Wednesday, 25 June 2008

UN administrator says he's here "until the very end"


Wednesday the 25th of June 2008
Posted by Elena in ECCC

New Deputy Director of Administration Knut Rosandhaug introduced himself to media today, thanking "the people of Phnom Penh for warmly receiving me."

He said he intends to stay in Cambodia "until the very end of the tribunal" and that he was fully aware of the deteriorating health of detainees and need for swift justice.

Recently stationed in the Balkans, Rosandhaug said he was pleased to come to Cambodia where the atmosphere is less combative.
"It's a joy to come here," he said.

Rosandhaug took over for Michelle Lee on June 1.

““Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia””

Below is an opinion by roatha007 regarding the Preah Vihear issue.

This post is taken out of Global Voices On-lines.

To those coward, shameless and arrogant Thai,

What some shameless Thai has done about the Preah Vihear Temple is ridiculous and shameless. I don’t matter (care) if the Thai just fight each other, but they should not take Cambodia as a scapegoat for political purpose. The Thai opposition and military should have used a more suitable excuse to make another coup against Thaksin’s ally. Groundlessly and unfairly accusing a small and poor nation of taking your land is already ridiculous,bully.

It is undeniable that Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia, territorially, architecturally and historically. The Thai shamelessly and illegally took control of the temple just after The French pulled out of Cambodia. They lost the case in international court. They should learn their mistake and eat the humble pie rather than shamelessly attempt to take it back. It has been 46 years since 1962! Cambodia has suffered enough from Thai aggression and invasion. Review the history: how much Cambodia lose to Thailand, who the Thai are, what your was origin, where was your mother land, ungrateful Thai???

What a shame! You say Cambodia need approval from Thailand and insist that the temple must be jointly managed while it undeniably belongs to Cambodia??? No such case on earth.

Ridiculous, shameless and bullying.

Censure debate against Thai PM into second day

Radio Australia

Thailand's prime minister, Samak Sundaravej, is facing a second day of criticism in parliament, as the country's opposition pursues a no-confidence vote against him.

Our correspondent in Bangkok, Karen Percy, says a censure debate against Mr Samak and his coalition government has centred on the ancient Preah Vihear temple, which straddles Thailand and neighbouring Cambodia.

The opposition has criticised a deal struck by the government which puts the temple inside Cambodia, while allowing joint management of the site.

Opposition members say Thailand has given away sovereignty, in return for Cambodia allowing an island development for the former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr Thaksin was ousted in a coup in 2006 and is banned from politics.

But the opposition and thousands of protesters say Mr Thaksin is running the government from behind the scenes.

Mr Samak says he is not Mr Thaksin's nominee.

Despite saying he would wait until the very end to respond to the criticisms, Mr Samak has stood up on a number of occasions to defend himself.

Mr Samak's brash personality and his use of harsh language at times has also come into focus.

Speaking Up for Vietnam

Chitose Suzuki/AP ; SPEAKING OUT Vietnamese protesters in Hanoi, Vietnam.

June 25, 2008

A Buddhist monk missing since authorities evicted him from his pagoda. A Montagnard Christian beaten to death in police custody. A lawyer involuntarily committed to a mental hospital after she championed the rights of farmers kicked off their land. Journalists jailed for exposing corruption. A young man sentenced to prison after chatting online about democracy and human rights. More than 400 people wasting away in harsh prison conditions for their political views or religious beliefs.

This week, the prime minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung, brings Vietnam's road show to Wall Street and meets President Bush and leaders likely including the U.S. presidential contenders, John McCain and Barack Obama.

When America's political and financial leaders sit down with Prime Minister Dung, they should not forget these courageous individuals and should address directly the systemic pattern of rights violations in Vietnam that they represent: the Vietnamese government's lack of tolerance for dissent and denial of fundamental rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association, and religious belief.

In Vietnam today, the government still controls all media, as evidenced by the arrest in March 2008 of two investigative reporters who exposed a major corruption scandal in 2005. The reporters, Nguyen Viet Chien of Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper and Nguyen Van Hai of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper face charges of "abusing their positions and powers while performing official duties."

Police harass and arrest bloggers and cyber-dissidents for Internet postings critical of the government. In January 2008, a court sentenced cyber-dissident Truong Quoc Huy to six years of imprisonment for distributing leaflets criticizing the Communist Party and participating in pro-democracy forums on the Internet. He was charged with "abusing democratic freedoms of association, expression, assembly to infringe on the interests of the state."

National security laws are used to imprison members of opposition political parties, independent trade unions, and unsanctioned press outlets or religious organizations. Laws such as Ordinance 44 authorize the detention without trial of dissidents at "social protection centers" and psychiatric facilities if they are deemed to have violated national security laws.

In March 2008, police arrested Bui Kim Thanh, an activist who defended victims of land confiscation and involuntarily committed her to a mental hospital.

Mr. Bush should know that Vietnam's leaders harass and arrest church leaders campaigning for rights or choosing not to affiliate with state-controlled religious oversight committees. For the last 30 years the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam's Supreme Patriarch, Thich Huyen Quang, has either been in prison or under house arrest for publicly protesting government policies.

Authorities have beaten and arrested members of ethnic minorities in remote areas such as Montagnard for refusing to join state-sanctioned church organizations, protesting land confiscation, making contact with relatives or Montagnard groups abroad, or trying to seek political asylum in Cambodia.

In April of this year, police arrested Y Ben Hdok in Dak Lak after other Montagnards in his district tried to flee to Cambodia. Police refused to allow his family or a lawyer to visit him during three days in detention. On May 1, police told Mr. Y Ben's wife to pick up his battered body. His rib and limbs were broken and his teeth had been knocked out. Police labeled the death a suicide.

During Prime Minister Dung's visit to America, he should hear that the American people and government care about how Vietnam treats its people. This is an all too rare chance to back Vietnam's courageous activists, writers, and human rights defenders, who have risked their liberty to make their country more open, tolerant, and free.

Ms. Colm, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, is based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Cambodia in style

easier Travel
24 June 2008

Capitalising on the surge of interest in all things hip and boutique, leading Asia travel specialist, Travel Indochina, has launched a “Cambodia in Style” tailor-made itinerary, enabling customers to see all the sights of this stunning country, whilst staying in Cambodia’s most stylish accommodation.

Included in the itinerary, the tour operator has also introduced two new hotels to its portfolio, offering the best in boutique design and charm. The Quay Hotel, located directly on Phnom Penh’s lively riverfront, offers clean lines of minimalist design and is ideal for those seeking a true flavour of Cambodia’s fascinating capital. The hotel is ideally positioned within easy walking distance to the National Museum, Royal Palaces, local markets and endless bars and restaurants and its unique architectural style makes it ideal for urban travellers with an eye for modern design.

Nestled on Kep’s stunning coastline, Knai Bang Chatt is one of Cambodia’s most chic hotels, offering the welcoming feel of a private home, perfect for relaxation after all the sight-seeing. Owned, restored and furnished by one of Europe’s most renowned art and antique dealers, this property is both elegant and eye-catching and offers a beacon of 60’s cool in the remote reaches of Indochina. Its three villas, housing the 11 stylish bedrooms, have been restored in keeping with their former 60’s grandeur and perfectly complement the property’s other key attractions, the infinity-edge swimming pool, wooden dining pavilion and newly-opened beach club and restaurant.

The “Cambodia in Style” itinerary starts in Siem Reap with a 3 night stay at the ultra hip Hotel de la Paix, providing Travel Indochina’s customers with a modern contrast to the more traditional resorts and historical sights that Siem Reap has to offer. The modern art deco design, sleek lines, sharp edges and predominant use of white give the hotel a truly minimalist feel and The Arts Lounge hosts changing exhibitions, making it an ideal choice for art and design enthusiasts.

