Thursday, 10 July 2008

Cambodia's King Confirmed To Attend Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony

PHNOM PENH, July 10 (Bernama) -- King of Cambodia has confirmed his presence at the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic Games, China's Xinhua news agency reported Thursday.

"Our King Norodom Sihamoni will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games to share the joy of the Chinese people," said Hor Namhong, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The FM also highly praised the preparation having been done for the Beijing Olympic Games in a recent written interview with Xinhua, saying it's impressive thanks to the utmost efforts of the whole Chinese nation.

"There is no doubt that the event will be a great achievement and success of the Chinese people, in spite of certain disruptive incidents in some areas and countries affecting the organisation of the Olympic Games," he said.

The FM continued that a successful hosting of the Olympics this year will elevate the prestige of China worldwide and also give a sense of great pride not only to the Chinese people, but also other peoples of the whole East Asian region.

"Chinese athletes will certainly bring China many gold medals," he added.

Meanwhile, he said in the interview that the Cambodian people are very happy that the Olympic Games in Beijing coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and China.

According to an official statement, Cambodia will send a 15-member delegation to participate in the Beijing Olympics. Four Cambodian athletes will join races of marathon and swimming.

Sam Rainsy Party Political Message Elections 2008

SRP Political Message for 2008 Elections

Thai army chief says military measures are not appropriate for solving Preah Vihear problems

Thai National News Bureau, Public Relations Department

The Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, Gen. Anupong Paochinda, said the Thai army would not use military measures to deal with the problems of the Cambodian people living near Preah Vihear Temple in Si Sa Ket province without the government's order.

Gen. Anupong said all the governments in the past did not want the army to resort to forceful measures in order to work out certain problems. He viewed that nobody would support military actions even if the problems relating to the Temple of Preah Vihear has been prolonging for an extensive period of time.

The army chief said people can voice their opinions on the Preah Vihear case, but they must be reasonable and constructive, without causing conflicts between the two contries. He said it is a good thing for people to express their patriotism.

Sacravatoons : " Preah Vihear Khmer "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Sacravatoons : " Mine-Detecting Dog "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

US gives $1m to repair home of the Hindu gods

Jason Edward Kaufman 10.7.08 Issue 193

The US Department of State has awarded around $1m to the World Monuments Fund (WMF) for conservation work on Phnom Bakheng (below), the oldest temple at the Angkor Wat complex in northwest Cambodia.

Situated at the highest point in the city, it was built by Yasovarman I in 907 and was designed to represent Mount Mehru, home of the Hindu gods. Damaged in the 1970s by Khmer Rouge soldiers, the temple now faces two main threats: tourists and erosion by monsoon rains. In 2004 the State Department provided $550,000 to assess conservation needs and plan tourism management. The new grant will be used to restore the heavily damaged east elevation, after which a second phase will waterproof, repair and partially

reconstruct the temple. The chargĂ© d’affaires at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Piper Campbell, describes the grant as “a significant diplomatic gesture”. The funding for Angkor is important because the US is among the countries known to have received looted Khmer antiquities in recent years. In 2003 the US and Cambodia entered into a bilateral agreement that imposes import restrictions on Khmer archaeological materials entering the US.

Locals threaten to take over disputed Preah Vihear Temple

By The Nation
Published on July 10, 2008

A group of residents in Si Sa Ket province have threatened to take over the disputed temple of Preah Vihear within a month in an expression of their anger over its listing as a World Heritage site.

The group - calling themselves the Council of Saha Drammic I-san and staging a protest close to the temple over the past weeks - yesterday declared they would take over the temple unless the authorities removed some 500 Cambodians from the area.

They also called on the governments of Thailand and Cambodia to speed up the demarcation of the border within 30 days to mark a clear division of sovereignty.

The government should make the Preah Vihear issue a national priority to reclaim the Hindu temple from Cambodia, as the then foreign minister Thanat Khoman reserved to the right to do so at the United Nations in 1962, they said.

"The government should call a national referendum of Thai people, who have the right of national sovereignty over the temple," they said in a statement.

The Preah Vihear ruling by the International Court of Justice in 1962 stated that the temple was situated in Cambodia, but many Thais believe that it belongs to Thailand as the then government announced its disagreement with the decision.

The group blamed the current government for causing loss of Thai sovereignty, as the Cabinet failed to block Cambodia's application for the site's listing.
The Constitution Court on Tuesday ruled that the joint communiqu้ which Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama signed with Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister Sok An to support the application was unconstitutional.

Senators and the opposition plan to impeach the foreign minister and the Cabinet. The Democrat Party's Sathit Wongnongteoy yesterday sought details of the Cabinet's resolution in order to identify all the officials involved.

Noppadon is due to arrive back from London today. Reporters at the ministry saw the minister's close aide packing his belongings at the office, suggesting he might step down.

Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said the government had done nothing wrong, since the Cabinet had withdrawn the joint communiqu้ of support before the Constitution Court's ruling.

The People's Alliance for Democracy has called for the entire nation to stand against Noppadon.
Army chief Anupong Paochinda made a plea to people to calm down, as fanning nationalism over the temple might jeopardise relations with Cambodia.

"We should allow reason and the law to settle this case, not emotion," he said

Unofficial Translation from French

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by The Phnom Penh Post
Thursday, 10 July 2008

Communique from Norodom Sihanouk
Phnom Penh, 8 July 2008

I. Certain journalists are writing that the main entrance to the Preah Vihear temple faces Thailand and not Cambodia.

II. The Thais have said, say and have written and write that one of the “proofs” of Thai ownership of Preah Vihear is constituted by the fact that access to the temple is infinitely more easy from the Thai side rather than from the Cambodian side.

III. These journalists and these Thais seem to ignore the following historic facts, ones which amply prove that the mountain and the temple of Preah Vihear are 100% Cambodian and belong 100% to Cambodia.

a/. The construction (10th and 11th centuries) of Preah Vihear by two successive Khmer Kings and is a purely Khmer work.

b/. The mountain and the temple of Preah Vihear could be found, during the 10th and 11th centuries, “very much in the interior” of Kampuchea, in the Khmer Empire, of which the borders extended for hundreds of kilometers, to the north, the east and west, much further than the current Cambodian borders with Thailand and Laos.

As a consequence, the mountain and the Preah Vihear temple could be found not on the Cambodia-Siam (Thai) border but “deep in the interior” of the Kingdom (of the Khmer Empire) and the “main entrance” of Preah Vihear “looked” not towards Siam (Thailand) but to Kampuchea.

c/. The International Court in the Hague, which in 1962, rendered justice to Cambodia, did not ignore all this, and let me, once again, offer them a respectful and admiring homage.

d/. Thanks to Khmer Sovereignty and the Khmer empire (Angkorian in particular) , present day Thailand is very rich in Angkorian style Khmer temples and monuments.

[It is] absolutely wrong and gives proof to the meanness, which, in Thailand, causes to Cambodia and its people undeserved and anachronistic troubles concerning the temple of Preah Vihear, instead of devoting ourselves to the harmonious and fruitful development of our friendship and our (authentic) brotherhood (Thai-Cambodian).

Norodom Sihanouk

More young Cambodian athletes to compete internationally

Special report: 2008 Olympic Games

PHNOM PENH, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's Ministry of Education and Sport is to request governmental permission to send more promising young athletes to join sport events abroad, reported English-Khmer language newspaper the Mekong Times Thursday.

Prum Ponyi, chairman of the University and Secondary School Sports Tournament Organizing Committee, was quoted by the papers that the youngsters can therefore gain wider experience, boost the kingdom's sporting reputation and improve international relations.

As included in the ministry's request, a number of students are to compete in the second ASEAN Primary School Games, to be held in November in Jakarta, Indonesia, and at the 14th ASEAN University Games, also in November in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he said.

Heng Davy, student at the Human Resource Development University and national volleyball player, said that she felt ready to play abroad after two years of hard training.

"I believe that I will have the chance to join tournaments in Asia to better my skills and gain experience," she said.

Ministry secretary of state Bun Sok said that similar delegations had been successful in the past.

