Sunday, 10 February 2008

Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister discharged from hospital, back in detention cell

The Associated Press
February 10, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia : A former Khmer Rouge foreign minister returned to detention under Cambodia's U.N.-assisted genocide tribunal after spending nearly a week hospitalized for a urinary tract problem, officials said Sunday.
Ieng Sary was discharged from the hospital Saturday evening and returned to his cell at the tribunal's custom-built compound, said tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath.

Ieng Sary is one of five former high-ranking members of the Khmer Rouge who were taken into custody last year, and are now awaiting trial in connection with the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people through execution, overwork and starvation when the group held power from 1975-79.

Many victims of the Khmer Rouge have long feared some of the defendants, now aging and infirm, could die before facing trial.
"Doctors have told us he is fine, and he is now back in detention" at the tribunal, Reach Sambath said.

Ieng Sary's lawyer, Ang Udom, said his client's health condition "has improved."

Ieng Sary was hurried to Calmette Hospital — Cambodia's best medical facility — on Monday last week after urinating blood. It was the second hospital visit in 10 days by the 82-year-old former Khmer Rouge foreign minister, who also has a history of heart trouble.

Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, who was minister for social affairs in the Khmer Rouge government, are both held pending trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The couple have appealed against their detention, but the tribunal has not yet set dates for hearings.

Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge main ideologist, was confronted by a genocide survivor last week in a hearing on his appeal against pretrial detention. Judges are expected to announce a ruling on his appeal in coming days.

Casting ballots for the US Democratic presidential primary in Phnom Penh

Cambodian-American Vaddey Ratner (R) and her husband Blake Ratner (2nd R), regional director of Greater Mekong, from Minnesota, cast their ballots for the Democratic presidential primary abroad at a supermarket in Phnom Penh February 9, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)

Americans cast their ballots for the Democratic presidential primary abroad at a supermarket in Phnom Penh February 9, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)

Americans cast their ballots for the Democratic presidential primary abroad at a supermarket in Phnom Penh February 9, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)

Mark Turgesen (R), from Washington, poses as he casts his ballot for the Democratic presidential primary abroad at a supermarket in Phnom Penh February 9, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
Americans cast their ballots for the Democratic presidential primary abroad at a supermarket in Phnom Penh February 9, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)

Pre-Trial Chamber Postponed the Announcement of the Judges’ Decision on Nuon Chea’s Appeal

10 February 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 546 - For the Khmer version, the Kanhchok Sangkum, click here.“

Phnom Penh: On 8 February 2008, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal decided to postpone the judges’ decision to an unspecified date on Nuon Chea’s appeal, whether to release him or to continue to temporarily detain him.

“The hearing on 8 February 2008, which was the third day of the appeal hearings of Nuon Chea, was intended for arguments against the detention order issued by the co-investigating judges. All parties raised their legal reasons respectively.

“Three victims or their civil party lawyers supported the co-prosecutors’ conclusion of 7 February requesting the chair of the pre-trial chamber to keep the defendant temporarily jailed.
“The civil parties’ attorneys said that there were two main reasons why they want Nuon Chea to remain in detention.

“The lawyers stated that the first reason is the personal security of Nuon Chea if he were out of jail. Nuon Chea’s current condition has been well known by the public both in the country and around the world through the media. Prior to his detention, Nuon Chea had not been well-known.

“The victims’ lawyers added their second reason, saying that if Nuon Chea is freed, it can affect the public order, because victimized Cambodian people, who live all over the country, might see him outside the jail; they might demonstrate against him and create chaos around the country.

“Ms. Seng Theary, Executive Director of the Center for Social Development, said in the hearing that the court should continue to detain Nuon Chea. She said, ‘We think that the conditions stated in the internal rules should be fully implemented by the court.’

“The Executive Director of the Center for Social Development added that if the chamber decided to allow Nuon Chea to be release on bail, he could be killed by whatever cause before entering into any future hearing. She added, ‘We think that it would be a big loss for Cambodian victims, who want to see justice.’

“Mr. Son Arun, Nuon Chea’s Khmer co-lawyer, had denounced the decision of the co-investigating judges during the last three day of hearings for detaining Nuon Chea, who is his client, claiming that legal procedures had not been followed.

“Mr. Son Arun denied the co-prosecutors’ arguments which had stated that if his client is on bail, he would threaten witnesses or destroy documents.

