Thursday, 24 September 2009

Obama to world: Don't expect America to fix it all

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Featured Topics: Barack Obama

(CAAI News Media)

White House Correspondent Jennifer Loven, Ap White House Correspondent – 2 hrs 16 mins ago

UNITED NATIONS – President Barack Obama challenged world leaders Wednesday to shoulder more of the globe's critical burdens, promising a newly cooperative partner in America but sternly warning they can no longer castigate the U.S. as a go-it-alone bully while still demanding it cure all ills.

"Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone," said Obama in put-up-or-shut-up comments before a packed U.N. General Assembly hall. "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."
In his first appearance before the group, Obama promised the U.S. would reach out in "a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect," but he also wagged a rhetorical finger at leaders who spend much of their time at international gatherings excoriating the U.S. He said "an almost reflexive anti-Americanism" that swept the globe under the administration of his predecessor, George W. Bush, is not "an excuse for collective inaction."

"Nothing is easier than blaming others for our troubles and absolving ourselves of responsibility for our choices and our actions," he said.
And yet, directly following Obama at the podium was Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who railed against the U.N. Security Council, which includes the U.S., calling it a "terror council" and accusing it of treating smaller nations as "second class, despised."

U.S. presidents — Bush included — have come to the United Nations year after year with a wish list of action items and preaching the gospel of working together. The U.S. is rich and powerful, but cannot solve problems without help, they say, whether Democrat or Republican.
So Obama's message was not new.
But it was delivered in an unmistakably new, more humble tone.

Following a president criticized for making my-way-or-the-highway "requests" of allies, Obama didn't demand so much as he chided and cajoled. It's now an inextricably interconnected world, he said, so that each country's problems become the others'.
"In the year 2009 — more than at any point in human history — the interests of nations and peoples are shared," Obama said.

Following a president pilloried for arrogance, Obama talked more modestly about the United States.
To be sure, he listed American contributions. But this was no chest-thumping bragging; instead it was a more lawyerly argument aimed at convincing the jury of Obama's world peers that the U.S. has heard the complaints and, under his leadership, is addressing them. That ranges from banning torture to winding down the Iraq war, working to rid the world of nuclear weapons, aggressively pursuing Mideast peace and bringing new energy to the battle against climate change.

And he delivered the message that America will not behave as if it is better.
"No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation," Obama said. "That is the future America wants — a future of peace and prosperity that we can only reach if we recognize that all nations have rights, but all nations have responsibilities as well."

At home, it remains to be seen whether Obama's critics on the right will see this sort of talk as giving away some of America's accepted status as the globe's lone superpower.
Many were already criticizing Obama along these lines after previous speeches meant to reach out a conciliatory hand — such as during his inauguration or in Cairo to the Muslim world. As John Bolton, a U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under Bush, said before Obama's trip: "Why should we not expect a visible demonstration of Obamamania at the U.N.? He is giving them pretty much what they ask for."

The president's reception in the traditionally staid U.N. hall was hardly Obamamnia. But he received several rounds of applause, something rarely afforded to Bush. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, perhaps Obama's chief foe in the room who was delivering his own address later, listened intently but did not clap.
Even while offering new cooperation from Washington, Obama was blunt that others must step up or face dire consequences: "extremists sowing terror in pockets of the world, protracted conflicts that grind on and on, genocide, mass atrocities, more nations with nuclear weapons, melting ice caps and ravaged populations, persistent poverty and pandemic disease."

At the top of Obama's urgent challenges are the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran, the first having already produced several atomic bombs, the second suspected of moving rapidly in that direction and both in defiance of repeated international demands. He said the two nations "must be held accountable" if they continue, without mentioning the tougher sanctions that are his preferred penalties.
"The world must stand together to demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise," Obama said.
The president was particularly muscular on the need to tackle global warming, declaring that America's days of dragging its feet on the issue are over. "If we continue down our current course, every member of this assembly will see irreversible changes within their borders," he said.
And, seeking to build on his three-way meeting in New York on Tuesday with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Obama urged nations aligned with either side to abandon old divides — by speaking honestly to the Israelis about the Palestinians' legitimate claims to land and livelihood and to Palestinians and Arab nations about Israel's right to exist.

