Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Six charged in club raid

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Tuesday, 29 March 2011 15:03Kim Yuthana

Siem Reap provincial court on Wednesday charged six supervisors at a karaoke club in Siem Reap town for prostitution following the arrest of 72 female workers and nine supervisors in a raid last Tuesday, provincial officials said yesterday.

Siem Reap provincial court deputy president Sok Leang said that the suspects were being detained at the provincial prison pending a court hearing.

“We don’t know when the hearing starts while an investigating judge is continuing investigating and hunting for the karaoke [club] owner,” said Sok Leang.

Seventy-two women and nine supervisors were arrested in a raid by provincial authorities at Wonder Club in Siem Reap town last Tuesday under suspicion of prostitution and illegal sex trafficking.

Sun Bunthorn, chief of the provincial Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Bureau, said that three of the supervisors were not involved and were released after questioning and the 72 women were sent to the provincial department of social affairs.

“This is the fourth case of cracking down on prostitution in Siem Reap province this year,” said Sun Bunthorn.

Illegal shooting: Two soldiers arrested for firing guns near mosque

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Tuesday, 29 March 2011 15:03Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

Illegal shooting

Two Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldiers were arrested last week in connection with illegal shootings in Phnom Penh.

Ya Kim Y, deputy commander of the Phnom Penh military police, said the two soldiers were arrested on March 25 at about midnight in Srah Chak commune in Daun Penh district after firing several rounds into the air in front of a mosque.

He said police confiscated one hand gun at the time of the soldiers’ arrest.

“These soldiers got very drunk after having drinks with their friends at a Karaoke shop in Srah Chak commune,” he said.

“They arrived in front of a Khmer mosque and fired many bullets into the air. They have both been sent to military court for charges in connection with the shooting.”

Ya Kim Y added that according to official codes of conduct, any soldier or officer guilty of shooting a weapon outside the confines of their official duties is subject to at least three months in prison.

Officials at the Military Court could not be reached for comment this week.

Liberty Mining sale planned

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Tuesday, 29 March 2011 15:01Tom Brennan

AUSTRALIAN conglomerate Transol Corp has said it would sell Liberty Mining Group, which operates four sites in Cambodia, and its controlled subsidiaries to “non-related Canadian private interests” in a cash and stock deal.

Liberty Mining, also an Australian company, operates a joint mining venture with Canada-based Prairie Pacific Mining at four projects in Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri province.

Transol, which operates digital music, computer and Web businesses, stated it will receive US$600,000 for the sale of Liberty, plus 600,000 Class “A” shares in an entity intending to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The value of those shares is still under negotiation as part of the listing process on the TSX.

Transol will also earn a 2.5-percent net smelter royalty for Liberty and Prairie Pacific’s four Cambodian projects in around Ban Lung and O Yadav districts, to a maximum aggregate payment of $800,000, according to a statement released Friday.

Maxum Metals, another wholly-owned subsidiary of Transol, will be transferred to Liberty Group.

The deal also means Transol will not push forward with its plans to give Liberty seed capital funding or Liberty’s anticipated listing on the Australian Stock Exchange, a move that was announced in December.

As a result of the deal, Transol said it would also not proceed with the planned purchase of two Cambodian projects owned by Summer Gold.

Summer Gold has agreed to repay Transol the initial cost of the acquisition, which was $350,000. “It is intended that the purchasing entity will complete due diligence within four weeks being on or around 23 April 2011 and, subject to a positive outcome, shareholder approval will be sought late May/ June with settlement occurring two days thereafter,” the statement said.

Richard Stanger, managing director of Liberty Mining in Cambodia, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

John Paul Dau, country director for Prairie Pacific Mining, would not comment on the transaction when approached for comment yesterday.

Currency risk in CSX two-day settlements

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Tuesday, 29 March 2011 15:01May Kunmakara and Jeremy Mullins

THE Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia is set to require trades on the new stock exchange to be settled after two days, as experts said the timeframe ought to be kept as short as possible.

Although analysts widely supported the timeframe, called ‘T + 2’ in a draft prakas, or edict, obtained yesterday, they said a shorter settlement period will minimise the impact of currency fluctuations on transactions.

Companies are set list on the Cambodia Securities Exchange in riel, but settlements are allowed in either local currency or dollars for the first three years of operation.

Asian Development Bank’s Principal Economist at the Office of Regional Economic Integration Jayant Menon wrote yesterday that it was the settlement period where exposure to currency risk really exists, given the currency of listing and the currency of settlement could differ.

“Therefore, the shorter the better,” he said. “… T+2 is quite short, especially for an emerging market.”

The main challenge for the clearance system was the legal and regulatory framework, he said.

“These need to be strengthened, and the National Bank of Cambodia needs to be actively involved in ensuring this,” he wrote.

ACLEDA Securities Director Svay Hay said he supported two-day time frame.

“It is acceptable for us because we will have enough time to [complete] operations,” he said. “Using T+2 is very good – we don’t aim to use T+3 or more, which takes too much time.”

Svay Hay allowed that there would be some exchange rate risk for investors with capital in United States dollars if the riel fluctuated – but he added the riel had remained relatively stable over the last few years.

“We don’t have large fluctuations [in the value of the riel],” he said. “This is good, as it will draw investors to the market.”

Cambodia Securities Exchange Chief Executive Officer Hong Sok Hour said the SECC continued to work on the more complex regulations to ensure a successful exchange, which is set to launch in July.

“We are a new market, we will have some difficulty with the first step – that is why we want to develop simple [regulations],” he said.

ACLEDA Bank, CANADIA Bank, and the Bank for Investment and Development of Cambodia have been licensed as cash settlement agents by the SECC earlier this month.

Operators of a clearing facility will also be obligated to set up accounts under the oversight of the CSX, according to the draft parkas obtained yesterday.

Trading hours will initially be set from 8:00 am to 11:30 am, and trades are scheduled to be executed twice daily, at 9:00 am and 11:30 am.

Trading days are slated to be Monday to Friday, except public holidays.

Members who failed to settle a trade may see their trade cancelled, or have their trading suspended for a fixed period of time.