"In December 2006, we sent six players representing three types of sports, namely athletics, table tennis and Taekwondo, to join the 13th ASEAN University Games held in Hanoi, Vietnam, and we received a silver medal and a bronze medal. This is a great pride," he said.

Editor: An lu

Cambodian FM: Good impression in Organization of Beijing Olympic Games

Special report: 2008 Olympic Games

PHNOM PENH, July 10 (Xinhua) -- The organization of the Beijing Olympics is impressive thanks to the utmost efforts of the whole Chinese nation, said Hor Namhong, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in a recent written interview with Xinhua.

"There is no doubt that the event will be a great achievement and success of the Chinese people, in spite of certain disruptive incidents in some areas and countries affecting the organization of the Olympic Games," he said.

China's successful hosting of the Olympics this year will elevate the prestige of China worldwide and also give a sense of great pride not only to the Chinese people, but also other peoples of the whole East Asian region, he said.

"Chinese athletes will certainly bring many gold medals to China," he added.

Meanwhile, he said in the interview, the Cambodian people are very happy that the Olympic Games in Beijing coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and China.

"Our King Norodom Sihamoni will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games to share the joy of the Chinese people," he added.

According to official statement, Cambodia will send a 15-memberdelegation to participate in the Beijing Olympics. Four Cambodian athletes will join races of marathon and swimming.

Editor: An Lu

This Man's Youth Was Tragic -- New Book Recalls the Author's Experiences Living in Prison Camps Under the Atrocity Caused by the Khmer Rouge

Market Watch
July 9, 2008

LONG BEACH, Calif., Jul 9, 2008 (PrimeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Life was never easy and never simple for author Dara O. Sok. He experienced first-hand the atrocity of the Khmer Rouge and spent a great deal of his youth in the prison camps. An engaging story about life's hurdles and personal transformation is all set to begin with the release of Sok's new book The First 22nd Years.

The First 22nd Years follows the enduring struggles of a boy who was born during the chaos of war in the Jungle of Cambodia where his adolescent older sister was taken from the comforting arms of their mother and force labored under the Khmer Rouge regime. After escaping from danger, he and his family hide away for many months only to be captured and placed in various refugee encampments for several years before getting liberated. During his youth, he experiences sex very early and goes through an unfortunate series of hard struggles during his tour of duty as a Combat Corpsman with the Navy. From the first page until the end, readers will be made aware of his sincere experiences -- from his birth, the years he and his family endured under the scrutiny of terror and anguish of war, his experiences as he and his family migrated to the United States, to his first day in America. Readers will witness through his eyes the experiences as he matured into adulthood where he faced various trials and challenges along the way during his youth to the very last day of his Naval Career.

To order a copy of this engaging read, feel free to visit your local bookstore or call Xlibris at (888) 795-4274 today.

About the Author

Dara O. Sok was born beneath the watchful eyes of his ancestors and his immediate family in the warring jungle of Cambodia. Raised and cursed with hardships during the first several years of his young life under the atrocity of the Khmer Rouge and various Refugee Encampments, his adventures and experiences have made him a believer of hard work and dedication to one's craft. Dara has adjusted well to his new found freedom and has served his tour of duty as a Combat Corpsman for the United States Navy. He currently resides under the sunny skies of Southern California.

The First 22nd Years * by Dara O. Sok
Publication Date: May 21, 2008
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 184 pages; 978-1-4363-4105-9
Cloth Hardback; $29.99; 184 pages; 978-1-4363-4106-6

To request a complimentary paperback review copy, contact the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7479. Tear sheets may be sent by regular or electronic mail to Marketing Services. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (610) 915-0294 or call (888) 795-4274 x.7876.

Knives out for key Thai leaders

Nirmal Ghosh
The Straits Times
Publication Date : 10-07-2008

The Thai opposition is laying the groundwork to impeach the government following three court decisions affecting key members of the ruling People Power Party (PPP). Despite the pressure on his five-month-old coalition government, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej remained defiant yesterday, saying his government was stable. He also blamed the Constitution for making political turmoil possible.

A day earlier, the Supreme Court had banned former Speaker of the House Yongyuth Tiyapairat, a member of the PPP, from politics for five years for electoral fraud. The judgment means Yongyuth will lose his seat in Parliament, and opens the possibility of the entire PPP being held liable.

Also on Tuesday, the Constitutional Court found Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama had breached the Constitution by not consulting Parliament before signing a pact with Cambodia to support Phnom Penh's proposal to list the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.

Last night, there was widespread speculation that Mr Noppadon would resign at a press conference today.

In a third blow to the government, the Constitutional Court yesterday disqualified Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsab from office for failing to fully declare his wife's assets.

"The wheels are moving now," Isra Sunthornvut, secretary to Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, told The Straits Times. "We will impeach Noppadon. Our next two targets will likely be Samak and (Minister in the Prime Minister's Office) Chusak Sirinil."

The Democrat Party has approached the PPP's coalition partners on the possibility of their defecting to form an alternative government, with the Democrats in the lead.

The Democrats, however, are not in favour of an early snap election. Analysts say this is because the party fears it will again fail to gain enough votes to form a government.

If this happens, it will then lose out to the PPP or any other party which presents itself as a reincarnation of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai party.

The Thai Rak Thai was ordered dissolved by the Constitutional Court last year for fraud, but its policies remain hugely popular with rural voters.

Samak, who also faces corruption and libel charges in court which render him personally vulnerable, is blaming the Constitution for the government's troubles.

"It's clear that all of the problems are caused by the Constitution," he told reporters yesterday. "There are still many problematic articles and I want the people who drafted the Constitution to re-examine it, article by article. I would like it to be amended."

Drawn up by the previous military-appointed government which ousted Thaksin, the current Constitution is designed to avoid domination of the system, which happened under his Thai Rak Thai party.

But it also makes political parties vulnerable and encourages inherently fragile coalitions.

The PPP wants to amend key clauses to protect itself from dissolution - a move that critics say will also favour the return to politics of Thaksin and 110 of his former party colleagues who were banned from politics for five years last year.

Parliament is currently in recess and will begin its next session next month.

Thailand: Foreign Minister Resigns As Battering Of Government Continues

Thailand's Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama talks to media during a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, on Thursday, July 10, 2008. (Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)


BANGKOK, THAILAND: Thailand's foreign minister resigned Thursday (10 July) after being accused of jeopardizing the country's claims to land near an ancient Cambodian temple, as a raft of court cases and street protests continued to batter the five-month-old government.

"Even though I did not do anything wrong, I would like to show responsibility by resigning," Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said.

The resignation takes effect 14 July.

The Thai Constitutional Court ruled Tuesday (8 July) that Noppadon acted unconstitutionally when he endorsed Cambodia's application to have the Preah Vihear temple registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site without first consulting Parliament on the matter. Critics fear the endorsement undermines Thailand's claim to land near the temple, which is on the Thai-Cambodian border.

Shortly before his announcement, the main opposition Democrat Party submitted an impeachment motion against Noppadon before the upper house of Parliament, the Senate.
Several high-profile court rulings this week have targeted top officials in the government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

The Constitutional Court disqualified Public Health Minister Chiya Sasonsup from office Wednesday for violating asset disclosure rules by failing to fully declare his wife's shareholdings.

In another case, the Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for Wattana Asavahame, chairman of one of the coalition parties, after he failed to appear in court to hear a verdict on corruption charges against him over a water treatment project.

The announcement of the verdict was rescheduled for 18 Aug, the court said. If convicted, Wattana faces up to 10 years in jail.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court banned a former parliamentary speaker from politics for five years for electoral fraud. The verdict could lead to the eventual dissolution of the People's Power Party if the Constitutional Court decides that Yongyuth Tiyapairat committed the fraud to benefit his party.

Demonstrators have disrupted traffic in pockets of the capital daily since May demanding that Samak and his government resign, saying he is merely a proxy for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled in a 2006 military coup.

Samak denies the accusation, saying the protesters are trying to undermine his democratically elected government.

A number of senior Thaksin loyalists serve in Samak's administration. Before his appointment as foreign minister, Noppadon was Thaksin's top lawyer and spokesman while the former prime minister was in exile after his ouster.

Thaksin faces a slew of court cases charging him with corruption and abuse of power.

