Saturday, 31 July 2010

How can we help the children of Cambodia??



REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea: Daily life

A Cambodian boy sleeps in a hammock in Kandal province in the outskirts of Phnom Penh July 31, 2010. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

Vendors rest as they await customers in Kandal province, located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, July 31, 2010. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

A fisherman casts a net to catch fish on the Tonle Sap river in Kamdal province, located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, July 31, 2010. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

Cambodians transport rice in Kandal province, located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, July 31, 2010. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

Tea Banh rules out joint development

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By Panya Tiewsangwan
The Nation

The World Heritage Committee's decision to delay the Preah Vihear management issue to next year must have hit Cambodia hard, but Phnom Penh's Defence Minister Tea Banh took it on the chin, albeit quite bitterly.

"We know from history what the issue is like," he told The Nation in a phone interview. "What has happened doesn't give any new signal. It's an old issue, nothing new."

While saying that the Unesco setback will not create military tension at the border, Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, couldn't help feeling Thailand could have just stopped being "stubborn" and learned to "let go".

"To us it's deja vu all over again. Thailand has never let go in spite of the World Court verdict and Thais have tried everything" to oppose Cambodian rights over the temple, he said.

Members of the People's Alliance for Democracy, who demonstrated at the Bangkok head office of Unesco yesterday against Cambodia's management plan for the temple, cheered the World Heritage Committee's decision. But observers believe the one-year postponement is unlikely to soften the PAD's sometimes vociferous campaign for Thai territorial claims around the temple.

It was the PAD's strong protests that galvanised the government to resort to tough diplomacy that saw Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva threatening this week to sever ties with the Unesco committee.

The World Heritage Committee, part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, had been scheduled to rule on Thursday on the Cambodian management plan for the 11th-century Hindu temple. But at the meeting in Brasilia, the Thai-Cambodian conflict flared up. As a result, the 21-member committee decided to postpone the decision until next year's meeting in Bahrain, after Thai accusations of procedural errors.

"The Thais know best what they want and I can't speak for them," Tea Banh said. "You don't have to ask me what caused the delay after Thailand threatened to end its Unesco membership.

"Should this conflict be mediated by a third party? I really don't want to comment. Let me just say if one side refuses to accept truth, it will be very difficult to move on."

The stone Hindu temple ruins were listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site two years ago and Phnom Penh was required to submit a management plan to the committee. Thai opponents of the management plan feared it "hid" some sensitive territorial information that would bolster Cambodia's territorial claims in the future.

"Cambodia never thinks about violating Thailand's sovereignty," Tea Banh said. When asked if a joint development of the site would be a solution, he replied: "There are principles for everything. You cannot try to be co-owners of properties you don't have rights over them."

Trade Unions Should Have Only One Voice to Negotiate with Employers – Friday, 30.7.2010

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Posted on 31 July 2010. Filed under: Week 675 |
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 675

“Trade unions agreed that they should have only one voice to negotiate with enterprises if disputes take place.

“The head of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, Mr. Rong Chhun, said on Thursday, 29 July 2010, that in a meeting about the draft of a Trade Union Law it was suggested by the government that in an enterprise, even though there are many trade union representatives [there are by now 49 different labor federations and associations], there should be only one person chosen to negotiate with the employer. He went on to say that there is no adequate opportunity provided for trade unions to voice their opinion responding to the government and to the Ministry of Labor that created that draft. He said that this law is restrictive and leaves less power to trade unions when they act to support workers.

“The head of the Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions, Mr. Vong Sovann, said on Thursday that a closed door meeting had found that this draft states the obligations of workers and of employers. He said, ‘We think that the draft should be changed to a [general] law on “expert organization,” but it is just our idea and we will send it to the government after the meeting.’ He added that trade unions want the government to consider this and to remove some points. He said, ‘There should not be a requirement to state the financial situation of a union to the Ministry. The draft might rather suggest that trade unions have to be transparent for their members, which is not a problem.’

“Mr. Vong Sovann does not agree with the requirement that legally registered trade unions will have to register again after the draft will have been adopted. Therefore, the meeting will suggest to the government to remove this point. He said, ‘If strikes or demonstrations due to labor conflicts happen, the law should not consider them as crimes which might lead to the arrest of some representatives of the workers.’ Trade union representatives met to discuss also some important key issues like strikes, unjust implementation of the labor law, penalty conditions, and the court system.”

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #226, 30.7.2010

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Friday, 30 July 2010

PM tells media to study UNESCO resolution as Cambodia claims victory on Preah Vihear issue

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BANGKOK, July 31 -- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Saturday told media to carefully read the World Heritage Commission (WHC) resolution after Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An claimed a 'victory' as the heritage agency agreed to review its Preah Vihear temple management plan, despite the action coming a year from now.

Asked to comment on the report, Mr Abhisit told journalists succinctly to "Please find out and read the resolution [yourself]...."

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) heritage commission on Thursday postponed discussing the issue until next year when it meets in Bahrain.

The heritage commission dropped the issue because its meeting secretariat had not distributed the Cambodian-prepared document to committee members six weeks beforehand as required but gave it to members less than one day before the WHC meeting.

It postponed discussion on the thorny issue because the two neighbouring countries could not find common ground to settle the disputed 4.6 sq km of lightly forested land near the temple.

Mr Abhisit’s remarks followed Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An's live TV speech by satellite from Brazil boasting that Cambodia had achieved its goal when the UNESCO committee agreed to consider its plan for managing Preah Vihear temple -- but not emphasising it would be next year.

The Associated Press reported from Phnom Penh quoted Mr Sok An as saying Friday that “UNESCO has officially accepted our management plan documents, so there is no need to have a further discussion or voting. The result ... is a big victory for Cambodia, [the] result we have been waiting for.”

The International Court of Justice awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962 and the ruling has rankled in Thailand ever since.