The SECC will hold public consultations on the timeframe – termed “T+2” – today and Wednesday, as well as the other provisions included in the draft “Rules on Securities Market Operations” prakas.

Battambang’s first mall opens

The Borey Thmey Shopping Mall is seen in Battambang’s Svay Por commune in October 2010. Photo by: Soeun Say

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I believe it doesn’t matter to local vendors at the market like us, because we are different from them.
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Tuesday, 29 March 2011 15:01Soeun Say

BATTAMBANG’S first shopping mall has opened its doors, but local traders say they are unconcerned by competition from the new US$18 million centre.

The four-storey Borey Thmey Shopping Mall in Battambang’s Svay Por Commune officially opened at the weekend and contains 600 units, said Manager of Sales Administration Neang Neath Thanith.

Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An attended its launch.

“We’re the first shopping mall in Battambang city and now we’re open for business to our customers in the province,” said Neang Neath Thanith.

So far it has sold about 80 percent of available store space, she said, stating that its status as the first shopping mall in the Cambodian city coupled with a “good location” would fuel future success.

The mall is owned by Lim Chhiv Ho, who is both chairwoman of Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone and Managing Director of Attwood Import-Export.

Despite the mall offering a new experience for local consumers, vendors at the city’s Phsar Nat market and Boeung Chhok market believe they have nothing to worry about.

Reth Chanthol, a fabric seller at Boeung Chhok market located near the new centre, told The Post yesterday she welcomed the new shopping mall.

“Our clients are far different from [theirs], our market focuses on poor people,” she said,

Keo Sinoun, a vegetable vendor at the city’s Phsar Nat, agreed.

She said: “I think that shopping mall focuses on only middle- and high-class customers, so I believe that it doesn’t matter to local vendors at the market like us because we are different from them.”

Meanwhile local officials highlighted recent development in Battambang.

Uy Liv, a member of counsellors at Battambang Provincial Hall, said the province has seen its agricultural and construction sector improve – with new housing development and hotels being set up.

He said that the shopping mall would create employment for the local people and would help boost the local economy.

“We are proud to have the shopping mall here, it will create more jobs for people and make their standard of living better,” he said.

Leopard gets claws around advisory firm

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Tuesday, 29 March 2011 15:00Tom Brennan

PRIVATE-EQUITY firm Leopard Capital Fund will invest US$1 million in a professional advisory firm that provides legal and tax advisory services to clients in Southeast Asia, the company announced yesterday.

Leopard Capital, parent company of Leopard Capital Fund, did not disclose the terms of the deal or name the advisory firm, saying the transaction was “very sensitive”.

A statement from the company said only that the advisory firm would use the proceeds “to fund its expansion into new markets and improve its [management information systems].”

Scott Lewis, managing partner at Leopard Capital, would not comment yesterday on how much the deal could mean for his company, but he did say it “meets our return threshold for a relatively low-risk investment”.

“We don’t see a lot of downside risk,” he said.

The growth of foreign direct investment in Southeast Asia has and will continue to create demand for tax and legal advisory services, Lewis said.

“If there’s going to be a lot of investment in these economies, then they’re going to benefit a lot from that,” he said, as the investing companies will have “an obvious need for legal advice”.

Lewis said the deal was an obvious strategic move for Leopard Capital given how much it was already using the advisory firm’s services. “We were paying them a lot of money,” he said, “and so the idea dawned on us that they might be doing a pretty good business.”

He also hoped the advisory firm would serve as a source of business referrals for his company, he said.

Leopard Capital has invested in numerous Cambodian businesses including Kingdom Breweries, Nautisco Seafood Manufacturing and ACLEDA Bank.

Labour challenges in ASEAN integration

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Tuesday, 29 March 2011 15:00May Kunmakara

CAMBODIA will face challenges from the inevitable worker migration that takes place across the ASEAN region once full economic integration arrives in 2015, trade union experts said on Friday.

In a meeting held at the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian labour community expressed concern about the effect that integration could have on the Kingdom.

“We will face the flow of workers among ASEAN member states, so we are concerned about the impact on migrant workers’ rights. That’s a very big issue,” said Vong Sovan, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Trade Unions. He said it was critical these issues be addressed before the integration take place.

Som Aun, president of the Cambodian Labor Union Federation, said Cambodia needs to make a better effort to facilitate cooperation among the concerned institutions and government to improve working conditions here, as well as regulation.

“Our participation in the [ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council] is to recommend to the government that it protect competition,” he said. Som Aun also called for better training for Cambodian workers ahead of 2015 so that they could compete with neighboring countries for jobs.

Christopher Ng, regional secretary of UNI Asia & Pacific Global Union, said the integration would impact workers’ standard of living according to their circumstances in each ASEAN country. Therefore, Cambodia must benefit as much as it can from that integration.

“The migration of workers is a very important issue. ASEAN has to discuss policy to ensure that the migration of workers would be carefully regulated,” he said. “The trade unions here have to be … participating in the discussion regarding the migration policy.”

AKP - The Agence Kampuchea Press


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President of Timor Leste Arrives in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, March 29, 2011 AKP РPresident of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, H.E. Dr. Jos̩ Ramos-Horta, arrived here this morning for a three-day state visit to Cambodia from Mar. 29 to 31 at the invitation of Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.

He was welcomed at Phnom Penh International Airport by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Royal Palace H.E. Kong Sam Ol and many other high-ranking government officials.

According to the schedule, during his stay in Cambodia, the president of Timor Leste will be received in royal audience by His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia at the Royal Palace. He will also respectively pay courtesy calls on Senate President Samdech Akka Moha Thamma Pothisal Chea Sim, National Assembly Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, and hold official talks with Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen. –AKP

Article in Khmer by CHIM Nary
Article in English by SOKMOM Nimul

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N. Korea Supports Cambodia’s “Win-Win Policy”

Phnom Penh, March 29, 2011 AKP – Visiting Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Gen. Pak Jae Gyong has voiced his support to the “Win-Win Policy” of Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.

He made known here on Mar. 28 during a meeting with Lt. Gen. Nem Sovath, Director General of Cambodian Defense Ministry’s Department of Politics and Foreign Affairs.

Following on the same day, Gen. Pak Jae Gyong was also received by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.