No trip to Cambodia would be complete without a visit to the amazing temples of Angkor. As with Travel Indochina’s small group journeys, “Cambodia in Style” guests will benefit from a unique opportunity to make a torch-lit approach, away from the crowds, through Angkor’s jungle to catch sunrise over the mesmerising Angkor Wat. Other highlights include a ride in a fixed cable balloon enabling customers to view the marvel below from a height of 200 metres, where the sheer scale of the Angkor Wat and the incredible realisation of the ancient Khmer civilisation become apparent.

Travel Indochina’s General Manager, Chris Orme, explains: “Cambodia continues to be one of our most requested destinations and we are really excited to offer this new itinerary, which allows our customers to see all the key sites, while staying in some of Indochina’s most stylish properties. Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Kep and Kampot all have their own unique flavour and contrasts, whereas all the hotels on the “Cambodia in Stlye” itinerary offer the best of Cambodia in terms of chic design.”

The “Cambodia in Style” 8 night tailor-made itinerary starts from £875 per person and includes accommodation with daily breakfast, transfers and road transportation (modern air-conditioned vehicle), internal flights, sightseeing, entrance fees and a local English-speaking guide.

Travel Indochina has 15 years’ experience in operating small group journeys to “the real” Asia and unlike many other travel companies limits its group size to a maximum of 15 people. The smaller groups enable travellers to gain the best from both worlds - greater access to the local culture and plenty of opportunities for independent exploration.

For more information, visit

Khmer Krom: Vietnam Threatening to Arrest Khmer Krom

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Vietnamese authorities threaten to arrest one Khmer Krom man and one Khmer Krom Buddhist monk currently residing in Cambodia for nonviolently protesting land reforms.

Below is and article originally published by Radio Free Asia and translated by Khmer Krom Network:

Khmer Krom people in Cambodia are facing new threats of arrest as Vietnam attempts to continue their terrifying crack down on human right activists across the border.

According to a report by Radio Free Asia in the Vietnamese program on Monday 16th June 2008, Vietnamese authorities in Vietnam are threatening to arrest one Khmer Krom man and one Khmer Krom Buddhist monk currently residing in Cambodia.

Mr. Chau Ni and Venerable Thach Binh have been accused of inciting the recent land protests by Khmer Krom farmers in Swai Ton (renamed Tri Ton) and Kro Bao (renamed Tinh Bien) districts.

In 1978, thousands of Khmer Krom families from the above districts were forced to evacuate to Khleang province (renamed Soc Trang) by the communist Vietnamese authorities. When they were allowed to come back to their villages early 1980, many found themselves landless, most of their ancestral land and homes were confiscated by the Vietnamese government.

For centuries, wet rice farming has been Khmer Krom traditional means to sustain their livelihood. Without land, many of the Khmer Krom farmers have found themselves without a mean to survive, further marginalized and entrenched in poverty.

For over 30 years, the Khmer Krom farmers have lodged numerous appeals to the Vietnam authorities for the return of their confiscated lands but have received little sympathy or compensation from the communist government.

In the last two years, Khmer Krom farmers have stepped their campaign to demand for the return of their ancestral homelands by traveling to Prek Rukssey (renamed Can Tho) and Prey Nokor (renamed Ho Chi Minh City) to conduct peaceful demonstrations.

Instead of attempting to resolve the issues of increasing land grabbing by the Vietnamese authorities, they continue to resort to their traditional form of threat by arresting peaceful protestors and accusing them of “disturbing society”. Threats of imprisonment have been declared against Khmer Krom farmers if they continued to demand for the return of their ancestral homes.

Two Khmer Krom women, Neang Don and Neang Doun from the Swai Ton district was arrested and imprisoned since April 11 1008 for demanding the very same issue. Their fate remains unknown.

Will Mr. Chau Ni and Venerable Thach Binh be another Venerable Tim Sakhorn case?

Venerable Tim Sakhorn was arrested, defrocked and deported to Vietnam by Cambodian authorities as ordered by Vietnamese authorities on June 30, 2007.

The Khmer Krom victims are appealing to all human rights agencies and foreign governments to help remind Vietnam not to use arrest, intimidation and threats as the reasons to resolve land confiscation issues. Also that such means not only violates its constitution, international human right treaties as well the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in which Article 1 and Article 10 are particularly relevant.

Singapore's Asiatic wins $475 mln Cambodia power deal

SINGAPORE, June 25 (Reuters) - Singapore power firm Asiatic Group (Holdings) said on Wednesday that it has won a power supply contract in Cambodia worth potentially $475 million over a 99-year period.

Under the contract, Asiatic Group will supply power to the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (PPSEZ), a company statement said.

The contract is expected to add approximately $4.8 million a year to group revenue once the power plant is fully operational in 2009, it said. (Reporting by Ovais Subhani)

Re: Sacravatoons :" Preah Vihear,Thailand History and Two Siameses "

Click on image to zoom in
Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

RP-Cambodia air talks yield 8 flights for Clark

Sun Star Pampanga

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

By Reynaldo G. Navales

CLARK FREEPORT -- About 32 flights a week have been granted to the Philippines during the recently concluded RP-Cambodia Air Talks held in Manila.

Eight of the 32 flight entitlements have been allocated to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), which is now becoming the country's premier gateway.

Arroyo Watch: Sun.Star blog on President Arroyo

The Philippine and Cambodia air panels met last June 19-20 in Manila. The Philippine Panel was represented by Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Undersecretary for Civil Aviation Doroteo Reyes II, while Cambodia was represented by Secretariat of State Civil Aviation (SSCA) Deputy Director General Rumchek Sovary.

Clark International Airport Corporation (Ciac) officials who sat along with the Philippine Air Panel during the review of existing Air Services Agreement (ASAs) were successful in negotiating for entitlements in Clark.

The entitlements will prepare the DMIA to become the main international airport. Ciac president and chief executive officer (CEO) Victor Jose Luciano said this is a welcome development.

"These new entitlements will further boost the ongoing developments taking place at the airport as more flights are being mounted so as to accommodate more passengers," said Luciano.

Ciac executive vice president (EVP) and chief operating officer (COO) Alexander Cauguiran sat as a member of the RP panel that represented Ciac in the RP-Cambodia Air Talks held in Metro Manila.

Cauguiran said the air talks were aimed at strengthening mutual trade in economic, tourism and aviation relations between the Philippines and Cambodia.

Thai PM's foes throw nationalist temple tantrum

A Buddhist monk walks through the ancient ruins of Preah Vihear, a long-disputed temple on the Thai-Cambodian border May 30, 2006. (REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang/Files)

The Star Online
Wednesday June 25, 2008
By Nopporn Wong-Anan

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Opponents of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra are using a 900-year-old temple on the Cambodian border, centre of a bitter 50-year dispute, to try to oust a five-month-old government that backs him.

With Cambodia seeking Thai support for its bid to list the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site, Thaksin's enemies are accusing the government of ceding land near the temple to Phnom Penh.

The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) -- the motley group of businessmen, academics and royalists whose campaign against Thaksin led to his removal in a 2006 coup -- is unabashed about whipping up a nationalist fervour.

"The Preah Vihear issue has sent us more people, many of whom are apolitical, white-collar workers," said Suriyasai Katasila, a lead of the PAD, which has accused the government of being 'Thaksin Puppets' bent on turning Thailand into a republic.

Specifically to the temple saga, the PAD says the government is ceding 4.6 sq km of disputed land near the temple to Phnom Penh in exchange for business concessions for Thaksin.

The Thaksin camp and Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, whose office has now been under siege by PAD protesters for six days, vehemently deny the accusations, or the handing over of any territory.


The issue of Preah Vihear, which the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 belonged to Cambodia, is widening the PAD's support base to include opposition politicians, top bankers and high society bigwigs.

In its no-confidence motion against Samak this week, the Democrat party has focused primarily on the temple and the government's apparent acceptance of a map of the area drawn by Cambodia that lays claim to the 4.6 sq km of scrubland.

A group of senators petitioned the U.N. cultural agency, UNESCO, in Bangkok to halt the temple listing, and a Thai court has agreed to an urgent hearing to rule whether cabinet's approval of the map was constitutional.