The Supreme Court heard testimony Tuesday from the first witnesses in the trial of Thaksin and his wife on charges related to her purchase of Bangkok real estate during his time as prime minister. The court is to rule 31 July on separate charges of tax evasion against his wife.


Cambodian court rejects bail for ex-Khmer Rouge minister

The China Post
Thursday, July 10, 2008

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodia's "Killing Fields" tribunal refused bail to former Khmer Rouge mini
ster Ieng Thirith on Wednesday, saying she had to stay in jail for her own safety and to "preserve public order".

Judge Prak Kim San said the court could not afford to release the 76-year-old accused of "murder, imprisonment and other inhumane acts" while she served as social affairs minister in the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime.

Pol Pot's ultra-Maoist regime is blamed for the deaths of 1.7 million people during a reign of terror that was brought to an end by a Vietnamese invasion.

Ieng Thirith was arrested and charged in November, along with her 82-year old husband and ex-foreign minister Ieng Sary, with crimes against humanity and war crimes by the U.N.-backed court.

"There are well-founded reasons to believe that she had committed the crimes as alleged," Canadian co-prosecutor Robert Petit told reporters.

"Brother Number One" Pol Pot died in 1998 in the final Khmer Rouge redoubt of Anlong Veng on the Thai border.

Also in custody are "Brother Number Two" Nuon Chea, former president Khieu Samphan, and Duch, former head of Phnom Penh's Tuol Sleng, or "S-21" interrogation and torture center.

Duch, also known as Kaing Guek Eav, is expected to begin the court's first full trial in September.

S-E Asian tourism industry going for a greener image

July 10, 2008

PHNOM PENH - AS climate change guilt among tourists grows, many hotels and resorts in emerging hotspots like Cambodia are touting their environmental credentials in an effort to cash in on the 'eco' tag.

But some are finding that in a nation still pulling itself out of poverty and rebuilding after decades of civil war, it is not always easy being green.

The new minimalist 16-room riverfront Quay Hotel in the capital Phnom Penh boasts that it is one of the first businesses in Cambodia to completely offset its carbon emissions.

But their all-natural soap is flown in from Thailand and there is nowhere to buy items such as chemical-free linen, said Ms Michelle Duncan, operations manager for FCC, the group that owns the hotel.

'We're a hotel trying to do our bit to offset emissions in the country,' said Ms Duncan. 'In London or Australia or wherever, it's a lot easier to recycle.' What exactly makes an 'eco-resort' also remains to be defined, with no worldwide standards that hotels and resorts have to meet to claim the tag.

In Cambodia, tycoon Mr Sok Kong recently said the environment was his 'first concern', despite his plans to build two luxury golf courses in the country's Bokor Mountain protected area.

Mr Yin Sorya, an eco-tourism adviser to the Cambodian government, said that local officials often do not understand what makes sustainable tourism.

'When they (Cambodian officials) talk about eco-tourism, they talk about golf courses or five-star hotels,' Mr Yin Sorya said.

'Here in Southeast Asia, they want high-market mass tourism.' - Many different 'green' standards are on the market - Many of the resorts marketing their green credentials in Cambodia and neighbouring Laos are modest properties in pristine jungle settings.

They use locally-sourced materials, some solar power and try and give back to poor local communities while causing as little impact as possible.

In Thailand, environmentally-friendly policies are becoming more high tech, with homemade biofuels, intelligent lighting, and organically-fertilised herb gardens all wooing tourists concerned about their carbon footprint.

'People are saying: 'If I want to travel, I'd better make it environmentally conscientious,'' said Mr Juergen Seidel, a director for Six Senses, which has hotels and resorts in Thailand and Vietnam.

Six Senses plans by 2020 to produce enough clean energy to power all of its operations as well as feed electricity into local grids, said Mr Seidel.

'Every year there's a 10 or 20 per cent increase of travellers in this niche market we're providing,' he told AFP.

A United Nations report last year found that tourism, in particular air travel, accounted for about five per cent of global emissions of carbon dioxide - the main greenhouse gas that traps the sun's heat and fuels global warming.

However as the travel industry adopts more sustainable practices, there are so many different 'green' standards on the market right now that tourists are left scratching their heads.

Environmental activists hope that Cambodia will learn to make the most of its pristine forest, much of which was unintentionally preserved as decades of civil war stunted development and left the wilderness untouched.

But as tourist arrivals soar, jumping 20 per cent from 2006 to 2007 alone and bringing much-needed money to this poor nation, a high-end hotel building boom sweeping the country is worrying some activists.

Yet Mr Touch Nimith, an eco-tourism officer for Conservation International in Cambodia, holds out hope that the environmental tourism trend will help save protected areas.

'The eco-tourism we're thinking about is for conservation, not local economics,' he said. -- AFP

Preah Vihear to attract more tourists to Cambodia as World Heritage Site status

PHNOM PENH, July 10 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian Association of Travel Agencies (CATA) expected that the Preah Vihear Temple in the eponymous province of the country will draw more tourists, as it has become a World Heritage Site, national media said Thursday.

"Just the novelty factor of the Preah Vihear Temple being on the list (of the World Herigage Site), it will attract more tourists from the world than before," CATA president Ho Vandy told local newspaper the Mekong Times.

However, urgent work needs to be done on the temple's tourism infrastructure and the private sector is ready to cooperate, he said.

Hang Soth, director general of the recently formed Preah Vihear National Authority (PVNA), said that the government is developing the infrastructure in the region.

"We are developing all sectors including roads, restaurants and accommodation for tourists," he added.

Last year, PVNA reported that about 300 to 400 domestic and foreign tourists visited the temple each day.

Most of the tourists currently approach the temple from the Thai side as Cambodia lacks adequate road access.

The Preah Vihear Temple, which straddles the Thai-Cambodian border atop the Dangrek Mountain, was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

The typical Khmer-style architecture was build in C.D. 10 to 12and is now situated some 117 km to the north of Phnom Penh.

Editor: An Lu

Ex-Khmer Rouge leader faces no risk to his health, fit to remain in tribunal's detention

The Associated Press
Published: July 10, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: The former Khmer Rouge head of state is in stable condition despite his recent hospitalization for a stroke and can remain in the custody of Cambodia's genocide tribunal, a tribunal spokesman said Thursday.

Khieu Samphan, 77, is one of five former Khmer Rouge senior leaders in detention awaiting trial for their alleged involvement in the atrocities that occurred when their ultra-communist movement ruled Cambodia in 1975-79.

"Everyday they (doctors) continue to advise us that he's fine, stable and able to continue staying in detention," said Peter Foster, spokesman for the U.N.-assisted tribunal.

Some 1.7 million people died from starvation, disease and overwork or were executed during the Khmer Rouge's radical rule that turned Cambodian into a vast slave labor camp.

The tribunal has charged Khieu Samphan with crimes against humanity and war crimes, and has held him since last November.

Many fear that he and other defendants, some in poor health, may not live long enough to stand trial.

Khieu Samphan was hospitalized for two weeks — from May 21 to June 5 — following a stroke.

His defense team has requested that he be temporarily released to receive care from his family at home, the investigating judges said in a report posted on the tribunal's Web site.

The report quoted the defense as warning that "his conditions may progressively decline until the point of no return."

But it also gave details from a recent assessment by doctors who said Khieu Samphan had a brain stroke but that "his health is satisfactory overall."

"No risk factors are present," it said. "Moreover, there is no heart or vascular condition that could trigger other cerebral vascular events in other areas."

It said doctors have recommended that Khieu Samphan undergo medical checkups every two months.

Khieu Samphan's defense team was not available to provide comment on the report.

In addition to a request for temporary release, the former leader has also appealed his detention. That motion remains in limbo following the recent resignation of Say Bory, his Cambodian lawyer.

Khieu Samphan's friend and controversial French lawyer Jacques Verges, who is not currently in Cambodia, forced a postponement of his client's appeal hearing in April when he refused to participate in the proceeding to protest the court's failure to translate case documents into French — one of the tribunal's three official languages along with Khmer and English.

Rupert Skilbeck, the head of the tribunal's defense support section, said a new Cambodian lawyer is now being selected but he did not know when a new hearing would open for Khieu Samphan's appeal against his detention.