"All of us must decide whether we are serious about peace, or whether we only lend it lip service," Obama said.
He said that all leaders will be held accountable by their citizens. "They will not long tolerate those who are on the wrong side of history," he said.

And yet the problems he said require action are enormously complex and have bedeviled the world for decades. Also, when national interests collide with global priorities, leaders almost always choose the former, or pay a steep price politically. Obama himself said, "I will never apologize for" acting in America's interests.
Indeed, the president saw two tests of this firsthand on Wednesday, as his U.N. speech was bracketed by meetings with the leaders of Japan and Russia.

Talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev focused almost entirely on Iran, with Obama seeking support for tougher U.N. action if multilateral talks with Tehran next month yield unsatisfying progress. Russia, which has strong economic ties with Iran, has stood in the way of such stronger action in the past.
Emerging from the talks at Obama's hotel, Medvedev gave at least some ground, saying sanctions are usually unproductive but opening the door to more nonetheless. "In some cases, sanctions are inevitable," the Russian leader said.

The White House was thrilled at even this muted support, and said that Obama's decision last week to scrap a plan for a new U.S. missile defense shield in Eastern Europe that deeply angered the Kremlin, while not designed to increase cooperation from Russia, may well have made it more possible. "The notion that we needed to do what we did as a concession for Russia never came up," said Obama Russia adviser Mike McFaul. "But is it the case that it changes the climate — I think that's true, of course."
Japan, meanwhile, just elected a leader who campaigned on shifting its diplomatic stance to one less centered on Washington. In public remarks, Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama reaffirmed the importance of the traditional U.S.-Japan alliance.

Two faces of Thailand

Red Shirt protesters outside the Government House in Bangkok earlier this year

September 24, 2009
(CAAI News Media)

Giles Ji Ungpakorn is a Thai academic and dissident who was targeted by the government for the supposed crime of "lese majesty"--essentially, "disloyalty" to Thailand's head of state, King Bhumibol. To avoid censorship and a possible prison sentence of 15 years, he fled to Britain earlier this year. Here, he analyzes the latest developments in Thailand, three years after a military coup.

ON SEPTEMBER 19 of this year--the third anniversary of the military coup that wrecked Thai democracy--two demonstrations took place. They sum up the two faces of Thailand.

One demonstration, by tens of thousands of Red Shirts in Bangkok, was organized in order to continue the demand for full democracy. It was a peaceful and friendly demonstration. Yet the military-backed Democrat Party government, headed by Abhisit Vejjajiva, declared a state of emergency and lined up thousands of police and soldiers to deal with the demonstrators.

Previously, back in April, Abhisit had urged soldiers to fire on the Red Shirts. Two people were subsequently killed and 70 injured by government soldiers.

The other demonstration was organized by People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) fascist thugs. The PAD are the Yellow Shirt royalists. The aim of this demonstration was to attack Cambodian villagers living and working at the ancient Kao Prawiharn temple inside Cambodia.

Since last year, the PAD has been trying to cause a war with Cambodia by whipping up extreme nationalism. The temple was built by the ancient Khmers and clearly belongs to Cambodia, both from a legal and historical point of view. On September 19, the PAD went to the border armed, as usual, with guns, bombs and clubs. They attacked the police and then a group of local villagers who were opposed to them. Local villagers on both sides of the border have traditionally held joint religious ceremonies together at the temple on this day. This has not happened since the PAD forced the closure of the temple last year.

Teptai Senpong, personal spokesman for Prime Minister Abhisit, earlier stated that there was no reason to declare a state of emergency in the border area, "as the PAD were defending Thai national interests." The present foreign minister is a PAD supporter who took part in the illegal occupation of the international airports last December. He is famed for being rude about the Cambodian government.