Preah Vihear, built by Khmer kings at the start of the Angkorian period, sits on the top of a jungle-clad escarpment that forms a natural boundary between Cambodia and Thailand.

It has been a source of tensions for decades, but was off-limits for much of the 1970s to the 1990s due to its use as a major jungle outpost by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge guerrillas. The area around the temple is still littered with land mines.

The political uproar in Thailand prompted Cambodia to close the temple on Monday, raising fears the spat could turn into a major diplomatic ruction between the two southeast Asian nations.

Another Cambodian temple, Angkor Wat, lay at the heart of a shouting match that resulted in a nationalist mob torching the Thai embassy and several Thai businesses in Phnom Penh in 2003.

"This nationalistic rhetoric can escalate to hurt diplomatic ties and sow the seeds of hatred between the people of the two countries," said political scientist Boonyakiet Karavekpan of Bangkok's Ramkhamhaeng University.

"We can only pray that will not happen again," he said.

King Sihamoni visits, boosting bilateral ties

President Nguyen Minh Triet receives Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni at the Presidential Palace in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Khang


HA NOI — Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni’s official visit to Viet Nam has marked a new stage of friendship and co-operation between the neighbouring countries, said President Nguyen Minh Triet yesterday.

Triet said that the Vietnamese Party, Government and the people had always appreciated the age-old friendship with Cambodia and now looked forward to expanding bilateral co-operation in the coming years.

The President praised the recent nation-building achievements gained by Cambodian people under the King’s leadership. Likewise, King Norodom Sihamoni expressed his delight in Viet Nam’s socio-economic developments.

The two leaders also expressed their gratitude over the support for their respective countries made during the wars as well as in the present nation-building process. King Norodom Sihamoni vowed to continue in his father, former King Norodom Sihanouk’s footsteps in strengthening and developing traditional bilateral relations. President Triet asked King Sihamoni to convey his invitation to former King Sihanouk and the Queen for an official visit to Viet Nam.

Triet also invited King Sihamoni to return to Viet Nam soon which the King graciously accepted.

On the same day, King Sihamony granted an audience to National Assembly Deputy Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong. — VNS

Security tightened at Cambodian embassy

( - About 10 police officers were deployed at the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok on Wednesday, after the opposition grilled the government about Preah Vihear temple and nationalism threatened.

Police from Metropolitan Police Bureau are there to ensure safety, after the Democrat party slammed the government for allegedly giving up Thailand's sovereignty when the cabinet endorsed Cambodia's map of the ancient temple and the joint statement over it.

Tightened security was expected to remain until the censure debate is over.

So far, the situation in front of the embassy is normal. There have been no protests at the Cambodian mission.

The judgement of the World Court, 1962

The Bangkok Post
Wednesday June 25, 2008

Published here is the International Court of Justice's ruling delivered on June 15, 1962, in the case concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Merits) between Cambodia and Thailand.

The proceedings were instituted on Oct 6, 1957 by an Application of the Government of Cambodia; the Government of Thailand having raised two preliminary objections, the Court, by its judgement of May 26, 1961, found that it had jusisdiction.

In its Judgement delivered today (June 15, 1962), the Court, by nine votes to three, found that the Temple of Preah Vihear was situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia and, in consequence, that Thailand was under an obligation to withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity on Cambodian territory.

By seven votes to five, the Court found that Thailand was under an obligation to restore to Cambodia any sculptures, stelae, fragments of monuments, sandstone model and ancient pottery which might, since the date of the occupation of the Temple by Thailand in 1954, have been removed from the Temple or the Temple area by the Thai authorities.

Judge Tanaka and Judge Morelli appended to the Judgement a Joint Declaration. Vice-President Alfaro and Judge Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice appended Separate Opinions; Judges Moreno Quktana, Wellington Koo and Sir Percy Spender appended Dissenting Opinions.

In its Judgement, the Court found that the subject of the dispute was sovereignty over the region of the Temple of Preah Vihear. This ancient sanctuary, partially in ruins, stood on a promontory of the Dangrek range of mountains which constituted the boundary between Cambodia and Thailand. The dispute had its fons et origo in the boundary settlements made in the period 1904-1908 between France, then conducting the foreign relations of Indo-China, and Siam. The application of the Treaty of February 13, 1904 was, in particular, involved (in which Thailand swapped the land on the right side of the Mekong river, namely Battambang, Siam Riep and Sri Sophon, in exchange for Chanthaburi, Trat and Dan Sai district in Loei province).

That Treaty established the general character of the frontier, the exact boundary of which was to be delimited by a Franco-Siamese Mixed Commission.

In the eastern sector of the Dangrek range, in which Preah Vihear was situated, the frontier was to follow the watershed line. For the purpose of delimiting that frontier, it was agreed, at a meeting held on Dec 2, 1906 that the Mixed Commission should travel along the Dangrek range carrying out all the necessary reconnaissance, and that a survey officer of the French section of the Commission should survey the whole of the eastern part of the range.

It had not been contested that the Presidents of the French and Siamese sections duly made this journey, in the course of which they visited the Temple of Preah Vihear.

In January-February 1907, the President of the French section had reported to his Government that the frontier-line had been definitely established. It therefore seemed clear that a frontier had been surveyed and fixed, although there was no record of any decision and no reference to the Dangrek region in any minutes of the meetings of the Cornmission after Dec 2, 1906.

Moreover, at the time, when the Commission might have met for the purpose of winding up its work, attention was directed towards the conclusion of a further Franco-Siamese boundary treaty, the Treaty of March 23, 1907.

The final stage of the delimitation was the preparation of maps. The Siamese Goverment, which did not dispose of adequate technical means had requested that French officers should map the frontier region.

These maps were completed in the autumn of 1907 by a team of French officers, some of whom had been members of the Mixed Commission, and they were communicated to the Siamese Government in 1908. Amongst them was a map of the Dangrek range showing Preah Vihear on the Cambodian side.

It was on that map (filed as Annex I to its Memorial) that Cambodia had principally relied in support of her claim to sovereignty over the Temple.

Thailand, on the other hand, had contended that the map, not being the work of the Mixed Commission, had no binding character; that the frontier indicated on it was not the true watershed line and that the true watershed line would place the Temple in Thailand; that the map had never been accepted by Thalland or, alternatively, that if Thailand had accepted it, she had done so only because of a mistaken belief that the frontier indicated corresponded with the watershed line.

The Annex 1 map was never formally approved by the Mixed Commission, which had ceased to funciion some months before its production. While there could be no reasonable doubt that it was based on the work of the surveying officers in the Dangrek sector, the Court nevertheless concluded that, in its inception, it had no binding character.

It was clear from the record, however, that the maps were communicated to the Siamese Government as purporting to represent the outcome of the work of delimitation; since there was no reaction on the part of the Siamese authorities, either then or for many years, they must be held to have acquiesced.

The maps were moreover communicated to the Siamese members of the Mixed Commission, who said nothing, to the Siamese Minister of the Interior, Prince Damrong, who thanked the French Minister in Bangkok for them, and to the Siamese provincial governors, some of whom knew of Preah Vihear.

If the Siamese authorities accepted the Annex 1 map without investigation, they could not now plead any error vitiating the reality of their consent.

The Siamese Government and later the Thai Government had raised no query about the Annex 1 map prior to its negotiations with Cambodia in Bangkok in 1958. But in 1934-1995 a survey had established a divergence between the map line and the true line of the watershed, and other maps had been produced showing the Temple as being in Thailand: Thailand had nevertheless continued also to use and indeed to publish maps showing Preah Vihear as lying in Cambodia.

Moreover, in the course of the negotiations for the 1925 and 1937 Franco-Siamese Treaties, which confirmed the existing frontiers, and in 1947 in Washington before the Franco-Simese Conciliation Commission, it would have been natural for Thailand to raise the matter: she did not do so.

The natural inference was that she had accepted the frontier at Preah Vihear as it was drawn on the map, irrespective of its correspondence with the watershed line. Thailand had stated that, having been, at all material times, in possession of Preah Vihear, she had had no need to raise the matter; she had indeed instanced the acts of her administrative authorities on the ground as evidence that she had never accepted the Annex 1 line at Preah Vihear. But the Court found it difficult to regard such local acts as negativing the consistent attitude of the central authorities.