On the occasion, he conveyed greetings from President Kim Jong-il to the Cambodian premier and he highly appreciated the development of the relations between the DPRK and Cambodia established for more than 40 years by late Marshall Kim II-sung and former King Norodom Sihanouk.

He further told Samdech Hun Sen of his visit to Cambodia, the purpose of which he said is to further strengthen the cooperation between Cambodia and North Korea in all sectors, especially in the fields of economy and trade.

In reply, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said Cambodia is pleased to further expand the cooperation with the DPRK in all domains, particularly in economy and trade.

He also accepted the invitation to visit the DPRK at his convenient time in the future.

Gen. Pak Jae Gyong arrived in Cambodia on Mar. 27 for a three-day visit. He was also received in a royal audience by His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, and held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister H.E. Tea Banh. –AKP

Article in Khmer by CHIM Nary
Article in English by LIM Nary

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Cambodian PM: Despite Ending of Cold War, Still Arms Race in the World

Phnom Penh, March 29, 2011 AKP – Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen said in spite of the fall of the former USSR and the end of cold war in 1991, there is not a downward trend in arms race in the world.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony held on Mar. 28 at the National Institute for Education, the Cambodian premier said although the former USSR collapsed, the arms race is not now decreased and any countries of the world boast about their weapons.

Any countries are able to produce or import the weapons, he said, adding that it should be regretful for that because the world depends on the armed forces and the better technology in destroying the enemy.

If the U.S.’ budget expenditure in Afghanistan and Iraq had been turned to help American people or the developing countries, it would have given many benefits to them, the Cambodian premier said of a budget of US$100 billion each year being spent in the Afghanistan war.

The killing between the rebels and government in Libya becomes a real civil war and the internal and border war is also a race to slaughter each other, he said.

“We know that an air raid has been prepared by Thailand, but we needn’t buy a plane to fight each other in the air,” he said, adding that we have no plane, but anti-aircraft weapons.

He also warned Thailand not to encroach on Cambodian air by fighter aircrafts, otherwise the case will reach the UN Security Council quickly.

Cambodia has no plan to buy fighter aircrafts for national defense field, but purchases surface-to-air weapons, he stressed. –AKP

Article in Khmer by CHEY Phum Pul
Article in English by THOU Peou

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PM: Cambodia Needs More Technical Workforce

Phnom Penh, March 29, 2011 AKP – Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen said Cambodia needs more technical workforce to respond to the country’s economic growth.

“We need the state and private technical institutions to work actively to produce our country’s technical labor force in response to the economic growth,” Samdech Techo Hun Sen said in a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh.

“I appeal to relevant ministerial agencies to pay much attention on technical training to supply the labor market in order to increase productivity, attract investment and promote the country’s economic growth,” Samdech Techo said.

According to H.E. Vong Soth, Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, there are currently 38 technical institutions being functioned in the country with some 66,850 students. –AKP

Article in Khmer by CHEY Phum Pul
Article in English by KHAN Sophirom

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PM: The Meetings on Cambodian-Thai Border Issue Must Be Held in the Third Country

Phnom Penh, March 29, 2011 AKP – Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has underlined that there will be no meeting on Cambodia-Thailand border issue in either Cambodia or Thailand, but in the third country.

The meetings (of the Cambodian-Thai General Border Committee and Joint Border Committee on Demarcation for Land Boundary) must be held in Indonesia because the country has already extended the invitation and the UN Security Council has given the matter to the Chair of ASEAN (Indonesia), explained the Cambodian premier at a graduation ceremony held here on Monday.

He also quoted the Indonesian foreign minister’s letter dated Mar. 25 as saying that Cambodia has already accepted the terms of reference (TOR) for the Indonesian observers and the invitation to attend the upcoming meetings of JBC and GBC scheduled for April 7-8 in Bogor, Indonesia.

Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen expressed Cambodia’s firm position to join the meetings. “Thailand will go or not, it is its problem. We respect Indonesia’s invitation to the meetings even though the Thai parliament has not yet ratified the minutes from three previous JBC meetings,” he said.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen further threatened to bring the Cambodia-Thailand border issue before the ASEAN Summit in May 2011 if it can not be solved at the foreign ministerial level. “I will take the matter to ASEAN’s desk,” he stressed.

On the occasion, the Cambodian prime minister called on the army to continue to exercise maximum restraint, reiterating that Cambodia wants peace. –AKP

Article in Khmer by CHIM Nary
Article in English by SOKMOM Nimul

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Related Information Regarding Accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Phnom Penh, March 29, 2011 AKP – The Embassy of Japan to Cambodia has addressed a letter to the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation regarding the accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant caused by the catastrophic earthquakes and tsunami on Mar. 11, 2011.



The embassy also enclosed a copy of “Press Release” issued by the Department of Food Safety, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan with the attachment (the instruction to restrict distribution of foods concerned) in relation to the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant as well as the available websites to those who may concern on the updated information related to the results of “Investigation for Radioactive Materials to Japanese Foods” as follows:


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Art Performance at Chaktomuk Theatre Hall

Phnom Penh, March 29, 2011 AKP – Cambodian art performance, given at Chaktomuk Theatre Hall in Phnom Penh once a week, every Friday, has gained a lot of national and international public.

The public art performance, co-organized by the Department of Performing Arts at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), aims to give the dissemination of the art, culture, classical dance and Khmer custom to Cambodians and foreigners.

Other purpose is to promote the tourism in the country, mainly attract the local and foreign guests to relax at the Theatre every Friday. –AKP

By THOU Peou

RI still wanted and needed in border dispute, Marty says


No sense of conflict:: In this photo taken on Saturday, a Cambodian woman prepares palm sugar at a Chea Klang village in Prey Veng province about 65 kilometers southeast of Phnom Penh. AP/Heng Sinith

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Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post,
Jakarta Mon, 03/28/2011

Indonesia is confident that Thailand and Cambodia remain committed to settling their border dispute despite reports that the Thai military is opposed to a proposal to have a team of Indonesian military experts observe the disputed area.

“To date there has been no formal communication from either government that suggests a change of position,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told The Jakarta Post over the weekend.