“Mr. Son Arun said that his client is very old. So if he is allowed to be out of jail, he will not have the power to threaten or kill witnesses. Even when coming into the courtroom, Nuon Chea needs to be supported to walk [as he is weak].

“The lawyer claimed also, on behalf of his client, that the prediction that Nuon Chea might destroy documents, is baseless. He thinks that by now, there remains nothing un-documented, even not one sheet of paper, because the Documentation Center of Cambodia has collected all papers during the past 10 years.

“On 8 February, the co-prosecutors still maintained their accusation unchanged, as before, and asked the pre-trial chamber to continue to detain Nuon Chea, as decided by the co-investigating judges.

“On the afternoon of 8 February, after deliberations, the Chamber decided to hold a one-hour closed door hearing and then resume the public hearing, allowing the defendant Nuon Chea to deliver a final speech.

“Mr. Nuon Chea said, ‘Respected compatriots, nowadays, our country is moving forward peacefully; peace, national unity, and development are improving gradually. But the difficulties and obstacles in the country are caused by outsiders, which hinder Cambodia’s growth.’ Nuon Chea said, ‘The Rectangular Strategy and the win-win strategy of the Royal Government led by Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen are really addressing these problems and effectively bringing progress for the country. I myself as well as all the ccompatriots hope that the pre-trial chamber will use their pure, clean, and smart wisdom and conscience to judge my request to be released on bail.’

“At the end of the hearing, Mr. Prak Kimsan, chair of the pre-trial chamber, stated that the pre-trial chamber’s decision will have two elements.

“Mr. Prak Kimsan added that one decision is relating to the participation of the civil parties, and the second one concerns the appeal against the detention of the charged person, Mr. Nuon Chea.
“The chair of the pre-trial chamber finally stated that the decision related to the civil parties will be announced first, and the pre-trial chamber will inform the public two days prior to the announcement of each decision.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4511, 9.2.2008

Malaysia's holiday bonanza no fun for business

By Ivy Sam
Agence France-Presse

KUALA LUMPUR--It's Chinese New Year and Malaysia's capital is deserted once again as citizens enjoy one of the many holidays observed by a nation with an array of races and religions.
But the nonstop stream of festivals, which began last October when Muslims celebrated the end of the fasting month, is being met with grumbles from business and industry who say the nation cannot afford all the merry-making.

After Malaysia's majority Malays celebrated Eid al-Fitr, it was the Hindus' turn with the Diwali festival of lights, then Christmas, followed by traditional New Year and now Lunar New Year.

"I can't get anything done!" laments lawyer Karen Lynn Johnson, who is frantically preparing for her upcoming nuptials. "Every supplier I call comes back to me with the same reply: wait until after Chinese New Year."

Malaysia's ethnic Chinese community dominates business and the long holiday weekend saw a lull at construction sites, shopping malls and restaurants as city-dwellers flooded the highways to return to their home villages.

"For business people it is never in their interests as it affects sales and trading," said M. Vivekananda from the Malaysian Employers' Federation.

"Our stand has always been that public holidays should not inhibit business activities. The markets should be kept open."

Business people complain that sales figures drop, trading on the bourse is halted and manufacturers who need to keep their factories open have to pay hefty overtime and triple holiday rates.

"Not only is it expensive, it disrupts the production of goods and sometimes deadlines cannot be met because there is not enough manpower," Vivekananda said.

Malaysia, Southeast Asia's third-largest economy, has 16 national holidays when the stock market, banks, schools and businesses are closed.

In addition, each state has its own set of holidays, so residents of central Selangor state which governs much of the capital Kuala Lumpur are generally entitled to four or five additional holidays.

As if that weren't enough, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last month declared the colourful Hindu festival of Thaipusam a public holiday just a few days beforehand, sending people scrambling to shift functions and events.

There are no figures on the costs involved, but in February last year exports shrank 14.41 percent to 41.1 billion ringgit ($4.24 billion) compared with the previous month due to "shorter working days and festivities", according to government data.

"On the stock market millions of ringgit in business transactions are lost and we miss the opportunity to make money. This could affect our market's performance," said businessman Michael Chiam.

"But this is how it is here, everyone gladly celebrates every festival together," said Chiam, a shipping merchant who chairs the Commercial Employers' Association of Peninsular Malaysia.