For Thailand the issue worsened on July 7, 2008, when Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Under the terms of the listing, Cambodia is required to submit a management plan for WHC approval. (MCOT online news)

Conference on building border of peace and friendship held

via Khmer NZ

July 31, 2010

Nhan Dan – An international conference on building a common border of peace and friendship between Vietnam and Cambodia was held in Tay Ninh province on July 30.

It was co-chaired by Vu Trong Kim, Member of the Party Central Committee and Vice Chairman cum General Secretary of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee and Min Khin, Minister of Cults and Religions of the Kingdom of Cambodia and Permanent Vice Chairman cum General Secretary of the National Council for the Solidarity Front for Development of the Cambodian Motherland.

At the conference, the two chairmen expressed their happiness and pride over new developments in solidary and friendly relations between the two peoples in the past.

Many delegates said that the conference symbolised the traditional friendly and co-operative ties between the peoples of the two countries, especially those who live in the provinces along the common border.

The conference also aimed to promote co-operative ties between the Vietnam Fatherland Front and the National Council for the Solidarity Front for Development of the Cambodian Motherland.

Thai-Cambodia border 'normal' but Thai military on high alert

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BANGKOK, July 31 -- The Thai-Cambodian border situation remains normal but Thailand's military is on high guard after a United Nations agency agreed to postpone discussions on the disputed management plan around the Preah Vihear temple proposed by the Phnom Penh government to 2011.

Thai troops are now posted some five kilometres from the historic temple on its eastern approach.

They are guarding the disputed area contested by the two neighbouring countries round-the-clock to ensure that Cambodian soldiers do not encroach the Thai territory.

In an attempt to boost morale of Thai soldiers guarding the border, Col Nirut Ketsiri, commander of 16th Infantry Battalion, visited them.

Thailand's foreign minister said Friday that the country is not disadvantaged after UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) on Thursday postponed its scheduled discussions on the management plan to next year's meeting in Bahrain.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromyat praised the Thai delegation at the meeting, led by Suwit Khunkitti, minister of natural resources and environment, for voicing and explaining the Thai perspective on the impasse to heritage committee members until they decided to postpone discussion of the issue.

He said that Thailand should now find a way to resolve the Thai-Cambodian border demarcation problem and submit it to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The immediate challenge, Mr Kasit said, is that Thailand wants to refer to the temple as Phra Viharn, while Cambodia calls it Phreah Vihear. If it is agreed by Phnom Penh then both countries could move jointly to resolve their territorial disputes.

The Thai government wants to resolve the problem according to the 2000 land boundary demarcation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cambodia agreeing not to change any environment in the frontier zone, pending the survey and demarcation of the common land boundary.

Thailand will not allow its territory to be lost and the disputed, overlapping boundary must be settled by negotiation, he said, adding that the next round of talks should be done in a friendly atmosphere as the two countries are close neighbours. (MCOT online news)

Unesco To Discuss Temple Plan Next Year: Minister

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh
Friday, 30 July 2010

via Khmer NZ

Photo: AP
World Heritage Preah Vihear temple sits on the edge of a plateau that dominates the plain of Cambodia.

“The UN World Heritage Committee decided to consider Cambodia’s Preah Vihear management plan to discuss in the next session.”

Following an international meeting with Unesco in Brazil this week, Council Minister Sok An said Friday the UN body will postpone consideration of a management plan for the contentious Preah Vihear temple in a session next year.

Cambodia issued a management plan for the World Heritage temple this week, against opposition from Thailand, which claims a disputed strip of land near the temple.

“The UN World Heritage Committee decided to consider Cambodia’s Preah Vihear management plan to discuss in the next session,” Sok An said in a public statement from Brazil that was carried by national television.

Thai Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti said he approved of the postponement.

A delayed discussion will “allow us to have more time to have bilateral discussions and communications to find the common and the mutual agreement between two countries,” he said in remarks quoted by international media.

Preah Vihear temple, an 11th-Century structure that sits on an escarpment overlooking the plains of Preah Vihear province, remains at the center of an ongoing border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand, who each have troops amassed along the northern frontier.

At least eight soldiers have died in brief skirmishes stemming from the standoff.

Duch Verdict Praised as Encouraging Example for Courts

Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer | Washington, DC
Friday, 30 July 2010

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Photo: AP
Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, appears on a television screen of the press center of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal, on July 26, 2010.

“I hope that it will also be a start for the introduction of international law in Cambodia.”

Key donors to the Khmer Rouge tribunal hailed the verdict and sentencing of Kaing Kek Iev this week a success.

The completed trial for the prison chief better known as Duch, the first for the UN-backed court, will now stand as an example for Cambodia’s own judicial system, said David Lipman, head of the EU’s delegation in Cambodia.

“The first sentencing of the tribunal is a historical occurrence and a unique opportunity to help to bring to closure a dark chapter of the Cambodian history,” he said. “I hope that it will also be a start for the introduction of international law in Cambodia.”

Following Duch’s verdict and sentencing, issued Monday, the EU immediately announced a contribution of $2.6 million to help pay the salaries of judges, prosecutors and other staff for the cash-strapped Cambodian side of the hybrid tribunal.

Both France and Japan issued a joint statement praising the tribunal for its progress. And the US hailed the verdict as showing “commitment” by international and Cambodian court staffs to uphold “an international standard of justice.”

Illinois Democratic House Representative Mike Quigley told VOA Khmer the trial was a reminder that the US must work to ensure that “justice is pursued for as long as it takes, whatever it takes, and regardless of the cost.”

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said the accolades from international observers would act as encouragement for officials who are now at work on the court’s second case, to try senior leaders Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith.

