Wednesday, 18 August 2010

REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea: People exercise in morning at Phnom Penh

People exercise in the morning in front of the Royal Palace at Phnom Penh August 18, 2010. The Cambodian government and its development partners on Wednesday stressed the need for integrated efforts under different climate change-related initiatives to help Cambodia respond to the impact of climate change efficiently, according to a press release from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

People offer prayers at a temple in the morning at Phnom Penh August 18, 2010. The Cambodian government and its development partners on Wednesday stressed the need for integrated efforts under different climate change-related initiatives to help Cambodia respond to the impact of climate change efficiently, according to a press release from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

People sit near the Basak River in the morning at a park in Phnom Penh August 18, 2010. The Cambodian government and its development partners on Wednesday stressed the need for integrated efforts under different climate change-related initiatives to help Cambodia respond to the impact of climate change efficiently, according to a press release from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

People exercise in the morning at a park near Basak River in front of the Royal Palace at Phnom Penh August 18, 2010. The Cambodian government and its development partners on Wednesday stressed the need for integrated efforts under different climate change-related initiatives to help Cambodia respond to the impact of climate change efficiently, according to a press release from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

My summer vacation

http://www.andersonvalleypost.com/

via Khmer NZ

By George L. Winship, Editor
Anderson Valley Post
Posted August 17, 2010

elephant taxi:
Built for tourists, the elephant taxi carries several peple many miles for $20 each.

TEMPLE RUINS:
Dating from the 12th Century, the stone ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia attract tourists from around the world to admire Khmer architecture.

going native:
A professional photographer at a resort in Camboia poses Kim Keo and her daughter, Jeanney, in traditional Khmer village dress for a souvenir photo. Visiting Cambodia inspired Jeanney to learn more about her culture.

When Pacheco School teacher Vickie Drysdale asks her sixth-grade students to report on their summer vacations, the story that Jeanney Keo, 10, of Redding tells may prove to be the most fascinating.

Jeanney, who turns 11, on Sept. 11, recently returned from a month-long visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia, a country in Southeast Asia bordered by Thailand on the west, Laos on the north, Vietnam on the east and the Gulf of Thailand on the south.

It is the country where her parents, Jack and Kim Keo, were born and grew up, although both emigrated to the United States many years ago and are now U.S. citizens.

"It has been 18 years since my mother has been in Cambodia and this was my first trip to see my cousins and other relatives," Jeanney told the Valley Post.

The main purpose for their trip, other than to catch up on family gossip, was to return the cremains of Jeanney's great-grandmother to her native soil, the loquacious pre-teen explained.

"My uncle in Texas had brought his grand-mother's ashes to the United States when he moved here, but a fortune teller recently told him that his bad luck was caused by his grandmother's spirit, which wasn't happy here."

Like most Cambodians, many in Jeanney's extended family practice Theravada Buddhism, one of the oldest surviving schools of Buddhism. According to Wikipedia, the on-line free encyclopedia, there are more than 100 million adherents to Theravada Buddhism.

Jeanney and her mother, Kim Keo, boarded an international flight in San Francisco on July 5 and flew nearly 17 hours, stopping briefly in Teipei, Taiwan.

The travelers eventually landed in Phnom Penh, the kingdom's capital and largest city, with more than 2 million inhabitants living along the Mekong River. Established in 1434, the city has many buildings surviving from the French colonial period as well as many modern structures erected since the Khmer Rouge were driven out of Phnom Penh by the Vietnamese in 1979.

"It was very humid when we landed about noon on July 6," Jeanney remembers.

Met by relatives, the American visitors were whisked off to a fancy hotel to rest up before a grueling several-hour car trip took them to Sisophon, her mother's ancestral home. Several days later, they traveled by motorcycle to Siem Reap, her father's ancestral village.

"At my Mom's home town, there was a big celebration. One of the arches made of stone had just been repaired with concrete," she said.

Preparations for the Buddhist ceremony to rebury her great-grandmother's ashes had to be done the traditional way, so gifts of currency for the monks had to be carefully wrapped inside prayer papers. Other relatives cooked special foods for the spirits that would be consumed later by the living celebrants who attended, she said.

The many unfamiliar bugs and voracious mosquitoes were the worst things the travelers encountered as they slept on mattresses placed on the floor in one of the communal sleeping rooms.

"We had to tuck our mosquito nets around the mattress at night to keep the bugs out, but before we did that, we had to chase the bugs out of the bed and the mosquito nets," which were left up during the day, Jeanney said.

Cracks in the hardwood floor boards and between the moisture-warped boards also allowed bugs to enter from below, she said.

"In the country, the houses have dogs, chickens and other animals living under the house, which is built up on stilts. There was an outside deck area with no roof where we would wash the dishes with rainwater. Some of the houses didn't have walls, just a railing so you wouldn't fall off the platform," said Jeanney, who is fluent in both English and Khmer.

Jeanney noticed that a few houses had television sets, but without electricity during the day and most nights, there was little opportunity to watch anything.

One of the hardest things for the normally active 10-year-old was to sit cross-legged and very still during the numerous and lengthy religious services that the travelers and their extended families attended. The exhumation and eventual reburial of her great-grandfather's ashes, for example, was a two-day ceremony.

One of her favorite activities while traveling involved attending any of the local carnivals that pop up in every city, town and village during the monsoon season.

"The carnival in Phnom Pehn is a yearly thing. They have carnival rides like we have here. They also have the kiddie rides that just go around in circles," she said.

While walking around in the big cities and even the smallest villages, Jeanney was surprised by the many street vendors selling roasted peanuts, caramelized popcorn and even snow cones made on the back of a motorcycle with a blender-like device powered by the motorcycle's battery.

She never tried the snow cone, however, having been warned not to drink the water or any ice made from the water due to the danger of disease.

"When I wasn't having fun, it was icky and I wanted to come home to my Dad and my sister, Jena, but when everyone was around and we had a lot of fun, then it was fine. I didn't get homesick then," she said.