Singapore, the rich neighbouring city-state which has the same racial mix as Malaysia, has a modest 11 public holidays, in line with the norm in many developed nations like the United States and Britain which both have 10.

On the other end of the scale, impoverished Cambodia has the region's highest number of holidays at 26. Indonesia meanwhile cut three of its 23 holidays this year to boost the economy amid fears of a global slowdown.

However, Malaysian political economist Charles Santiago argues that holidays are an important stress buster for the overworked.

"Private businesses feel there are too many holidays and therefore not helpful but rested workers can also provide better productivity and benefit the economy in the long term," he said.

Insight into the world / Approach Myanmar with long-term initiatives

Takashi Shiraishi
Special to The Yomiuri Shimbun

In mid-January, the Japan-Mekong Foreign Ministers' Meeting took place in Tokyo, involving Japan as host and the five Southeast Asian nations through which the Mekong River runs: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

In the talks, Japan agreed to deepen its partnership with the Meong subregion in view of the area's rise in importance as a result of self-reliance efforts and infrastructure development, such as the east-west economic corridor. To that end, Japan will cooperate with the countries to promote regional stability and prosperity, enhance exchanges aiming to better integrate the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and extend economic assistance as required.

At the conference, Japan pledged to provide 20 million dollars for the improvement of distribution and customs services along the east-west corridor, linking Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh and Bangkok, and another 20 million dollars for the "Development Triangle" project, which involves Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

What is the significance of these developments?

A north-south corridor from Kunming, the capital of China's Yunnan Province, to Bangkok via Laos is being constructed, while China is increasing trade with and economic aid to the Mekong subregion. In light of this, Japanese initiatives are routinely read as Japan's countermove against China's southward expansion.

But this kind of simplistic geopolitical observation does not help us understand what is really going on. A road is a road regardless of who builds it. Besides, the east-west corridor and the north-east corridor both extend to China. The subregion is not an arena of Japan-China rivalry.
What, then, is happening there? I would like to touch on two things in particular.

First, the countries in the subregion, except for Thailand, are still in "transition." Vietnam and Laos are in transition from socialist party states to what I call "socialist market states" under one-party rule. Cambodia, where a long civil war ended in the 1990s, is also in transition as it embarks on national and economic reconstruction. In Myanmar, the military junta--which calls itself a "provisional" government pending the enactment of a new constitution--is eternally in transition, at least since the 1988 coup d'etat.

The success of all these transitions hinges to a large extent on viable economic development. The four countries are still poor. Annual national income per capita in 2005 stood at 620 dollars in Vietnam, 440 dollars in Laos, 380 dollars in Cambodia and 176 dollars in Myanmar.

Nevertheless, except for Myanmar, their economies have been growing rapidly. From 2002 to 2006, Vietnam registered an annual average economic growth rate of 7.8 percent, Cambodia 10 percent and Laos 6.5 percent.
Future of Mekong development

Second, trade volume in the subregion has been rising sharply, reflecting remarkable economic growth. Trade with China is growing, but China is not the largest trading partner for all of the Mekong countries. According to 2005 trade statistics, China is the largest exporter to Cambodia and Myanmar at 47 percent and 34 percent, respectively. But the United States was the biggest destination of Cambodian exports at 63 percent, while Myanmar's biggest export market is Thailand at 49 percent. Thailand also was Laos' largest trading partner, receiving 43 percent of Laotian exports and supplying 69 percent of Laos-bound shipments.

As for Vietnam, 21 percent of its exports were shipped to the United States, followed by 12 percent to Japan and 6 percent to China, while 17 percent of its imports came from China, followed by 13 percent from Singapore, 10 percent Japan, 9 percent from South Korea and 7 percent from Thailand. This means that Vietnam does not rely heavily on one particular country. The same goes for Thailand.

As these figures show, countries in the Mekong subregion are deepening their economic interdependence with the help of economic and infrastructure development. In this open regional network of mutual reliance, Thailand is functioning as a hub, with Vietnam emerging as a second hub. Regional trade with China is increasing, but trade with China is growing in tandem with the expansion of trade with Japan, the United States and other ASEAN member countries. Such a positive development is a natural consequence of deepening economic interdependence underpinned by transnational and regional business networks.

What is happening in the economic sphere has implications for diplomacy. Even as Thailand and Vietnam are enhancing ties with China, they are pressing ahead with the integration of ASEAN and maintaining strong diplomatic connections with Japan and the United States. Such an approach is possible thanks to the progress in economic interdependence in the subregion.