Survivors need a reason to live

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As Khmer Rouge victims come to terms with the Duch sentence, a Singapore-based couple is bringing a picture of hope to Cambodians

by Mahdev Mohan and Vinita Ramani Mohan
Jul 31, 2010

Chum Mey speaking to AJA after the verdict, July 26 2010

May Sokhan, a Khmer Krom civil party and presiding Buddhist monk at Wat Pratheat pagoda, Takeo province, a former mass crime site.

by Mahdev Mohan and Vinita Ramani Mohan 
Jul 31, 2010

In 2008, Singapore lawyer Mahdev Mohan and his wife, ex-journalist Vinita, set up Access to Justice Asia to represent Cambodian minorities in the war crimes trials of senior Khmer Rouge leaders. Mr Mahdev, 31, is the first Asian lawyer to act as legal counsel to the victims at the tribunal hearings. Currently an Assistant Professor of Law at the Singapore Management University and Associate Fellow of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, he and his wife were there when this week's milestone verdict was handed down.

ON MONDAY, about 800 people - survivors, media and victims' advocates like us - listened in rapt silence at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal grounds as Judge Nil Nonn declared the former head of Cambodia's notorious S-21 prison guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

When Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, was given a 35-year prison sentence for his "shocking and heinous" deeds which claimed more than 12,000 lives in the '70s, some former victims cheered.

But that was before they did the math.

They soon realised, Duch would serve no more than 19 years, taking into account his time served and mitigating factors. And with parole a possibility, Duch, 67, could spend as little as 12 years behind bars - considerably less than the 20 years or more which Cambodian courts mete out for less-serious crimes.

When we asked court spokesman Lars Olsen why the judges hadn't explained Duch's actual prison time more clearly, he retorted that the calculation was a "legal technicality". The response floored us. Imagine telling that to S-21 survivors like Chum Mey, who lost his wife and children to the Khmer Rouge, and seemed in a state of shock when his lawyers explained the verdict's intricacies.

In 2008, Chum Mey had hoped that participating in Duch's trial would give him a sense of closure. "I want to stay alive to give evidence," he had told us. "I survived the Khmer Rouge, and if I die before the trial, what was the point of surviving?" But standing outside the courtroom after the verdict, all Chum Mey could manage was: "I really cannot say anything. I am too sad."

The United Nations-backed court is the latest in a series of international criminal tribunals intended to bring war criminals to book and provide closure for victims and their families - but not always succeeding in either regard.

Last Monday's verdict, the first delivered against a major Khmer Rouge figure, brought things full circle for us. Sitting in that same courtroom in November 2007 while working for NGOs in Cambodia, we had been moved by victim testimonies at Duch's first pre-trial hearing. Soon after, we established Access to Justice Asia (AJA), a non-profit dedicated to assisting unknown or unrepresented communities in Asia that have gone through conflict.

AJA has been well-received by Cambodian victims; many survivors we spoke to over the next three years became friends. Even though we do not represent him, Chum Mey tells tourists during his daily rounds at S-21 about the maythievi (lawyer) from Singapore and his team who struggle to find justice for Cambodians.

REPARATIONS FALL SHORT

For the past three years, Khmer Rouge victims like Chum Mey have been encouraged by the court to participate in its trials as "civil parties", with the promise that they will have a voice in the proceedings and the right, among other things, to request collective reparations.

Chum Mey does not want financial reparation. He would be content if S-21 were converted into a monument or a public memorial which could serve to educate future generations about the lives of the persons who perished there. His hopes were dashed when the only reparation the court ordered was the compilation and publication of the judgment containing civil parties' names and Duch's apologies to victims.

The reparation ordered by the court is a far cry from the sort of reparations we have come to expect from international courts.

At the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, for instance, governments have been ordered to ensure that each civil party receives a copy of the judgment in their native language; establish trust funds for education or medical treatment; hold commemoration ceremonies to honour victims; provide security to victims; and investigate related contemporary human rights abuses. Unfortunately, the tribunal has eschewed such innovative measures and settled instead for something unimaginative and expedient.

The court's preference for expediency over recovery has unsettled many victims, including indigenous survivors we represent in the upcoming trial of four surviving senior Khmer Rouge leaders, which is slated to begin next year.

QUESTIONING THEIR FAITH

Over the past two years, we have worked with the Khmer , ethnic Khmers with roots in South Vietnam, to document their evidence. The Khmer Rouge falsely persecuted them as traitors with "Khmer bodies but Vietnamese minds".

Having just emerged from genocide, and with historical reasons not to trust any official information-gathering exercise, it has not been easy for our Khmer Krom clients to speak freely about the atrocities they suffered.

We have had to work hard to gain their trust and confidence. Working with local community leaders and international experts, we filed extensive data and legal petitions to the court. Our efforts paid off earlier this year when 15 Khmer Krom clients were formally admitted as civil parties for the upcoming trial.

However, in light of the Duch verdict, our clients have asked us if their new-found faith in the court is misplaced.

The court's reparation order has little resonance for our clients. Some are illiterate or do not have access to media sources, and may never get to read the judgment. Others feel that Duch's apology is insincere since he asked to be acquitted.

Sitting in Wat Pratheath, in the south-western province of Takeo, one of the civil parties, Tun Soun, swept his arm to indicate that everything around us used to be a crime site - mass graves, stupas-turned-torture centres, canals once filled with bodies. For Tun Soun, publishing half-hearted apologies on pieces of paper insults the memory of the departed.

LIFE REPLACES DEATH

In anticipation of such paltry reparation measures, Access to Justice Asia shifted its sights in January to oral histories and photography, which can be used to chronicle the Khmer Krom story.

Mass graves are ubiquitous in Cambodia; the only visual documents that exist are those documenting death. We need to offer its communities a different way of perceiving themselves and their stories, and we think the way is through photography and short films of daily life. While the desire to repeat their stories of suffering is still strong, we'd like to reflect back to them images of continuity and life, not death.

To the court's affiliates, these non-legal measures may appear insignificant. But last week, when we brought with us the printed photographs taken by our summer intern photojournalists, villagers in Takeo gathered around us - ecstatic and proud to sift through the photos and find their faces mirrored there.