Royal Group Seeks $2 Billion for Cambodian Resort

By Netty Ismail

July 10 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Group, which owns Cambodia's biggest mobile-phone operator, plans to raise as much as $2 billion with Hong Kong-based Millennium Group to build resorts, casinos and an airport on an island off the coast of Cambodia.

Royal Group and the Millennium real-estate investment firm are seeking investors and partners for resorts, apartments, casinos, golf courses, polo fields and an airport on Koh Rong island, according to a financing investment document obtained by Bloomberg News. The island is the largest of 22 off the coast of the southern port city and beach resort town of Sihanoukville.

``This is a place that people haven't discovered yet,'' said Royal Group Chairman Kith Meng in an interview in Phnom Penh. ``It's like the Maldives,'' an island country in the Indian Ocean southwest of Sri Lanka, he said.

Cambodia, the second-poorest of 10 Southeast Asian nations, is relying on tourism to fuel economic growth as garment exports slow. The country attracted about $400 million of tourism- related investments in the first half of 2008, mostly for resorts, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh said. Visitors to Cambodia exceeded 2 million for the first time last year, up from 118,183 in 1993 when Cambodia emerged from a two-decade civil war.

``Our dream is to transform our costal line into the next Riviera of Asia,'' Cham Prasidh said in a July 4 interview. ``There'll be plenty of resorts appearing on the islands and all along the coast of Cambodia. There will be billions of dollars of investment in that sector this year and next year.''

Angkor Wat

The companies will raise funds from investors in London and the Middle East, and it will take 10 years to 15 years to develop the island, said Kith Meng on July 4.

Cambodia wants to develop tourism beyond the key destination of Angkor Wat, known for its ancient temples. The island project may face competition with beach resorts also being developed in Vietnam and Thailand.

``The tourism industry is overwhelmingly concentrated on Angkor Wat because of the unique attraction you can't find elsewhere in the world,'' said Agost Benard, associate director at Standard & Poor's in Singapore. ``As far as developing a beach resort, you'll be competing with a lot of countries because it's a generic product.''

Royal Group and Millennium are raising funds as record oil prices prompt airlines to cut flights. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Hong Kong's largest airline, said July 2 that earnings would be ``disappointing'' because of record fuel costs.

``I don't know if the current oil prices will affect air travel and if it's going to be a booming sector in the near term,'' Benard said.

Turquoise Waters

The companies are trying to get resort and hotel operators, including Singapore-based Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd., to participate in the project, Kith Meng said.

Royal Group and Millennium plan to develop the 76 square- kilometer (29 square-mile) Koh Rong island, now inhabited by fishermen, into a ``luxury resort destination,'' according to the document. The island has 28 white sand beaches, including the 6.1 kilometer Snowdrift Beach, surrounded by shallow turquoise waters.

``The world isn't even aware it exists,'' said Douglas Clayton, founder of Leopard Capital, who has lived in Asia, including Cambodia, for about 21 years. ``In a decade, it might have an international airport cluttered with private jets and marinas full of mega-yachts; visit it today and you'll be the only one on the beach.''

Kith Meng, who was educated in Australia, declined to say how much Royal Group is paying the government for a 99-year lease to the island.

Royal Group also is planning to build a resort in Siem Reap, near the temples of Angkor Wat, with India's Oberoi Group. Royal Group already has a telecommunications venture, MobiTel, with Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular SA, and another partnership in Cambodia with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Australia's third-largest bank, called ANZ Royal Bank.

UNESCO Adds 27 New Sites to World Heritage List

By VOA News
08 July 2008

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO has added 27 sites to its World Heritage List.

A UNESCO committee meeting in Quebec City, Canada announced the addition of 19 cultural sites from Kenya to the Pacific island of Vanuatu. Eight natural sites in countries including Yemen and Kazakhstan were also added during this year's meeting.

The final selections unveiled Tuesday include Baha'i holy sites in Israel and a 13th century Ottoman town in Albania.

Other sites include two 500-year-old towns in Malaysia, and six early 20th century apartment houses in Berlin.

World Heritage sites are selected based, in part, on whether they face immediate danger from threats like development or environmental degradation.

Officials in Peru said Sunday the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu would not be added to the World Heritage List because of Peruvian government efforts to protect the site.

The cultural sites added to the World Heritage List include sites in Cambodia, China, Croatia, Cuba, France, Germany, Iran, Israel and Italy. Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Vanuatu also scored selections.

The new natural sites on the list are located in Canada, China, France, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Switzerland and Yemen.

UNESCO's World Heritage List now has 878 sites in 145 countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

Cambodia's habit of abuse and imprisonment

UPI Asia Online

By Lao Mong Hay
Rule by Fear

Hong Kong, China — Renowned Cambodian poet Krom Ngoy, whose words are often viewed as codes of morality, began one of his works by noting abuses in the society of his time in the early 20th century and urging his people to abandon them: the rich abusing the poor, the physically strong abusing the weak and officials abusing their people by "sending them to jail, putting them in chains or sending them to death by guillotine."

These abuses were the manifestation of what might be called an "abuse and imprisonment mentality." This mentality was instrumental in the Khmer Rouge holocaust the Cambodian people suffered in the 1970s. Yet despite the horrors of the holocaust, this state of mind remains very much alive in Cambodian society today.

It has surfaced, for example, in many land disputes over the years between people of different status. In these disputes – commonly known as land-grabbing – the rich and powerful abuse and imprison those who dare to resist the acquisition of their land.

In 2007 a nongovernmental organization recorded that nearly 5,600 families were forcibly evicted from their homes and lands, at times brutally by the police, at the behest of the rich and powerful. Many people saw their homes and other belongings destroyed and burned, and were forced to vacate the land.

Some 150 victims were arrested, but due to pressure from various sources, including fellow villagers, some of those arrested were released on bail. However, more than 50 of them were still in jail awaiting trial at the end of last year.

Abuse and imprisonment have continued in land-grabbing incidents in 2008. In June, four villagers in Kampot province were jailed and charged with the theft of a cell phone and damage to land-allotment signposts in a land dispute between them and fellow villagers on one hand, and an army unit on the other.

Witnesses said that in the confrontation between approximately 30 protesting villagers and more than 100 armed soldiers, an official was using his cell phone to call for reinforcements and the villagers grabbed it to thwart his call. Regarding the signposts, the villagers simply pulled them out because the soldiers planted them on their land.

As in previous eviction cases, the jailing of the four villagers on such flimsy charges was designed to subdue the villagers’ resistance to the confiscation of their land by the army. Soon after the arrest of the four people more than 20 villagers fled the area, fearing they might be jailed too. Now the army has demolished the homes of all the villagers to take their land.

In other civil disputes, such as cases over service or loan contracts, the abuse and imprisonment of parties who cannot honor their obligations is common. A party, with connivance from the courts, simply invokes a criminal offense such as breach of trust or fraud in order to arrest the defendant, thereby pressuring the latter to meet his or her obligations.

The same mentality is even more prevalent in Cambodian politics. Over the years, Prime Minister Hun Sen has sent, or threatened to send, his critics to the notorious Prey Sar Prison on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Recently Hun Sen warned his rival, exiled Prince Norodom Ranariddh, not to return to Cambodia to participate in this month's election, or he would be "handcuffed" and put in jail. The prince’s appeal against a sentence for breach of trust is still pending in the Supreme Court.

Last April Hor Nam Hong, the Cambodian foreign minister, filed a defamation lawsuit against Dam Sith, the editor of a local newspaper, when the latter reported a remark by Sam Rainsy, a member of Parliament and opposition leader, that Hor had been chief of a Khmer Rouge prison in the past. Since defamation is not punishable by jailing, Hor additionally charged Dam with disinformation, for which he could be imprisoned.

In June, Dam was jailed for his reporting. However, due to intense national and international pressure for his release, Hun Sen acted to release Dam on bail.

Hor filed the same lawsuit against Sam Rainsy for defamation and disinformation. Soon after Dam was freed on bail, the court in Phnom Penh sought to lift Sam Rainsy's parliamentary immunity in order to put him in jail. Because of national and international pressure not to mar the ongoing electoral process, this attempt to lift his immunity was deferred, however.

