confidence by seeking out the more junior people in the room.

- Don't be too pushy or impatient in your networking. Don't ask somebody for a favour within the first two minutes of meeting them. It takes time to establish rapport and build trust.

- Don't ask for a favour that the person cannot deliver, such as supplying confidential or valuable information. This will put the person in an uncomfortable position. Similarly, don't make promises you can't keep.

- Don't get upset if somebody says they cannot help you. There might be good reasons why they cannot help you with your request. They might be able to help you with something further down the track, so don't write them off.

- Don't criticise or "bad mouth" other people at networking events. This will reflect poorly on you, rather than the person you are criticising. For all you know, the person you are criticising may be a good friend of the person to whom you are talking.

- Once you have somebody's contact details, don't call them outside business hours - unless you know them very well or it is absolutely urgent. If you do have to call them outside business hours, apologise for disturbing them.

Finally, remember to relax and enjoy yourself. If you are having fun, you will be a better networker.

'An alternative to drinking'


Comfy futon mats make for easy viewing at Flicks cinema. Holly Pham

Written by HOLLY PHAM
Thursday, 25 June 2009

Owners of new Phnom Penh movie house Flicks hope to broaden the scope of the capital’s social life by offering a comfortable venue to view movies for all tastes

DRIVEN by demand for "an alternative activity to drinking" in Phnom Penh, New Zealanders Martin and Janet Robinson have spent the last two months turning a historic building into the capital's latest movie house.

Flicks cinema, which currently has one theatre that can hold up to 24 people, is appointed with futon mats that allow the audience to view films in total relaxation, lounging with a drink while enjoying movies on the 4.5-metre screen.

The wooden floor and ceiling insulation maximises the sound effects, making the surround-sound system perfect for action films.

Flicks aims to cater to all tastes by showing movies from many different genres seven days per week.

Martin says Flicks is currently evaluating the market for English-language films in the capital.

"We're testing the water now," Martin said. "The market for Khmer-language cinemas is saturated, so Flicks' focus will be on English-language films, including foreign films with English subtitles."

Aside from the two main target groups - kids and "mainstream" moviegoers - Flicks is trying to insert more alternative material, such as documentaries and art-house films, into its schedule.

Love for the country
When asked about the motivation behind this business venture, the Kiwi couple say they enjoy Southeast Asia, particularly the lifestyle here in Cambodia.

"People you meet here generally are quite dynamic and intelligent - so many well-travelled and interesting people," Janet said.

"And Cambodia has a lot of room for creative, funky business ideas."

The couple's love for Asia has overcome the difficulties associated with lifting a business venture off the ground as foreign nationals living in Cambodia.

"Being a foreigner, everything takes 10 times longer than it would back home.... At times it's quite frightening. It's been a huge learning curve for us," Martin said.

"So much paperwork - and money. Every time we needed a stamp, or a certificate, a document, a thumbprint, everything had some extra cost."

Nevertheless, the couple admits that they have enjoyed the process of starting a new venture in a foreign country.

"There has definitely been more ups than downs," Janet said.

Martin said that since screening its first movie last week, the cinema has done reasonably well, particularly with the capital's expat community.

"We have had a lot of creative suggestions, and all of them have been considered," Martin said.

"In the future, I'm planning to show a music video and have a jam session afterwards.... We've been talking to some film festival people as well," Martin said.

The grand opening of Flicks will take place at 7pm this Friday, with free food and drinks starting at 2,000 riels (US$0.50). A free movie, Dick the Devil Dared Me To, will be shown at 8pm and will be followed by a Kiwi documentary, The Prime Minister Is Missing.
Flicks cinema is located at 39B Street 95.

Tickets for adults cost $3.50 and $2.40 for kids under 14. The whole cinema can be rented for between $50 and $75 depending on the time of the day and night of the week.

Chinese post-punks to shake up the capital


Rebuilding the Rights of Statues will perform tonight at the Chinese House. Photo Supplied

Written by LUCY KINDER
Thursday, 25 June 2009

CAMBODIA'S music scene will get a shake-up when the Chinese post-punk band Rebuilding the Rights of Statues (Re-TROS) perform at Chinese House tonight.

Raised by Nanjing intellectuals, the band's frontman, Hua Dong, began writing songs and playing instruments in his teens. After a few years abroad in Germany, he returned to Nanjing, meeting bassist Liu Min through the Nanjing underground music scene.

The pair was then introduced to drummer Ma Hui in Beijing, where the band's eclectic name was created; a result of a word game played by the band's members who picked a word each.

The dynamic trio, who sing in English and write their own songs, say that they offer a darker and more complex music experience than punk.

"Whilst we are influenced by punk musicians, they tend to be more direct in their music, we are more introverted. We love to make our performance like a film or a story acted out on stage," the band said, answering emailed questions.

While an increase in post-punk bands from the US and Europe over the past five years has created something of a genre revival in the West, the band is also optimistic about the growing music scene in China.

"Post-punk music is growing in China; there are a few post-punk bands and the Chinese audience is now paying more attention to this kind of music," they said.

In the last few years, new music styles have developed in China with many world-class bands now performing in Shanghai and Beijing.

"Chinese musicians now have many more opportunities to develop their ideas and gain an insight into the wonderful world of music outside of China. Before, if we wanted to see a live show, we would have to go to Hong Kong. Now we can see the superstars here [in China]," the band said.

And the band has attained a certain level of popularity.

In 2005 they opened for Swedish band The (International) Noise Conspiracy.

After being signed by Modern Sky, one of the top independent record labels in China, they completed a tour of the US in 2007.

"We were amazed by the quality and the power and different styles of the bands [in the US]," they said.
"We took this as a challenge to create higher quality music."

The band has just completed a tour of 29 Chinese cities in 50 days, one of the biggest tours ever for a Chinese rock band.

The trip to Cambodia is part of the group's tour of Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam and Thailand.

The band believe they are the first Chinese rock band to perform in Cambodia.

"Cambodia is not so well-known to the world's rock scene - most bands in China don't know much about Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia. We love to go to new places - to new cities and we want to share our music with new audiences," they said.

Rebuilding the Rights of Statues will perform at 8pm tonight at Chinese House. Tickets cost US$6 if pre-booked (call 011 457 711) or $7 at the door.

Jasmine season yields its offerings


Photo by: Stephanie Mee
Sun Sey harvesting jasmine.


Written by Stephanie Mee
Thursday, 25 June 2009

A skip and jump from Phnom Penh, Kroh Kroubey village is famous for its jasmine farms, of which the fragrant and cream-coloured buds are often used to create offerings to Buddha

Every morning, a sweet, floral scent wafts through Nuon Chenda's house and grounds. As small girls weave their way in and out of the bushes in the back yard, picking tiny white buds from the shrubs, the delicate aroma of p'kah maleas, or jasmine flowers, perfumes the air.

"Right now is the best season to collect the jasmine flowers, as the water from the daily rains helps the plants produce many buds and flowers," said Nuon Chenda, the owner of a jasmine farm in Koh Kroubey village, an area renowned in Cambodia for its bountiful jasmine farms.

With help from a team of local village girls, Nuon Chenda harvests the whitish-green buds of the jasmine early every morning before the flower can bloom, and sells the fragrant buds to wholesalers, who in turn transport the produce to Phnom Penh to be sold at various markets.

Eleven-year old Sun Sey, who works on the farm, says that she can usually pick 1 or 2 kilograms of the flowers per day, taking her around three hours.

"I get paid 3,000 riels (US$0.75) per kilogramme. Sometimes people come here to buy directly from us, but more often, the buds are sold to a large buyer," Sun Sey said.

Nuon Chenda in turn sells the buds at $1 a kilogramme, although prices vary depending on the season.