Suriyasai Takasila, PAD spokesperson, said that the PAD leadership would not turn its back on Wira Somkwamkit, the PAD leader who headed the violent raid on the border. Naturally, the PAD riot and its extreme nationalism was supported by ASTV. The government will not prosecute the PAD and their leaders for their illegal violence. They never have. At the same time, numerous Red Shirts are in jail or face prosecution.

Just like when the PAD took over the airports, they cared little for the impact on local people's employment and livelihood. They cared little if the sons of poor farmers, conscripted into the Thai army, were to die in any pointless shoot out with their brothers in the Cambodian army.

The progressive, peaceful and democratic face of Thai society is the Red Shirts. The violent, fascist and authoritarian face is the face of the Yellow Shirt conservative royalists who control the state, the army, the monarchy, the government and the media. The one thing they do not control is the hearts and minds of most Thai citizens.

Most Thais are waiting for the king to die. But that in itself will solve nothing, despite the fact that his son his universally hated and held in contempt. No real democracy can be built without dismissing the generals, the judges, the privy council, the royal family and the corrupt politicians.

Will the Red Shirts be up to this People's Revolution? Can it be an overwhelming movement of citizens in order to minimize bloodshed? These are the issues on many people's minds today.

Cambodia to host Mekong-Japan foreign ministers meeting next week

September 24, 2009

(CAAI News Media)

Cambodia will host the Second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting next week to review progress and to set out future direction for cooperation in the region, according to a press release issued Wednesday by Cambodia's Foreign Ministry.

The press release said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong will chair the meeting of foreign ministers from Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam from Oct. 2 to 3 in Siem Reap.

On the sidelines of the Mekong-Japan meeting, Hor Namhong will also chair the Second Foreign Minister's Meeting of the Emerald Triangle Cooperation between Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

The ministers will review the progress of Japan-Mekong cooperation since "Japan-Mekong Region Partnership Program" was launched in 2007 and the First Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in Tokyo in January 2008, and to set out the future direction of the cooperation in this mechanism.

Siem Reap is chosen as an alternative venue for many international meetings or conferences beside Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh and coastal beach of Sihanoukville in southwestern Cambodia.

Source: Xinhua

Cambodia condemns sentencing of its nationals by Thai court

Thu, 24 Sep 2009 05:05:30 GMT
By : Jurgen Schmidt

(CAAI News Media)

Phnom Penh - Cambodia plans to appeal a case in which lengthy sentences were handed down by a Thai court to a group of its nationals after they were convicted of logging and entering Thailand illegally, local media reported Thursday. The 16 men who are from adjacent provinces in north-west Cambodia were arrested on July 23 by Thai authorities. Fifteen of them were sentenced to nine years and three months each while the last was given six years and two months.

The Thai court in Ubon Ratchathani province has granted a one-month period to appeal.

The cabinet chief of Cambodia's Preah Vihear province told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper that the sentences were "revenge" by Thailand for the unresolved border dispute between the two kingdoms while Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said government lawyers would appeal the convictions.

"Let our lawyers do their work until the end [of the legal process]; then we will use another measure," Koy Kuong told the newspaper.

Defence lawyers had pleaded that the men were not engaged in logging and had not realized they had crossed into Thai territory.

Much of the 800-kilometre-long common border between the two nations has not yet been demarcated. Tensions have been high for the past year with several soldiers on both sides killed and injured in skirmishes around the Preah Vihear temple, an 11th-century structure that sits on the border between the two kingdoms.

Activist runs organization to free Cambodian sex slaves

Anthony Syros
(CAAI News Media)

By Virginia Kiddy

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Share this article Published: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Former slave Somaly Mam has made it her life’s work to end sex trafficking.

Opponents to her cause have burned her house, threatened her, kidnapped her children and raped her daughter.

“When I started this, I know I made my life dangerous. It’s not easy for me. A lot of people, they tell me that I’m crazy,” Mam said. “Well, I am crazy.”