Moreover, when in 1930 Prince Damrong, on a visit to the Temple, was officially received there by the French Resident for the adjoining Cambodian province. Siam failed to react.

From these facts, the Court concluded that Thailand had accepted the Annex I map.

Even if there were any doubt in this connection, Thailand was now precluded from assserting that she had not accepted it since France and Cambodia had relied upon her acceptance and she had for 50 years enjoyed such benefits as the Treaty of 1904 had conferred on her.

Furthermore, the acceptance of the Annex 1 map caused it to enter the treaty settlement; the Parties had at that time adopted an interpretation of that settlement which caused the map line to prevail over the provisions of the Treaty and, as there was no reason to think that the Parties had attached any special importance to the line of watershed as such, as compared with the overriding importance of a final regdation of their own frontiers, the Court considered that the interpretation to be given now would be the same.

The Court therefore felt bound to pronounce in favour of the frontier indicated on the Annex I map in the disputed area and it became unnecessary to consider whether the line as mapped did in fact correspond to the true watershed line.

For these reasons, the Court upheld the submissions of Cambodia concerning sovereignty over Preah Vihear.

The Hague, June 15, 1962.

Cambodia: Khmer Rouge Tribunal Needs More Funds

Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Press Release: United Nations

Cambodia: UN-backed tribunal trying Khmer Rouge leaders calls for more funds

24 June 2008 – The United Nations-backed tribunal trying Khmer Rouge leaders accused of mass killings and other crimes in Cambodia during the late 1970s, which is expected to soon hold its first trial, said today it needs more than $40 million in funds to continue its work through the end of next year.

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia has a shortfall of $43.7 million after pledges received so far, the ECCC said in a press release issued in Phnom Penh, the national capital and the seat of the tribunal.

This includes $37.7 million for the UN component of the budget and $6.1 million for the Cambodian component.

Last week a delegation from the tribunal held what it said were “productive discussions… in a most constructive atmosphere” in New York with the Group of Interested States about the ECCC budget through 2010. The talks, based on a revised budget, follow concerns expressed by donors after a draft budget was presented in January.

The statement said the donors had expressed strong support for the ECCC’s work, illustrated by Japan’s contribution last week of almost $3 million to the Cambodian component of the budget and a commitment by the Cambodian Government of nearly $1 million.

Briefing reporters in Phnom Penh, the Director of ECCC’s Office of Administration Sean Visoth noted that a recent public survey indicated that Cambodians continue to give their strong support to the work of the tribunal.

“One of the principal reasons for establishing the hybrid model we are following in Cambodia was to hold the trials in a context that is close to the people, offering them the opportunity to visit the court, sit in the public gallery which holds 500 people, and watch the process broadcast live on radio and television throughout the country,” he said.

Under an agreement signed by the UN and Cambodia, the ECCC was set up as an independent court using a mixture of Cambodian staff and judges and foreign personnel. It is designated to try those deemed most responsible for crimes and serious violations of Cambodian and international law between 17 April 1975 and 6 January 1979.

Cambodia genocide tribunal running out of money

Delays and corruption allegations plague the special court prosecuting former Khmer Rouge leaders.

By Paul Watson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 25, 2008

JAKARTA, INDONESIA -- Plagued by long delays and corruption allegations, the special court prosecuting Cambodia's former Khmer Rouge leaders on genocide charges is running short of money months before its first trial is set to start.

The court, which was set up by the United Nations and Cambodia's government two years ago, needs $43.8 million to continue operating through 2009, administrators said Tuesday in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital.

"The money is not going to come easily," Knut Rosandhaug, the court's Norwegian deputy director of administration, told reporters. "We have to work for the money."

The tribunal is holding five former Khmer Rouge officials on charges stemming from the deaths of at least 1.7 million people during the Communist regime's reign of terror from 1975 to 1979. The charges include murder and crimes against humanity.

The prisoners are elderly, and most are in failing health, so many Cambodians fear the suspects may die before survivors' long wait for justice is over.

After almost a decade of bickering between the U.N. and Cambodia's government over the court's rules, the special court finally began work in 2006 with a combination of foreign and local judges and support staff.

The tribunal was originally expected to cost $56.3 million for three years. But the estimated budget has ballooned to $143 million for a five-year term ending in 2010, the administration said Tuesday.

So far, Japan is the only country to answer the tribunal's pleas for more funds. By far the court's largest foreign donor, Japan pledged $3 million last week, raising its total donation to more than $24 million.

Last year, the Open Society Justice Initiative, a New York law reform organization founded by billionaire George Soros, said judges and other tribunal staff were forced to pay kickbacks to keep their jobs.

The U.N. said in April that an audit showed management reforms had produced "significant improvement" in the court's administration. But many Cambodians are losing faith in the promise that Khmer Rouge leaders will have to answer for their crimes.

Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, whose real name was Saloth Sar, escaped justice when he died in 1998 in the northern Cambodian jungle.

He was Brother Number One in a ruthless revolution that emptied the cities, forcing millions of people to work on collective farms where many died of starvation or exhaustion.

The tribunal's prisoners awaiting trial are:

* Kaing Geuk Eav, 65, also known as Duch, a former high school math teacher who was director of the notorious S-21 prison where more than 14,000 of the Khmer Rouge's victims died. Most were Communist Party members and Khmer Rouge guerrillas accused of betraying the revolution. Also known as Tuol Sleng, the prison was a high school compound whose classrooms were turned into torture and execution chambers.

Duch has been in detention for more than nine years. The youngest of the tribunal's prisoners, he is expected to be the first to stand trial, but not before September. He has admitted his guilt but says he was only following orders. The rest of the accused insist they are innocent.

* The highest-ranking detainee is Nuon Chea, 82. He was Brother Number Two and complained last year in an interview before his arrest that he had heart problems.

As deputy secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, the Khmer Rouge's official name, he had "effective control" over the regime's detention centers and also directed "forcible transfers of the population, enslavement, forced labor and other inhumane acts," the prosecution alleges.

* Khieu Samphan, 76, head of state in the Khmer Rouge government, says he was just a figurehead and had no effective power in the regime. This month, Khieu's lawyer said the prisoner was rushed to a hospital with high blood pressure on May 21, and is now paralyzed on one side from an apparent stroke.

* Ieng Sary, 82, Pol Pot's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, was arrested along with his wife, Ieng Thirith, 76, former Minister of Social Action, in late 2007.

Ieng Sary has been treated at a hospital for numerous ailments since then and is awaiting a court ruling on a request to be transferred to a hospital until his health improves.

Cambodia, Laos See Surge in Korean Investments


Cambodia and Laos are emerging as the next window of opportunity for Korean investors.

Figures by the Korea International Trade Association show a steep on-year growth of US$1.3 billion in Korea's corporate investment in Cambodia last year.

That makes the Southeast Asian country the second-biggest destination after China in terms of Korea's overseas investment.

Investments to Laos, meanwhile, posted a 16-fold jump in 2006 from the year before and chalked up $81 million in 2007.

Analysts say such expansion in investment has helped Korean exports to the two countries post significant growth, especially for auto parts, textiles and steel.

Arirang News

Sacravatoons : " The Angel ECCC's Gift "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Sacravatoons : " 100% Total Control in Zimbadwe and Scambodia "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Gary Glitter plans a musical comeback after finishing his jail sentence

[captionFormer British glam rocker Gary Glitter, who is serving a jail sentence in Vietnam for molesting two girls, plans to return to singing when he is released in August.


Former British glam rocker Gary Glitter, who is serving a jail sentence in Vietnam for molesting two girls, plans to return to singing after being released in August.

State-run media reported Glitter as saying he would like to make another record.

The 64-year-old said in an interview with the Cong An Nhan Dan (People's Public Security): 'I have an incomplete album that I want to finish.'