"Right now, because the bushes are flowering so well, the price for jasmine is low, but during the cold season (December to February) the plants don't produce as many flowers, so the price jumps to $25 a kilogramme," she said.

On a busy day, such as a Buddhist holiday, Nuon Chenda can sell up to seven kilogrammes of jasmine buds a day, although her average yield is usually around four kilos.

Decorative ornaments and offerings
In Cambodia, jasmine buds are predominantly used to create offerings to Buddha, due to their heavenly fragrance and creamy white colour.
In fact, the English word for jasmine comes from the Persian word yasmin, meaning "a gift from the gods".

Buds and flowers are also used in decorative ornaments for temples, festivals, birthday parties and weddings, and the blossoms can be added to holy water used for blessings by the monks or boiled in water to make an aromatic jasmine tea.

Taking a break from jasmine picking, Sun Sey demonstrated her skills in creating sweet-smelling offerings for the temple.

"There are two main types of jasmine offerings," she said as her nimble fingers deftly threaded small buds onto a long wooden needle made from coconut branches. "Je kah is a thin stick with layers of buds circling it, usually with a purple or red flower on the end of it, and pum melei is the circular garland, which many people put around the neck of a Buddha or Shiva statue."

Villagers in Koh Kroubey have a long tradition of growing jasmine, and farming methods and ornamentation techniques here have been passed down from generation to generation.

Although the harvests may not be as abundant or lucrative as rice, jasmine is a year-round crop, and requires little maintenance once the trees have grown for two years.

Sophea Sophat, a local jasmine farmer and mother of three, explains that the jasmine trees in Koh Kroubey are hardy plants, requiring no harsh pesticides, merely a simple fertiliser of vegetable compost.

Trees are cut back after three to four years in order to encourage the growth of young, delicate buds and blossoms.

As for the money, Sophea Sophat explained, "I'm not getting rich, but it's enough to put money in the pot for my family and food in our mouths".

"I can't imagine doing anything else or not waking up to the lovely scent of fresh jasmine in the morning," Sophea Sophat added.

Koh Kroubey can be reached from Phnom Penh by crossing the new Monivong bridge towards Kien Svay and taking the first right onto Street 369, and then a left at the large stone temple gates.

The best time to go is in the morning when the jasmine buds are fresh, and farmers will custom-make temple offerings and flower arrangements on-site.

Clubs rebut players' welfare complaints


Written by KEN GADAFFI
Thursday, 25 June 2009

CAMBODIAN Premier league (CPL) clubs have hit back at claims of ill-treatment from their foreign players. According to Build Bright United manager Chetra Phon, players' welfare has been a top priority for the management of the club.

"We are doing our best for the players," the manager declared. "[The] problem is more with the Nigerian players, because it is difficult to get visa extensions for Nigerians in Cambodia. We need a letter from the Federation President [Sao Sokha].... He is very busy, so we couldn't get him to sign on time."

Chetra Phon assured that his foreign players' visas would be arranged within the next two weeks despite a two-month delay. "Normally it takes two to three days to process the visa, but because these players in question have overstay, it requires special approval by the head of the police for them to be granted an extension," he said.

Chetra further pointed that, the players' accommodation has always been taken care of by his team. "I rent a house for all my players, and I pay monthly [amenities bills]," he stated. "I don't know why they still complain.... We try to give them the best we can under our budget."

Phouchung Neak manager Chay Sichouen also refuted the allegations of poor management. The manager claimed that visa issues reported by his players have been handed over to immigration authorities, and are all currently being processed except for one player who came in with a tourist visa, and thus requires a renewal to business status before a long-term visa can be procured.

Police Blotter: 25 Jun 2009


Written by Lim Phalla
Thursday, 25 June 2009

ANGRY MAN DRINKS PESTICIDE AND DIES
Vaen Vuthy, 20, died in hospital after commiting suicide by drinking pesticide because he was embarrassed when his 45-year-old mother took her lover home to stay with them while his father was still living in the house. The event happened on Sunday afternoon in Kampong Thom province. The victim tried to persuade his mother not to do so for a long time, but she did not listen to him.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

DRINKING SESSION ENDS IN STABBING
A man was stabbed with a piece of steel and robbed of a motorbike by two acquaintances on Monday night in Phnom Penh. The victim, Yong Bunseng, 20, from Prey Veng province, was taken to Calmette Hospital by villagers. The suspects, who both escaped, were about 20 years old. The victim and the suspects had only known each other for a few days when they met and drank together at a beer garden.
RASMEY KAMPUCHEA

BROTHERS arrested OVER AX MURDER
Two brothers, Neth Yaung, 50, and Neth An, 47, both living in Kampot province, were arrested by police on Sunday on suspicion of hacking Long Khuy, 41, to death with an ax on Saturday. Police said the killing happened after an argument between the victim and the suspects.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

PORN MOVIE CAFE RAIDED BY POLICE
A cafe on Street 271 in Phnom Penh was raided by the police Tuesday for showing pornographic movies. The owner was taken to the police station. Ten motorbikes that belonged to the customers, most of whom were motorbike taxi drivers, and a TV set that was used to show the movies were confiscated.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

MOTORBIKE THIEF HITS BREAKFAST SPOT
A motorbike was stolen from outside a small restaurant in the Dangkor district in Phnom Penh on Sunday morning while the victim, Sok Channa, 31, was eating breakfast inside the restaurant.
KOH SANTEPHEAP

The Phnom Penh Post News in Brief


In Brief: Sihanouk beats 3rd cancer in Beijing

Written by NETH PHEAKTRA
Thursday, 25 June 2009

Chinese doctors have cured King Father Norodom Sihanouk of his third bout of cancer (Lymphoma B) after months of medical care, the former monarch said in a statement issued Monday. "My third cancer Lymphoma B has completely departed," wrote the 87-year-old. "With the friendship, fraternity, generosity and the science of the glorious People's Republic of China, my three successive cancers have been successively and completely cured." Sihanouk did not give a date for his likely return to Cambodia.

In Brief: Belgian NGO to wind up operation

Written by SEBASTIAN STRANGIO
Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Belgian branch of Medicins sans Frontieres will close up its operations in Cambodia at the end of July, according to Country Director Philippe Berneau, who said the decision was made by the group's head office in Brussels for operational - not financial - reasons. "Today, Cambodia is a stable country for us and we feel there are more urgent needs in other countries," he said. He added that the French branch of Medecins sans Frontieres would continue its operations in the Kingdom.

In Brief: Group 78 to hold public negotiation


Written by MAY TITTHARA
Thursday, 25 June 2009

Residents of Phnom Penh's Group 78 community who face eviction are set to hold a press conference at their site today, where they will invite City Hall officials to hold compensation negotiations with residents. Lim Sambo said the community wanted to hold the talks as a group to avoid being bullied by government officials. "I have invited City Hall officials to attend the meeting, and if they don't come, it's up to them," he said. Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Preah Vihear move is about border rights, PM says

By The Nation
Published on June 25, 2009

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday he wanted to keep the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and international involvement away from Preah Vihear temple.

Cabinet's move to maintain its objection to World Heritage listing for the site, which it achieved last year, was just reserving Thailand's right to handle boundary demarcation with Cambodia, he said.

Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Cambodia in 2000 not to make any change in regard to "overlapping" areas claimed by both countries before the completion of demarcation, he said.

"As the temple is listed as World Heritage, there will be more hands involved, which is contrary to the MoU," Abhisit told reporters before leaving for China.

The historic cliff-top temple has been a point of conflict between Thailand and Cambodia for years.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia but Thailand argues that the court ruling did not cover adjacent land. Both countries claimed an area of 4.6 square kilometres near the temple.