Most of these people don't have a single photo of themselves. What little they might have had by way of mementos of lost family members was destroyed. That was the Khmer Rouge's prevailing mantra: All family ties had to be broken, all attachment to culture, community and religion erased. To have a joyous photo of a grandmother, a parent or a child may help them to fearlessly remember and speak up.

Speaking last week in Singapore, Dame Sylvia Cartwright, a judge at the court, described evidence she heard from Cambodian victims and the fact that their desire for "personal revenge" may never be satiated. With respect, not all Cambodian survivors are motivated by vengeance when they express dissatisfaction with the court's decisions. Many have legitimate expectations of justice, participation and commemoration inside and outside the court-room.

We hope that at the next trial, the court will fulfil these expectations and enable Cambodians to return to a dignified and meaningful life within their communities.

'Whose justice is it?'

As part of a team of trial monitors who had a ringside view of the daily tribunal proceedings for four months, Singaporean lawyer Delphia Lim, 25, learnt that justice can be chilly.

"We saw raw human emotion from victims and perpetrators alike giving their testimony, juxtaposed against the seemingly cold and at times harsh legalism of the court setting," she said. "We learnt that cold hard justice doesn't always lend itself to reconciliation and healing."

It was curiosity and the desire to witness "what I believed would involve the best and worst of human experience" that drove Ms Lim to get involved last year with the Asian International Justice Initiative.

As trial monitors, the team's role was to publish independent assessments of the proceedings, which were circulated to lawyers and the special Cambodian court created to try serious crimes of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Another fellow law graduate from the National University of Singapore, Ms Sangeetha Yogendran, 24, spent seven months with the court's Victims Support Section.

She also interned with Access to Justice Asia (AJA) doing outreach work, interviewing survivors and representing victims. When Monday's verdict was revealed, her immediate reaction "of joy and relief" gave way to mixed emotions. "It was very difficult watching the victims and the civil parties deal with their reactions, especially because I felt that the reparations award was somewhat of a joke," said Ms Sangeetha.

Ms Lim's attention was on S-21 prison chief Duch. "He looked shaken ... At the same time, the disappointment from the civil parties in the courtroom was palpable. I wondered, if this is justice, whose justice is it?"

Both young legal eagles have been left with a hunger for more such work. Ms Lim continues to take time off to assist AJA in Cambodia, thanks to "an understanding boss and team" at Drew and Napier; while Ms Sangeetha, who is taking the bar course, looks forward to interning at The Hague next year with the victims section of the International Criminal Court.

Sister of Cumbrian Khmer Rouge victim welcomes verdict for torturer


via Khmer NZ

By Pamela McGowan
Friday, 30 July 2010

The sister of a Cumbrian man who died in the Cambodian Killing Fields has spoken after seeing his murderer found guilty 32 years later.

Hilary Holland

John Dewhirst

John Dewhirst, 26, fell victim to Pol Pot’s murderous regime after straying too close to the Cambodian coast during a sailing adventure holiday in 1978.

The teacher was captured by the Khmer Rouge military and sent to the notorious Tuol Sleng detention centre, Camp S-21. He was one of at least 17,000 people – and the only Briton – to be brutally interrogated, tortured and eventually murdered.

This week the man responsible for his death, Kaing Guek Eav – known as Comrade Duch – was found guilty of overseeing the torture and execution of thousands after going on trial at a UN war crimes tribunal. The 67-year old former maths teacher was sentenced to 35 years in prison but is only expected to serve 19 due to a reduction for time already served.

The sister of Mr Dewhirst, solicitor Hilary Holland, 55, said she is not happy with the length of the sentence but believes the trial has been a positive step because it has brought the true extent of the Cambodian atrocities to light.

She told The Cumberland News: “I was obviously glad that he was found guilty and that it was a long sentence.

“But he could be out and free when he’s 86. That may seem like an awfully old man but I don’t think it really reflects what he has done. It’s not about punishment as such, it’s just that I feel the enormity of what he is responsible for should be reflected in the sentence. It should be proportional to the crime.

“He was found guilty of murder, torture, rape and crimes against humanity.

“The world needs to know that is punished with a very, very severe penalty.”

Mrs Holland – who could not face the ordeal of attending the trial herself – believes the prosecution should have made the case for a longer sentence. She added that many Cambodians felt he should have been given a full life term.

However, despite this, she believes the trial itself has brought a degree of justice and helped to show the world what went on in Cambodia which, unlike the rule of the Nazis, is not widely documented.

She hopes that could help to prevent such atrocities from happening again.

“It’s raised the profile of what went on in Cambodia, both to the world and to the Cambodian people – many of whom were still in the dark,” she said. “I always hoped that the trial would bring what happened to the attention of the world.

“A whole country has been damaged forever. It’s important for the younger generation to learn and the older ones who have been damaged to hopefully heal.”

It will never be known exactly what happened to John, a former Appleby Grammar School pupil, after he was captured.

It is believed he confessed under torture to being a CIA agent. In reality he was a graduate who began travelling after finishing teacher training.

During Duch’s trial, the court heard harrowing claims that he was burnt alive. Mrs Holland – now a mother-of-four and partner at Brampton firm Cartmell Shepherd – has still not come to terms with the death of her brother and said even the trial cannot bring closure.

She admitted she gets through life by blocking out what happened to her brother and not talking about it, but she decided to speak out following the trial to raise its profile in the West, because her brother was the only British victim.

It is estimated that around 1.7 million Cambodians died under the dictatorship of Pol Pot, from 1975 to 1979.

Duch was the first of five surviving senior Khmer Rouge figures to go on trial.

He had admitted and apologised for his role in the killing and torture of thousands of men, women and children at the prison – but said he was following orders and had asked the court to acquit him. His solicitor has indicated he may now appeal his sentence.