'I have been thinking about the plan during my days in jail.'
Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, was convicted in March 2006 of committing "obscene acts with children."

The incidents involved two Vietnamese girls aged 10 and 11 from the southern coastal city of Vung Tau.

He is also considering moving to Singapore or Hong Kong once he is released, the newspaper said on its website.

He said: 'I am trying to contact my lawyer and friends to see where the best place to live is.'
The singer is in good health although he has a small problem with his hearing, according to the newspaper, run by Vietnam's Public Security Ministry. Le Thanh Kinh, Glitter's attorney, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper reported that Glitter did not want to return to Britain because he would be listed on the country's sex offenders' registry.

A Hong Kong Immigration Department spokesman said today that there are no regulations barring convicted sex offenders from entering the territory, but that every entrant is subject to examination on a case-by-case basis.

Glitter's three-year jail sentence in Vietnam was cut by three months for good behaviour during festivities for the Lunar New Year, known as Tet, last year. He is due to complete his sentence in August.

Perverted: Glitter during his trail for molesting two underage girls

He was convicted in Britain in 1999 of possessing child pornography and served half of a four-month jail term.

He later went to Cambodia but was expelled from that country in 2002. Cambodian officials did not specify a crime or file charges against him.

Glitter hit his musical peak in the 1970s and his

ECCC seeks funds of over $50 mln for court operation

PHNOM PENH, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is currently seeking funds of 50.3 million U.S. dollars for the period up to Dec. 31, 2009 for court operation, a press release from the ECCC said Tuesday.

These funds are composed of 39.5 million U.S. dollars for the U.N. budgetary component and 10.8 million U.S. dollars for the Cambodian side, the press release said.

The Cambodian side responded quicker than the U.N. side, Sean Visoth, director for the office of administration of ECCC, told reporters.

The Cambodian side has already received pledges of about four million U.S. dollars from friend countries and the Cambodian government contributed about one million U.S. dollars, he said, adding that they are waiting for the U.N. side.

The statement from ECCC said that in the judicial area, appeals against provisional detention have been lodged by all five charged persons and four of these have been heard, with the fifth due to be heard on June 30.

The co-investigating judges announced on May 15 that they had concluded the judicial investigation case No. 1 and that they are hoping to issue the closing order in July, the statement said, adding that they are preparing for the trials to commence in September.

Editor: Wang Hongjiang

From Phnom Penh bar, a writer views Boston

At close of Asian trip, putting life and home in perspective

(Isabelle Lesser photo for Oxfam America) So Sophal and her sisters transplant rice seedlings on their father's farm in Kandal province, Cambodia.
Posted by Kenneth Kaplan
June 24, 2008

Andrea Perera, a resident of Roslindale, is a writer for Oxfam America, an international relief and development agency. Together with a small team from the organization’s communications and programs departments, she recently traveled throughout Cambodia and Vietnam to collect stories about Oxfam’s work in the region.

By Andrea Perera
June 20, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- The name on the sign says Maxine’s Pub, but the locals here call this Snowy’s bar. Owned by an Australian who came to Cambodia more than a decade ago, it’s my last stop in Phnom Penh after three weeks in Southeast Asia.

It always happens this way. I spend the first few days missing home, my routine, my husband. But then it gets to the halfway point, and all of a sudden, time moves too quickly and I start to miss the place I’m about to leave.

This is my third trip to Cambodia in as many years. Of all the places I’ve visited, this is probably my favorite. For a country that is among the poorest in the world, which has such a traumatic recent history, there is a genuine kindness to the people. Cambodians smile at strangers on the street. They show respect during every interaction. They laugh easily, and take pleasure in good food and company.

I’m thinking of all this while sitting on a deck at Snowy's that overlooks the waters of the Tonle Sap River. I’m taking in the sunset with my colleague, Isabelle, a freelance photographer. We have spent all day in the Kandal and Kompong Speu provinces interviewing and photographing rice farmers under the glaring sun. Before that, we had spent five days in Mondulkiri province learning about gold mining in the region. We’re exhausted. But having survived the heat, the rain, the mosquitoes, and a 25-mile moto ride through the jungle, we agreed that my last night in Cambodia should be spent at Isabelle’s favorite bar.

She has been here five years. Half Belgian, half Israeli, she speaks fluent French, Flemish, English, some Hebrew, and a good amount of Khmer. In other words, she’s pretty much your typical ex-pat in Phnom Penh. There are so many NGO workers, reporters, and artists here. Most of them come from America, Europe, Australia, and parts of Asia. They know each other, have dated each other, rent apartments near each other. It’s a very small world.

As I’m considering this, a man sitting to my right who had just set down his Sony Playstation asks me where I’m from. Although I am at a bar, a woman sitting alone, I know this is no pick up line. First of all, I look like I’ve been slogging through rice paddies all day. Second, he looks like he genuinely wants to know where I’m from. We talk, and I learn that he is Israeli, from Tel Aviv. He came here four months ago, fell in love with a Cambodian woman, and has now decided to stay indefinitely. He’s living out of a hotel for $10 a night. He studied music in Pasadena, California, not far from where I grew up. He had visited friends who went to Berklee in Boston.

(Isabelle Lesser photo for Oxfam America)We met Van Yom while he was busy working his rice farm in Kandal province, Cambodia.

When Isabelle rejoins us, she brings along a few people she’s met from inside the bar. I introduce her to my new Israeli friend. They share some words in Hebrew. She introduces me to the woman who works as a communications officer at one of the UN’s local programs. She’s Australian, a former newspaper reporter of four years in Sydney. We have a quick, easy conversation, talking about our shared experiences transitioning from journalism to communications work at an NGO. We bond over the complicated internal signoff processes for our stories, and talk about missing the urgency of real deadlines.

In just a few minutes, I have met more people with shared interests than I would typically meet during several months at home. As a visitor here, I’m realizing that I’ve adopted the openness that comes with being far from home. How come I’m not like this in Boston? Maybe everyone here makes more of an effort because they are away from their families, and the friendships they make will sustain them through all the low points -- the random bouts of illness, bad days on the job, and the everyday negotiations of living life in another language. On the good days, these friends will become as close as family, and they will know each other long after they’ve gone.

It’s gotten dark and the mosquitoes are biting. I remember the sad mound of clothes that need packing back at my hotel. Isabelle negotiates a $2.50 ride on a tuk tuk -- a sort of motorized rickshaw -- back over the Japanese Bridge into the heart of Phnom Penh. As we rush past moto cyclists and cars, I take in the crazy traffic patterns, the temples, the framed photos of the royal family, the evening heat. I will miss this place. I will miss the perspective I get when I come here, the sense of gratitude I come to feel for the comforts of my home, the wealth of my country. No matter what problems I leave behind when I come to Cambodia, three weeks later, they seem trifling compared to the everyday concerns of the people I’ve met.

With my hotel in sight, I jump out of my tuk tuk and swing my backpack over my shoulder. I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had on this trip. Perhaps I will be back again. If so, I will go to Snowy’s on my first night, and try to remember that I always miss this country once I leave. That might get me through that first lonely week and a half.

For more information about Oxfam America and its work, please visit their website at For information on how you can contribute to the Passport blog, please contact the Globe's assistant foreign editor, Kenneth Kaplan, at

Promoting Vietnamese-Cambodian friendship and co-operation

Nhan Dan
June 24, 2008

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni on June 24 started an official visit to Vietnam from June 24-26 at the invitation of State President Nguyen Minh Triet.

This is the second Vietnam visit by King Norodom Sihamoni since he was crowned in October 2004.

The visit taking place at the time when the relationship between Vietnam and Cambodia is developing positively affirms the determination of the leaders and people in the two countries to further strengthen their traditional friendship and comprehensive co-operation for mutual benefits.

Welcoming King Norodom Sihamoni, the Vietnamese people would like to congratulate the Cambodian people in their achievements in national construction and development.

The visit is made on coincidence with the celebration of the 41st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, June 24, 1967 - June 24, 2008.