Here lies the significance of the development of the Mekong subregion. As the subregion develops economically and is integrated into the global and East Asian networks of interdependence, the countries there will be in a position to forge open and balanced foreign relations in both political and economic fields.

In this connection, however, there is one sticking point--Myanmar. In Myanmar, the National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in the 1990 general elections. But the junta ignored the results and has since ruled the country as a "provisional" regime. For this reason, the United States has called Myanmar an "outpost of tyranny" and imposed economic sanctions.

ASEAN has adhered to a policy of constructive engagement toward Myanmar in an attempt to help the country "democratize" itself.

Given that the military junta has controlled Myanmar for 20 years now, both economic sanctions and constructive engagement have failed to help Myanmar achieve transition. Meanwhile, China has provided Myanmar with large official loans for the development of infrastructure, such as highways and electrical power stations, while India has been strengthening relations through natural resource development and joint military exercises.

Newlyweds lend a hand in Cambodia's struggle against war, poverty

Saturday, February 09, 2008
By Chris Gray, The Philadelphia Inquirer

SIEM REAP, Cambodia -- Let's be honest: It was the specter of tigers, temples and tom yam soup that led my husband and me to honeymoon in Southeast Asia. We wanted an adventure to remember, on a continent where neither of us had been.

But as I researched our trip, I realized that we should spend at least a little time practicing "voluntourism," giving back to people who are still struggling for the basics after decades of war and poverty.

We found a way to have it all in Siem Reap, Cambodia, home of the ancient temple complex Angkor Wat -- and Ponheary Ly, a tour guide who considers it her mission to help educate as many Cambodian children as possible.

I found Ly, a Siem Reap native and survivor of dictator Pol Pot's labor camps, through the Asia message board on Ly, 44, is a veteran guide who has arranged private tours of Angkor Wat and other Siem Reap attractions in both English and French -- languages she learned in secret during the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia -- since 2000.

A former English teacher, Ly has also worked for seven years to enroll children in Cambodian schools. While public school in the country is ostensibly free for the first three years, many rural children do not have the $12 necessary for shoes, school supplies or uniforms, she said.

"As a teacher, I knew about the difficulties of the kids and families who couldn't send the kids to schools. Also, I found that the kids are smart, but they don't have any occasion to show how smart they are. To build the country, we have to build the education for all people, especially the kids."

It's a message that Ly's clients -- mostly Americans who prefer independent travel with native guides to packaged tours -- could support. In addition to touring the temples, more and more visitors asked Ly whether they could visit the schools and donate money for bicycles, supplies and uniforms.

Lori Carlson, formerly of Austin, Texas, was one such convert. When she visited here in 2005, Carlson was struck by Ly's background and dedication. On her return to the States, she founded the Ponheary Ly Foundation (, a registered nonprofit that channels money directly to the schools.

As of December, Carlson, 48, had raised $90,000 for five schools -- and quit her job to move here to work fulltime with Ly. She formed a board of directors for the PLF, which distributed school supplies to 1,955 children last fall.

"I believe the travelers who go to visit the temples at Angkor Wat understand they bear at least some of the responsibility to gently nudge these children toward school rather than reinforce the idea that it's good to stand on the corner and beg dollars from tourists," she said.

With such strong advocates, Don and I were excited to meet Ly and do our part. We arrived here to find a city undergoing massive change. The number of tourists visiting Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992, has exploded in recent years, spurring an increase in hotels, shops, restaurants and other businesses.

While the influx of dollars has been good for many Cambodians (merchants prefer U.S. dollars to the Cambodian rial), it's disconcerting to see barefoot bicyclists ride past $800-a-night hotels. Young children hawk maps, books and trinkets near the temple grounds; tuk-tuk drivers fight over $1 fares.

That's not to say that Don and I eschew luxury (it was our honeymoon, after all). We turned down a $20 room at Ly's simple guesthouse, primarily because it didn't have a pool, which we considered essential to deal with the area's crushing humidity. At $95, our poolside room at Bopha Angkor was spacious yet not ostentatious, and the package included daily breakfast, a traditional Khmer dinner, and a massage.

Just a few hours after we landed, we went to Angkor Wat with Ly's brother Dara as our guide. There are more than 300 temples in the complex, but Dara steered us to the ones that would provide the most interesting backdrops for my husband, the photographer.