While many of her cousins, nephews and nieces learn English in school, Jeanney found her own limited Cambodian language skills stretched to the limit in trying to communicate with them.

"What did I miss the most," she mused. "Probably the A/C. I missed air conditioning a lot, but I also missed my kitty cat," Jeanney said. "But every time I missed something, there was something else there to replace it. Except for my Dad and my sister," she added with a smile.

One of the highlights of the trip was a day spent just being tourists. Jeanney and her mother, Kim, visited a resort where they dressed up in traditional village clothing and posed for souvenir photographs.

They played in a waterfall, swam in a stream and even rode an elephant taxi.

And they visited Angkor Wat, a Hindu temple built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. The temple is considered the highest form of classical Khmer architecture and has become a symbol for Cambodia, appearing on the nation's flag.

Jeanney and her mother returned to Sacramento August 6, and to Redding on August 7 after spending the night with relatives.

Vietnam active in settling temple conflict

via Khmer NZ

August 18, 2010

Vietnam is busy consulting other ASEAN member countries on a proposal to make ASEAN play an intermediary role in settling the Preah Vihear Temple conflict between Thailand and Cambodia, said Vietnam’s foreign ministry spokesperson.

Replying to reporters’ query on Vietnam’s reaction to that proposal on August 17, spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said Vietnam’s wish is that Thailand and Cambodia solve their Preah Vihear Temple conflict by peaceful measures and dialogue.

These measures will suit the agreements already reached by the two countries and avoid armed clashes that would affect ASEAN unity, she said. (VNA)

F-M markets offer edible insects

via Khmer NZ

By: J. Shane Mercer, INFORUM


While not popular in the U.S., grasshoppers are eaten in many other countries. Edible insects are available in some ethnic markets in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Dave Wallis / The Forum

I ate a bug.

And you can, too.

The Lotus Blossom Asian market on Main Street in Fargo carries not only grasshoppers, but kai mod dang – otherwise known as red ant larvae – and silkworm moth pupae – “pupa” being a pre-adult stage in the life of the bug.

The idea of eating creepy-crawly insects may be hard for Americans to swallow (all puns intended), but in some other parts of the world, there’s nothing strange about it.

In the Middle East, they eat locusts (according to the Bible, so did John the Baptist). In some parts of Africa, termites are consumed. And some Africans, along with South Americans and Australians, also eat caterpillars.

“In Third World countries, it’s a necessary protein source,” says Jerry Fauske, an entomologist and collection manager for the North Dakota State University Insect Reference Collection.

Many people even find the little critters tasty.

The silkworm moth pupae is “actually pretty good,” said Khna Chroeung, a native of Cambodia and co-owner of the Lotus Blossom store. “It’s kind of creamy.”

He also says it’s high in protein. And co-owner Kina Wong, also a native of Cambodia, believes eating some insects is “a lot healthier than meat.”

While that’s a claim worth debate, there is some nutritional evidence on her side.

An article on Time magazine’s website says that a “100-gram (3.5-ounce) portion of cooked Usata terpsichore caterpillars – commonly eaten in central Africa – contains about 28 grams (1 ounce) of protein, slightly more than you’d get from the same amount of chicken. Water bugs have four times as much iron as beef.”

Of course, cultural norms are hard to escape, and eating bugs is something that many Americans aren’t embracing just yet.

Chroeung says his own children have been “Americanized” and won’t eat food of the bug variety.

“No, not even close,” he says.

But for those of you still turning up your noses and screaming “ewwwww,” don’t kid yourself: We all eat bugs.

Fauske shared this appetizing little fact with me: The USDA allows “something like” 60 insect fragments per 3.5 ounces of chocolate sold in stores. And he didn’t stop there. He then started talking about insect parts in ketchup and how there’s something on the ketchup bottle that’s there for the purpose of hiding bug parts from view.

And that’s about where the conversation ended.

“We should stop talking,” I said, “while I can still eat anything in the world.”

The right to be heard

via Khmer NZ

18 August 2010 | by Krystyna Grinberg and Pip Ross .

A war crimes tribunal in Cambodia has convicted a defendant of crimes against humanity. What does this mean? Krystyna Grinberg, member of the Victorian IHL Committee and Pip Ross, IHL officer, Australian Red Cross explain
Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge was responsible for the deathsof more than 1.6 million people. Now, more than three decades after its fall, a UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Cambodia has convicted a defendant of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

The Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a hybrid tribunal administered jointly by the Cambodian government and the United Nations, has a mandate to try those most responsible for crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge’s rule. It recently handed down its first sentence, a 35 year jail term to Kaing Guek Eav (Duch), head of Phnom Penh’s notorious Tuol Sleng prison. Both the defendant and the co-prosecutors have indicated they will appeal.

Australian barrister, Rowan Downing QC, a judge of the ECCC’s Pre-Trial Chamber, recently spoke about his work in Cambodia as part of the ‘Humanitarian Law Perspectives’ seminar series presented by Australian Red Cross and Mallesons Stephens Jaques. The HLP Seminar series is designed to update the Australian legal community on current developments in international criminal law.

A unique feature of the tribunal’s rules of procedure, created by the international and Cambodian judges, is the right of victims to directly participate as parties to the trials. Given the immensity of the crimes committed, and the daunting number of victims, it was a patently ambitious move.

Mr Downing provided insight into the successes and difficulties experienced by the court in implementing victims’ rights. The ECCC permits victims to participatein all stages of the proceedings. They can participate as civil parties and call for collective and moral reparation; however there is no avenue for financial compensation through thetribunal. A victim is defined assomeone who has suffered physical, material, or psychological damage that isdirectly related to the regime.

Downing spoke about the practical organisational problems this created for the tribunal. Inthis first trial there were 90 victims added as civil parties, represented by 17 lawyers.

Civil party lawyers are allowed to question witnesses, and Mr Downing estimated victimparticipation had extended the length of Duch’s trial by as much as a third.This leads to questions about the accused’s right to an expeditious trial, and whether the needs of victims can be allowed to divert the court from the rights of the accused. The age of other Khmer Rouge officials now in their 70s and 80s who are also facing charges before the ECCC makes an expeditious trial particularly important.