Thanks to the special attention paid by leaders and people in the two countries, the relationship between Vietnam and Cambodia has constantly developed in all fields under the motto “good neighbour, traditional friendship, comprehensive co-operation and long lasting stability.”

The exchange of high-level delegations between the two countries has contributed to promoting bilateral comprehensive co-operation in a more efficient and reliable manner.

Co-operation in the fields of economics, trade and investment has also seen positive changes. In 2007, two-way trade value was estimated at nearly US $1.2 billion and both sides are striving to reach the target of US $2.3 billion by 2010. Vietnam's investment capital in Cambodia stood at around US $100 million last year.

Ministries, sectors and localities from the two countries have increased their co-operation. The two countries have made continuous efforts to maintain security and stability in border areas and have agreed to complete land border demarcation and landmark planting by 2012.

Vietnam and Cambodia has established a Joint Committee on Economic, Cultural, Scientific and Technological Co-operation to review the annual implementation of co-operation agreements in the fields of economics, politics, trade, military and security and to work out plans for the next period.

The two countries have also paid attention to promoting co-operation in healthcare, education-training, energy and transport areas.

Co-operation among localities, especially border provinces and twinned cities, has contributed to boosting the traditional friendship and comprehensive co-operation between the two countries.

The two countries have also worked closely in the sub-regional framework and in multilateral co-operation such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Mekong River Commission (MRC), the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), the West-East Corridor (WEC), the Ayeyawady - Chao Phraya - Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy (ACMECS) and Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam development triangle.

The Vietnamese people take this opportunity to express deep thanks to the Cambodian Royal Family, Government and people for their valuable assistance and support in the past as well as at present.

It is believed that the Cambodian people, under the leadership of King Norodom Sihamoni and the Royal Government, will record greater achievements in national development and play a more important role in the international arena in the future.

May the Vietnam visit by King Norodom be crowned with success, thus contributing to further developing the Vietnamese-Cambodian time-honoured traditional friendship, good neighbourliness and all-round co-operation between the two countries for happiness and prosperity in both countries as well as in the Southeast Asia region and the world at large.

Unravelling Thailand's political turmoil

Prime Minister Samak has been besieged by protests
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
By Jonathan Head
BBC News, Bangkok

The Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has been fighting for his political life over the past two weeks.

Thousands of demonstrators from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have besieged his office at Government House, demanding he step down. The main opposition party has filed a motion of no-confidence in parliament.

He has also faced protests by disgruntled farmers, truck drivers and fishermen.

There have even been rumours of another military coup. Mr Samak has only been in office for five months. So what has he done wrong?


Having campaigned openly in last December's election as a "Thaksin nominee", Mr Samak was never going to be accepted by those Thais who are still bitterly opposed to Mr Thaksin.

They see the Samak government as a Trojan horse that will eventually ease Mr Thaksin back into power.

The PAD is firmly in this camp. Nothing Mr. Samak could have done would have softened their hostility to him, even though the prime minister has often acted independently of the Thaksin loyalists in his party.


It was greeted with brickbats by many Thais when it was announced.

This wasn't really his fault. His party, the People Power Party (PPP), is essentially just Mr Thaksin's old party, Thai Rak Thai, under a different name.

It is run and funded by the same, powerful provincial figures. But with Mr Thaksin and 110 other top TRT officials banned from holding political office, they simply put forward relatives and cronies to take up ministerial portfolios in their place.

Most of these new ministers lacked relevant competences and experience. Their performance has been lacklustre, at best.


Mr Samak is a street-brawler of a politician who relishes his reputation for being brutally outspoken.

This served him well during the campaign; it serves him far less well as prime minister.
He was the first to speculate about a military coup, sending the financial markets plunging, and forcing the army commander to rush out a denial.

He threatened to use force again the PAD protests, but then had to back down. Many Thais are embarrassed by his verbal gaffes.


Altering the charter introduced last year under the military government was a priority for the PPP.

The charter included a number of provisions aimed at limiting the power of elected governments. But the two clauses Mr Samak targeted were directly tied to his party's and Mr Thaksin's interests - it looked like a self-serving move.

He has now been forced to back down, leaving any amendments to a bi-party parliamentary committee.


Thailand, like other countries, has been hit hard by rising oil and other commodity prices.

Inflation is up sharply. The price of rice has fluctuated, initially benefiting farmers, then catching them off-guard as prices fell back. The Thai currency has suddenly slipped in value, pushing up the cost of oil even further.

Mr Samak's economic team has blundered around these challenges, without producing any credible policies to address them.


Mr Samak was chosen by Mr Thaksin to run the PPP because his close ties to the military and the monarchy were useful to a party disliked by the traditional elite; he has no power-base of his own inside the party.

As a result, he has been unable to control factional rivalry, weakening the party's effectiveness in parliament.

Some of those factions now appear to have lost patience with Mr. Samak, and may be angling to replace him.


On top of all these problems, Cambodia's bid to have an ancient temple on the border with Thailand listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site has sparked off a nationalist backlash against the prime minister.

Mr Samak agreed to support the bid, although the temple's inclusion in Cambodian territory is disputed by many Thais.

The fact that the Foreign Minister, Noppodol Pattama, who negotiated the deal to support the listing, also used to be Mr Thaksin's lawyer, has led some to suspect that he was swayed by Mr Thaksin's business interests in Cambodia.

So what happens next? Samak Sundaravej is a veteran politician whose tenacity and survival skills should not be underestimated.

He will almost certainly survive the vote of no-confidence. The opposition Democrats don't have enough seats to form a viable alternative coalition.

And, although they are too polite to say so, Mr Samak's coalition partners need to stay with him long enough to see some of the big government infrastructure spending projects get going.

It is a poorly kept secret in Thailand that parties rely on getting government positions to replenish their coffers after the expense of an election.

For that reason, forcing Mr Samak to dissolve parliament, and hold another election, is not palatable to any party.

A military coup also seems very unlikely. Army Commander Anupong Paochinda has made it clear he does not want one. Much of the army top brass feel they got little thanks for intervening two years ago. The situation would have to deteriorate dramatically for them to rethink.

If Mr Samak is forced to go, it will probably be by his own party.

But then he would likely be replaced by someone less independent from Thaksin Shinawatra - perhaps his brother-in-law, the Education Minister Somchai Wiongsawat, or Finance Minister Surapong Seubwongleee - neither of which would be appealing to die-hard anti-Thaksin groups.

Democracy in Thailand has always been messy. Perhaps never more so than now.

Temple issue linked to suspicious motives

The Nation
Published on June 25, 2008

Government accused of selling out Thai sovereignty for lucrative deals in Cambodia In 1962 when Thailand lost the sovereignty case over the Preah Vihear Temple to Cambodia in the International Court of Justice, Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, the then leader, could not contain his tears. Thais of that generation also felt the pain of the loss. Ever since, whenever the issue of Preah Vihear is raised, Thais feel very emotional. It was one of the greatest losses for the nation.

From the legal standpoint, Thailand has reserved the right not to agree with the Court's ruling. But as a member of the United Nations, it has agreed to move its troops from Preah Vihear. The Court only ruled that Preah Vihear is under Cambodian sovereignty. Its ruling does not cover the temple area where the pond and the approach belong to Thailand. A visitor can only access the temple by taking a route from Thai territory. From the Cambodian side, one has to climb an almost sheer cliff, which is impossible for ordinary people. Thailand and Cambodia are also in dispute regarding an overlapping area of 4.6 square kilometres.

The Cambodian government has filed an application with Unesco for the Preah Vihear temple complex to be listed as a World Heritage site. The political controversy in Thailand is why the Samak government has rushed to endorse Cambodia's sole application for the temple to become a Unesco-listed site.

This matter should have been handled with more diplomacy, through a joint application from both governments. Otherwise, this signals to the whole world that Thailand has accepted that the Preah Vihear Temple belongs to Cambodia when past Thai governments held reservations on the International Court of Justice's ruling, which is not considered final from the Thai stance. Moreover, the Samak government has agreed to endorse Cambodia's sole application for Preah Vihear to become a World Heritage site by setting aside the long-standing territorial dispute and proposed buffer zone on the north and west of the temple.