Thailand's objection to the World Heritage listing stirred anger from Phnom Penh as the move delays its plan to develop the site.

Cambodia has yet to convene an international coordination committee to develop Preah Vihear, as Thailand has not decided whether to join the panel to run the site with seven other parties.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban will visit Phnom Penh on Saturday to explain its stance to Hun Sen, the Cambodian premier.

Abhisit hoped Suthep would be able to calm Hun Sen down and reduce tension at the site.

Disputes over Preah Vihear led to fighting near the border temple in October last year and in April, which saw several soldiers killed on both sides.

Cambodia had boosted its forces in the conflict area since the latest moves, Second Army Region Commander Wiboonsak Neeparn said. "We have to adjust our troops to get ready but as I talk to my Cambodian counterpart, we don't use force to solve the problem," he said yesterday.

Chulalongkorn University academic Chaiwat Khamchoo said the government's objection to Cambodia's plan would not benefit Thailand but only created conflict with its neighbour.

Somchai Phetprasert, chairman of House committee on military affairs, accused the government of pushing the country nearer to war. Prime Minister Abhisit should talk with Cambodia about a joint nomination for the temple, Somchai said.

"Prime Minister Abhisit might be confused over the boundary. The Unesco won't deal with the boundary issue but will help to protect the site in Cambodia," he said.

Cambodia signs REDD agreement


June 24, 2009

Terra Global Capital, a San Francisco-based firm seeking to capitalize on emerging markets for ecosystem services, has signed an avoided deforestation deal with the government of Cambodia.

The project, which is currently undergoing third party validation, expects to reduce emissions from deforestation by 8.5 million tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years. Terra Global Capital is seeking accreditation for the project under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), a certification scheme.

Terra's partners include Community Forestry International, Pact, Cambodia's Forestry Administration, and nine community forestry groups.

"These agreements mark the culmination of years of effort to secure legal forest tenure for communities while at the same time cementing an agreement between the Government and communities to collaborate in conserving forest carbon over the next several decades," said Terra in a statement.

Cambodia has one of Asia's highest rates of forest loss. Between 2000 and 2005 the country lost 29% of its primary forests, while overall deforestation was 218,800 hectares of forest per year, according to figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

REDD (Reducing Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation) is a proposed climate change mitigation mechanism where industrialized countries would compensate developing countries for protecting their forests. REDD will be a hot topic at U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen this December.

Under Duch, No Care for Pregnant Inmates

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
24 June 2009

At least eight women who were pregnant during their incarceration at a prison run by Kaing Kek Iev were “not well treated,” the former Khmer Rouge administrator better known as Duch told tribunal judges Wednesday.

“The ladies who were pregnant were not allowed to go to the hospital,” Duch said, referring to women who were held at Prey Sar prison, which he administered along with the torture center, Tuol Sleng.

“I myself and my wife never thought about health care,” he said.

When pregnant women gave birth at Prey Sar, known to the Khmer Rouge as S-24, they did so without expert nurses, he said, by the traditional method.

Even outside of prison, women who had given birth were sent to work as soon as they seemed strong enough.

“The mother can work in the field and keep her baby in the shade of a tree,” he told the Trial Chamber’s chief judge, Nil Non.

Duch, now 66, is facing charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture and murder for his role as administrator of Tuol Sleng, Prey Sar and the “killing fields” of Choeung Ek, an execution site on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

Duch said he had not concerned himself with the health of prisons.

Prosecutors blame him for the deaths of 12,380 people.

Group Calls for Safeguards for Prisoners

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
24 June 2009

The Asian Human Rights Commission on Wednesday pushed the government to set up an independent body to prevent the torture of prison inmates and suspects in police custody across the country.

“In the first five months of 2009, there were reportedly five deaths in police custody against three for the whole of 2008,” the Hong Kong-based rights group said in a statement. “The families of the dead and human rights monitors have suspected torture as the cause of death.”

Authorities dismissed the deaths as suicides, but no investigations were ordered and medical personnel were reluctant to counter police reports, the group said, claiming Cambodia had failed to honor its obligations to a UN convention against torture, which it ratified in 2007.

Nouth Sa An, secretary of state for the Ministry of Interior, told VOA Khmer the government was preparing a working group to cooperate with the Asian Human Rights Commission to prevent torture and killings of prisoners.

“We respect human rights,” he said. “A person who is an inmate in prison or in custody of the police is also a human.”

However, the Rights Commission said the ministry had failed “for many years” to permit local rights groups access to police stations, despite granting access to prisons.

The commission noted, however, that in surveys of 18 prisons across the country, alleged torture cases had declined. Allegations at police stations fell from 450 in 1999 to 124 in 2007 and 78 in 2008.

Hang Roraken, prosecutor-general for the Court of Appeals, said the judicial system had worked closely with the Asian Human Rights Commission over the past six months to prevent mistreatment of prisoners.

“I have always advised the prosecutors, judicial police and prison guards to respect the UN convention against torture, not to abuse individual rights,” he said. “In Cambodia, there is no torture in prisons when police detain suspects.”

Cambodia has no anti-torture law, but torture is criminalized and punishable under a new penal code recently approved for National Assembly consideration.

Expert Discusses Historic Temple Decision

By Neou Sarem, VOA Khmer
Washington
24 June 2009

Hundreds of soldiers on the Thai and Cambodian sides of the northern border are amassed near Preah Vihear temple, but in 1962, another kind of battle altogether was underway.

At that time, Thailand or Cambodia contested each other’s rights to the temple. But a battle in international court, fought by lawyers, not in the jungles by soldiers, brought Preah Vihear temple under Cambodian authority.

“When Cambodia won the lawsuit, Thailand recognized the verdict of the court, then Thailand sent to the UN a map that Thailand drew unilaterally,” said Sean Pengse, president of the Cambodian Border Committee, a group that advocates for border integrity.

Both sides now have different maps, leading to border contests, but Preah Vihear temple squarely belongs to Cambodia.

Sean Pengse said Cambodia should follow the 1962 example in its current border dispute with Thailand, which has been ongoing for nearly a year and has cost the lives of at least three Cambodian and three Thai soldiers.

Cambodian and Thai officials have said they can solve the problem bilaterally, but it has proven intractable in the face of political unrest in Thailand.

Resignation Not Due to Tribunal Discord: Prosecutor

By Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
24 June 2009

Robert Petit, who will resign as the UN’s prosecutor at the Khmer Rouge tribunal in September, told media Wednesday his decision was not based on an ongoing division with his Cambodian counterpart over further indictments of former regime leaders.

His resignation was “a fully private matter,” he told reporters, and “unrelated to my professional responsibility at the court.”

Petit has argued that six more suspects could be charged by the UN-back tribunal beyond the five former leaders of the regime already in custody. Cambodian prosecutor Chea Leang has said she worries more indictments could destabilize the country.

Concerns that his resignation, announced Tuesday, was a result of that disagreement were “unfounded,” he said.

Petit has worked at the UN-backed tribunal, which is undertaking its first trial, of prison chief Duch, for three years. His impending departure has stirred some concerns that the tribunal, which was originally to last three years, could see further delays.

Petit said his resignation “will not impact the whole process of the tribunal.”

His proposal to indict more leaders met with opposition from the Cambodian prosecutor, Chea Leang, as well as Prime Minister Hun Sen. The Pre-Trial Chamber of the court has not decided on the contentious proposal.

“I regretted that he is leaving,” Chea Leang said, adding there was no conflict between the two.

Vietnam Speeds Up Rubber Planting In Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, June 25 (Bernama) -- Vietnamese rubber companies will speed up the progress of rubber planting in an effort to have 100,000 ha of mountainous areas in Cambodia covered with rubber trees by 2012, as agreed to by the two countries' Prime Ministers, Vietnam news agency (VNA) reported.