First published at 14:15, Friday, 30 July 2010
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

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Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cabinet Refused Information of Allowing Intercity Group to Open Casino in Siem Reap

Saturday, 31 July 2010 08:26 DAP NEWS / Vibol

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, JULY 31, 2010-Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet On July 30 refused the information of allowing the Intercity Group to open casino in Siem Reap province, home of famous 12th Angkorwat temple and the cabinet also asked the local English language newspaper to correct the article on that news.

“I would like to inform you that in past years, the government has not allowed any foreign or local companies to open casino gambling in Siem Reap province and in the meeting with Intercity Group on July 29 July yesterday, PM Hun Sen also did not permit the Intercity Group to open the casino in Siem Reap province as mention in your articles. Please correct the article completely, “The letter signed by the Ho Sothy, cabinet chief of Prime Minister Hun Sen to editor of local English newspaper the Cambodia Daily.

The information that Cambodian government allowed the Intercity Group to build casino in Siem Reap province was published most local English newspapers in Phnom Penh and even the famous foreign news agencies like Bloomberg and Reuters reported about that news.

SOUTH Korean developer Intercity Group plans to start construction in October on a US$400 million casino resort complex near Siem Reap that aims to draw high rollers from Macau and Singapore, “The Phnom Penh Post reported on July 30.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc and MGM Resorts International, the largest casino owner on the Las Vegas strip, are among potential investors to visit the site, James Cho, Intercity’s vice president quoted as saying by the Phnom Penh Post. The first phase of the project is set to finish in 2012. All these big guys are interested in operation management deals,” Cho told the Post. “We’re confident because the feasibility is there and gaming concessions in this region are so rare.”

Intercity is betting the casino complex, with an investment value equivalent to about 4 percent of Cambodia’s gross domestic product, will draw Asian gamblers looking for an alternative to more established gambling centers,” The Post noted.

Cambodia plans to export one million tons of milled rice by the end of 2015

Friday, 30 July 2010 13:48 DAP-NEWS

Cambodia’s trade ministry announced on Friday said that the country plans to export about one million tons of milled rice be the end of 2015.

The announcement of export made during the workshop on WTO sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) agreement and notification training in Phnom Penh. Kem Sithan, secretary of state for commerce ministry said,” Cambodia expects to export about one million of milled rice by the end of 2015,”. Cambodia remains about three tons of rice products this year after collecting about 7 million tons of rice product,”. From this workshop, we will learn about sanitary and phyto-sanitary for exporting products, he noted.

He continued that in addition to numerous commitments, sps is one of the main components that enable Cambodia to accelerate its exports to world markets, especially for her agricultural commodities. With no assistance from two secretariats and other international agencies, Cambodia would find it difficult to fulfill this obligation. Hence today workshop is crucial for Cambodia, especially for all ministries involving in SPS matters.

“It is noticed that the percentage of people living under the poverty line fell from 45 per cent in 1993 to 35 per cent in 2004 and further declined to 30 per cent in 2007. Every year, virtually over 1 per cent of population has been taken out of poverty. At this rate, Cambodia will be on the right track to meet her poverty alleviation –related Millennium development goals by the year 2015,”he added.

He added that after having been for decades a self –consumed agricultural commodity producer, Cambodia started to play a more important part of the world food export. Of this food export, Cambodia expects to export approximately one million tons of milled rice by the end of 2015.

He continued that however, we face many pressures to upgrade sps management capacity. Cambodia is a member of WTO but it still faces difficulties in its compliance with its membership requirement on market access and protection of imports.

The government seized many opportunities to capture the necessary support to further its objectives of trade mainstreaming. As a member of ASEAN and Great Mekong sub-region (GMS), we need to increase our trade with partners within the region. Some of these partners have far greater capacity than Cambodia to address in terms of food safety, animal and plant health issues and are able to benefits more from the protection offered by the SPS agreement than Cambodia. Certain significant products continued to be excluded from export market on the ground of safety due to poor hygiene in handing or other contamination or on the ground of potential environment risks. Our institutional and technical capacity such as monitoring and surveillance, inspection, testing and certification of export product needs to be strengthened. We use the SPS agreement and various tools to ensure an adequate response to notifications that affect Cambodia.

“It is about having greater participation in the activities of the WTO, which will also increase confidence of trading partners, bilateral agreements and help with other important issues such foreign direct investment in the long run,” he emphasized.

Cambodia claims “big victory” for Preah Vihear management plan at UNESCO meeting

Friday, 30 July 2010 13:29 DAP-NEWS

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Dr.Sok An said in live televised from Brazil on Friday that Thailand signed on July 30 along with Cambodia and Brazilian minister to support the Cambodian management plan at the U.N. listed temple of Preah Vihear.

His Excellency Dr. Sok An, who led delegation to attend the 34th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) from July 25 to August 3, said that the representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Brazilian cultural minister also hailed the Cambodian good management plan of the Temple including the achievements made after the listing of Preah Vihear as world heritage site.

The 900-year-old Khmer temple of Preah Vihear was listed by World Heritage Committee in 2008 in Canada, Quebec, as World Heritage Site but was rejected by Thailand’s opposition.

“What Thailand did not accept before, now they did,” he said referring to Thailand's Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti signed on July 30 the decision drafted by the World Heritage Committee, of UNESCO, in the meeting chaired by Brazilian culture minister Joao Luiz Silva Ferreira

“This is a big victory for Cambodia, but a huge loss of Thailand,” said Dr. Sok An, who is also minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers.

World Heritage Committee acknowledged Cambodia submitted reports of the management development plan of Preah Vihear and Thailand now accepted the result of World Heritage Committee made in Spain 2009, he said of the decision.

Dr. Sok An said that World Heritage Committee received the submission of Cambodian development plan of Preah Vihear temple at the World Heritage Centre.

“World Heritage Committee takes note with satisfaction of the progress made in developing a management plan and encouraged the state party (Cambodia) to implement its provision, with contribution of the international community,” H.E. Sok An said of the decision by World Heritage Committee (WHC).

The Committee also welcomed Cambodia to establish an international coordinating committee (ICC) for the sustainable conservation of the Temple, H.E. Sok An said.