"For its part, the Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and west of the Temple," according to a document from the Cambodian government.

Cambodia has prepared the 47-page document for Unesco, detailing how the Thai government has been providing "active support" for the temple to be on the World Heritage List. This propaganda material looks, on the surface, very convincing because it chronicles step by step how the present Thai leaders - Samak Sundaravej, the prime minister; Noppadon Pattama, the foreign minister; and Somchai Wongsawat, the deputy prime minister and education minister - went to Phnom Penh to endorse Cambodia's sole application for the temple to be listed.

Again, we question why the Thai government is so keen to endorse Cambodia's move on Preah Vihear in the absence of a joint application to Unesco and in the absence of an amicable agreement on the territorial dispute. Most importantly, the endorsement is sending a signal that Thailand will never try to reclaim Preah Vihear. The Samak government has committed a big diplomatic blunder, which is unforgivable.

This controversy has become a ticking bomb. The People's Alliance for Democracy has been holding street demonstrations in front of Government House and is playing up the Preah Vihear issue and accusing the government of selling off the temple in return for casino and gas deals in Koh Kong. The opposition Democrats yesterday also focused the no-confidence censure debate on this issue. More than 300 distinguished Thais have also signed a letter to protest against any Unesco decision at this point to have the temple included on the World Heritage List while the sovereignty question over the temple and the temple area remains ambiguous.

The government's clarification of this issue is unclear. We have lost confidence in the government's ability to handle the Preah Vihear issue in the best interests of the nation.

The preah vihear temple controversy for dummies

The Nation
By tulsathit taptim
Published on June 25, 2008

I stink where history is concerned and the only reason I dare touch upon the most explosive issue of the hours - the Preah Vihear Temple controversy - is simply because I believe some of you share my dismal knowledge on the subject.

Like the title of this article says, the following probably won't suit those looking for the science and legality of border demarcation or foolproof historical accuracy.

What exactly was the World Court's ruling and Thailand's legal reaction?

Basically, the court, in June, 1962, ruled that the temple belongs to Cambodia, leaving unsolved questions over disputed surrounding areas. The Thai government at that time accepted the ruling with clenched jaws and reserved its right to renew its fight for sovereignty if future legal opportunities arise.

What were the court's key reasons?

The ruling was based on a map drawn primarily by French colonial officers in the late 1900s and decades of Thailand's non-objection to the map that put the temple on Cambodian soil. The map was an integral part of a treaty whose benefits for Thailand, Bangkok had never complained about.

Does the Samak administration's decision to support Cambodia's push for registration of the temple as a World Heritage site compromise Thailand's sovereignty?

The decision, while obviously being overly politicised, was rash and uncalled for. It can be argued that the Joint Communique signed by Noppadon and the Cambodians to support the World Heritage nomination undermines decades of Thailand's "silent" protests against Phnom Penh's victory, and whatever right Bangkok may still hold to re-file the case.

Does Thailand still have that right?

The Samak government is holding on for dear life on Article 61 of the World Court regulation which states that "No application for revision may be made after the lapse of ten years from the date of the judgement". (In Cambodia's application document to Unesco, this article is highlighted, with "LAPSE OF TEN YEARS" in capital letters.)

In his scathing attacks on the government in Parliament yesterday, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva pointed out Article 60 of the court's regulation. This article allows warring parties to reserve doubts and observations concerning rulings and it does not spell out any timeframe.

Which article carries stronger weight is open for debate, but Abhisit was right in saying that Article 61 should be cited by Cambodian lawyers, not Noppadon.

Since Cambodia boasts full ownership of the temple, why does it need Thailand's backing for the application?

Unesco needs to reinforce sites' "universal values", therefore overlapping claims in surrounding areas could hinder Cambodia's unilateral efforts.

Maintenance capability seems to be one of the issues here. Unesco needs to ensure proper management and preservation for World Heritage sites. Apart from that, and this is my pure guess only, the fact that the temple, perched on a cliff higher than many New York skyscrapers, can only be accessed from the Thai side, makes Bangkok's cooperation for the World Heritage inscription quite essential.

Is "joint nomination, made on more equal grounds" better and possible as claimed by the Democrats?

Some experts say that joint nomination is the best way, and should be a role model for this kind of dispute in Thai-Cambodian relations. Unfortunately, Noppadon and the government as a whole failed to explore this possibility.

Whereas Thailand being able or unable to "reserve" its rights regarding Preah Vihear is somewhat abstract and has much to do with "what ifs?", Noppadon can be squarely criticised for not going for this best option for Thailand.

The temple is very "Khmer", isn't it? What's the point of Thailand's stubbornness?

Well, the World Court case, quite rightly I think, didn't focus on questions of cultural heritage or on which state was the successor to the Khmer Empire. Look at the location of the temple and it's obvious that everything regarding the grand-scale construction had to start from the Thai side. If this too had had to be taken into account, it would have made the dispute much more complex. For example, should the labour and transport routes have been declared Cambodian territory too?

Moreover, if the court had gone as far back as the early 9th century in establishing present ownership of a piece of a structure, all hell would have broken loose.

Fuel Prices and Inflation Are Not Expected to Decline after the 2008 Election

Posted on 24 June 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 566

“Phnom Penh: Civil society organizations mentioned that fuel prices seem to be higher and inflation remains stable nowadays, and it is assumed that after the coming fourth term parliamentary election, although a new government will be created, it will not be possible to solve these problems.

“Mr. Yang Saing Koma, Director of the Center for Studies and Development of Cambodian Agriculture, [CEDAC], told reporters at the Cambodiana Hotel on 19 June 2008 that food prices, which are steadily increasing and are a global phenomenon, push that in Cambodia the prices of all kinds of goods are increasing at the moment.

“He added that from August to September, the Cambodian rice price might continue to rise, because farmers might run out of paddy rice from the storage rooms while they at the same time want to sell it, because there is a lot of demand at the market, and domestic supplies are not enough; this will increase the price of rice to be higher, or at least it will remain at the present level.

“Ms. Chea Vannath, an independent analyst, she said that although after the forth term parliamentary election, and after a new government will have been created, still the price of fuel and inflation will not decline. Quite the opposite, ‘The situation will threaten the poverty alleviation strategy of the Royal Government.’

“Similarly, Mr. Chan Sophal, the president of the Cambodian Economic Association, said that the price of crude oil at the international market may further increase in the future. Therefore, the price of fuel in Cambodia is not expected to drop. He continued that inflation gets higher because of two factors – a domestic factor and an external factor. He explained that at the present time, the prices of all kinds of goods at the international market increase strongly because of the shortage of food. As for the domestic factor, there is a group of people who sell land, and they have income from this, but this group also needs domestic materials and food, and because the domestic products are not sufficiently available, the inflation grows higher.

“To solve the increase of fuel prices and of inflation, Cambodia could follow the model of Iran, Malaysia, and Indonesia. These countries have created systems to sell fuel or rice by setting two different pricing policies – to sell to the rich at higher, and to the poor at cheaper prices. The sale of fuel to the rich is established for those who drive luxury cars when they go to fill fuel at the gasoline stations. This example was raised by Ms. Chea Vannath; as for Mr. Chan Sophal, he added that the government can reduce the tax on oil imports, and this can reduce the price of fuel. As for inflation, the government has to increase the yields of cultivation, and handle land disputes better.

“Observers noticed that nowadays citizens in Cambodia sell land or leave their land unused while they have disputes; these are obstacles to increase the yield of rice in Cambodia.

“Regarding this issue, Mr. Ith Nody, undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, told reporters at the Hotel Cambodiana on 19 June 2008 that the government knows these problems and has measures to deal with them. The government will provide social concession land to citizens with the support of the World Bank and a Japanese fund by using social land concessions in Kompong Cham, Kratie, and Kompong Thom, but he did not give any details about the size of those social land concessions.