Due to the tribunal’s successful outreach activities the number of victims seeking to participate in parties has increased enormously–in the next trial 4,121 victims have sought to be joined as parties, and it is anticipated they will be represented by more than 30 lawyers. For any subsequent trials before the ECCC civil parties must nominate lead counsel to streamline proceedings and eliminate repetition.

Mr Downing said victims often want an answer to the question ‘Why did this happen?’ and information about the fate of their families and he questioned whether an international criminal tribunal is the proper avenue for this. Downing queried the effect of causing victims to relive horrific events that occurred more than 30 years ago.

Perhaps victims might best be served by a properly funded truth and reconciliation commission run alongsidethe tribunal, he said. The Commission would help to heal the emotional scars while the Tribunal’s vital purpose is to determine whether the accused bear the criminal responsibility for what occurred and to end the impunity that has remained for so many years.
The international community’s search for the most effective way to deal with crimes of this enormous scale continues. It will be interesting to see whether the ECCC is able to ultimately strike the right balance between procedural fairness for the accused and allowing opportunities for victims to participate in the judicial process.

For more information about upcoming HLP seminars see www.redcross.org.au/ihl  

Written by Krystyna Grinberg, Member of the Victorian IHLCommittee and Pip Ross, IHL officer, Australian Red Cross

Iran, Cambodia stress expansion of bilateral ties


via Khmer NZ

Service: Foreign Policy

TEHRAN (ISNA)-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for using Iran-Cambodia commonalities in favor of the two countries.

In a meeting with Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong in Tehran on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad said Iran and Cambodia are two brother countries which can use their joint potentials to promote bilateral ties.

He added Iran is ready to transfer its agricultural, technical, scientific and technological know-how to Cambodia.

Hor Namhong on his part called for fostering mutual ties in energy, investment, tourism, agriculture, culture and industry.







Cambodia, Vietnam boost military exchanges

via Khmer NZ

08/18/2010

General Le Van Dung, Director of the General Political Department of the Vietnam People’s Army, is leading a delegation on a four-day visit to Cambodia, which began on August 16.

General Dung met the Secretary of State of Cambodia’s Defence Ministry, General Neang Phat, and the Director of its General Department of Defence Services, General Meas Savan, saying Vietnamese and Cambodian armed forces have regularly exchanged visits and experiences under the cooperation agreements signed between the two countries and two defence ministries.

Vietnam’s General Political Department and Cambodia’s General Department of Defence Services have cooperated in staff training and security protection, he said.

In the future, the General Political Department of the Vietnam People’s Army will help train staff of the Cambodian Royal Armed Force’s gendarmerie, he added.

Meanwhile, General Neang Phat expressed his hope that the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two countries and two armed forces would continue to develop.

General Dung and his entourage have also met with Prime Minister Hun Sen and Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, General Tea Banh.

As planned, the Vietnamese delegation will visit Cambodia’s High Command of Guard and Riem military base in Preah Sihanouk province.

Army commander ensures peace on Thai-Cambodian border

via Khmer NZ

08/18/2010

The Thai army commander said his army is ready to maintain peace and order on the Thai-Cambodian border.

General Anupong Paochinda, Army Commander in Chief, was quoted by the National News Bureau of Thailand as saying that Thai soldiers have been maintaining order along the border in line with the government’s policy. He also dismissed reports that Cambodia has deployed more soldiers in the area, adding that soldiers of both sides have been on good terms in spite of the dispute.

The address follows tense relations between the two countries over the border demarcation issue, which ignited a heated altercation, with each side accusing the other of infringement on its sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on international bodies to help mediate the conflict, whereas Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has urged that the dispute be resolved through bilateral negotiations.

Network demands 'Cambodians out'


via Khmer NZ

Published: 18/08/2010

The yellow-shirt Network of Thai Patriots has demanded the government push Cambodian people out of the disputed area around Preah Vihear temple within 24 hours and immediately revoke the border memorandum of understanding signed in 2000 and the Joint Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary accord signed in 2003.

Chaiwat Sinsuwong and Veera Somkwamkid, co-leaders of the yellow-shirt civil network, led a group of about 50 demonstrators to Government House on Wednesday to submit a complaint to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The complaint was received by a Government House official.

"The government must quickly revoke all the Thai-Cambodian agreements that put Thailand at a disadvantage, expel the Cambodians from the Thai territory and fulfil former prime minister Sarit Thanarat's desire to retain ownership of Preah Vihear temple," Mr Chaiwat said.

The network had pressed the government to follow its demand on Tuesday, but the government deceived the public by saying it needed more time to solve the border issue, he said.

He said the border demarcation was unclear and at odds with the natural watershed.

"The network now demands the government drive the Cambodians away from the Thai border within 24 hours and cancel all agreements with Cambodia," he said.
via Khmer NZ

Source: Reuters
18/08/2010

Aug 17 - Cambodia is targeting annual rice exports of 1 million tonnes within five years, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Tuesday, a dramatic increase from the current volume of about 20,000 tonnes.

That goal is still small compared to its neighbours, Thailand and Vietnam, which are aiming to ship 8.5 million tonnes and 6.1 million tonnes respectively this year.

But impoverished Cambodia has shown signs of aspiring to the same league as Thailand and Vietnam, respectively the world's biggest and second-biggest rice exporters.

It announced earlier this month it was looking for foreign investors to boost its fledgling rice milling sector so that it can reap higher dividends from its grain crop, much of which is currently sent to Vietnam to be milled and re-exported.

Cambodia is the world's 15th biggest rice producer and plans to raise rice production to 9 million tonnes of paddy by 2015, up from the current 7 million tonnes, industry officials said.

"The market for rice is still big," Hun Sen said during a speech on development in Cambodia, noting that recent natural disasters have damaged food crops across the world and raised the value of food commodities.

To reach the 1 million mark, Cambodia needs foreign investment as well as government-backed soft loans to improve rice productivity and boost its fledging rice milling sector, Hun Sen said.