“They (UNESCO) did not only accept Cambodian proposal of management plan at Preah Vihear, but they also praised us for good planning,” he said in live broadcast on local TVs.

“WHC did not postpone in its official decision as the Thais claimed but decided to consider the management plan for Preah Vihear sustainable conservation at its next session to be held in Bahrain,” he said.

Dr. Sok An said the World Heritage Committee of UNSECO made decision of supporting reports on the Cambodia of conservation of the temple inscribed on the World Heritage List.

He said that Cambodia explained to UNESCO and the member countries of the World Heritage Committee about Thailand used secret and unilateral map, which never accepted by Phnom Penh.

The UN legal institution of International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1962 ruled out that: the Temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia.

The court found that Thailand is under obligation to withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity on Cambodian territory.

Thailand is under an obligation to restore to Cambodia any objects of the kind specified in the Cambodia’s fifth submission which may, since the date of the occupation of the Temple by Thailand in 1954, have been removed from the Temple or the Temple area by the Thai authority, said ICJ’s Judgment.

UNESCO Accepts Cambodia Preah Vihear’ Management Plan

Friday, 30 July 2010 04:04 By Soy Sophea

CAMBODIA,PHNOM PENH,JULY-30-2010:Cambodian senior officials on Friday confirmed that UNESCO has accepted Cambodia’s World Heritage Management Plan in its world heritage meeting in Brazil although Thailand objected the plane.

Tourism firms eye Cambodia market

via Khmer NZ

July, 31 2010

HA NOI — The domestic tourism industry plans to focus on attracting holidaymakers from traditional markets in the world to meet its target of drawing 4.5 million foreign visitors to the country this year.

Figures from the General Statistics Office show that the number of Cambodian holidaymakers coming to Viet Nam has grown markedly in the first six months of this year, reaching 117,000 – a year-on-year rise of 36 per cent.

HCM City leads the nation in terms of attracting Cambodian visitors, who make up 60-70 per cent of the total number of visitors from the country to Viet Nam. The southern city is followed by the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang and the southern province of Binh Duong.

Industry insiders said visa exemptions, high-quality goods, attractive tourist destinations and convenient travel arrangements are the main draw for Cambodian holidaymakers.

Transport firms such as Mai Linh and the Sai Gon Passenger Transportation Company (Sapaco) are cashing in on regional demand for travel. Everyday, about 80 coach trips are made between Viet Nam and Cambodia.

In a recent interview, He So Somara, the secretary of state of the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, said Cambodians used to prefer travelling to Thailand but that Viet Nam had become more attractive because it was closer, there were numerous entry points, it was inexpensive and the food was similar.

He also said the country now offered a variety of attractions, from beach holidays to health tourism.

Phan Thanh Hai, director of the HCM City-based Medic centre, said about 100 Cambodians come for check-ups daily, accounting for about 10 per cent of the total number of the centre's patients. Other hospitals such as Cho Ray, Traditional Medicine and Vu Anh are also regular stops for Cambodian travellers.

However, tourist firms attributed the rise in the number of Cambodian visitors to tourism fairs showcasing Vietnamese products and visits to the country by Vietnamese medical staff. — VNS

'A Magical Night in Cambodia', 'Twelfth Night', and more performances worth seeing

via Khmer NZ

Published: Friday, July 30


David Stabler, The Oregonian

"A Magical Night in Cambodia" 30 Cambodian dancers and rock violinist Aaron Meyer perform to raise money for the Ang School in Cambodia. The evening includes an auction and fashion displays. The Golden Leaf Education Foundation, which distributes the money, helps children in need. 5:30 p.m. Friday, concert begins at 8, Scottish Rite Center, 709 S.W. 15th Ave.; $50 general admission, $95 VIP, $35 students; 503-208-5323

Michael WilhelmRock violinist, Aaron Meyer, joins 30 Cambodian dancers during 'A Magical Night in Cambodia.'

"Twelfth Night" Inspired by "The Great Gatsby," Bag & Baggage Productions sets Shakespeare's frothy romantic-comedy classic in a 1920s seaside town. Argyle ensues. Opens 7 p.m. Friday, continues 7 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays through Aug. 14, Tom Hughes Civic Center Plaza, 150 E. Main St., Hillsboro; $10, 503-345-9590

3 Leg Torso Portland's chamber pop group releases its fifth CD with party and musical guests (see story on Page 37). 8 p.m. Saturday, Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St.; $17 at the door

"A Chorus Line" Broadway Rose puts on the ultimate musical about putting on a musical. Opens 7:30 p.m. Thursday, continues 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays (except Aug. 7) and Sundays through Aug. 22, Deb Fennell Auditorium, 9000 S.W. Durham Road, Tigard; $20-$35, 503-620-5262

"Find Me Beside You" Theatrical choreographer Jessica Wallenfels combines the jukebox musical with ballet in a show inspired by Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks." Opens 8 p.m. Thursday, continues 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays through Aug. 14, Theater! Theatre!, 3430 S.E. Belmont St.; $20-$25, 503-897-0425

From Cambodia's Killing Fields to New York, a new film confronts Khmer Rouge

Will the conviction of Khmer Rouge torture chief 'Duch' be the beginning of justice for 1970s war crimes? A documentary that premiers today in New York City argues it could be.

In this image a scene is shown in the new film 'Enemies of the People.'
YouTube
screengrab

via Khmer NZ

By Jared Ferrie, Correspondent / July 30, 2010

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

In the new film "Enemies of the People," the highest-ranking Khmer Rouge leader still living promises to disclose at his war crimes trial details of the mysterious inner workings of the regime.

"I will talk about it at the court to open their eyes," says the notoriously secretive Nuon Chea, pledging to explain the 1970s mass killings that still confound Cambodians.

The documentary won the 2010 Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and began a series of US screenings July 30 in New York (see trailer below).