“He added that merchants have bought land from citizens and left the land unused. The government, when necessary, will require those merchants to pay land taxes to the state.
“Last Friday, Khmer Sthapana had tried to phone to ask for some explanation about the continuing rising price of fuel from the Senior Minister of Economy and Finance, but could not reach him.

“However, Mr. Keat Chhon has told reporters a few days ago that the government has prepared approximately US$30 million to spend this year quietly and has tired to prevent inflation, which is a phenomenon in foreign countries, to keep the price of fuel from increasing further.

“According to a recent report of the Asian Development Bank, inflation in Asia is a threat to poverty alleviation strategies and affects investments and incomes, creating instability for several governments.”

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #21, 24.6.2008

Better Health Care, Next Mandate: Minister

By Seng Ratana, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
24 June 2008

Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.59 MB) - Download (MP3) Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.59 MB) - Listen (MP3)

[Editor's note: In the weeks leading into national polls, VOA Khmer will explore a wide number of election issues. The "Election Issues 2008" series will air stories on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a related "Hello VOA" guest on Thursday. This is the first in a two-part series examining the state of Cambodian health care.]

Cambodia's health system remains poor, but in the time since the last general election, the government has worked hard to improve it and hopes to do more in the next term, the nation's top health official said.

Health Minister Nuth Sokhum, a member of the coalition Funcinpec party, said the government was working hard to fix the problems in the health system, building 40 health care centers around Cambodia since the last election and providing additional training to doctors on professional ethics.

The government hoped to do more in the next term, he said, especially to take better care of women and child health issues, he said.

Cambodians in rural areas like Kampong Thom province are not happy with the health care they see at the district level. One mother told VOA Khmer the local doctor gave her son an injection without informing her, then impolitely demanded money.

John Saroeun, who works for the health NGO Maristop in the province, said many rural citizens face the same difficulties. Doctors come late for work, leave for an early lunch and take the rest of the day off, he said.

Many people have lost faith in the health care system. Even though doctors have the ability to do their jobs, they are not paid well, forcing them to resort to corruption, Saroeun said.

Despite government promises to improve the situation, competing parties are looking for ways to exploit these health care woes as the election approaches.

Trials Begin in September: Tribunal

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
24 June 2008

Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.05 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.05 MB) - Listen (MP3)

The first trials of Khmer Rouge leaders will be held in September, tribunal officials told reporters Tuesday.

Tribunal officials returned from discussions with donors in New York on Friday, where they requested an additional $50 million to carry trials through 2009, with plans for additional funding if the proceedings last through 2010 or if more Khmer Rouge leaders are indicted, officials said.

"We are preparing for the trials to be able to commence in September," the tribunal Office of Administration said Tuesday.The tribunal has finished the construction of a main court room, which will be used in the next tribunal appeal hearing, for former foreign minister Ieng Sary, to be held June 30, and the Victims Unit is reviewing 1,200 civil party complaints.

Protests Shutter Preah Vihear Temple

By Chiep Mony, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
24 June 2008

Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.10 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.10 MB) - Listen (MP3)

As Thai protesters arrived on the northern border, Cambodian authorities on Monday closed the gates to Preah Vihear temple, whose application for Unesco World Heritage protection has brought border anxieties between the neighbors to the fore.

Thai opposition politicians and activists accuse Thailand's foreign minister of hastily allowing the Cambodians to forward the application to Unesco, and over the weekend a group of protesters were outside the temple, requesting permission to enter.

Cambodia then closed the temple to all visitors, pending further notification.

The temple will be reopened when "the situation becomes good and no one is causing any more problems," said Var Kimhong, chairman of the government's border committee.

Kampot Housing Crackdown Continues

By Win Thida, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
24 June 2008

Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.21 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.21 MB) - Listen (MP3)

Four villagers have been arrested by military police in two districts of Kampot province and others were beaten, during operations to remove their homes from state land, rights officials and villagers said Tuesday.

The arrests follow the protest of a series of similar operations, especially in Chhouk district, where 83 families had their houses torn down earlier this month.

"The movement of the people is due to the authority that did not resolve their problems over many years, and at each election stage, the authorities promised to resolve their problems," Adhoc investigator Chan Saveth said. "But in the end, no."

"If the authorities will not settle the problem of the villagers, they might not go to vote," he added. "Because they are still concerned about their land."

King Sihamoni Leaves for Vietnam Visit

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
24 June 2008

Khmer audio aired 24 June (877 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 24 June (877 KB) - Listen (MP3)

King Norodom Sihamoni departed for Hanoi Tuesday morning, for a trip where he is expected to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two neighbors, Cambodian and Vietnamese officials said.

"The visit of his majesty to Vietnam is the second one over the past years," Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told VOA Khmer after the king's departure. "It is clear that this visit encourages the friendly alliance and stronger cooperation between the two countries."

The king was accompanied by a delegation of royal palace and government officials on a dedicated Siem Reap Air flight.

Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Prime Minister Hun Sen were also present for the official farewell.

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay issued a statement Monday wondering "if his majesty will have the opportunity to propose to the Vietnamese president Nguyen Minh Triet or with other Vietnamese leaders to release the Cambodian monk [Tim Sakhorn] and to procure the rights of living to Cambodian people over there."

Vietnamese Embassy spokesman Trinh Ba Cam said Tuesday the visit would strengthen ties between the two neighbors. He declined to discuss whom the king would meet in the capital.

Rights Groups Calls for Halt to Torture

By Taing Sarada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
24 June 2008

Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.41 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.41 MB) - Listen (MP3)

The rights group Adhoc and the Asian Human Rights Commission plan to broadcast a radio program appealing to the Cambodian government to prevent torture, for UN Anti-Torture Day, Thursday.

Adhoc "will set up a radio program and will cooperate with the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong in order to broadcast, disseminate and call for the Cambodian government to prevent, halt and to [work] against torture in Cambodia, which has happened in some prisons and police custody," Adhoc investigator Chan Saveth told VOA Khmer.

Torture cases have decreased in Cambodia but they still occur, he said.

One suspect, Yan Sokea, was arrested in Preah Vihear province but died in Prey Sar prison when he wasn't given adequate medical attention, Chan Saveth said.

He was severely beaten by prison guards, Chan Saveth said.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak denied torture occurs in prisons or while suspects are in custody.

"We have never seen such a thing happen," he said, adding that the government has issued information to all police institutions to stop the use of torture.

Cambodia ratified the Optional Protocol Against Torture in 2007.

The government must institute stronger measures to monitor prisons and other detention facilities, said Lao Monghay, a senior researcher at the Rights Commission.

Rights Groups Calls for Halt to Torture

By Taing Sarada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
24 June 2008

Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.41 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 24 June (1.41 MB) - Listen (MP3)

The rights group Adhoc and the Asian Human Rights Commission plan to broadcast a radio program appealing to the Cambodian government to prevent torture, for UN Anti-Torture Day, Thursday.

Adhoc "will set up a radio program and will cooperate with the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong in order to broadcast, disseminate and call for the Cambodian government to prevent, halt and to [work] against torture in Cambodia, which has happened in some prisons and police custody," Adhoc investigator Chan Saveth told VOA Khmer.

Torture cases have decreased in Cambodia but they still occur, he said.

One suspect, Yan Sokea, was arrested in Preah Vihear province but died in Prey Sar prison when he wasn't given adequate medical attention, Chan Saveth said.

He was severely beaten by prison guards, Chan Saveth said.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak denied torture occurs in prisons or while suspects are in custody.

"We have never seen such a thing happen," he said, adding that the government has issued information to all police institutions to stop the use of torture.

Cambodia ratified the Optional Protocol Against Torture in 2007.

The government must institute stronger measures to monitor prisons and other detention facilities, said Lao Monghay, a senior researcher at the Rights Commission.

Preah Vihear History vol1

History of the sacred site of Preah Vihear and Her inscription in the Liste of World Heritage UNESCO

Preah Vihear History vol2

History of the sacred site of Preah Vihear and Her inscription in the Liste of World Heritage UNESCO

Preah Vihear: After meeting Paris 26/05/08 Part 1