It seems that Cambodian prosecutors and judges have nurtured the same mentality. They have overlooked their constitutional duty to protect the rights and freedoms of Cambodia's citizens. They have defied the principle of limiting pretrial detention to exceptional cases, as enshrined in the code of criminal procedure, and have made the accused person's right to bail very difficult. In short, they have willingly cooperated with the rich and powerful to abuse and imprison people of a lower status.

This abuse and imprisonment mentality has caused many injustices in Cambodian society, and Cambodia cannot live in peace with such injustice. It must address the same abuses as the ones the poet Krom Ngoy observed in his era. Cambodia must rid itself of this mentality that prevails in society.

The nation could eradicate these abuses by adopting the rule of law and should begin this process with its courts of law. The courts need to assert their independence and uphold their impartiality. They also need to ensure that all are equal before the law, that people's rights and freedoms are protected and that all those accused of crimes have the right to bail and can be detained only in exceptional cases.

Marc Bloch, a renowned French historian, said, "The most reliable touchstone of a social system is the manner in which men are judged in court."

This dictum should help Cambodian prosecutors and judges in the process of change that is needed to rescue the country from its preoccupation with abuse and imprisonment.


(Lao Mong Hay is a senior researcher at the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong. He was previously director of the Khmer Institute of Democracy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and a visiting professor at the University of Toronto in 2003. In 1997, he received an award from Human Rights Watch and the Nansen Medal in 2000 from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.)

Afternoon delights

TRACEY SHELTON Phnom Penh teenagers enjoy the afterschool hours at the Rock Entertainment Club. Officials are concerned that the place is encouraging truancy and distracting students from their studies.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Chrann Chamroeun
Wednesday, 09 July 2008

A Phnom Penh nightclub that finds it can attract large numbers of high school students by opening in the afternoons is drawing official fire.

“The Rock Entertainment Club opening during the day has had a real impact on students and is poisoning youth society,” said Tauch Sarou, deputy secretary of state of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

“It has to have an effect on the studies of these students, especially on Fridays, which are not school holidays,” said Royal University of Law and Economics professor Ros Sisovanna. “I don’t know what goes on in there, but I don’t want the Rock Club to open on Friday afternoons. It can cause students to skip class and wear inappropriate clothes to school.”

The Rock Entertainment Club, which has a dance floor, karaoke rooms, a casino, and massage, as well as food service and a small hotel, draws a crowd every weekend of about 600-700 high school students, ages 17-18, according to Aoun Thou, a 27-year-old waiter at the club. “Some come in their school uniforms and others dress for going out to a dance club.”

The Rock opens from 1:30-4:30 p.m. every Friday through Sunday, with an admission charge of $1.50 per person.

“I always come here with my girlfriend every Friday afternoon to dance,” said 18-year-old Kim Sopheaktra, a student at Sisowat High School. “Rock is a nice place, with hip-hop music and a lot of teenagers.”

“The Rock decided to open in the day time when we saw students were going far outside of town afterschool, to Preak Leap or Kien Svay, so it was good business for the Rock to take advantage and try to bring them to our club,” said Rock marketing manager Bun Rith, noting that the club, first established in 2006, has had afternoon business hours for about a year.

Khmer Culture Foundation chairman Moeung Sonn said that places like the Rock Club “really poison society, especially students who are the human resources for developing the future.”

Sonn said he’s been to the club and “saw a lot of young couples in skimpy clothes dancing like crazy.” He urged the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to carefully inspect the impact of clubs like this on Cambodian culture.

“Girls can easily become vulnerable by drinking or taking drugs given to them by their friends. It can have a real negative impact on students as it’s close to their schools and can tempt them to use drugs and alcohol,” said Licadho president Kek Galabru. “Some students are lying to their parents that they are going to school, but they aren’t.”

“The Rock doesn’t allow students under 16 or students wearing their school uniforms,” asserted Bun Rith. “We have never received any complaints from neighbors, from nearby schools or from the authorities about noise.”

He also noted that the Rock was not the only club open during the daytime hours.

The Man U snooker club, located on Street 63 near the Sorya Shopping Center, is less than 100 meters from Wat Koh High School. The club draws large numbers of students every afternoon, according to Man U employee Kim Liza.

“I always come here to play snooker with my friends for an hour or two after school,” said Wat Koh student Heng Dara. “I like coming here because it’s close to school, has new pool tables and a lot of pretty girls.”

Cambodian Independent Teachers Association chairman Rong Chhun said these sorts of places opening during school hours were a distraction to students and were causing increasing numbers of students to wear inappropriate attire to school.

“The authorities should act to control the operations of entertainment clubs near schools,” Rong Chhun said.

Kek Galabru agreed, saying, “The government needs to take action to prevent nightclubs from opening in the day time.”

They were a negative influence on young people who needed to stay focused on their education, she said.

The Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Dr. Kol Pheng, said the ministry had no legal authority to regulate the location or operation of these types of businesses. All karaoke parlors and nightclubs had the potential for abuse and for a negative impact on youth, regardless of their locations, he added.

To discourage students from heading to these types of facilities in the afterschool hours, the ministry updated the curricula back in 2005, he said, increasing the number of lecture hours and imposing stricter codes of discipline and conduct.

Collective efforts by teachers, parents and the community were required to build good education and good character in youth, Kol Pheng said.

govt takes a beating

Published on July 10, 2008

Headlines in the local press are calling for the government to take responsibility for mishandling of the Preah Vihear case.

The temple continues to be a hot topic; one that could lead to the impeachment of the entire Cabinet. The case has drawn strong public interest, especially since the World Heritage

Committee agreed to Cambodia's solo application to list Preah Vihear as a World Heritage site.

The future of the government became uncertain after the Constitution Court ruled that the joint communique signed by Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama and Cambodian deputy prime minister Sok An in support of the application was unconstitutional. Civic groups and the Democrat Party have called on Noppadon to resign.

But should Noppadon be the only one to blame? Matichon's edition yesterday carried the headline: "Take responsibility for Preah Vihear. Calls for the government to quit!" The sub-headline said: "Court rules 8:1 that it was unconstitutional. Democrats prepare to impeach. Samak reacts during the Cabinet meeting: "How can they press the whole Cabinet to leave? Damn it!"

Krungthep Turakij said in its headline: "Noppadon must quit to extend the government's tenure." The sub-headline read: "Samak keeps a low profile at his residence in Navamind. Private sector fears that House dissolution would create a vacuum and economic woes will linger."

Thai Post's headline read: "Clear out all nominees." Below were two stories with an equally prominent position. The People Power Party is likely to face destruction after the Supreme Court ruled that former House Speaker Yongyuth Tiyapairat had committed electoral fraud.
The other story highlighted the Court's ruling, by 8:1, that the Preah Vihear joint communique was unconstitutional.

Nonetheless, the local press called in their editorial leaders for the public to protest within the legal framework. The World Court ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia. In spite of Thailand's disagreement, the country was obliged to respect that decision.

Although the People's Alliance for Democracy had raised suspicions about the joint communique between Thailand and Cambodia, it was done according to democratic principles. The Democrat Party's move to file a criminal case against the foreign minister was done according to the rule of law.

However, it is most undesirable to instigate hatred among Thais for neighbouring countries. No one should take this incident as an excuse to instigate violence or encourage people to destroy the property of others. This would be unacceptable.

Matichon urged Thais to look at the issue in a positive way by proposing to list the surrounding areas of the temple - under Thai sovereignty - as an adjacent World Heritage site. The nomination would promote tourism activity and help to reduce the confrontational atmosphere. Such a constructive act would enable both sides of the political divide to benefit.

Lame duck or dead duck?


By Daily Xpress
Published on July 10, 2008

The foreign minister returns to a nation baying for the 'traitor's' blood for signing away historic landmark

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama returns from his travels today to a country that is enraged. Many people are accusing him of treason for signing the historic Preah Vihear Temple over to Cambodia.

In fact, some are calling for his head, literally.

The foreign minister signed a communiqu้ with Cambodia agreeing to that country's application to Unesco for the 10th-century temple to be declared a World Heritage site.