Mr. Nuon is expected to go on trial next year, following up on the court's initial July 26 verdict against a Khmer Rouge chief jailer, Kaing Guek Eav, or "Duch," who ran a torture facility. Duch was sentence to 19 years for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Unlike Duch, who was not a member of the ruling clique, Nuon was second in command only to Brother No. 1 Pol Pot, who died in 1998.

Observers say Nuon's case will be more revealing and satisfying for Cambodians who seek to understand better why the Khmer Rouge killed 2 million countrymen in the 1970s, including the brother of Thet Sambath.

Mr. Thet, for one, didn't wait for a court to tell him what he wants to know. Over the past two decades, while the international community negotiated with the government to establish the United Nations-backed tribunal here, Thet was venturing into the jungles of western Cambodia to pose his own questions to Nuon and other Khmer Rouge.

"I want to know what went on inside the Khmer Rouge – why the starvation, why the killing," says the journalist, who teamed up with British coproducer Rob Lemkin for "Enemies of the People." In the film, slated to air on PBS next year, Nuon and other former Khmer Rouge reveal a previously unheard history that contradicts the government narrative.

In the national myth of the liberation, the Khmer Rouge was a monolithic organization that massacred those it imagined to be enemies until regime defectors and their Vietnamese benefactors charged to the rescue. Nuon suggests that the enemies were, to some extent, real. According to Nuon, the Communist Party was engaged in an internal struggle – his group against a powerful pro-Vietnamese faction. Both factions killed enemies, real and perceived.

If Nuon is to be believed, then his court testimony could implicate Khmer Rouge defectors who remain in the highest seats of government today. This may be why the government has been stonewalling the court, say observers. They point to, for example, the refusal of six top politicians to testify despite legally binding orders. Prime Minister Hun Sen, himself a regime defector, has said he'd rather see the court fail than prosecute more people.

Even if this version of history brings the viewer closer to the truth, Thet is careful to point out that none of this absolves Nuon of killing innocents. In the film, Nuon admits publicly, for the first time, that he ordered the killing of thousands of political opponents, which is probably evidence enough to convict him for war crimes – if he ever makes it to trial.

Errors stall Cambodian temple bid


via Khmer NZ

Published: 31/07/2010

Unesco's World Heritage Committee has postponed a decision on Cambodia's development plan for the Preah Vihear temple partly because it submitted a graphical illustration instead of a map, says a source in the Thai delegation.

Other reasons for the committee's postponement include evidence that Cambodia had deployed heavy weapons in the temple, that the country had failed to submit relevant documents on time, and that a memorandum of understanding between Thailand and Cambodia over the disputed territory in the area had not been settled.

The WHC decided to delay its decision on the management plan until next year's meeting in Bahrain because Thailand and Cambodia were unable to find common ground.

Brazil, the host of the meeting, had mediated between the two countries for an hour before the decision to postpone was made.

" The use of the graphical illustration, instead of a real map, has suggested a possible intent to conceal details about the areas surrounding the temple," the source said.

The Thai delegation capitalised on this by supplying a map that shows the construction of a road by Cambodia in the disputed overlapping 4.6 square kilometre zone.

Under a 2002 memorandum of understanding between Thailand and Cambodia, both sides agreed not to carry out any work in the area pending a survey to officially demarcate the common land boundary.

According to the source, the delegation has also submitted photos of a Cambodian installation of heavy artillery and troops in the temple.

"The Thai delegation had three minutes to talk to each of the WHC members. Our evidence made them feel that Cambodia's case was incomplete," said the source.

The source also called on Thai authorities not to get carried away with the delay and be prepared for the next WHC meeting.

"Cambodia has already set up a special body known as the Department of World Heritage, and we should also have a body that is responsible for this matter. It may be a long battle," said the source.

Part of the success of the Thai delegation led by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti should be attributed to three military officers who accompanied them on the trip: Lt Gen Thawatchai Samutsakhon, chief of the 2nd army corps, Lt Gen Niphat Thonglek, commander of border affairs attached to the Supreme Command, and Maj Gen Noppadol Chotisiri, deputy chief of the Army Survey Department.

Mr Suwit said yesterday the WHC's postponement of its decision on the site was partly because Cambodia had failed to submit its documents six weeks before the meeting as required.

As a result, the Thai delegation pointed out to the committee that it did not have enough time to study the proposal which could affect the country's sovereignty, Mr Suwit said.

He said the WHC acknowledged the problem and wanted both countries to work out a solution before it considered a management plan.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday pledged to direct necessary resources to examine Cambodia's management plan now that the WHC had postponed its decision on the matter.

He said concerned authorities would spend the next 12 months studying the proposal, so that Thailand is able to present an informed opinion to the WHC at its next meeting in Bahrain.

"Within a period of one year, we will look at Cambodia's document and come up with a comprehensive recommendation [to the WHC]. It will be different [next year]. We have a chance and we have to do our best," he said.

Mr Abhisit said the 2000 memorandum of understanding on the survey and land boundary demarcation Thailand signed with Cambodia was instrumental in the postponement.

According to Mr Abhisit, it was the memorandum that forced Cambodia into conceding that border demarcation had not yet been settled.

He said the issue should prompt Cambodia to review its decision to have the temple listed as a world heritage site and acknowledge the limitations that come with that designation.

Mr Abhisit said that before Cambodia's unilateral bid to register Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site, both countries were able to use the site for economic benefit without incident.

As for the alleged encroachment into the disputed zone, he said the Foreign Ministry had already sent a message that Thailand expected Cambodia to respect the memorandum of understanding.

Mr Abhisit said authorities would look into reports about Cambodia's alleged encroachment.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban played down speculation about renewed tensions, saying the delay would allow both countries to work out border disputes.

He said that any disputes with Cambodia would be dealt with at the government level.

Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon yesterday said there was no need to dispatch more troops to the Thai-Cambodian border despite a report that two battalions and heavy artillery had been sent there.