After years of political turbulence, including civil war and the deadly Khmer Rouge era, Cambodia's economy was in tatters by the end of the 1980s. In some years it has had to import low-quality rice from Thailand.

Hun Sen said foreign investment in creating an adequate rice milling sector would help support Cambodia to reap higher dividends from its grain crop, much of which is currently sent to Vietnam to be milled and re-exported.

Apart from developing milling houses, the government also launched a loan-supporting programme by urging local banks to provide money for rice-related business.

The government has pledged to help repay half of the debts if debtor failed to pay back the loan.

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via Khmer NZ

Thailand Still does not have Good will for Border Deal: Cambodia

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 07:13 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 18, 2010-Cambodia Wednesday said that Thailand still does not have good will for border deal because Thai National assembly did not set up the agenda for border deal to be approved.

The Thai border committee is just the name, ‘not necessary’ because all documents that Thai border committee signed with Cambodian side. Thai National assembly did not approve,” Koy Khoung, spokesman for foreign ministry said.

The Thai border committee did not have power to decide, he said.

Cambodia last week appealed to international communities to seek ways to deal border issues with Thailand.

ASEAN and UN will help to mediate the border issues between the two countries. When Cambodia asked the world communities to help solve the issues Thailand repeatedly said that bilateral deal is very good resolution. But Cambodia has seen it as deadlock because Thailand has not had good will to do it.

Thailand invaded Cambodia’s territory at area near Preah Vihear temple on July 15, 2008 through sending three people including a monk, a nun and layman to pray at the temple and later Thailand sent troops to area with argument that they reached Cambodia’s soil but those Thai troops did not go back to Thai territory. Thai troops claimed that that area is Thai sovereignty based with their own map which secretly drawn with military unit.

Last May, the Joint border committee agreed to go to area to measure the land to plant the border demarcation but Thailand took an excuse that it had the political conflict in the country. They could not go there. Cambodia asked to post border markers but Thailand at the time tried to manipulate the story that Cambodia planned to plant to Berlin wall at that area.

Cambodia listed successfully 11th century Preah Vihear temple in July 7, 2008. In July this year Cambodia submitted the management plan of Preah Vihear temple with world heritage center but Thailand had opposed. Thailand asked to have joint listing of Preah Vihear temple.

Thailand expressed its purpose of invading land neighboring countries like Cambodia. Thailand used the Preah Vihear matter as hostage of political gains.

Thai PM Abhisit planned to use Preah Vihear issue to seek the support from the upcoming general vote in Thailand.

Preah Vihear temple awarded to Cambodia in 1962 through verdict of international court of justice. The first story of Preah Vihear dated back when Cambodia got the independence from France in 1953. In 1954, Thailand sent troops to invade Preah Vihear temple and Cambodia asked them back to Thailand. Thai troops did not back. The court at that time used border treaty in1904-1907 as tool to explain where the temple is.

In 1962, Thai troops removed from the temple and with destroying the valued statues of the temple. Since then, Thai troops lived with shame.

After nearly a decade, Thai troops started to wake up and considering about the area near Preah Vihear temple again. Robbery never confessed that they are robbery.

Japan Donates over 4 million US dollar Fund for Expanding Agricultural Product Around Tonle Sap Lake

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 05:35 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH., AUGUST 18, 2010-Cambodia’s ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries on Wednesday inked the MoU with JICA, Japanese International Cooperation Agency to Cambodia to expand the agricultural products for communes around Tonle Sap lake, a largest fresh water lake in southeast Asia region.

The fund of 4.4 million US dollars from Japan will work on the projects of enlarging the agricultural products for 36 communes in Pusart, Battambang, and Kompong Cham provinces respectively.

Under-secretary of state for ministry of agriculture, Sean Vuthy said that that fund will help local communities and people to reduce poverty and provide the better livelihood. We thanked Japanese government and people who always donated and helped Cambodians and government in poverty reduction.

The fund will assist to strengthen the bilateral cooperation and friendship between the two countries, the representative of JICA to Phnom Penh said after the signing ceremony at the ministry.

Last week, PM Hun Sen ordered local authorities to devastate the illegal reservoirs which built to restore water to plant rice paddy in dry season and he also release directives to prevent the flooded forests from illegal cutting. Illegal land grabbing at the lake is a big concern for the government.

The sources from ministry of water resources said that some 640,000 hectares of forest land that floods during rainy season with be declared off-limits for development, including encroachment by farmers planting rice.

The lake covers about 250,000 hectares during the dry season and expands to about 1.25 million hectares during the rainy season.

It is the habitat for more than 200 species of fish, 42 types of reptiles, 225 species of birds and 46 kinds of mammals.

Lake provided the jobs for local people with over one million, and fish product is 75 per cent of the total product in the country. Tonle Sap also provided the transportation means for Cambodia to home of Angkor wat temple in Siem Reap province and the lake also is a hub of rare flocks of birds that attracts the foreign tourists to see.

Ban Ki-moon Ready to Mediate Cambodia-Thailand Border Conflict

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 04:56 DAP NEWS / Soy Sophea

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 18, 2010-Head of United Nations Ban Ki-moon has showed his willingness to be a mediator for Cambodia-Thailand border disputed following Cambodian PM Hun Sen’s word request.

Deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary General Farhan Haq replied an email of DAP Media Center on Wednesday saying that, “The Secretary-General is willing to mediate situation when both sides request him to do so.”

Cambodian PM Hun Sen last week called on an international conference to seek peaceful solution to the two-year-long border dispute as Thailand sent troop invade Cambodia’ territory sounding world heritage Preah Vihear temple. Hun Sen said that bilateral talk was stuck due to Thailand did not approve the two countries’ border committee’s notes, which has been done for three meetings to put an end to the disputed, adding that he would inform Ban Ki-moon as he plans to pay a two-day official visit to Cambodia on October 27-28.

However, the UN added that so far it has not received any formal requests from the both sides.

Cambodian said it is ready to bring the border issue to ASEAN or UN while Thailand wants to seek settlement only bilateral talks.