Tran Ngoc Thuan, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Rubber General Department, made the commitment at a launching ceremony for rubber planting in Cambodia in 2009 held in Kratie province on Tuesday.

Thuan expressed thanks to the Cambodian ministries and agencies and Kratie provincial authorities who have created favourable conditions for Vietnamese rubber businesses over the past few years.

The Cambodian government representatives highly valued Vietnam's efforts in overcoming difficulties during the rubber planting process in Cambodia's mountainous provinces.

They said that the operation of Vietnamese rubber companies in Cambodia is clear evidence of the mutually-beneficial economic cooperation between the two countries.

First and foremost, Vietnamese companies have created stable jobs for local people, helping to reduce poverty, they said, adding that rubber tree revenue will make a large contribution to the Cambodian national budget once the rubber is harvested.

The Cambodian side also pledged to do its utmost to help Vietnamese rubber companies fulfil their targets.

There are now seven Vietnamese rubber companies operating in four Cambodian provinces. This year, each company strives to expand its rubber-tree area by 1,000-1,500 ha.

-- BERNAMA

CAMBODIA SIGNS AVOIDED DEFORESTATION CARBON AGREEMENTS

Terra
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 24, 2009 - In a ceremony held last month in Samraong, Cambodia's Forestry Administration, in partnership with Community Forestry International, Pact and Terra Global Capital, signed agreements with 9 community forestry groups to develop and market carbon credits for a Reduced Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation (REDD) project in Oddar Meanchey province. Earlier in the same month the Forestry Administration and Terra Global Capital finalized their carbon agreement marking a critical step in the development of Cambodia's first avoided deforestation project for registration under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). These agreements mark the culmination of years of effort to secure legal forest tenure for communities while at the same time cementing an agreement between the Government and communities to collaborate in conserving forest carbon over the next several decades.

The avoided deforestation methodology, developed by Terra Global Capital, is nearing the end of the first of two 3rd party validations that are required by the VCS. The methodology supports the measurement and monitoring of deforestation and degradation for REDD projects of the mosaic type. The project will also be submitted to the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) for certification that it has significant additional benefits for communities and biodiversity. The project will generate an estimated 8.5 million tons of CO₂offset credits over the 30 year project life.

The project builds on the commitment of the Royal Government of Cambodia to support community forestry through their Community Forestry Sub-Decree, and of 9 community forestry groups, comprised of over 50 villages, whose members have agreed to protect over 60,000 hectares of forest land in the Northwestern province of Oddar Meanchey. This project is part of an initiative by the Cambodian Forestry Administration, with support from donors, investors and international and local non-governmental organizations, to support a transition to sustainable management in the national forest sector. While the estimated annual net rate of deforestation during the period 2002-2006 has declined to 0.5% in Cambodia, losses have exceeded 3% per annum in the forests of Oddar Meanchey Province during the same period.

H.E. Ty Sokhun, Head of the Forestry Administration, has declared, "There is an urgent need to address the deforestation problem in Oddar Meanchey Province. The sale of carbon credits from avoided deforestation projects can provide financial incentives to protect and permanently maintain these forests. Sustainable management of forests will not only reduce CO₂emissions, but will also improve local livelihoods, conserve biodiversity, and help to maintain hydrological systems."

The guiding principles for the project, as provided by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, are to ensure that the income from carbon credits is used to improve forest quality, provide maximum benefit to local communities that participate in project activities, and identify potential areas for new avoided deforestation projects in Cambodia.

Dr. Mark Poffenberger, Community Forestry International's Executive Director who initiated the project, reports that: "The Oddar Meanchey Avoided Deforestation Project was developed not only to assist rural people in gaining legal tenure and management rights over local forests. It will also create a 30-year income stream that will significantly enhance their household livelihoods and natural resource management capacity. The success of the Oddar Meanchey project opens the door to long term financing for Cambodia's national community forestry program, which could eventually encompass and protect over 2 million hectares of forest."

The Venerable Bun Saluth, leader of the Buddhist Monk's Association and the Sorng Rukhavorn Community Forestry site, commented "the Oddar Meanchey REDD project will support the community forest work and benefit local communities. These benefits will include non-timber forest products as well as the carbon revenues, which will be used to support development and sustainable forest management in the local community that will improve livelihoods."

Terra Global Capital has provided the technical work for the carbon measurement and monetization of the project's carbon credits. The new methodology, which was submitted under the forestry protocol of the VCS, integrates participatory field measurement for biomass with sophisticated remote sensing image processing to increase accuracy and minimize the costs of the on-going measurement of the carbon credits.

"By combining the rigorous carbon accounting requirements of the VCS with the community and biodiversity co-benefits of the CCBA, we feel that this project will deliver valuable credits to the marketplace and demonstrate the viability of these project types," said Leslie Durschinger, Founder and Managing Director of Terra Global Capital. In addition to the technical aspects of carbon measurement, Terra Global Capital will be responsible for marketing the carbon credits generated by the Oddar Meanchey project.

This project is being brought to market with the collaborative work and support of all project participants. The Royal Government of Cambodia has created an enabling legal and political environment for the expansion of community forestry systems. Under the leadership of the Forestry Administration, a variety of partners including forest communities, NGOs, Buddhist monks, and the project design and technical carbon measurement team are working to ensure this project will improve livelihoods for local communities and deliver global climate change benefits through reduced CO₂emissions.

For more information about the project, please contact:

Ms. Leslie Durschinger
Terra Global Capital
Tel: (1) 415 215 5941

Additional contacts:

H.E. Ty Sokhun
Mr. Long Ratanakoma
Forestry Administration
Tel: (855-12)-854 314
Fax: (855-23)-212 201

Mr. Kurt A. MacLeod
Ms. Amanda Bradley
Community Forestry International/Pact
Tel: (855-12)-909 502
Fax: (855-23)-217 856

Nixon docs: Democrats backed Cambodia escalation


June 24, 2009
by Ed Morrissey

For almost 40 years, people have blamed Richard Nixon for escalating the Vietnam War into Cambodia and Laos unilaterally, and painted Nixon as just short of a dictator for doing so. History has a habit of turning contemporary opinion on its ear as information comes to light, and a Washington Post story shows that will happen with Nixon and the war as well. According to newly-released documents, Nixon sought and received the support of Democratic leadership in Congress in expanding the war:

Five days before U.S. and South Vietnamese troops made their surprise move into Cambodia on April 29, 1970, then-President Richard M. Nixon got the approval of the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee for that action, according for documents released yesterday by the Nixon library.

The unexpected U.S. incursion into Cambodia came as a surprise to the American public, most members of Congress and the new Cambodian government. What followed were a series of public demonstrations in Washington and later Kent State University in Ohio, which, in turn, expanded opposition to the war.

In an April 24, 1970, telephone conversation with Sen. John C. Stennis (D-Miss.), who was then chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Nixon said the administration was going to provide arms to the Cambodian government to prevent its overthrow by a pro-communist element, and continue secret B-52 bombing raids, “which only you and Senator Russell know about.” Richard Russell (D-Ga.) was the former committee chairman.

“We are not going to get involved in a war in Cambodia,” Nixon reassured Stennis. “We are going to do what is necessary to help save our men in South Vietnam. They can’t have those sanctuaries there” that North Vietnam maintained.

Stennis replied, “I will be with you. . . . I commend you for what you are doing.”

At the time, Democrats hewed more closely to the example set by Stennis and Henry “Scoop” Jackson than the New Left, just emerging as a political force at the time. They have taken over the Democratic Party since, in part because of Nixon’s aggressive prosecution of the Vietnam War. These documents show that Nixon was hardly alone in expanding the effort to defeat communism in southeast Asia, and hardly the “unilateralist” on the war that his critics painted.