“On the contrary, the consent — both written as well as informal communication — that we received is of continuous hope and expectation that Indonesia, current chair of ASEAN, will continue to play its good role.”

At an Indonesian-brokered ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting in Jakarta on Feb. 22, Thailand and Cambodia agreed to accept a team of Indonesian observers to the disputed border area adjacent to the ancient Khmer Hindu temple of Preah Vihear, where heavy fighting erupted in February.

Indonesia also called for meetings of the Thai-Cambodia General Border Committee (GBC) and Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Committee (JBC) on March 24 and 25, but later postponed them to April 7 and 8 in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia.

But more than a month later the observer team remains in Jakarta and Thailand’s military now says it is not needed.

Indonesia said Thursday that ASEAN’s plan to send Indonesian military observers to the disputed Thai-Cambodia border had stalled, as it was awaiting approval from Bangkok and Phnom Penh, particularly concerning the exact coordinates where the observers should visit.

“While the terms of reference of the team have yet to be finalized and while the observation team has yet to be deployed, we must not lose sight of the big picture: Through our engagement, the situation at the border which before saw exchanges of gunfire, exchanges of artillery, bombings, displaced persons, now has become more stable,” he said.

“After all, it is not Indonesia asking to be there. They are the ones who have asked us to be there.”

He also said it was up to Thailand and Cambodia to preserve the border negotiations and approve the dispatch of the observation team.

“We have no particular preference; where the meeting should take place, whether it’s in Phnom Penh, whether it’s in Thailand; whether it involves Indonesia or does not involve Indonesia. That’s for the parties to decide,” Marty said.

Thai army chief Gen. Prayut Chan-O-Cha said last Wednesday the observers were not wanted in the disputed area, which is near an 11th-century temple, because it was too dangerous and they would only complicate matters, Thai media reported last Thursday.

Thai media also reported that Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban had voiced support Thursday for Gen. Prayuth’s opinion that no third party should be involved in the GBC meeting as it was a bilateral issue.

He said Indonesia, in its capacity as ASEAN chair, or any other country, should not meddle in the border committee meeting.

Gen. Prayuth said he and other Thai military commanders intended not to attend the GBC meeting in Bogor proposed by Indonesia and agreed to by Cambodia.

“This written statement comes from certain individuals in Thailand — something that’s interesting but does not really affect our position,” Marty said.

No need for border meeting in third country: Defence Minister


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BANGKOK, March 29 - Thai Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan on Monday stood firm that there is no need for the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) to meet in a third country, emphasising that the border conflict is a bilateral issue between the two neighbours.

The Thai defence minister expressed his stance following reports that his Cambodian counterpart Gen Tea Banh said the upcoming JBC meeting will be held in Indonesia, which is the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Gen Prawit said the Cambodian defence minister has not yet talked to him about the matter but said the two countries have no need for the border meeting to take place in a third country as the dispute can be solved at the bilateral level.

"I look at the overall situation, the people of the two countries can still cross the border normally and border trade is still business as usual with no border closure," Gen Prawit said. "Thais can cross the border to Cambodia while the Cambodians can also visit Thailand. So why can't we hold the meeting in the two countries?"

Tension along the Thai-Cambodian border was renewed after clashes between soldiers of the two countries erupted near the ancient Preah Vihear temple on Feb 4, leading to casualties among the troops and civilians from both sides, as well as forcing the evacuation of villagers living on both sides of the disputed area.

The JBC meeting was scheduled to be held in Thailand in February but was deferred after the deadly clashes.

Meanwhile, key leaders of the 'Yellow Shirt' People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Monday submitted a letter to lawmakers at the Thai Parliament to oppose the possible approval of the minutes of three JBC meetings scheduled to be considered in the joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate tomorrow.

PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongphan said the movement decided to lodge a third complaint letter regarding the three JBC documents. The group accused Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of distorting information on the case and of trying to convince the legislators to endorse the documents.

Mr Panthep however said it was unnecessary for the PAD supporters to stage rally at Parliament tomorrow, but the group will closely monitor the joint sitting.

Another Yellow Shirt leader, Prapan Koonmee, said the PAD legal team will discuss its next move if the minutes of the three JBC meetings are finally approved by Parliament.

The PAD has opposed parliamentary endorsement of three previous memos by the JBC, claiming they may end up in the loss of Thai territory adjacent to the ancient temple. They also demanded revocation of the MoU signed with Cambodia in 2000.

The International Court of Justice in 1962 ruled that the 11th century temple belongs to Phnom Penh, and UNESCO named it a World Heritage site in 2008 after Cambodia applied to register the status. Both countries claim a 4.6-square-kilometre strip of land adjacent to the cliff-top temple. (MCOT online news)

Defense Calls For Acquittal of Khmer Rouge War Criminal

Robert Carmichael, VOA
Phnom Penh Monday, 28 March 2011

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Photo: AP
Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Comrade Duch, center, who ran the notorious Toul Sleng, a top secret detention center for the worst "enemies" of the state, looks on during his appealing at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 28, 2011.

“And based on what we’ve seen this morning I’d be surprised if the defense actually has any arguments to counter them."

Defense lawyers for Comrade Duch, the former head of the Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison, have asked the UN-backed war crimes tribunal to repeal his prison sentence.

Comrade Duch, the Khmer Rouge’s former chief jailer, appeared at the war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh Monday seeking his acquittal.

Last year, the United Nations-backed tribunal sentenced Duch to 35 years in prison after ruling he was responsible for the deaths of more than 12,000 detainees at S-21 prison, which heheaded between 1976 and 1979.

The sentence was reduced to 19 years because of time served and other factors.

The Khmer Rouge used the S-21 prison to detain and torture thousands of perceived enemies of the revolution, before executing them.

But on Monday Duch’s lawyers told the court their client should be set free since he was not a senior member of the Khmer Rouge movement, and had merely been following orders.

The defense’s appeal centered on its argument that the court lacked the jurisdiction to try Duch. But the one-hour speech delivered by Duch’s lead lawyer was rambling and repetitive, and ultimately unconvincing.

Anne Heindel, a legal advisor with the genocide research organization DC-Cam, was present at Monday’s hearing.

Heindel says she would not be surprised if Duch ends up getting a longer sentence on appeal, not least since the prosecution has a much stronger case.