As we sweated in the 90-degree heat, I asked Dara about his family's experience under the Khmer Rouge. He told us that his father, a teacher in Siem Reap, was among the first wave of educated people to be killed under Pol Pot's regime. As a result, Dara and his siblings were sent with their mother to the countryside to work.

It's a sobering tale, and we heard more from Ly over the next few days. Ly, who was 13 when the Khmer Rouge came to power, and her siblings survived, mainly because villagers would leave food for them at night.

"We were given this much rice," Ly told us, holding up the tip of her finger. Dara would "crawl out on all fours, like a cat" to get extra food; sometimes, actual cats or monkeys would have gotten to the rations instead, she said.

Still, the extra nourishment kept the family alive -- and the Khmer Rouge noticed. Officials asked her mother why her children were still alive when so many other youngsters had died, Ly said. When her mother refused to answer, she was horribly beaten.

Such atrocities were common in the Pol Pot years. Yet most Cambodians don't like to talk about the time under the Khmer Rouge, Carlson said. It's rare to find it discussed in schools, primarily due to the country's Buddhist beliefs, which hold that people -- even war criminals -- are responsible for their own karma.

Ly is different, Carlson said. She understands that it's important to talk about the past so it doesn't happen again. We were talking in Ly's van, on our way to deliver lunch to the 476 children at Knar school, out in the Cambodian countryside. On the road, we saw men on bikes toting crates filled with piglets and open huts with children playing in the dirt.

Cambodian families expect all children, no matter how young, to contribute economically, Ly told us. Which is why even the kids who are lucky enough to go to school attend for a half day; at home, they are needed for chores, farm work, or other ways to make money.

In addition to a donation made before our trip, we gave Ly $40 for lunch, which buys two noodle packets for each child. That's essential, Carlson said, because if the child received only one packet, he or she would take it home to the family instead of eating it. The school tries to feed the children at least once a day to make sure they have enough energy to learn, Carlson said.

We arrived at Knar School, which consists of several one-story classrooms. As Don carried the boxes of noodle packets into the rooms, the children's eyes grew wide. They straightened in their seats and thanked us by pressing their hands together and bowing.

Carlson and Ly showed us around the school and talked about the improvements that have been made. Incentives such as bicycles, uniforms, and extra noodle packets show the families that there are tangible benefits to their children attending school, Carlson said.

"I would like to have my country be the same as the other countries," Ly said, with Cambodian children able "to have good education to work well to get out from the poor life."

The children seemed to love school, showing off their uniforms and books. An impromptu game of soccer ensued, with Don in the thick of it. It was an emotional sight for me, which sparked later discussion: Although we had been together several years, Don and I had never talked about the greater good we could accomplish as a couple.

It's a conversation that all newlyweds should have, wherever their honeymoon takes them. For us, road-testing our fledgling marriage in an underdeveloped country not only gave us the adventures we sought, but also set the course for a more permanent path. And that's definitely a trip worth taking.


There are no direct flights to Siem Reap from the United States. You can fly there from various Asian cities, including Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hanoi.

We stayed at Bopha Angkor (, booking the "Poolside Evasion package." The cost was $285 for both of us for three nights, including airport transfers, breakfast, a dinner, and a massage for two.

We booked Ponheary Ly as a guide by e-mail ( Ly charged us $145 for 21/2 days of touring, which included three half-day sessions at Angkor Wat, the visit to Knar School, and a visit to the floating village on Tonle Sap lake.

MORE INFORMATION: To donate or read more about the Ponheary Ly Foundation, go to Or e-mail Lori Carlson at

After 30 years, victim of Khmer Rouge faces leader in court
By Andrew Buncombe,
Asia Correspondent

Saturday, 9 February 2008

It has been three decades since the Khmer Rouge murdered the parents of Theary Seng and shackled her and her four-year-old brother in one of its jails.

But yesterday, she had only one question to ask of Nuon Chea, 81, one of the organisation's few surviving leaders, who is accused of genocide. "If Nuon Chea claimed he was not responsible, then who was for the loss of my parents and other victims' loved ones?" she asked. "What we know is that Nuon Chea was the second leader after Pol Pot."

Ms Seng came face to face with Mr Chea in the courtroom of the UN-assisted tribunal in Phnom Penh that has been established to try those surviving members of the Khmer Rouge, whose Maoist-inspired organisation seized power in Cambodia in 1975 and which was responsible for the deaths of more than 1.7 million of its own citizens.