While that may help restore Nixon on one front, this detestable exchange certainly won’t do anything to make Nixon more lovable:

On Jan. 23, 1973, when the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade, President Richard M. Nixon made no public statement. But privately, newly released tapes reveal, he expressed ambivalence.

Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases — like interracial pregnancies, he said.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”

Wow. Just … wow. In Nixon’s mind, we needed abortion accessible because of interracial reproduction. The fact that a President of the US said this less than 40 years ago is shameful. It also demonstrates the utilitarian view of human life that inevitably occurs in the abortion debate, albeit especially despicable in this instance.

Church fights human trafficking

By Marty and Sherry Johnson, Little York, with several girls in a Cambodia Rapha House. The First Christian Church in Monmouth has taken several mission trips to Cambodia to help victims of human trafficking.

By Justin Sims
Daily Review Atlas
Tue Jun 23, 2009

MONMOUTH – When Pam Epperson went to Cambodia on a mission trip in 2007, she couldn't forget some of the things she saw.

"It got in my blood when I saw what happens in a third world country," Epperson said.

Epperson has taken two trips back to Cambodia since then and is bringing those experiences home for the First Christian Church in Monmouth.

The church will be starting an awareness project about human trafficking in Cambodia beginning on the last Sunday in June.

Human trafficking is a form of slavery and usually involves the exploitation of commercial sex.
According to the U.S. Department of State, 50 percent of all trafficking victims are children, typically girls.

The program will run for a month and the church will put out signs near the highway to make people aware of human trafficking.

There will also be a hog roast dinner on July 19 and the proceeds from the event will go toward building a Rapha House in Cambodia during another mission trip Epperson will take part in during December.

Rapha Houses are houses in third world countries committed to giving children a safe place to stay and providing job training to once they've turned 18.

Epperson said the project is expected to cost $210,000.

The church will also have a special project where children taking part in their vacation Bible school program will help build a typical Cambodia house to show the way children live in a third world country.

"Kids will bring discarded things to build with like old tarps and pieces of tin," Epperson said.

To get more information on human trafficking and Rapha Houses, visit www.freedomforgirls.com, www.millionkids.org or www.worldvision.org.

Cambodia threatens to suspend WWF after dolphin report


Asia-Pacific News
Jun 24, 2009

Phnom Penh - A Cambodian official Wednesday threatened to suspend the operations of an international wildlife group after it released a report claiming an endangered dolphin species was at risk of extinction due to pollution in the Mekong River.

Touch Seang Tana, chairman of Cambodia's Commission for Conversation and Development of the Mekong River Dolphins Eco-Tourism Zone, said World Wildlife Foundation (WFF) investigators faced suspension unless they met with him to discuss their report.

The WFF report released last week said 88 dolphins had died since 2003 and researchers had found toxic levels of pesticides and environmental contaminants in their analysis of Irrawaddy dolphin calves.

'This report simply is not true,' Touch Seang Tana told a press conference. 'These findings were reported without consultation with me, so I sent a letter to the WFF to come and meet with me to clarify these points.'

He denied that dolphin deaths were caused by pollution and said the report put Cambodia's burgeoning eco-tourism sector at risk.

'A few deaths have been caused by dolphins becoming trapped in fishing nets in the Mekong River, but it was not due to pollution,' he said. 'I wrote to the WFF to clarify this and if they do not wish to meet with me to discuss this, then their operations in the area could be suspended.'

The report estimated that between 64 and 76 dolphins remained in the 160-kilometre stretch of the Mekong that runs through Laos and Cambodia.

It said 60 per cent of the 88 deaths had occurred in dolphin calves less than two weeks old.

Cambodia Signs Avoided Deforestation Carbon Agreements for Voluntary Carbon Standard Project

Project moves Cambodia into international climate change arena

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cambodia's Forestry Administration, in partnership with Community Forestry International, Pact and Terra Global Capital, signed agreements with nine community forestry groups to develop and market carbon credits for an avoided deforestation project in the Oddar Meanchey province. The carbon agreement was also finalized with the government, marking a critical step in the development of Cambodia's first REDD project for registration under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). These agreements mark the culmination of years of effort to secure legal forest tenure for communities while at the same time cementing an agreement between Government and communities to collaborate in conserving forest carbon over the next several decades.

The avoided deforestation methodology, developed by Terra Global Capital, is nearing the end of the first of two 3rd party validations that are required by the VCS. The project is estimated to generate 8.5 million tons of CO2 over 30 years. The new methodology, which was submitted under the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation (REDD) category of the VCS, integrates participatory field measurements with sophisticated remote sensing image processing to increase accuracy and minimize the costs of the on-going measurement of the carbon credits.

This project is being brought to market with the collaboration work and support of all project participants. The Royal Government of Cambodia has created an enabling legal and political environment for the expansion of community forestry systems. Under the enabling leadership of the Forestry Administration and variety of partners including: participating communities, NGOs, and Buddhist monks the project design and technical carbon measurement team are working to ensure this project will provide better livelihoods for local communities and deliver climate change benefits through reduced CO2 emissions.
Link to the full press release: http://www.terraglobalcapital.com/News.htm

Foreign Diplomats Are Disappointed with the National Assembly for Withdrawing the Immunity of Two Parliamentarians and with Hun Sen’s Warning

Foreign Diplomats Are Disappointed with the National Assembly for Withdrawing the Immunity of Two Parliamentarians and with Hun Sen’s Warning about Interference – Wednesday, 24.6.2009

Posted on 25 June 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 618
http://cambodiamirror.wordpress.com/

“Diplomats who wanted to enter to listen to the meeting about the withdrawal of the immunity of two Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians are greatly disappointed, as the National Assembly did not allow them to enter, and that Prime Minister Hun Sen had warned the international community not to interfere with this case in a speech from Krang Yov [Kandal]. The deputy head in charge of the British Embassy, Ms. Elizabeth Evan, who was outside of the National Assembly as security guards prevented her from entering, said, ‘Diplomats from the US, Germany, from the UK, and from the French embassy appeared at the National Assembly and regrettably were not allowed to go in. We don’t know why they did this.’ Not only Ms. Elizabeth Evans who was barred, but also the German ambassador, Mr. Frank Marcus Mann, and the Chargé d’Affaires of the French Embassy, Mr. Roland Le Marchand expressed their disappointment at the National Assembly as they were prevented to enter. [Normally the sessions of the National Assembly are open to be observed by the public.]

“In the National Assembly, the microphones for the Sam Rainsy parliamentarians were all switched off in order to prevent them from expressing their opinion. This shows a well-prepared plan of the National Assembly, controlled by the Cambodian People’s Party, which attempted to silence not only the opposition party, but also to lock out foreign diplomats in Cambodia, so that they could not know the procedings to remove the immunity of two Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians at the same time. The case of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Ho Vann was not even included in the agenda to remove his immunity on Monday. Only Ms. Mu Sochua had to face the discussion to revoke her immunity during a [previous] meeting of the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly.

“Outside of the National Assembly, armed forces were deployed, concerning and attracting the diplomat’s attention. The concern is that the freedom of expression is completely suppressed, when even the international [diplomatic] community is not allowed to observe anything. This prompted the spokesperson of the US Embassy, Mr. John Johnson, to say that his embassy is ’surprised and disappointed’ because of the decision not to hold the meeting publicly. He added, ‘It is a worrying problem if the Cambodian people are not allowed to witness and take responsibility for the activities of their elected parliamentarians in the National Assembly.’

“Many observers expressed similar opinions to that of the diplomats. Opposition party parliamentarians, wearing masks [as symbols of being silenced], said that it is unjust that the members of the Cambodian People’s Party in the National Assembly did not consider the national interest, but cared only about the interest of the party and of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Ms. Mu Sochua said, ‘Our country is facing danger, as the court system is influenced by higher powers.’