Disputed area

The two countries have disputed the area's ownership for decades. In 1962, the International Court of Justice declared that the temple was on Cambodian soil, but the only practical access to the site was via Thailand.

Unesco's World Heritage committee this week agreed to Cambodia's application.

Sources at the Foreign Ministry say Noppadon's aides have been packing up his personal effects, but no one can confirm if the former lawyer for ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra is actually quitting.

Thaksin's ex-consiglieri returns to Bangkok from London after a week of last-minute lobbying of the 21 Unesco committee members. They unanimously shunned his plea to delay Phnom Penh's admission until Thailand and Cambodia could come to terms about the status of the Hindu shrine.

Hoping to clear his name

He is scheduled to meet the press tomorrow at 2pm at the Foreign Ministry.

After Noppadon's initial endorsement of Cambodia's bid in May at the Unesco meeting in Paris, a court injunction last week forced him and the government to change their stance.

However, Unesco ignored the injunction and passed one of the most controversial decisions of its eight-day meeting in Canada by putting the temple on the World Heritage list.

Preah Vihear is a stunning, cliff-top temple dedicated to Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction.

The Surayud Chulanont government successfully blocked Cambodia's efforts to have the temple listed in 2006 and 2007 on grounds that maps include the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed territory.

Preah Vihear: A Mountain of Undeniable Fact

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Sovatha Ann
Wednesday, 09 July 2008

The dispute over the sovereignty of Preah Vihear temple has been in the headlines in recent days. The usual themes expressed regarding the dispute center on the loss of territory, burying the past, or correcting fake information. I share these sentiments. However, this dispute involves a much deeper issue that extends beyond these themes.

Many Cambodians have already buried more than enough of the past. Buddhism has taught Cambodians to forgive and forget to the point that they can even forget tragic events that involve the loss of thousands of lives. The point I want to make here, which has not surfaced in the news media, involves an event that happened on this disputed site less than three decades ago. If the Thais still remembered this event, they should be hesitant to discuss Preah Vihear temple site at all. This site should be the site of shame for them, rather than one of pride. The event I am talking about is the ‘forced repatriation’ of thousands of Cambodian refugees who sought refuge inside Thailand’s border after the Khmer Rouge period ended in 1979.

As a post-war generation Khmer, I did not experience these events, but in order to understand these extremely sad and heart-breaking events, one only needs to flip through a few pages of two books: “The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust and Modern Conscience” by William Shawcross (1984) and “To Destroy You Is No Loss” by Joan Criddle and Teeda Butt Mam (1987.)

When the Khmer Rouge were ousted in 1979, thousands of refugees fled the country to the West. These refugees settled in temporary camp sites along Cambodia-Thai border. Lacking support from the international community to handle this huge number of refugees, the Thais resolved to push them back into Cambodia. Shawcross provides a moving account of this event below:

“On the morning of Friday, June 8, 110 buses pulled up at the border site of Nong Chan, a few miles north of Aranyaprathet, where several thousand refugees were now camped in fields. Thai soldiers in the buses told the refugees they were being moved to another, better camp.

Some refugees seemed to believe what they were told and were happy enough to leave the squalid, overcrowded conditions of Nong Chan. Others were not; one woman, who had walked out of Cambodia to Nong Chan with her three children only a week before, said later that she was terrified when the Thai soldiers began to herd them into buses.” (pg. 88)

In her first-hand account, Teeda Mam provided a perspective on what it was like to be one refugee inside one of those buses. After finding out that the bus was not going to Bangkok but back to Cambodian border, “each person, murmuring angrily or fighting back tears, tried to come to grips with catastrophe in his own way. Shocked disbelief showed on every face. … We had just come from hell and were being sentenced to return. We couldn’t believe our awful fate. Defeated, many wished only for a quick death.” (pg. 251)

She further wrote how cruel she felt being pushed back:

“Cruel as it was, we could understand the lie, but it was doubly cruel to push us back across in the north when arrangements had been made for returning us to the south. It seemed little short of cold-blooded, premeditated murder. The remote jungle had been chosen deliberately. The Thais wanted an international incident and we were to be it.” (pg. 251)

The Thais wanted to make a statement, which was that they could not handle the refugee crisis unless international aid was provided immediately. However, to make such a statement at a cost of thousands of lives was a rather inhumane one. How inhumane this statement was can be measured by what happened when these refugees arrived at the Preah Vihear site. Shawcross continued:

“Loaded with Cambodian refugees from temporary camp sites all over eastern Thailand, hundreds of buses converged on a mountainous region of the northeastern border near the temple of Preah Vihear, whose ownership had long been a source of bitter dispute between Thailand and Cambodia. They arrived, with military precision, after dark.

The border had been sealed off by Thai soldiers; the area was flooded with troops. The refugees were ordered, busload by busload, to walk back into Cambodia. They were told that there was a path down the mountains but that on the other side the Vietnamese army was waiting to welcome them. Thai soldiers also said, ‘Thai money will not be valid in Kampuchea; we ask you to make a voluntary contribution to our army.’” (pg. 89)

Teeda Mam also described the scene when her bus arrived at Preah Vihear site. She wrote:“The buses lurched to a standstill. We were ordered out. People refused to budge until forced from their seats at gunpoint. If only we could hold out a little longer without going back across the border, perhaps the order would be rescinded. Everyone knew that shock waves from Thailand’s decision to return us were reverberating throughout the world. Thailand’s point had been made, and we did not want to be the victims of its strong message that help was needed immediately.

Camping on the Thai side of the border had been made impossible. Refugees, herded like cattle one busload at a time, were funneled between lines of soldiers to the summit of a steep ridge that marked the border, then pushed over. Wielding guns, Thai soldiers shouted, “Go down, Go down.” They began shooting at those who refused to start down the face of the cliff.” (pg. 251-252)

Shawcross added to the description, “The path down the mountains became steeper, the jungle thicker. Dozens, scores of people fell onto mines. Those with possessions had to abandon them to carry their children down.” (pg. 89) Once the refugees began to descend down the cliff, the scene became more horrific. Even after almost three decades, I believe those who descended down the cliff and survived still have a hard time coming to terms with that event. Teeda Mam described this unimaginable descent into hell:

“Below the ridge, we could hear people screaming and moaning. Those who had been forced over the border during the past two days stubbornly refused to move off the mountainside trails, yet the press of refugees from above kept pushing them farther down. The entire face of the hill had been heavily mined by the Khmer Rouge four years ago, and everyone was terrified to break a new trail in the five-mile-wide no-man’s-land. Occasionally, a mine exploded as the crowd pushed someone off the trail. Since everyone wanted to step only where they had seen others step, they slid cautiously downward only when forced from above by the pressure of others moving downhill. Descent proceeded at a snail’s pace.” (pg. 252)

Some of the refugees tried to buy their way out of this deadly descent.

Shawcross wrote:“One group of refugees desperately pooled whatever valuable they had left, filled two buckets with them and walked back up toward the Thai soldiers, carrying a white flag. The soldiers took the buckets and then opened fire on the refugees.” (pg. 89-90)

Teeda Mam confirms this cruel account:

“The Chinese gentleman and his party had pooled their Thai money in a red plastic bucket. Quietly, he offered it to the soldier, then asked to be pointed in a direction leading to freedom. The soldier accepted the bucket and motioned with his gun down a side path as he looked the other way. No sooner had the group started down this path, however, than the guard turned and raised the muzzle of his submachine gun. They fell like dominoes.” (pg. 253)

I believe that any sane person would be brought to tears by this account, but the story is worse when we realized that it continued for days. Shawcross further wrote:

“For days this operation went on. Altogether, between 43,000 and 45,000 people were pushed down the cliffs at Preah Vihear. It took three days to cross the mine field. Water was very hard to find. Some people had salt. Very few had food. The Thais had distributed at most a cup of rice per person before the buses were emptied.