Cambodia’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Koy Kuong on Wednesday welcomed Ban Ki-moon’s respond to the border issue.

The spokesman told DAP Media Center that, “This is a positive signal of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that he want to contribute to find resolution to Cambodia-Thailand border dispute.”

(Additional reporting by Sorn Sopheak and Yung Khemara)

Cambodia Focuses on Climate Change Impact of Agriculture and Social Development

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 04:04 DAP-NEWS/ VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 18, 2010-Cambodia’s ministry and environment with other line ministries and EU office in Phnom Penh on Wednesday conducted a seminar of climate change in a move to seek the good ways to prevent the impact of agriculture and social development in the country.

“We are doing this task at the time when climate change has become more severe and requires much consideration in the national development agenda,” Dr. Mok Mareth, environment minister said in the opening ceremony of national workshop on Cambodian Climate change alliance.

He added that Cambodia has affirmed its position to obligate all developed countries to take lead in reduction of GHG emission and provide more financial support for capacity development and technology transfer to countries most vulnerable to climate change in order for them development the necessary capacity and ability to adapt to the devastating climate change.

“the government acknowledges the need to main stream climate change in the national policy and the national and sub-socio-economic development plan as well as in the sector plans as climate change is cross-cutting and directly relevant to ministries and agencies responsible for the national development activities,” Dr Mok stresses.

We have recently adopted coastal adaption project proposal, the first to access Cambodia climate change alliance, funding to addressing coastal vulnerability through a demonstration with the participation of line provincial agencies, Dr. noted.

International community provided Cambodia with 8.9 million US dollar project for climate change in adaptation and mitigation.

Rafael Dochao Moreno, EU delegation to Cambodia said in the event that “we have come together as a group of allies because we recognize that climate change is real and that impacts of climate change will be global and that Cambodia is particularly vulnerable. But we also recognize that new opportunities for funding and technology are emerging that have the potential to create new development pathways, bringing new opportunities for low carbon emission development.

The effects of climate change have the potential to increase existing inequalities, as well as present new challenges that will have direct implications for achievement of Cambodian millennium development goals and for Cambodia’s sustainable development aspirations-from increased frequency and severity of storms, floods, and droughts.

In past few weeks, Cambodian expressed very regretful for disasters in floods in pakisatn, and landslides in China and India. PM Hun Sen expressed his own feeling of condolence with the countries suffering from the climate change. Yesterday PM Hun Sen said that global food security will face recently and in the near future. That thing is a potential for Cambodian agricultural product. We will have large market for our agricultural products, he said, adding that we will not increase the rice price and other grain crops. Russia will not export of its wheat product this year after it suffered from fire and food matter.

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press


via Khmer NZ

PM: Cambodia To Become a Major Rice Exporter

Phnom Penh, August 18, 2010 AKP -- The royal government is determined to transform Cambodia into a stockpile country for rice and a major rice exporter to the world’s markets.

The paddy surplus must reach over 4 million tons a year by 2015, and at least one million tons of rice for export, said Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen at the launching ceremony of the Policy Paper on the Promotion of Paddy Production and Rice Export held here yesterday.

The enhancement of the agricultural field is a measure ensuring food security and balance of people’s living conditions, providing social safety to people, and promoting diversity of the economic growth base.

The Cambodian premier also predicted that the country would have around 7.3 million tons of paddy for 2010-2011 season with a surplus of 3.3 million tons for export, a remarkable increase during the last decade.

According to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister H.E. Keat Chhon, Policy Paper on the Promotion of Paddy Production and Rice Export, approved on July 25, 2010 by the Council of Ministers, aimed at promoting the development of the agricultural field in order to expand and strengthen the economic growth base, accelerate poverty reduction and improve people’s livelihoods. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)

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AKP/02

PM Lauds Cambodia-Vietnam Defense Ministries’ Cooperation

Phnom Penh, August 18, 2010 AKP -- Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, has highly evaluated the cooperation between the Ministries of Defense of Cambodia and Vietnam.

In a meeting here on Aug. 17 with visiting Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Director of the General Politics Department of the Vietnam People’s Army Gen. Le Van Dung, the Cambodian premier further encouraged both sides to continue their good cooperation.

For his part, Gen. Le Van Dung praised Cambodia for its remarkable development and briefed Samdech Techo Hun Sen on the cooperation between the two ministries, especially in political and economic information exchange, human resource training and other fields.

On the same day, Gen. Le Van Dung also held talks with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh.

The Cambodian defense minister informed his guest of the current Cambodia-Thailand border dispute at the Preah Vihear Temple area, which he said is stemmed from Thai rival political ambition.

In reply, Gen. Le Van Dun expressed his support to the listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site, condemning any act of aggression in violating Cambodia’s sovereignty and other regional friendly countries.

During its stay in Cambodia from Aug. 16 to 19, the visiting Vietnamese military delegation led by Gen. Le Van Dung also met with Secretary of State at the Defense Ministry Gen. Neang Phat and Director of General Department of Defense Services Gen. Meas Savan.

As scheduled, the Vietnamese delegation will visit High Command of Guard and Ream naval base in Preah Sihanouk province. --AKP

(By OU Sokha)

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AKP/03

Government To Insure Banks for 50 Percent of Any Risks in Rice Production

Phnom Penh, August 18, 2010 AKP -- The Royal Government of Cambodia will insure for 50 percent of any risks all the private commercial banks that provided a loan credit for rice production, said Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.

Samdech Techo made these remarks, while presiding over the launch of the government’s Policy Paper on the Promotion of Paddy Production and Rice Export in a ceremony held at the Council of Development of Cambodia (CDC) in Phnom Penh on Aug. 17.

He also pointed out some issues relating to the resolution to the difficult problems in response to a letter sent by a representative of private banks, H.E. Pong Khieu Se.

He called on all the private banks to share a part of the collected loan in the rice production in the country.

He also thanked Canadia Bank, Bank of Vietnam and Foreign Trade Bank for their contributions to the rice production, hoping other private banks will do the same purpose.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen appealed to Cambodians to resume consuming pork even thought there were the outbreaks of swine epidemic in the past.