“The parliamentarian and spokesperson and the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Yim Sovann, condemned the withdrawal of the immunity of Ms. Mu Sochua and of Mr. Ho Vann, and consideres it as a threat to, and a restriction of the freedom of expression of the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians. He added that it is the strongest restriction ever imposed on the Sam Rainsy Party, compared with the many obstacles that it had already experienced, which have also been clearly observed by the international community.

“The international community could only stand outside and see the injustice that was oppressing the Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians, as even these diplomats were not permitted to go into the National Assembly to observe the meeting. This strongly makes them interested in, but disappointed with the National Assembly, led by the honorary president of the Cambodian People’s Party Heng Samrin. However, [the Cambodian People's Party parliamentarian and chairperson of the National Assembly's Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking, and Audit] Cheam Yeap claimed that the withdrawal of the immunity of two persons, of Ms. Mu Sochua and of Mr. Ho Vann, was included in the agenda, and is in accordance with the law.

“The international community, observers, as well as the local civil society are not only disappointed, but also regret very much what has happened, because it violates the law and the rights of parliamentarians who were installed into their positions through elections, and everything is not in accordance with the law. On the contrary, these were only actions following the anger and the feeling of the powerful. Thus, the international community, with the presence of their diplomats outside the National Assembly on Monday, expressed their disappointment.

“Despite this disappointment, Prime Minister Hun Sen had already warned against any inference into the internal affairs of Cambodia. This warning was a preemptive action of Prime Minister Hun Sen, as he knows that the Cambodian government will be pressed by the international community regarding the withdrawal of immunity of two Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians at the same time.”

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3792, 24.6.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Swine flu hits Cambodia


Wed, 24 Jun 2009

Cambodia and the World Health Organisation on Wednesday confirmed the country's first case of swine flu after an American girl visiting on a school trip tested positive for the virus.

The 16-year-old arrived in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on Friday, developed A (H1N1) symptoms the following day and was isolated when she checked into a medical clinic on Monday, said a WHO and Cambodian health ministry statement.

"With the virus now circulating globally, its eventual arrival in Cambodia was expected," said Cambodia's Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng.

"We are pleased that the systems we have put in place have worked in identifying and isolating the case," he added.

The girl has been recovering in hospital without any complications and the rest of her school group was under voluntary observation, said the statement.

A(H1N1), which emerged in Mexico in April, has killed 231 people worldwide and infected more than 52 000 people in over 100 countries and territories.

AFP

Preah Vihear move is about border rights, PM says

By The Nation
Published on June 25, 2009

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday he wanted to keep the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and international involvement away from Preah Vihear temple.

Cabinet's move to maintain its objection to World Heritage listing for the site, which it achieved last year, was just reserving Thailand's right to handle boundary demarcation with Cambodia, he said.

Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Cambodia in 2000 not to make any change in regard to "overlapping" areas claimed by both countries before the completion of demarcation, he said.

"As the temple is listed as World Heritage, there will be more hands involved, which is contrary to the MoU," Abhisit told reporters before leaving for China.

The historic cliff-top temple has been a point of conflict between Thailand and Cambodia for years.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia but Thailand argues that the court ruling did not cover adjacent land. Both countries claimed an area of 4.6 square kilometres near the temple.

Thailand's objection to the World Heritage listing stirred anger from Phnom Penh as the move delays its plan to develop the site.

Cambodia has yet to convene an international coordination committee to develop Preah Vihear, as Thailand has not decided whether to join the panel to run the site with seven other parties.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban will visit Phnom Penh on Saturday to explain its stance to Hun Sen, the Cambodian premier.

Abhisit hoped Suthep would be able to calm Hun Sen down and reduce tension at the site.

Disputes over Preah Vihear led to fighting near the border temple in October last year and in April, which saw several soldiers killed on both sides.

Cambodia had boosted its forces in the conflict area since the latest moves, Second Army Region Commander Wiboonsak Neeparn said. "We have to adjust our troops to get ready but as I talk to my Cambodian counterpart, we don't use force to solve the problem," he said yesterday.

Chulalongkorn University academic Chaiwat Khamchoo said the government's objection to Cambodia's plan would not benefit Thailand but only created conflict with its neighbour.

Somchai Phetprasert, chairman of House committee on military affairs, accused the government of pushing the country nearer to war. Prime Minister Abhisit should talk with Cambodia about a joint nomination for the temple, Somchai said.

"Prime Minister Abhisit might be confused over the boundary. The Unesco won't deal with the boundary issue but will help to protect the site in Cambodia," he said.

Repeated objections over Preah Vihear a waste of time

By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation
Published on June 25, 2009

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban will be wasting his time trying to mend bilateral rifts during his planned visit to Phnom Penh on Saturday, especially as the government continues objecting to Preah Vihear being given World Heritage status.

Suthep said he planned to tell Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen that Thailand was not opposed to Cambodia itself, but had problems with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and World Heritage Committee.


It's difficult to understand what exactly the government plans to do, because the 11th-century Khmer site was given World Heritage status last July.


Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thailand had to raise objections because Unesco and the World Heritage panel violated their own regulations and the listing ignited conflicts.


However, Abhisit never clarified which regulations were violated and whether Thailand's objections would force the panel to change its decision. Actually, nobody expects any changes because the objections are nothing new - they were filed during the World Heritage Committee's 32nd session in Quebec last July.


Thailand's concerns were addressed a year ago, and even the joint communiqu้ between then-foreign minister Noppadon Pattama and Cambodian Deputy PM Sok An discarded them during the 32nd session. Thailand's desire to participate in the nomination of Preah Vihear temple and its surrounding area was recognised, recorded and publicised by the committee.


Despite these concerns, the World Heritage Committee went ahead and named the temple as a World Heritage site because it met one of the six criteria - it is an outstanding masterpiece of Khmer architecture.


"It is very pure both in plan and in its decoration details," the committee said in its decision.


Thailand's arguments about its imperfections - such as the twin stupas being located in Thai territory - were not considered valid.


Natural Resource and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti, who attended the 33rd session in Spain this week, was unable to do much other than repeat the statement made by the Thai delegation a year ago.


The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia, and Thailand has nothing to do with it.


Abhisit said he opposed World Heritage status for the site because it might affect Thailand's right to claim land in an "overlapping" 4.6 square kilometres adjacent to the temple and any chance to "re-claim" the temple.


However, his concerns make little sense because the Unesco World Heritage Convention's Article 11 clearly says that "the inclusion of a property [in the World Heritage list] situated in a territory, sovereignty or jurisdiction, which is claimed by more than one state, shall in no way prejudice the rights of the parties to the dispute".


Thailand will not lose the right to demarcate its border with Cambodia and, in fact, the joint boundary demarcation committee is already working on the matter. Now, it is up to Thailand whether or not to send a representative to sit on the International Coordination Committee (ICC) as mentioned in Article 14 of the World Heritage listing. The committee was originally due to convene in February, but it has been delayed because Thailand has yet to make a decision.


Sadly, Thailand's move to maintain its objection is nothing more than a plan to delay Cambodia's work, which has only resulted in added tension.


Abhisit should really explain what he wants from sticking to his stance, how it would benefit the country and what would happen if his deputy does manage to cool Hun Sen down.