One refugee who finally managed to escape back to Thailand told UNHCR officials: “The crowd was very dense. It was impossible to number the victims of the land mines. The wounded people were moaning. The most difficult part of the walk was near the dead bodies. Tears I thought had dried up long ago came back to my eyes-less because of the sight than from the thought that those innocent people had paid with their lives for their attempts to reach freedom in a world that was too selfish.”” (pg. 90)

For Teeda Mam, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge years, what happened at Preah Vihear even surpassed these terrible years. She wrote:

“I thought the nightmare I had lived through for years and the trauma of our escape had exposed me to all the suffering and horrors this world had to offer. I was wrong. Nothing had prepared us for this first night on the trail. Descent from the cliff was like being lowered into the jaws of hell.” (pg. 255)

What I intend to do with this article is not to provoke anger or revenge, as Buddhism, the religion Cambodians share with their Thai neighbors, has taught us that revenge is won by taking no revenge ‘pea rum-ngoab doy ka min chong pea.’ My intent is to point out the undeniable fact that terrible things happened at Preah Vihear site three decades ago that involved the loss of thousands of Cambodian lives. The fact that no one has raised these events in discussions of Preah Vihear in the media is shocking. In fact, many Cambodians, especially those of my generation who was born in the 1980s, are not even aware that this horrible event took place. What they were taught was about the Khmer Rouge period, but not about what happened at Preah Vihear. The events at Preah Vihear, which was inflicted by the Thais, cost the lives of many Cambodians. But unlike the Khmer Rouge leaders who are being tried now, Cambodians do not even ask who was responsible for the people who died at Preah Vihear. So the question is, how can the Thais take the pride in arguing for the sovereignty of this site when this should be a site of shame for what they did?

'Jungle Girl' of Cambodia Makes Small Strides, 18 Months After Rescue

Rochom P’ngieng, a Cambodian girl who disappeared at the age of eight and re-appeared now, twenty years later, after living all that time in the deep Cambodian jungle. Rochom’s story remains a mystery, as she can’t talk (she can only grunt and pat her stomach when she’s hungry). However, proving that karaoke is something more primal than anything else in the world, the "jungle girl" took an instant liking to the family’s collection of karaoke videos! Courtesy:

(PHNOM PENH, Cambodia) - Cambodia’s "jungle girl," who lived alone in the forest for 18 years after vanishing at age nine, has learned to dress herself, bathe, and laugh in the year-and-a-half since she returned to her family, but she remains unable to speak, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.

"She knows how to do a lot of things. She just doesn’t speak," her father, Sal Lou, told RFA's Khmer service. "She mostly stays alone, laughing, singing, and talking to herself in her animal-jungle language that we cannot understand."

"I would like to appeal to the U.S. government to help bring my daughter to the States where she can have an opportunity to receive treatment, rehabilitation, and learn to speak from medical doctors and other specialists."

He said he also hopes for assistance from the Cambodian government and other countries.

43-year old Sal Lou, and a retired police officer, identified his oldest child, Rochom P’ngieng, by a scar on her arm after villagers reported seeing a naked woman stealing food in January 2007.

She has lived with Sal Lou, his wife, six other children, and six grandchildren since then.

"I think she is different now. She seems to know or aware more of things around her. We can see that she can eat, can dress by herself... Now she is happy. She looks very fresh, her face is brightening... I do not mean to praise my own child, but everyone who comes to see her loves her."

She now dresses, bathes, and feeds herself, as well as playing and laughing with her nieces and nephews, he said. She now walks almost upright as well, according to Sal Lou and district police detective Ma Vichit.

‘Animal-jungle language’

29-year old Rochom P’ngieng, vanished in 1989 while tending buffalo near the jungle in Cambodia’s remote northern Rattanakiri province. She was discovered after a villager noticed some of his food was missing and staked out the area, 350 kms (220 miles) northeast of Phnom Penh.

Sal Lou said he knows Rochom P’ngieng understands spoken language because "when we tell her to eat or take a bath, she does accordingly. She also takes a bath and rubs herself clean by herself, but we have to fetch the water for her. But she never takes anything without people give it to her directly..."

No doctors or aid workers have visited her since January 2007, he said. Nor has her DNA been tested to ascertain that she is Sal Lou’s daughter. She ran back to the jungle for nine days in April 2007 but her mother retrieved her after village children reported seeing her.

"When she feels hungry she would go and look for food to eat, and she eats by herself. She can understand what we speak to her, but she does not speak," he said, adding that her routine consists of washing, eating two meals a day, and little more.

Asked if she understands who she is, he replied, "I cannot say anything about this, because she hasn’t spoken yet. But I believe she knows and understands everything."

"The spirits haven’t allowed her to talk—it’s not the right time yet. Also we don’t have money to make an offering to the spirits who have been taking care of her... We need one buffalo to do the offering."

Small steps

Ma Vichit, the police detective, cited "15 percent progress" over the last 18 months. Her family is trying to teach her both Khmer and their own minority Pnong language, he said.

"She tries to use a spoon now," he said in an interview. "She tries to help in the kitchen. And she can alert someone when she needs to be taken to urinate. Her activity is a little inconsistent, though—she can concentrate only for short periods."

"But her body is transformed. Her complexion is changing. And she is charming," Ma Vichit said.
Sal Lou also said his daughter prefers vegetables at meals.

"She takes any food we would normally eat, but she prefers vegetables and fruits to meat. As you know, in the jungle there are only fruits and vegetables that she used to eat. She eats some meat, but mostly she picks the vegetables," he said.

"We bring new clothes and tell her to get changed. She changes into the clean clothes by herself. But she does not know how to wash and clean the dirty clothes, so we have to wash for her," he said.

"She plays and laughs with her nieces and nephews, holding, carrying, hugging, and kissing them. I can see that she does love her nieces and nephews, six of them. I have six grandchildren. We live together though we are very poor."

Original reporting by Yanny Hin for RFA’s Khmer service. Khmer service director: Sos Kem. Executive producer: Susan Lavery. Written and produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han. Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation that broadcasts news and information in nine East Asian languages to listeners who do not have access to full and free news media. The purpose of RFA is to provide a forum for a variety of opinions and voices from within these countries. Our Web site adds a global dimension to this objective. RFA is funded by an annual grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

CEDAC Expresses Optimism about the Sustainability of Farming

Posted on 9 July 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 568

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture [CEDAC] has finished a project to help improve the living standards of the poor in five southern provinces of Cambodia in June 2008. This project was funded by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction [JFPR] though the Asian Development Bank for a period of five years, and US$1.3 million were spent.

“However, what CEDAC has to think about is, after the project has finished, to choose actions that can guarantee the continuity of what has been built up. In a discussion held late June, the governor of Batheay District, Kompong Cham, raised previous experiences that there used to be many organizations assisting this district, but when their project fund came to an end, there was no continuity at all. Villagers are afraid that CEDAC might repeat the same situation when it runs out of funds. But local authorities that observe CEDAC evaluate that the project implementation of CEDAC has achieved many good results. The improvement of the living standard of the poor at the targeted community led, to some extent, to a reduction of poverty.

“Eight outstanding representative farmers from Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Kompong Cham, Kompong Chhnang, and Takeo asserted that their families and the members of their communities are richer, because they have attended different training courses about practices of techniques by CEDAC. There they learned how the community can save money, how to breed animals and fish, or to conserve trees, to grow crops, to do rice farming based on natural methods etc., all of which is closely related to marketability of the products.

“Mr. Lang Seng Houn, a local coordinator, said that the participation by local authority representatives from villages, communes, and districts cooperating with farmers’ communities is an important factor that brings poverty alleviation at those target places. Wherever there is participation by local authorities, those places will develop more quickly.

“Mr. Lang Seng Houn showed figures that among 192 villages from five provinces, 14,300 families benefited from the project. the number of farmers who cooperated is 7,300, the living standard of 500 families changed greatly; 5,900 families experienced an average change, and 800 families got poorer. The number of women who have changed their attitudes and abandoned their old habits is 3,500, and the number of youth under the same category is 900.

And 1,500 of the poorest families who sold their labor to have some income have changed their living standard and have become independent farmers; the livelihood of farmers in general is better. Generally, they can earn 80% more from the increase of the agricultural production and from the reduction of other expenses. They have stepped up the basis for this to retain the continuity of their production teams, and 718 teams have saved money - they have 6,000 families as members so that they are able to link their products to markets. Each family earns from Riel 1.4 million to Riel 2.6 million [approx. US$340 to US$635 per farming season] from their agricultural products; those are 427 families in Kompong Chhnang, Svay Rieng, and Kompong Cham. Their income is from paddy rice, from the breeding of chickens and pigs, and from the planting of vegetables and other crops.