"Based on what the prosecution says, because they’ve laid out a number of very compelling arguments,” Heindel said. “And based on what we’ve seen this morning I’d be surprised if the defense actually has any arguments to counter them."

The tribunal has a mandate to try senior surviving leaders and those considered most responsible for crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge movement’s rule of Cambodia.

The prosecution says that means there are two categories of potential defendants - senior leaders and those most responsible.

But the defense says there is just one category - senior leaders who are also most responsible. And since Duch was not a senior leader who devised policy, the court should not have tried him.

Legal experts do not consider that to be a strong argument, but it is a sign of how weak Duch’s position is.

Duch has admitted his role in the deaths of thousands of people.

The judges did ask the prosecution to justify the conclusion that there were two categories.

International prosecutor Andrew Cayley told the court that the United Nations and the government had agreed on that approach.

"The U.N. Group of Experts prior to the agreement in 1999 stated very clearly there were two types of individuals who should be prosecuted - namely senior leaders with responsibility over the abuses, as well as those at lower levels who are directly implicated in the most serious atrocities," said Cayley.

Cayley said legislation enacted by the Cambodian government subsequently confirmed the division of suspects into two categories.

Additionally, the prosecution said, Duch’s defense lawyers did not challenge the court’s jurisdiction until the close of the trial - which was far too late.

Duch’s appeal is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday and represents his last chance for release.

The court will deliver its verdict in June.

Thai Professor Sees Politics as Crux of Border Problem

Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Washington, DC Monday, 28 March 2011

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Photo: by Seoung Sophat
Thitinan Pongsudhirak, left, a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

“I think it’s something that’s going to carry on for some time, and as long as Thai politics are conflictual and uncertain, the issues won’t go away.”

A Thai professor of Southeast Asian studies told a group in Washington this week that despite the efforts of Asean to solve a border dispute, no solution is possible without improvements in the Thai political situation.

Indonesia, the acting head of Asean, needs both Cambodia and Thailand to agree to the terms of a potential monitoring mission, which would help ensure a ceasefire along the border that both sides agreed to after deadly violence in February.

However, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, told a group at the East-West Center in Washington that Indonesia’s efforts are constrained by the People Alliance for Democracy, a political group that is unhappy with the way Bangkok has handled the border issue.

“I think that the focus now would be on the polarization in Bangkok,” he said, referring to growing rift between political movements and their divided support of the political figures.

The border has turned into a lightning rod for some groups who want to see more Thai land carved out of disputed areas that Cambodia also claims.

The PAD, which has shifted its support away from the current premier, Abhisit Vejjajiva, is protesting his handling of the border issue as Thai politics ramps toward a national election.

“So before the election, no solution,” Thitinan said. “If no election, then what? Because then it could be a coup.”

Without an election, he said, a national unity government will have to be formed, “but then you have to change the constitution, or suspend of provision to enable this national unity government to be formed outside the constitutional framework.”

The complex political situation in Thailand has hampered efforts by different public officials to reach an agreement on the Thai-Cambodian border, despite efforts by a joint border committee and other officials.

Both sides have had troops amassed along the border since Preah Vihear temple was listed as a World Heritage site under Cambodian administration, in July 2008, sparking nationalistic protests in Bangkok and on the border. Sporadic fighting built to the fiercest clash, in February, which killed at least 10 people and damaged the temple.

Indonesia has since tried to broker a peace arrangement and is hoping to send a monitoring mission of 30 to be divided evenly between the two countries. However, it is unclear whether Thailand is willing to participate in talks, tentatively scheduled next week in Indonesia, which could pave the way for the monitors.

Cambodia has said it will not consider a bilateral solution—something Thailand prefers—and has asked for third-party monitoring.

Thitinan, who is also a professor at the Chulalongkorn University of Thailand, said the mission carries a political risk for Asean, especially if there is no solution to the overall problem or if more fighting continues.

Michael Yahuda, a visiting professor at George Washington University, who attended the discussion, told VOA Khmer afterward that the dispute over the border is historical in nature, not one of political ideology—such as in China or North Korea. The border dispute could therefore have a solution, depending on the internal politics of Thailand.

“I think it’s not something that can be settled very quickly,” he said. “I think it’s something that’s going to carry on for some time, and as long as Thai politics are conflictual and uncertain, the issues won’t go away.”

THAI AGREES GBC WITH CAMBODIA BE HELD IN INDONESIA

via CAAI

Bernama – Mon, Mar 28, 2011

BANGKOK, March 28 (Bernama) -– Thailand today agreed to Cambodia''s proposal that the forthcoming Thai-Cambodia General Border Committee (GBC) meeting be held in Indonesia.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thailand welcomed the meeting wherever it was held.

"I welcome (it) if the meeting is confirmed...wherever it is set to be held," he told reporters here.

He was asked to comment on Cambodian Defence Miniser Gen Tee Banh''s proposal on the matter.

It was reported earlier that Cambodia, as the host of the forthcoming GBC meeting, had proposed it be held in Indonesia for two days, beginning April 7.

Cambodia, DPRK defense officials meet to share experience

via CAAI

English.news.cn
2011-03-28

PHNOM PENH, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) defense officials met here on Monday aiming to strengthen cooperation and share experience on national defense, said a Cambodian spokesman.

A nine defense officials delegation from the DPRK, headed by Pak Jae-gyong, vice minister of the People's Armed Forces of the DPRK, held a meeting with Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh on Monday afternoon, Chhum Socheat, the spokesman for the Cambodian Defense Ministry, said after the meeting.

"The delegation's visit in Cambodia is to re-strengthen cooperation between Cambodia and the DPRK in all sectors," he said. "Also, both sides have shared experience on national defense."

Later in the day, the delegation met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Pak Jae-gyong conveyed greetings from President Kim Jong-il to Hun Sen and thanked Cambodia for the warm welcome to his delegation during the visit, the premier's spokesman Eng Sophalleth told reporters after a 30-minute meeting.

Pak said the relation between the DPRK and Cambodia has been built by Marshall Kim Il Sung and former King Norodom Sihanouk and it has lasted for more than 40 years since.