He encouraged the Cambodian people to continue consuming pork because the disease can not be transferable to humans if the pork is cooked well.

However, he still banned live pig import from the neighbouring countries. --AKP

(By THOU Peou)

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AKP/04

UNFPA: Cambodia Is on the Right Track

Phnom Penh, August 18, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia is on the right track to achieve the 5th Millennium Development Goal related to mother and child mortality rate, said the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Director Ms. Alice Levisay during a farewell meeting here last Monday with Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Keat Chhon.
Cambodia has trained professional midwives and built many health centers during the last three years, said Ms. Alice Levisay, who is going to complete her mission here in late August 2010.

Cambodia has further improved and developed physical infrastructure, including rural, provincial and national routes to facilitate patients’ traveling, she said.

For his part, H.E. Keat Chhon, also minister of Economy and Finance, expressed thanked to the UNFPA country director and her colleagues for their precious assistance to Cambodia’s social and economic development and wished her success in her future assignment.

In Cambodia, UNFPA’s works focus on population survey and support to health care sector, particularly the protection of mothers and children from HIV/AIDS. --AKP

(By CHEA Vannak)

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AKP/05

Indonesian Embassy Marks 65th Anniversary of Independence Day

Phnom Penh, August 18, 2010 AKP -- The Indonesian Embassy in Cambodia marked here yesterday the 65th anniversary of Independence Day.

Speaking at the ceremony, Indonesian Ambassador to Cambodia Mr. Saehardjono Sastromihardjo recalled the good cooperation in all domains between Cambodia and Indonesia.

Following on the same day, the Indonesian diplomat also told reporters that the flights between Indonesia, Singapore and Phnom Penh and the visa exemption for normal passports will begin next month.

According to Mr. Ang Kim Eang, president of Cambodian Association of Travel Agents (CATA), the upcoming flights between Cambodia and Indonesia is very potential for Cambodia’s tourism sector.

He added that the Indonesian tourist arrivals have increased by 52 percent during the first six months of this year if compared to the same period of 2009. --AKP

(By LIM Nary)

Bringing down the house


Photo by: Pha Lina

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 15:00 Khouth Sophakchakrya

A labourer dismantles a home to make way for a road expansion in Russey Keo district’s Chroy Changvar commune. Residents said yesterday that City Hall officials had given 86 families living along a section of National Road 6 just two weeks to move and had not offered a satisfactory relocation site. Suong Sophan, a 35-year-old resident, said 60 of the families had rejected an offer of 2 million riels (US$476) and a 6-by-12-metre plot of land in Kandal province for each family, because the land lacked the proper infrastructure.

Rice industry safety net


Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Slim pickings, but the work goes on – Chat Chamma, 15, pulls rice plants for a paddy transferral in the Kandal Stung district of Kandal province yesterday.

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 15:03 Chun Sophal

PRIME Minister Hun Sen announced yesterday that the government would guarantee 50 percent of commercial bank lending to rice producers in a bid to increase Cambodia’s exports of the grain to a million tonnes by 2015.

Speaking at a Phnom Penh unveiling of the government’s new rice production and export policies yesterday, he said borrowers would still have to repay loans, but the state would cover 50 percent of defaulters’ payments.

“We decided to create this policy in order to encourage all commercial banks to provide loans to be used for expanding paddy production and rice exports without worrying,” he said.

ACLEDA Bank Chief Executive Officer In Channy predicted the government’s guarantee would encourage commercial banks to increase agriculture lending.

However, In Channy said ACLEDA would not immediately increase its loans to the sector.

ACLEDA was responsible for more than half of lending by commercial banks to the agricultural sector last year, according to National Bank of Cambodia’s statistics.

In Channy said agricultural lending already exceeded the in-house limit of 15 percent of its total loan portfolio.

ACLEDA extended credit of US$99 million to the agricultural sector during the first seven months of the year.

Canadia Bank would increase agricultural loans in response to the new guarantee, after lending $12 million to the sector last year, its country manager Bou Ros said yesterday.

Hun Sen said Cambodian farmers generally harvested only one crop of rice per year, with relatively low yields, but that the industry had the potential to lift future production. “Our goal is to try our best to exceed domestic demand by as much as 4 million tonnes per year by 2015.”

The seven-point plan to increase production of Cambodia’s “white gold” yesterday included strategies to build irrigation systems, provide technical services, land reform, financing, marketing, developing farming communities and improving institutions.

Cambodia has plenty of potential to increase rice exports, according to Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture.

“I believe that Cambodia will become one of the world’s biggest rice exporters in half a decade,” he said.

Bring home the bacon: PM


Photo by: Pha Lina
A vendor cuts up roast pork at Phnom Penh’s O’Russey Market yesterday.

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 15:03 Cheang Sokha and Sun Mesa

GO hog wild. That’s the message Prime Minister Hun Sen delivered yesterday to Cambodians who were unsure about whether to consume pork products following the Kingdom’s recent outbreak of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, or blue ear.

“I would like to appeal to everyone to eat pork – pork does not transmit disease, and I eat pork every day,” Hun Sen said. “I eat pork every day, and there is no problem.”

Earlier this month, the premier ordered a ban on pig imports from Vietnam and Thailand after reports of blue ear outbreaks in those countries.

Speaking yesterday at the Council for the Development of Cambodia, he said he had thought the import ban would drive up local pork prices.

Instead, he lamented, the prices of beef and fish have spiked, and pork sales have plummeted.

“I would like to appeal to everyone to eat pork, but make sure it’s cooked,” Hun Sen said. “Don’t eat raw pork.”

Dr Lotfi Allal, a representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, said last week that blue-ear disease could not be contracted by humans, though he said that people “should not eat meat from affected animals”.

The prime minister is no stranger to pig-associated maladies, having been afflicted with A(H1N1) influenza, more commonly known as swine flu, in June.

He has since recovered, and noted defiantly last month that the illness caused him to miss just four public appearances.