Duch: “Everything I did, I did it to please my superiors”

Kambol, Phnom Penh (Cambodia). 22/06/2009: In the press room at lunch time, during Duch’s trial at the ECCC
©Vandy Rattana


Ka-set
http://cambodia.ka-set.info

By Stéphanie Gée
25-06-2009

During the hearing on Tuesday June 23rd, Alain Werner, co-lawyer for civil party group 1, suggested to the accused another way to look at his role at the head of S-21 – and hence his personality – which departs from what Duch has explained until now during his trial, in other words, that the former director of the security centre where over 12,000 people lost their lives was no other than a zealous cadre. Shortly afterwards, the defence counsel presented a rueful Duch by showing an excerpt from the footage shot during the reconstruction at Choeung Ek and S-21. Also, the tribunal’s international co-Prosecutor, Robert Petit, announced his resignation (see textbox).

Did Duch encourage torture?
Alain Werner introduced his examination by acknowledging that the accused had been in the last few days bombarded with questions and had not eluded any of them. He respectfully invited him to continue giving short answers and launched into a sagacious and uncompromising interrogation that however failed to unsettle the accused.

Why did Duch give importance to interrogator Toch – who, as he repeatedly stressed, enjoyed torturing prisoners in S-21 and using the “hot method” – while he knew his sadistic inclinations? Duch acknowledged: should an interrogator fail to extract a confession from a detainee, the latter would be entrusted with Toch and the result was guaranteed. The Swiss lawyer went further: “You declared before the judges [last Tuesday] that the young interrogators could be extreme and that some of them did not control themselves and were cruel. Sir, do you accept that by giving importance to a sadist such as Toch […], you were encouraging the young interrogators in S-21 to be cruel as well and inflict unnecessary suffering?” “You said I pushed him further. No, I never did that,” Duch replied. “I continued to trust him [Toch], to give him advice that allowed him to feel more or less comfortable in relation to torture and to continue performing it…”

Although Duch recognised the existence under Democratic Kampuchea of a real general policy of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) to starve the population, Alain Werner gave an example proving that “he could have acted otherwise” and fed better the prisoners under his authority and dying of hunger. In 1978, while rice was lacking due to numerous floods, the accused chose to offer a rice production surplus to Angkar through Nuon Chea. “Why?”, the lawyer asked. “These crimes against humanity are part of a context. I had enough rice in my hand but I did not dare to give that rice to the prisoners detained in Phnom Penh. […] I never dared to make any changes to food rations for the prisoners,” such as defined by the party policy, the accused explained.

Alain Werner: “We believe that is not the truth”
Alain Werner continued, “You explained you didn’t visit the main prison because you had no choice other than to ‘avoid being in contact with the prisoners […] because when [you] saw them, [you were] very upset, so why try and see them,’ ‘because [you] did not allow [yourself] to see or hear anything.’” “In summary, what you are telling us is that the reason why you did not go the main prison […] is that it would have upset you. Sir, we believe that is not the truth,” the lawyer said. “What we believe is that when you were the director of S-21, everything you did, you did it to please your superiors, Son Sen, then Nuon Chea. You went to the artists’ workshop because you wanted the work on the sculptures to progress to please Pol Pot. You followed the interrogation of Vietnamese [prisoners] because you wanted the radio broadcast to be good quality to please your superiors. Also, you spent all your time, including the nights, on the confessions to produce lists of enemies to please your superiors, Son Sen and Nuon Chea. What we believe is that the reason why you probably did not go often to the main prison is that it was not useful to you in any way. The suffering of the detainees was no use to you. None of it served your personal promotion and as a result, you were completely indifferent to this suffering. And we believe that this suffering did not matter to you, it did not interest you and it did not upset you. “Do you accept that today?”

Duch was in no way taken aback and did elude the question. “What you claimed about my emotions is fundamentally accurate. I endeavoured to please my superiors. I pushed my subordinates to work better in order to please my superiors. I tried to note the confessions with the intent to please my superiors. So, everything I did, I did it to please my superiors. […] However, I would like to say I did not go and see my friends who were detained in the prison […] because I could not talk with them. […] In conclusion, when Alain Werner says I was a coward, it is true, but it went beyond cowardice as I had betrayed my friends, my teachers, in order to be able to survive. Here, before this Chamber, I declare that I am responsible for the crimes I have committed and I would like the Cambodian people to see that I recognise the crimes I committed during that period.”

“I survived because I was always honest and loyal with my superiors”
Recalling the words of expert Craig Etcheson, who came to the stand to testify and stated that Duch’s promotion to the direction of S-21 resulted in particular from the practice of establishing lists of enemies that he developed and refined, the lawyer asked: “Is it true that you were promoted as director of S-21 because you had succeeded so well at pleasing your superiors and they appreciated the lists of enemies?” Duch said he wanted to leave Alain Werner’s hypothesis aside and preferred to discuss the way he tried to satisfy his superiors. “It’s true. I worked day and night, with no fear of exhaustion, in order to satisfy my superiors. My boss appealed to me day and night and I executed the orders I was given.” And if it was necessary to be “creative,” “it was in the context of the party line. Otherwise, one could be accused with treason. […] My capacity to innovate was limited by the party line,” he insisted.

Duch was accused in at least two confessions, and not the least. However, he survived. “Why did nothing happen to you?”, the lawyer asked him, sketching an answer: “Was it because you were protected by Son Sen and Nuon Chea, who appreciated your zeal?” Duch seemed to have the answer to everything. The first confession, that of a former professor, incriminated him for facts dating to 1956-57, he explained, and “the superior echelon therefore deemed this information to be insignificant.” As for the second, that of Vorn Vet, his former supervisor, his name featured on the last page and he did not attempt to modify the confessions to make his name disappear. The accused thus concluded, as it were obvious: “I survived because I was always honest and loyal with my superiors.”

Who controlled who?
Alain Werner still had some ammunition. He reminded the accused he had repeatedly said he collaborated “closely with Son Sen.” Yet, the latter, as Craig Etcheson explained, held various important functions concurrently and must have been “an extremely busy man.” “I also find it hard to believe that someone with national responsibilities as important as those of Son Sen would devote time to the interrogation or execution of [prisoners of little importance]. Wasn’t it true […] that for people who were not considered important in S-21, Son Sen, because he was a very busy man, was not involved at all in the interrogations, the confessions or the executions. In reality, you were the one who took the decisions, nearly without any supervision, for the interrogations, confessions and supervision of those who were not important in S-21, weren’t you? Do you accept that?” Duch maintained his stance: “The work I performed in S-21, I did it on the orders of my superiors. There was an organisational line. Did I receive orders from my superiors? It is true that my superior had a lot of work himself, since he was a member of the Central Committee […]. But who controlled who? My superior would not have allowed me to act freely. He followed closely the work I did, by telephone, on a daily basis, and gave me instructions on all aspects. […] My superior checked every day what I did in the execution of orders received. That does not mean he was not aware of what I did, even if he had a lot of other things to do. He was very intelligent and was twelve years older than me. I do not want here to shift the blame on my superior [… ]. I had the obligation to apply the orders I received from my superior.”

Could Duch have released prisoners?
The lawyer then evoked six lists of prisoners allegedly released. A decision of his predecessor, Nath, former director of S-21, who Duch claimed in court attempted to conceal his fault, that of ordering on his own initiative the arrests of these individuals. The people whose names featured on these lists were not released in the end, according to Duch. “The reason why, yet today, and despite the existence of these lists, you refuse to acknowledge that people were indeed released from S-21 is that it shows it was not impossible to release someone from S-21 and this sets a question that embarrasses you: why you did not yourself release people who were detained in S-21 and were innocent of any crime, which you knew. Do you accept this hypothesis?” “You cannot hide an elephant with a leaf,” Duch defended himself. He denied that prisoners could have been released and recalled that “outside of the Angkar, nobody had the right to release anyone.”