Pak Jae-gyong also invited Hun Sen to visit the DPRK.

In response, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia is pleased to expand cooperation with the DPRK in all sectors, especially in trades and commerce, according to Eang Sophalleth.

Hun Sen accepted the invitation to visit the DPRK at a proper time in the future.

The delegation arrived in Cambodia on Sunday for a three day visit. They will also visit engineering schools for Cambodian armed forces.

Editor: Zhang Xiang

Koh Kong Villagers File Corruption Complaint Against Court

Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Phnom Penh Monday, 28 March 2011

via CAAI

Photo: AP
In their complaint, 32 families from Srey Ambel district say the court ordered in favor of a powerful businessman in 2008 due to falsified documents abetted by five court officials.

“I do not understand, because I, the judge, decided the case in conformity only with procedure.”

Villagers who say they were ousted from their land in Koh Kong province after losing a land dispute filed suit against the provincial court on Monday through the national Anti-Corruption Unit.

In their complaint, 32 families from Srey Ambel district say the court ordered in favor of a powerful businessman in 2008 due to falsified documents abetted by five court officials.

Huan Mony, chief of the Koh Kong court and an investigating judge, was among those named in the complaint.

“I don’t know what they are complaining about,” he told VOA Khmer Monday. “I do not understand, because I, the judge, decided the case in conformity only with procedure.”

He said the villagers were using the ACU to “unfairly complain.”

However, villagers who delivered the complaint to the unit on Monday said they had been pushed from their land while the influential business owner took over.

“We’ve come here to the Anti-Corruption Unit to demand our lost farmland,” Seng Thy, a village representative, told reporters outside the unit offices Monday.

Families say they were then pushed from 352 hectares of land and forced to relocate to Preah Sihanouk province just south of the district.

A spokesman for the ACU said it had received the complaint and will now review it to see whether it warrants investigation.

The ACU, which was formed under a new anti-corruption law last year, has already arrested several senior officials in connection with other crimes, including the prosecutor for Pursat provincial court.

Prawit: Border talks must remain bilateral


via CAAI

Published: 28/03/2011
Online news:

Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon agrees that Thailand and Cambodia can discuss their border disputes in Indonesia, but insists that any such talks must be bilateral and Indonesian authorities must not be involved.

Gen Prawit was responding on Monday to a report that his Cambodian counterpart Gen Tea Banh proposed that the next meetings of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) and of the Thai-Cambodia Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) be held together in Indonesia.

Gen Prawit said Gen Tea Banh had not informed him of his proposal yet.

He said the next meeting of the GBC and JBC should not be held at the same time.

The JBC meeting should come first because the GBC meeting's agenda is security along the Thai-Cambodian border and was ‘’discussable’’. There should not be a problem, the defence minister said.

At the next GBC meeting the two sides will discuss problems in implementing agreements over the disputed border area, security along the border, illegal labour, drug smuggling and other crime.

When Gen Prawit was asked by the reporters what he would say if Cambodia insisted the meeting take place in Indonesia, he said Thai authorities would have no problem with that, but both sides would need to talk first.

However he insisted the GBC meeting must be bilateral.

‘’ Asean (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) has agreed that Indonesia will take part only in the news conference and will not attend the meeting. We have no problem if things remain this way,’’ Gen Prawit said.

The general reiterated his previous position that the Thai-Cambodian border dispute does not affect the travel or trade of people in either country and the two sides can still sit around a table and negotiate,. There, there should be no need to hold the JBC and GBC meetings in a third country.

Meanwhile, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) spokesman Panthep Puapongpan has filed a petition with the House of Representatives, again demanding that parliament refuse to endorse the three JBC memos under the 2000 MoU regarding border issues.

The PAD claims that parliamentary endorsement of the three memos, which were signed in 2009 and in 2008 by the Joint Boundary Commission, would result in a significant loss of territory.

The government will table the three memos in parliament tomorrow.

Police beat Cambodian garment workers

http://www.worldbulletin.net/

via CAAI

28 March 2011 Monday

At least eight female garment workers were injured on Monday in clashes with Cambodian riot police, who used shields and electric shock batons to end a protest over a factory closure, witnesses and a union said.

At least eight female garment workers were injured on Monday in clashes with Cambodian riot police, who used shields and electric shock batons to end a protest over a factory closure, witnesses and a union said.

Some demonstrators were pushed to the ground and shocked with batons when police with guns and riot gear were deployed to forcibly end a road blockade by an estimated 1,000 female workers who were demanding unpaid wages and compensation after a local factory went bankrupt.

The clashes were the latest setback for an industry that forms a vital part of Cambodia's fledgling $10 billion economy. The garment sector was badly hit during the global economic slump from 2008 and more recently has been plagued by strikes over low pay and working conditions.

"Police were ordered to beat up workers, some were hit in the heads and shoulders and others were pushed to the ground," said Chhoeun Chanthy, a 30-year-old garment worker . "We were not afraid, we were peaceful."

Chea Mony, president of the Cambodia's Free Trade Union (FTU), told Reuters the total number of injured was unknown and some workers were being held in police custody.

"This is very serious. These workers were only in dispute with employers," Chea Mony said. "This violence is not justified," he said, adding that a government committee tasked with dealing with such disputes was "useless".

Phnom Penh police chief Touch Naruth declined to comment and a legal representative for the factory was unavailable.

Garment manufacturing is Cambodia's third-biggest currency earner after agriculture and tourism. About 30,000 jobs were lost in 2009 after a drop in sales to the United States and Europe.

The downturn led to a strike by more than 210,000 garment factory workers last year and more mass strikes have been threatened over a controversial move by the government to regulate trade unions.

Cambodia exported garments, textiles and shoes to the value of $2.3 billion in 2009, down from $2.9 billion in 2008. According to the World Bank, the sector is in recovery and exports grew 24 percent in 2010 after a 20 percent contraction.

An estimated 300,000 of Cambodia's 13.4 million people work in the sector and send vital cash to impoverished rural villages where many people live on less than $1 a day.

Reuters

Cambodia's Disabled Fight Poverty, Inequality


http://www.asiasentinel.com/

via CAAI

Written by Catherine Wilson
Monday, 28 March 2011

Landmine explosions/casualties still affect thousands

Cambodia remains littered with millions of unexploded devices left over from 30 years of civil war, the brutality of the Khmer Rouge and conflict with Vietnam.