There are five former regime leaders in the tribunal's custody – Mr Chea, Khieu Samphan, former foreign minister Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, and Kang Kek Iew.

Ms Seng, a Cambodian-American who works for a charity that monitors Cambodia's judiciary, says she felt no bitterness towards Mr Chea. "It is more exciting to see this [justice] being done. I have, in one small way, honoured my parents," she said.

Officials said it was the first time a victim had confronted a Khmer Rouge leader in a court. "It's extremely symbolic," Peter Foster, a tribunal spokesman, said. "We made history today."

Mr Chea has denied that he was involved in the genocide and insisted that he is not a "cruel man". Yet there is evidence that he was head of the regime's internal security division and he is widely credited with being the regime's main ideologist.

European Union Funds of US$900,000 to Support Projects of Human Rights and Democracy

8 February 2008.

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 546 - For the Khmer version, the Kanhchok Sangkum, click here.

“Phnom Penh: Cambodian Non-Governmental Organizations that have suitable qualifications are invited to submit small grant proposals on human rights and democracy to receive funds from the ‘European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights’ [EIDHR] program of the European Union. The fund, from which such support can be call for Cambodia has a total volume of Euro 600,000 (around US$900,000). The common purpose of this initiative is to strengthen the role of civil society in promoting reforms on human rights and democracy, supporting peaceful reconciliation processes among different interest groups, and strengthening the participation in and the representativeness of political processes.

“This fund was prepared to support projects which have the goal to promote discussion between civil society and political circles, concerning the independence of the courts, the right to justice, professional and impartial information dissemination by independent, professional and accountable media, advocacy for awareness raising, and training on children’s and women’s rights, promoting participation and strengthening the rights and the power of local actors related to policy development, as well as improving and strengthening the rights and the power of minorities so that they can protect their own rights. The applicants for EIDHR program support shall be non-profit institutions. The grant for each project is between Euro 10,000 and Euro 600,000. The European Union grant can cover between 50 to 80% of the total costs for each project.

“Further information is available at

Detailed information on the call for proposals is posted in the guidelines for applications, which can be retrieved from [[information in the newspaper sees to be deficient – if we can clarify, it will be provided at a later date – from the editor]]. The deadline for applications is 6 May 2008, at 17:00 local time in Phnom Penh.”

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6266, 8.2.2008

Putin lashes out as term nears end
Saturday, February 9, 2008

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Khmer Rouge victim confronts defendant

A Cambodian genocide victim confronted a former Khmer Rouge leader in a courtroom Friday, demanding to know who was responsible for the "hellish regime" that killed 1.7 million people, including her parents.

Tribunal officials called it a historic moment when Theary Seng took the stand on the second day of a hearing of former leader Nuon Chea's appeal for release from pretrial detention at Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal.

"It's the first time a victim is able to stand up and confront a defendant. It's extremely symbolic," said Peter Foster, a tribunal spokesman. Nuon Chea, who was the main ideologist for the now-defunct communist group, has been held since Sept. 19 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his involvement in the Khmer Rouge's ruthless 1975-79 rule. He is one of five former Khmer Rouge leaders detained by the tribunal, expected to hold the first trials later this year.

Barrie woman giving the gift of sight; Will deliver glasses to southeast Asia
Saturday, February 9, 2008

Barrie's Brandi Atkinson has her sights set on Cambodia after her store collected more eyeglasses than any other in Canada.

Every year, the charitable organization Give the Gift of Sight sees stores collect thousands of recycled eyeglasses for those in need around the world.

Pearle Vision in Orillia, where Atkinson is manager, brought in 2,330 pairs last year, ranking them No. 1 in Canada and No. 8 in North America.

As a result, Atkinson will deliver the specs herself to people in the southeast Asian nation of Cambodia.

"Clear vision is a basic right, not a luxury. I believe that," she said. "Vision can change people's lives."

Glasses can help a child do better in school and give adults confidence while searching for a job, she noted.

During her mission from May 19-31, Atkinson will administer three-point eye exams and try to best match individuals with their prescriptions.

Having not travelled to southeast Asia before, she's not sure what to expect. Although the itinerary calls for "work, work, work,"

Atkinson and her team of more than 20 people will have at least a couple of days to be a tourist, as the Lions Club will organize accommodations and "something fun."