“I will not die easily,” he said. “When [the opposition Sam Rainsy Party] leader dies, I will still be alive. I have decided to serve until 2023 or 2028.... I will not stop; the party also does not allow me to stop.”

High on the hog
Ung Chhay Ly, a pig raiser in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district, said yesterday that pork sales had slowly begun recovering after earlier fears had slowed them drastically. However, he called for continued vigilance against blue ear.

“There has not been much effect on my pigs, but others have been harmed and veterinarians have not been able to help them,” he said.

“We should continue to ban imports from neighbouring countries because the situation is not resolved yet.”

Srun Pov, head of the Cambodian Pig Raisers Association, said last week that the ban on pig imports could be lifted next month.

Thailand puts off approval of border talks


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 15:03 Cheang Sokha

THE Thai government has delayed a parliamentary session to approve the latest round of border demarcation agreements with Cambodia, a move Cambodian officials said was part of a long-running strategy of putting off negotiations.

A report from Thai state media yesterday said a parliamentary vote to approve the three most recent sessions of Thailand and Cambodia’s Joint Border Committee, established under a 2000 Memorandum of Understanding, had been postponed because the legislature’s agenda was already full. Border demarcation talks through the JBC have been stalled since April of last year pending Thai parliament approval of the latest negotiations.

“This is not a surprise to me,” said senior minister Var Kimhong, Cambodia’s chief border negotiator. “I don’t really care about this matter anymore because I’ve learned that this is the habit of the Thai party.”

Cambodia called for assistance from the UN and ASEAN last week in reviving the stalled border negotiations with Thailand, with Prime Minister Hun Sen warning that the current stalemate could lead to “bloodshed”. Thai officials have said they are opposed to negotiations in a multilateral forum and prefer the bilateral JBC.

Tension has been high between the two countries since the conclusion earlier this month of a UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting at which Cambodian representatives submitted a management plan for Preah Vihear temple, inscribed as a World Heritage site in 2008. The management plan will be discussed at a meeting of the committee in Bahrain next year.

Thai officials who have supported further border negotiations have received criticism from the members of the ultranationalist People’s Alliance for Democracy, also known as the Yellow Shirts, which charges that the JBC meetings could lead to the “loss” of Thai territories along the border.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said yesterday that if Thai officials were truly committed to bilateral talks, they would move more quickly to secure parliamentary approval of the JBC negotiations.

“Our patience with bilateral talks has ended, so we are seeking a multilateral way,” Koy Kuong said.

“Thailand insists on bilateral talks, but the documents have yet to be processed,” he said.

“They cannot use the JBC to play with Cambodia in this way.”

Stay home, unionist tells fainting workers


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 15:03 May Titthara

A UNION official is urging workers at a garment factory in Kampong Cham to stay home from work until their employers can figure out what has been causing fainting spells that have hospitalised more than 100 in the past week.

Chorn Theang, director of the Free Trade Union in Kampong Cham province, said at least seven workers fainted yesterday within an hour of beginning work at the Manhattan Cambodia garment factory. It comes after more than 100 were sent to hospital since Thursday.

“The factory owner did not allow the workers to stop working or notice how many days the workers must stop for the situation to get better,” Chorn Theang said.

Sam Seiha, chief of administration at the factory, said yesterday that a committee from the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training visited the factory but did not find anything suspicious.

“Until today, our officials did not find any chemicals in the factory,” he said.

Sam Seiha suggested many of the fainting cases could have been the result of a domino effect. “When [the workers] saw their friends fainting, it caused them to feel afraid, so they started fainting one after another.”

Heng Nareth, director of the pollution control department at the Ministry of Environment, however, said there was a simpler explanation.

“The reason the workers fainted is because of air pollution,” he said.

“When the factory owner allows more air to blow inside the factory, it will be better.”

Land disputes lead to jailing


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 15:03 May Titthara and Will Baxter

A TOTAL of 145 people are being detained in prisons across the country after their arrests in connection with land disputes since 2008, according to statistics released yesterday by a local rights group.

“In cases related to land disputes, the courts always make up unlawful, fake charges so they can accuse or arrest villagers without any evidence,” said Ouch Leng, a land programme officer for the local rights group Adhoc, which compiled the statistics.

“When villagers file a complaint against a company that is illegally clearing their land, there is no response from the court, but when a private company or influential official files a complaint, the court will arrest villagers and send them to prison,” he added.

According to figures released by Adhoc yesterday, a total of 218 people have been accused of crimes relating to land disputes so far in 2010, 114 of whom were arrested. Of these, 47 remain in detention.

Ouch Leng also said that 60 of those arrested in 2008, as well as 37 from 2009, remained in prison. He said that he did not know the number of people who had been incarcerated in similar cases prior to 2008.

Meanwhile, Am Sam Ath, a technical supervisor for the rights group Licadho, said that according to data collected by his organisation from 18 prisons across Cambodia, a total of 60 people had been detained or convicted so far this year in land dispute-related cases.

“Land disputes are still a hot issue in Cambodia ... and because we cannot find a definitive resolution, we worry that more villagers will be arrested,” he said.

According to both Adhoc and Licadho, Siem Reap and Kratie were the two provinces with the highest number of detainees.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said that local authorities and security forces were often complicit in land-grabbing cases that resulted in the arrest of villagers.

“A company will often give a lump sum amount to [local authorities] as a contractual service to resolve the dispute and put a stop to villagers’ demands,” he said.

On numerous occasions companies have used physical violence or destruction of property to intimidate villagers. However, he said, the companies’ owners and employees are almost never charged with crimes.

He cited past cases in which villagers in Oddar Meanchey and Koh Kong provinces were violently evicted on behalf of companies owned by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Ly Yong Phat.

Meanwhile, he said, villagers are frequently – and falsely – charged with destruction of property, incitement of violence or robbery.

John Coughlan, a legal consultant for the CCHR, said the imprisonment of community representatives had two important consequences.

“Firstly, communities are shown the price of activism and are often silenced as a result. Secondly, without their leaders, communities are left disorganised and ... less capable of pursuing their claim to the land,” he said.

Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said that police officers were fully justified in carrying out court-ordered arrests.