The government itself believes that as many as 2 percent of the country's 14.7 million people are disabled with landmine casualties a significant proportion.

Poung Mai, who lost both legs when he stepped on a landmine, is one of those victims. He and Chhum Sopheap, who has suffered from polio, are seated on the ground in the midday sun next to the ticket kiosk inside the entrance gates to the National Museum in Phnom Penh with a basket of books to sell, each one carefully wrapped in plastic to lessen the inevitable damage from perpetual sun and dust.

They are among more than 60,000 physically disabled in Cambodia who struggle against poverty, discrimination, unequal access to education and employment and an under-funded and under-resourced state support system.

Cambodia is one of the poorest and most landmine contaminated countries in the world and the challenge of achieving economic inclusion, education and rehabilitation of the disabled is considerable. Numerous demining organisations, such as the Cambodian Mine Action Center, are steadily working to clear the country of millions of unexploded bombs and ordnances in rural regions, especially in the northwest close to the border with Thailand.

With 80 percent of the population residing in rural provinces, the prevalence of landmines has significantly reduced access to agricultural land, forests and water resources, and led to one of the highest rates of disability in the world as people in farming communities are maimed and killed as they go about their daily lives.

According to the Cambodia Mine Victim Information System (CMVIS), there were 286 landmine casualties in 2010, an increase on the 244 reported in 2009 and 271 in 2008, with 15 new casualties in January this year. It estimates that since 1979 there have been 63,821 mine casualties, which corresponds to 39 landmine deaths and injuries every week for 31 years, with about 44,000 survivors.

Poung Mai is from Prey Khmoa village in Prey Veng province where his family were rice farmers.

"During the civil war in Cambodia, the government [Khmer Rouge] arrested me and I was made to work in forestry, woodcutting," he said, "and then I stepped on a landmine." He was 28 years of age when both legs were amputated.

"After I stepped on the landmine, it was difficult," he continued, "I went around begging everywhere, at the market, to feed my family."

Poung has seven children. In 1990 he was removed by authorities to a center that provided food and shelter, but no prospect of livelihood. He subsequently left and found his way to Phnom Penh, where he continued to beg until he joined the Angkor Association for the Disabled in 2009, an organization of people with disabilities founded by Sem Sovantha, who suffered double amputation by a landmine, to provide shelter and training to members and campaign against discrimination.

Chhum Sopheap, also from Prey Veng province, came to Phnom Penh in 1997, sleeping on the streets until he started selling books at the National Museum in 2007.

Both say that the very small income they earn from selling books, on average $4.00 per day, enables them to rent a room and leave behind homelessness, which is often accompanied by alcoholism, mental ill-health, hunger and disease. Belonging to a disabled organization has also marginally improved their experience with the public, they say.

"When they are not with an association," Sem Sovantha explained, "there is a problem with the authorities. When they have an association, people will accept them and talk to them."
However, negative social attitudes and discrimination toward the disabled, such as physical harassment, social ostracism and economic exclusion, remain widespread.

Chhum claims that he mostly receives a positive response from visitors and tourists at the National Museum, "but the official in the area is not so happy about us, because he thinks it is not appropriate for us to be selling to tourists."

Local tour guides also attempt to dissuade visitors from being patrons.

"The customer would like to buy," Chhum explains, "but the customer believes the tour guide when he says ‘no, no', because at another shop the tour guide will get a commission."

According to a 2009 ILO report, "People with disabilities are among the most vulnerable groups in Cambodian society. They lack equal access to education, training and employment. While many workers with disabilities have considerable skills, many have not had the opportunity to develop their potential."

The Cambodian government introduced a Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2009 to support the right to employment without discrimination, and in the same year adopted a National Plan of Action for Persons with Disabilities, including landmine survivors, in order to better address needs and provide services. The stated priorities of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation include strengthening and expanding welfare and rehabilitation services for the disabled, but, according to the Cambodian Disabled Peoples Organization, lack of human and financial resources has hindered real progress toward these goals, although the work of NGOs has resulted in the provision of more vocational training courses.

"Social acceptance and social attitudes toward disabled people and landmine amputees can be improved step by step through the Royal Government having a Disability Law and National Plan for persons with disability," a CDPO spokesperson said, "The problem in Cambodia is that we have the laws, but no budget to implement them."

In the meantime, Chhum Sopheap and Poung Mai strive to sell their books, many of which are biographies and stories of Cambodians, like themselves, who have struggled through the tragedy of the Khmer Rouge era and are determined to not only survive, but live to see a better future.

Khmer Rouge jailer Duch appeals against conviction

 via CAAI

By Guy De Launey
BBC News, Phnom Penh

28 March 2011


Comrade Duch argues the Khmer Rouge tribunal should not be judging him

A UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia is hearing the appeal of a former Khmer Rouge member who was convicted of crimes against humanity.

Kaing Guek Eav was in charge of a detention centre in the late 1970s and oversaw the deaths of around 15,000 people.

But now the man best known as Comrade Duch is arguing he should not have been tried at all.

The Khmer Rouge tribunal has a strictly defined role.

That is to bring to justice the surviving senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge and the people most responsible for the worst crimes committed during the four years Pol Pot's government controlled Cambodia.

Comrade Duch claims he falls into neither category.

Baffling

He has admitted that he ran the notorious S-21 detention centre in Phnom Penh.

During the public phase of his trial he even apologised to relatives of the people who died there.

But he insisted that he was only following orders and that he and his family might have been killed if he had not done as he was told.

The trial chamber rejected his arguments and passed a sentence of 35 years for crimes against humanity, torture and pre-meditated murder.

Youk Chhang is the director of the Documentation Centre which investigated the events at S-21.

He says Cambodians would be baffled by Duch's appeal.

"It's difficult for the public in general to understand the court procedure - they're not lawyers," he said.

"And it's because Duch himself has said all these things during the hearing already: 'Well, I admit it; now I don't'. And then people find that crazy."

The appeal hearing should be followed within months by the long-awaited second trial at the tribunal.