“Dr. Yang Saing Komar [dean, Faculty of Agriculture and Rural Development, International University, Phnom Penh] pointed to key measures contributing to the sustainability when there are no more external funds. What can replace funds for farmers’ communities to guarantee the continuity of their activities are human resources who have been trained with all skills since five years, always with a link to market mechanisms. All agricultural products created by the community must be taken to markets by the farmers, and they have to sell their own products. Money saved in the community is capital to replace the external funding and can guarantee the sustainability of their community. Production and the link to markets are key methods to develop the rural economy to become active. Trained persons, 995 human resources of the community, will be the main and strong activists who can continue to develop the community without depending on external funds.

“Mr. Komar added that for economic activities money is needed, ‘and we have money which was saved in our community.’ By 2011, this organization has the ambition to increase the money-saving community up to 4,000 villages countrywide, without borrowing loans or depending on foreign donor countries.

“This fund will become a basic experience which can lead to a successfully functioning market that carries great responsibility for the society, especially for the living standard of farmers, and for food security for customers, which can guarantee sustainable development at the basis.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4636, 9.7.2008

Ieng Thirith to Remain in Detention: Tribunal

Former Khmer Rouge Social Affairs Minister Ieng Thirith stands at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), in the outskirts of Phnom Penh, July 9, 2008. The Khmer Rouge tribunal is to rule on appeal against the provisional detention of Ieng Thirith, wife of ex-foreign minister Ieng Sary and a member of Pol Pot's inner circle.REUTERS/Tracey Shelton/Pool (CAMBODIA)

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 July 2008

Khmer audio aired 09 July 2008 (775 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 09 July 2008 (775 KB) - Listen (MP3)

The pre-trial chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal ruled Wednesday it would not grant bail to Ieng Thirith, the former social affairs minister of the regime.

Her release could jeopardize evidence and lead to the threats of witnesses, Judge Prak Kimsan said in delivering the decision.

Ieng Thirith, 76, was arrested in November 2007 and charged by the tribunal with crimes against humanity.

"The decision of the co-investigating judge to detain the accused is valid," Prak Kimsan said. "The provisional detention is still necessary."

Co-investigating judges decided to keep Ieng Thirith in detention because they were worried that Ieng Thirith could intimidate victims or make compromises with former co-conspirators.

She was being held also to protect evidence, victims and her own security, and to guarantee she would be present during the trial, judges ruled.

As social affairs minister, Ieng Thirith held a position of high responsibility and conducted regular political meetings with high-ranking cadre, the five-judge panel ruled.

Phat Pouv Seang, co-defense for Ieng Thirith, told reporters after the hearing the decision was "unfair" and her healthcare was not adequate.

"The pre-trial chamber based [its decision] on the criminality of Ieng Thirith, but this kind of argument would be explained in the trial stage," he said.

Prak Kimsan said Wednesday the decision could not be appealed.

Parties Push Rural Development Issue

Villagers of Pailin, like other rural areas, face diverse difficulties, from the lack of latrines to jobs.

By Win Thida, VOA Khmer
Original report from Pailin
09 July 2008

[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 second in a two-part series examining the rural development.]

Rural development in Pailin remains low, causing voters in the area to consider carefully which political party they'll choose July 27.

Nine political parties are putting up candidates for Pailin, and it is clear in their platforms they are seeking to attract votes through promises of development. Policies of rural development have meanwhile become a key subject for political parties, as they seek support from people who lack many basic services.

Villagers in this remote region of mountains, once a Khmer Rogue stronghold, complain of difficulties ranging from lack of schools and hospitals to rough roads and long distances from markets.

Recognizing that rural development in Pailin has not met the needs of all villagers, Pailin Governor Y Chean told VOA Khmer recently that the ruling Cambodian People's Party has made rural development one of its "four mandates" for the National Assembly following this election.

"For the four mandates, if CPP wins the election, rural development will continue to help the people, especially various infrastructures and some other problems facing the villagers," Y Chean said.

Other parties are seeking to bring their messages of development to the people of Pailin.
"The party will develop the agriculture sector better than now, and then infrastructure and irrigation for the whole municipality" of Pailin, Seng Sokheng, secretary-general for the Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party, said recently.

Minister of Rural Development Ly Laysreng, who is a member of Funcinpec, said rural development in Pailin faces many challenges: lack of clean water, toilets, hygienic condition and jobs.

"Funcinpec will upgrade the healthcare in rural areas, especially development to help the people, because the healthcare in rural areas is the main problem to solve," he said.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said cited the elimination of corruption as a main factor for rural development. Corruption leads to an ineffective response to people's needs, he said.

Pailin has more than 50,000 residents and has one representative seat in the National Assembly.

Families Seek Money After Derailment

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 July 2008

Local authorities are helping four families seek compensation from Royal Railways of Cambodia, after their houses were destroyed in a Phnom Penh train derailment Saturday.

Im Narin, 58, saw the front half of her small wooden home destroyed when a train pulling two empty fuel tankers jumped the tracks in Tuol Kork district Saturday morning.

"We the victims request the Royal Railways of Cambodia authority to pay compensation totaling $8,000 for our destroyed homes and materials," she said Wednesday, standing between her ruined house and the railroad tracks that pass through this impoverished area.

Sim Tang, 63, whose house was flattened in the derailment, complained that the train had sped through the neighborhood on an unsafe track. The railways were responsible for the damage, he said.

"The railway must pay for the damage, because the accident happened from the train's technical problem," said Vith Darith, first deputy chief of Boeung Kak I commune, who is preparing documentation for the victims' compensation request. "We will try more and more to get compensation for the victims."

Sokhom Pheakakvoan Muny, director general of Royal Railways of Cambodia, said the authority was investigating the accident and the role of the train engineer.

Party Takes Inflation Message to Vendors

By Chiep Mony, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 July 2008

Activists of the Human Rights Party carried an anti-inflation message to vendors in Phnom Penh markets Wednesday, and while they found some support, they were barred from entering one market.

Phnom Penh municipal officials have banned the entry of political parties from main markets in the city, including Central and O'Russei markets.

Security personnel at O'Russei Market barred entry for Human Rights Party officials Wednesday, citing the city directive.

The party's anti-inflation message struck a chord with some vendors.

Nov Sreipov, who sells flowers outside O'Russei Market, said the rising cost of fuel has meant she charges higher prices for her imported blooms.

But the price hike and decreased disposable income for customers meant a decline in her business, she said, adding she was ready to vote for a party that could help.

'Biased' Courts Close Doors to Sam Rainsy

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
09 July 2008

Phnom Penh Municipal Court officials refused to meet with opposition leader Sam Rainsy Wednesday, as he sought to provide what he says is evidence of Foreign Minister Hor Namhong's involvement in a Khmer Rouge prison camp.

Sam Rainsy has been summoned several times to the court since April, but he said he had gone of his own volition Wednesday.

He sought to submit to the court the alleged testimony of a former Boeung Trabek camp inmate that accuses Hor Namhong of being the chief of the prison.

Hor Namhong, who has maintained he was a prisoner at the camp, sued Sam Rainsy for defamation and disinformation for similar accusations made at a public rally in April.

Sam Rainsy said Wednesday the courts were "cheap" and "biased" to the ruling Cambodian People's Party.

Court officials were not immediately available to for comment.

Human Rights political party hold a rally in Phnom Penh July 9, 2008

Khem Sokha, leader of Human Rights political party, waves during a rally in Phnom Penh July 9, 2008. Cambodia is due to hold a general election on July 27.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodia's Human Rights political party supporters wave from a truck decorated with their party logo during a rally in Phnom Penh July 9, 2008. Cambodia is due to hold their general election on July 27.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Supporters of Human Rights political party hold a rally in Phnom Penh July 9, 2008. Cambodia is due to hold a general election on July 27.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Khem Sokha, leader of Human Rights political party, speaks during a rally in Phnom Penh July 9, 2008. Cambodia is due to hold a general election on July 27.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)