UNEP moves to assist developing nations abandon greenhouse gasses


via Khmer NZ

30 July 2010 - Issue : 894

The 20th Montreal Protocol meeting in 2007 reached a deal on a crucial environmental agreement to further reduce the use of ozone-damaging chemicals, such as HCFCs. EPA/ANDRE PRICHETTE

The UN Environment Programme and the European Commission launched a set of technical documents, designed to enable developing countries to phase out HCFC, the chemical emissions that deplete the ozone layer.

They hope to build on the successful reduction of CFC gasses that was part of the 1989 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer. This was achieved, partly, by using HCFC gasses as a temporary replacement, that were less harmful.

The documents form a 'tool box' of e-books, showing 20 practices, taken from the developed world, that can be adapted by individual nations. This is the first time that e-books have been produced, offering a flexibility that other file formats lack. UNEP say that they are avoiding printing 15,000 – 20,000 copies and the effects of distributing the information.

Philip Owen, Head of the Transport and Ozone unit at the European Commission said, “putting these documents online is a more efficient way of distributing the information and allows them to be updated, with best practice and additional information as the project is used by developing states.”

A key area is in capacity building, including training staff and educating stakeholders. Each section has a general introduction and an examination of the advantages of introducing a specific policy and the disadvantages, including the administrative requirements. Etienne Gonin, a consultant to the project said, “we want to be open about all aspects of introducing these policies.”

Rajendra Shende, Head of the UN Environment Prograamme said that “our children's children will only read about HCFC in the history books”. Launched on the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the ozone layer, Shende said, “this is a birthday and this tool box is a gift to the developing nations.”

He added that, “developing countries need such a tool box that would enable them to develop and implement HCFC phase-out strategies.”

The project is aimed to jump start efforts to reduce, and ultimately eliminate the chemical emissions. A series of workshops were held in Korea and Columbia that brought together experts and policy makers. They also studied the technology avaliable and looked at barriers to low emission technologies and the illegal trade in HCFC's.

The project began in 2009, funded by the EC, and its objectives are to eradicate HCFC in developing countries, highlighting refrigeration and air conditioning as well as reducing car emissions.

The UNEP say that they have learned from the implementation of the first phase of the Montreal Protocol. Shende said that the timing was important as there has been a rise in CFCs in the developing world.

The majority of developing countries are consumers, but not producers of HCFCs. Initially, developing countries should stop importing HCFC producing technology and try to retro-fit new technology where possible.

Some developing states have agreed to eliminate HCFCs ahead of the protocol targets. The Maldives have been given $1.1 million to eradicate HCFCs from the islands. Cambodia has also received $2 million for the same ends.

The project works with 147 nations. Shende says he has noticed, “a subtle change. They no longer see getting rid of these chemicals as a burden. Now they have started realising that doing this is not just better for the environment, but is better for the economy.”

The savings can be significant as 14% of energy is used in refrigeration and air conditioning and a cleaner and more efficient system can have significant benefits, not only for the environment, but the economy.

Thai premier in a bind on Preah Vihear

via Khmer NZ

Saturday, July 31, 2010
By Tulsathit Taptim
The Nation/Asia News Network

BANGKOK -- Many people in Thailand have observed that it was very “un-Abhisit” for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to threaten to burn the bridges with Unesco without eloquently explaining what on earth was going on in Brazil.

A little travel down memory lane and we may find possible answers.

Abhisit Vejjajiva's scathing attacks on the Samak Sundaravej government two years ago over its support for Cambodia's attempts to register Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site have limited the prime minister's options. In the 2008 showdown, Abhisit and other Democrats deplored the Samak administration's move as something that might undermine the future Thai stand when it comes to the controversial temple and surrounding areas.

Defending its decision to support Cambodia's registration efforts, the Samak government pointed to two basic legal points. The first was the World Court ruling in 1962 declaring that the temple was on Cambodian territory. The second was Article 61 of the World Court ruling, which states: “No application for revision may be made after a lapse of 10 years from the date of the judgement.” Article 61 featured prominently in Cambodia's application document to Unesco, with “LAPSE OF TEN YEARS” written in capital letters.

The Democrat camp led by Abhisit at the time pointed out Article 60 of the court's ruling. This article allows warring parties to reserve doubts and observations concerning rulings and, unlike Article 61, this one does not spell out any time frame. Which article carries stronger weight is debatable, but the battle line was clearly drawn. The Democrats were saying that any Thai move that could weaken Thailand's “silent protest” against the World Court ruling had to be avoided.

Now that the temple has become a World Heritage Site and the Cambodians are seeking to submit its management plan to Unesco, the Democrats, now in government, find themselves in an awkward position. Supporting the management plan could easily be regarded as hypocrisy and everything could blow up in Abhisit's face.

The Thai delegation led by Natural Resources Minister Suwit Khunkitti went to Brazil somewhat in the dark, not knowing if the Cambodians had sneaked in any sensitive territorial information when they proposed the management plan. When the pro-government People's Alliance for Democracy staged a sit-in in front of the Unesco Bangkok office on Wednesday, Abhisit had no choice but to act tough.

In fact, there are considerable safeguards. It is stated clearly in Unesco rules that declaration of a World Heritage Site is not legally binding when overlapping territorial claims are concerned. And a management plan for a World Heritage Site is even less likely to enable one party to assert new territorial claims.

But it doesn't matter now whether concern that Phnom Penh could gain the upper hand over disputed areas surrounding the temple if Thailand supports the management plan is solid or not. The issue has become politically charged, with nationalism about to simmer. One wrong move and what Abhisit said in Parliament to the Samak government in 2008 would come back to haunt him big time. The opposition Pheu Thai Party, surely, must be combing the video and audio archives of the Thai Parliament right now. Abhisit can only hope Unesco will delay the issue, or he will come under great pressure to make good his threat, regardless of whether the management plan is Cambodia's secret tool to gain more ground, literally, or not.