Four senior surviving Khmer Rouge leaders are facing charges of genocide for creating the policies which led to the deaths of around 2m people.

Lakeside residents seek meeting

Residents threatened with eviction from the Boeung Kak lake area protest outside City Hall in Phnom Penh on Friday.

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/

via CAAI

Monday, 28 March 2011 15:03 Chhay Channyda and Khouth Sophak Chakrya

Boeung Kak lake residents will once again seek a meeting with Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema today, after being forcibly turned away by police during an attempt on Friday.

Lakeside residents submitted a written request for a meeting on Friday through the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, seeking to discuss their proposal to set aside 15 hectares of the 133-hectare development for local villagers, and said City Hall had returned the letter with an official stamp.

Tep Vanny, a representative for more than 1,500 households facing eviction, said villagers would come to City Hall today seeking a response.

“This is the last chance for [Kep Chuktema] to demonstrate whether he is willing to meet and settle our problem or not,” Tep Vanny said.

“We will continue to ask for intervention from Samdech Prime Minister [Hun Sen] and relevant institutions if he still uses the excuse that he is busy resolving other affairs,” she said.

Kep Chuktema declined to comment yesterday.

On Friday, police armed with riot shields and electric batons subdued a protest by villagers, and hit and temporarily detained one woman.

Protester Kong Chantha said she nearly lost consciousness after a policeman elbowed her in the forehead and forced her into a police car.

She said three trucks of police, lead by Daun Penh district deputy governor Sok Penhvuth, had descended on the protesters, dispersing the crowd.

“Sok Penhuvuth’s subordinates arrested me as a weak woman protesting to ask for land and a house for my children. They seemed to think I was a prisoner because they caught me and put me into a prisoner car,” she said. “I didn’t rob anyone’s land. They are cracking down on me daily.”

Kong Chantha said she would file a complaint against the police over the incident. Sok Penhvuth declined to comment.

OHCHR staff, present to monitor the event on Friday, helped secure the release of Kong Chantha.

Christophe Peschoux, OHCHR country representative, said his office had written to city officials and the company developing the area, urging them to find a solution by meeting with villagers.

“Two weeks ago, we wrote to the mayor of Phnom Penh, Kep Chuktema, and we wrote to the head of Shukaku and encouraged them to meet with the community on the basis of the options opened by the municipality – either financial compensation, relocation, or on-site upgrading,” Peschoux said. “My understanding is that the community has opted for on-site upgrading.”

He said he has not yet received a response from city officials.

Additional reporting by Thomas Miller

No defence necessary: Sam Rainsy

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/

via VAAI

Monday, 28 March 2011 15:03 Thomas Miller and Meas Sokchea

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said yesterday he will not ask his lawyer to defend him against charges of defamation and disinformation brought by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong, in a case stemming from a 2008 complaint that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court announced last week it would hear on April 5.

Sam Rainsy, president of the eponymous political party, said yesterday he would not ask his lawyer to attend the trial “because it’s the same case with the same foregone conclusion”.

“As a matter of legal and judicial principle, nobody can be condemned twice for the same offence,” Sam Rainsy, who currently lives in self-exile in Paris, said by email.

The Municipal Court issued a summons on March 23 ordering Sam Rainsy to appear in court to face charges brought under Articles 62 and 63 of the UNTAC code.

In 2008, Hor Namhong filed a defamation lawsuit in France over a passage of Sam Rainsy’s autobiography, Rooted in Stone, which alleged that Hor Namhong headed the Boeung Trabek prison during the Khmer Rouge reign.

Sam Rainsy was fined and last year lost his appeal.

The Foreign Minister also filed suit in Cambodian courts in 2008 over a speech by Sam Rainsy that year delivered at the Choeung Ek “killing fields”, which referenced an alleged relationship between Hor Namhong and the Khmer Rouge leadership.

Deputy court prosecutor Ek Chheng Huot declined to comment yesterday and referred questions to Judge Seng Neang, who could not be reached.

Kar Savuth, Hor Namhong’s lawyer, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The latest case against the embattled opposition leader complicates his appeal for a political settlement that would allow him to return to the Kingdom ahead of upcoming elections in 2012 and 2013.

Sam Rainsy faces a pair of jail terms totalling 12 years, handed down last year in connection with a protest he staged at the Vietnamese border in 2009. He was stripped of his parliamentary seat this month as a result of the convictions.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said yesterday the charges were “mainly to pile up more pressure on Sam Rainsy not to return”, but not necessarily an indication that the government has ruled out a deal.

Sam Rainsy said “inevitable” political change in Cambodia would bring about a resolution.

“A political solution depends on the political situation. There will inevitably be an evolution in the political situation in Cambodia as shown and announced by recent and ongoing developments worldwide (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, etc),” Sam Rainsy said.

Health officials issue dengue fever warning

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/

via CAAI

Monday, 28 March 2011 15:01 Khoun Leakhana

Ministry of Health officials yesterday urged parents to take responsibility for protecting their children from dengue fever after the deaths of two children from the disease so far this year.

Cheamon Thavy, director of dengue fever health education at the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control at the Ministry of Health, said that some people do not follow health officials’ advice.

“[It is] hard to find a strategy to make them cooperate with us and due to this, a 5-year-old boy named Roeurn from Kandal province and 10-year-old Huon Sreyleak from Takeo province died from dengue fever this year,” said Cheamon Thavy.

Ngan Chantha, director of the National Anti-Dengue programme at the Ministry of Health, said that parents must protect their children from the disease.

“[Parents] must … monitor the environment around their home like rubbish, old tyres, coconut shells, cans or larvae and if there are those things around their home, they should spend time to clean it,” said Ngan Chantha.

According to the National Anti-Dengue programme, Phnom Penh, Kandal, Siem Reap, Kampot, Kampong Cham and Banteay Meanchey provinces are the most heavily affected by dengue fever.

Ou Sopha, program director for combating dengue fever at the Kandal provincial health department, said that the national authority would distribute the insecticide Abate within the six most infectious provinces.

According to the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control there have been 231 cases of dengue fever in the first three months of this year resulting in two deaths, compared with 193 cases resulting in one death over the same period last year.