Duch alleges he did not kill anyone with his own hands in M-13 or S-21
The defence then took the floor. François Roux, Duch’s international co-lawyer, requested that the trial management meeting scheduled for Thursday [June 25th] afternoon be moved to the day’s afternoon [on June 23rd], as he was forced to go back to France for family reasons. His request was accepted by all and the hearing was thus adjourned at lunchtime.

Kar Savuth, the Cambodian co-lawyer for the accused, focused his questions on Nath, the former director of S-21, whose deputy Duch was before he was entrusted the direction of the security centre. Duch described him as a manipulative man, who had people arrested on his own initiative, “in an arbitrary manner,” and whose actions were caught by the vigilance of the superiors. Likely a way to demonstrate once more that one could not stray from the party line and not follow the orders without being at risk of being discarded, as it happened to Nath. His lawyer prompted him to say his hands were not bloodstained – “whether in M-13 or S-21, I never killed anyone with my own hands,” Duch confirmed – and that the great leader of the murderous regime was none other than Pol Pot. Although the lawyer sought persistently to clear his client, the latter did however not deny the role he played in the death machine.

François Roux shows a repentant accused
François Roux’s intervention was brief and focused on the reconstruction in February 2008 carried out in S-21 and Choeung Ek, following a proposal of the defence to the co-Investigating Judges. Duch reported that returning to those places shocked him as much as it upset him, a moment he would never forget, he said. “I pray to God to be forgiven for these souls,” he added. François Roux then requested an extract of the footage shot during the reconstruction to be broadcast. It showed the accused speaking to survivors present during the reconstruction. Duch was seen solemnly reading a text he held in his hands. He explained he was upset to find himself back in these “painful” places, said he thought about “the unfortunate victims and their families” who “suffered countless inhuman miseries, tortures and insults, before dying.” He then froze, unable to continue his statement. He hiccupped before crumbling into tears, turning his back to the camera. His two lawyers put their hands on him. He turned around, distraught, his lips sealed in a wince of affliction.

The sequence, shown on the screen, Duch seemed to watch it from a distance in the courtroom. “Since the S-21 tragedy, have you made offerings for the souls of the victims?”, his lawyer asked him. “I make an offering every year. First, I ask forgiveness from my parents, then I ask forgiveness from my teachers, then finally, I ask forgiveness from all the victims of the crimes. I do it all the time. That is what I used to do until I was imprisoned. From then on, I was unable to make offerings,” the accused declared. Since he converted to Christianity, it is God he prayed for the souls of the victims. He then requested to be authorised to return to the case of Professor Phung Ton, who died in S-21 and whose widow and daughter participate to the trial as civil parties. The president denied him the opportunity. It was indeed not the right time. However, Nil Nonn promised him he would have the opportunity, when the debates close, to “talk to the victims, their families, the Cambodian people and the whole world,” before the judges decide their ruling.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Resignation of international co-Prosecutor Robert Petit
In a statement made public on Tuesday June 23rd, the international co-Prosecutor announced that it was with the deepest regret that “for personal and family reasons,” he had to demit his position at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) effective September 1st. Claiming he was “certain” his office would continue to work “with the same vigor during and after this transition period,” Robert Petit added that a formal process of appointing a successor was ongoing and would “no doubt be completed soon.” His resignation occurred while the argument opposing him to his Cambodian colleague regarding the indictment or not of new individuals in addition to the five already indicted by the ECCC is still unresolved. Also, the first trial opened before the hybrid court, that of Duch, is still ongoing.

LDS man to be adviser to Cambodian president

Photo courtesy Asia Area public affairs
Cambodian National Assembly President Heng Samrin congratulates Brother Chhay Leang Suy, a high councilor in the Phnom Penh Cambodia South District, upon his confirmation by the Cambodian king as an adviser to the president..


King of Cambodia approves high councilor for high government post

By Sister Deborah Calderwood
Cambodia temporal affairs missionary
Published: Saturday, June 20, 2009

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Brother Chhay Leang Suy, a high councilor in the Church's Phnom Penh Cambodia South District, has been approved by His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni to be an adviser to the President of the National Assembly of Cambodia. Brother Suy is the first member of the Church to hold such a distinguished position in the Cambodian government.

The Honorable Samdeck Akkak Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly, is pleased to have a person of Brother Suy's experience and background serving his country. In his position with President Samrin, Brother Suy will be responsible for advising on city infrastructure, public health services and educational improvement. His term of service expires in July 2013.


Brother Suy has enjoyed many other firsts in his life.

Photo courtesy Asia Area public afairs
A convert to the Church, Chhay Leang Suy, with his wife, Krern, was recently confirmed as an adviser to Cambodian Assembly President Heng Samrin.

He became the first of his family to join the Church in 1995. The foreign missionaries who spoke the Cambodian Khmer language so well impressed him enough that he took the missionary discussions. Two months later he was baptized. Because of his example, two sisters and a niece were also eventually baptized.

Brother Suy was the first native-born Cambodian from Cambodia to serve a mission in the United States. He served in the Idaho Pocatello Mission from 1997 to 1999. While serving as a missionary in Idaho, Brother Suy met President Dee Reynolds, Stake President of the Ashton Idaho Stake. President Reynolds remembered Brother Suy as a quiet and humble missionary struggling with the English language. The tables were reversed this year when President Dee Reynolds and his wife, Nikki, were called to serve as proselyting missionaries in Battambang, Cambodia. "We remember that Elder Suy needed a coat even during the summer in Idaho and now we need air conditioning in Battambang," Sister Reynolds said.

Brother Suy was also the first of his family to graduate from college. He earned business administration and civil engineer degrees from the National Management University and Norton University in Phnom Penh. He is also earning a master's degree in Public Law.

Brother Suy is married to Krern Sophaul and they have three children.

'Urban sprawl' responsible for collapse of ancient Cambodian city of Angkor

June 24, 2009

Sydney, June 24 (ANI): A team of international scientists has suggested that over-development of water infrastructure and extreme climate fluctuations were responsible for the collapse of the ancient Cambodian city of Angkor.

According to a report in The Australian, the team comprised of Sydney University archeologist Roland Fletcher and his GAP (Greater Angkor Project) co-director, Sydney University paleo-climatologist Dan Penny, and paleoclimatologist Brendan Buckley of New York's Columbia University.

The scientists used new archeological, pollen and tree-ring dating evidence to back their claims.

The group argues that before an alternating series of droughts and monsoonal floods hit Angkor from the mid-14th to late 15th centuries, the capital of the Khmer empire had already had extensive problems with its vast, complicated water system.

Ultimately, it became impossible for the city to keep pace with further pressures from extreme weather.

Although there was ongoing conflict with neighbouring states, it was this over-built, inflexible (water) infrastructure that locked them into this trajectory of decline, Dr Penny said.

Before Angkor vanished into the jungle in the 17th century, it was the world's largest low-density pre-industrial city.

Between the ninth and 13th centuries, the metropolis spread across 1000sq km and was home to as many as 750,000 people.

To feed the population, land was extensively cleared for rice farming and hundreds of kilometres of canals and enormous reservoirs were built to provide water for farming and drinking.

The water works also supported religious ceremonies at hundreds of temple complexes.

The most spectacular was Angkor Wat, the world's largest premodern religious monument. It was the size of a medieval European town, Professor Fletcher said.

As the city grew, so did the highly integrated system of canals, spillways and reservoirs needed to support it.

Sand had begun filling major canals from the 14th century. Spillways and other features of the waterworks were badly damaged and shut down.

By the late 16th century, Angkor was largely abandoned, taking with it the entire region.

According to Professor Fletcher, Angkor is not the only city that fell victim to unsustainable low-density urban sprawl followed by climate instability.

The famous example is the classic Maya cities of the Yucatan Pensinsula like Tikal in Guatemala. They died between the ninth and the 11th century, he said. (ANI)