“If the court did not issue an arrest warrant, our police would not make an arrest,” he said yesterday.

Prum Sithra, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice, agreed, saying that villagers were only arrested when they had committed crimes.

“If they did not do something wrong, they would not be arrested,” he said.

Nun Pheany, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Siem Reap: Chi Kraeng cases set for decision


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 15:03 Rann Reuy

Siem Reap

SIEM Reap Provincial court yesterday heard the case against three villagers from Chi Kraeng commune accused of locking lawyers and judges in a courtroom during a protest related to a land dispute in January last year.

Chheng Savoeun, Thorng Sareth and Khlin Eang are charged with illegal incitement, insulting officials and illegal human detention. A verdict in the trial is expected on August 20, the same day a verdict will be announced in the case against nine Chi Kraeng villagers charged with attempted intentional manslaughter in connection with the dispute.

Siem Reap town monk official Toek Bunlang said seven monks and military police tried to remove monk Luon Sovath from a protest outside the courtroom, saying he had dishonoured Buddhist principles.

“We want him to stay away from crowds with girls and boys,” he said. But Luon Sovath, who evaded arrest, said he had done nothing wrong. “I [protest] because my [relatives] and the community have been injured and jailed, and Buddhism’s disciplines allow for monks to visit relatives,” he said.

Wild animals found in car near border


via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear

RATANAKKIRI provincial authorities have seized 300 kilograms of protected wildlife after searching a car that was abondoned near the Vietnamese border, officials said yesterday.

Nov Dara, deputy police chief of the provincial bureau for combating economic crime, said that police and forestry officials intercepted the car in O’Yadav district on Monday night, but that the driver and any accomplices had bailed out of the vehicle and escaped.

“We followed them in a car and forced them to stop their car, but we were unlucky because we could not arrest the businessmen.

“They escaped but left the car and wild animals at the place,” he said.

He said it was likely that the car was bound for Vietnam, where the live animals would be offered up for sale.

“I don’t know exactly how many people escaped because it was nighttime, but we confiscated all the wild animals and their car,” he said.

Nov Dara said that the hoard of confiscated wildlife included turtles, snakes, civets and lizards with a combined weight of 354 kilograms.

Officials had weighed, not counted the animals, he said, because there were the creatures were so numerous, and because they were “afraid it would be dangerous because there were cobras” in amongst the haul.

He said police did not know the names of any suspects in the incident, but that investigations were under way to find the owner of the car.

Vong Sok Serey, director of the provincial Forestry Department, said the confiscated animals had been kept at the police station overnight, but that officials intended to release them in the north of the province.

“We are going to release those wild animals on Tuesday evening ... in the natural forest and safe place in Veun Sai district,” he said.

Nov Dara said provincial officials had prosecuted many people caught smuggling wild animals over the last year, but that Monday’s had been the first substantial bust of 2010.

Former Khmer Rouge stronghold recalls regime’s ‘repentant’ killer


Photo by: Anne Heindel
The church in Battambang province’s Samlot district where former S-21 prison chief Duch converted to Christianity.

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 15:02 David Boyle and Sun Narin

Battambang province

OUTSIDE a small, cross-topped church in Samlot district, a crowd of about 100 people gathered yesterday to discuss a notorious mass murderer’s day of judgment.

It was here, some 15 years ago, that the notorious Tuol Sleng commandant Kaing Guek Eav, convicted and sentenced to 30 years’ jail by the Khmer Rouge tribunal last month, first confessed his sins and became a born-again Christian.

At the community forum, organised by the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, Duch’s former pastor, San Timothy, urged those assembled to accept the verdict, forgive Duch and put the past behind them, something that most in this former Khmer Rouge stronghold appeared happy to do.

“God brought him to lovingness – to appear in the court and confess everything,” he said. “God always forgives people, even though this person was his enemy. He is the sample of forgiveness.”

In 1999, Irish photographer Nic Dunlop found Duch working in Samlot for an American aid organisation under the pseudonym Hang Pin. The former jailer claimed to have converted to Christianity several years earlier.

On trial at the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Phnom Penh last year, Duch claimed to have repented and expressed “profound regret” for his actions at Tuol Sleng, where he is thought to have overseen the torture and killing of up to 16,000 people.

During the trial’s closing arguments, Duch shocked observers by demanding that he be released.

But after watching a projection of the closing moments of Duch’s July 26 verdict, San Timothy’s fellow pastor Sang Horn proclaimed the former prison chief a hero for having had the courage to repent.

“He is a hero because he did something that is in the past, not now, and he confessed his sins in front of God and the people,” he said.

In Samlot, the restive breeding ground of the Khmer Rouge insurgency and the refuge of many cadres following the regime’s fall in 1979, attitudes about Cambodia’s communist nightmare remain ambivalent.

After receiving documents including DC-Cam’s historical textbook and a published copy of the verdict, many of those in attendance expressed a desire to leave the past behind.

Chuon Pheng, the chief of Ta Sanh commune, where the event was held, told the forum that he and other villagers were not aware of the Khmer Rouge top brass or the existence of Tuol Sleng prison.

“We experienced the regime, but we were not aware of Pol Pot. We only tried to work for living,” he said.

Youk Chhang, DC-Cam’s director, lamented the culture of denial that had taken root among some elders in Samlot, though he welcomed the church’s participation in the forum, which he said he hoped would facilitate greater community engagement with the historical record.

“A hero is not somebody who murders 12,000 innocent people, and if you define someone like this as a hero there is clearly a danger that genocide will return,” he said.

“Clearly you can see that some of them were here with the Khmer Rouge for a long, long time and deny knowledge of what happened,” he added.

Youk Chhang also regretted the absence of Duch’s sister, Hang Kim Hong, and brother-in-law, Nop Bun Long, who were both invited to attend.

Like many of the area’s residents, their personal ties to the Khmer Rouge appear to remain strong, even after the passage of so many years.

“It seems to be that she has this question in her mind,” he said of Duch’s daughter.

“What if Duch hadn’t been discovered and arrested?”