About 200 people squeezed into the Cape Florida Ballroom Monday night to hear Mam speak about her experiences and her foundation’s efforts to end sex slavery. When seats filled up, students sat on the floor, stood along the back wall, and perched in from the hallway, watching through the doorways.

Mam is one of TIME magazine’s “World’s Most Influential People” for 2009 and a “CNN Hero.”

She became a slave as a child when a man who called himself her grandfather sold her into prostitution. She lived in a brothel with other Cambodian children and was raped and tortured daily, but after watching the murder of her best friend, she eventually escaped.

Since the opening of her shelter in Cambodia, 6,000 girls have been helped out of brothels. The girls call her mother.

“They are lovely,” Mam said.

Mam said it’s difficult to get girls out of the brothel because they are familiar with the routine of their life and don’t know who will love, help or give them a new life. Sometimes families don’t want their children back because of the shame, and they place blame on the children themselves for what happened. The government in Cambodia does nothing to help, Mam said.

In 2008, there was a global focus on establishing anti-trafficking laws in Cambodia, which had none, said Bill Livermore, executive director for the Somaly Mam Foundation.

“There was a major push on, ‘Well, you need to change your laws. That’ll solve everything,’” Livermore said. “Now we’ve come to realize that isn’t true until you can change society.”

Human trafficking is the second-largest organized crime, becoming a bigger business than drug trafficking, according to the Somaly Mam Foundation’s Web site.

Specific and consistent statistics about human trafficking are hard to calculate because of the nature of this worldwide crime. Of the 12.3 million adults and children in forced labor, an estimated 1.39 million people are victims of sexual servitude, according to the U.N.’s International Labor Organization.

As many as two million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade, according to the U.S. State Department.

This modern-day enslavement is not limited to foreign lands. It’s in the U.S., too.

“What is happening in our country is happening in your country,” Mam said.

Between 18,000 and 20,000 victims are trafficked into the U.S., according to U.S.

Department of Justice estimates listed on the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking Web site. A large percentage is trafficked into Florida because of seasonal agricultural immigrants.

Junior interdisciplinary women’s studies major Dominique Aulisio, who works with the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, is starting a student organization called Student Labor Action Project.

“I think that people distance themselves from the problem,” said Aulisio. “I think we all do because a lot of times on the news it’s characterized as being a faraway country. But in reality, the traffickers are very organized, and they’re all over the world.”

Mam encouraged students to raise awareness and become active to end sex trafficking.

She thinks it’s possible within 10 years if everyone “activates” and fights.

“Fighting is not just sitting and talking, but you have to stand up and fight,” Mam said.

She said it is out of her capacity to accomplish the task alone.

“We need all of you,” Mam said.

She encouraged students to go on the foundation’s Web site and read about how to volunteer and learn more about what they do.

Senior Sally Griffin already had Mam’s book, The Road of Lost Innocence, and was excited to hear her speak. She wants to work and advocate against human trafficking. Her major is social work and minor is international studies for that reason, she said.

Griffin just got back from a trip to India with the organization International Justice Mission where she helped with a shelter, met girls who had been rescued from sex trafficking and saw the red-light district firsthand. She was first made aware of sex trafficking when someone from her church spoke about the issue.

“I didn’t know. Once I heard about it, it just kind of lit a fire in me,” Griffin said. “I don’t feel like I can just stand by knowing what I know.”

IMF predicts Cambodian economic growth to be over 4% in 2010

CAAI News Media

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- The economic growth of Cambodia is projected at about 4. 25 percent in 2010, the press release from International Monetary Fund mission here said on Wednesday.

But this year, as a result of the global crisis which has a larger impact on Cambodian's economy than previously anticipated, the real GDP growth is now projected to be negative 2.75 percent, IMF said.

"If we look into 2010, there are some hopeful signs that the global downturn may be bottoming up," David Cowen, a senior official for the Asia Pacific Department of IMF said at Wednesday's press conference.

"A pick up in external demand is expected to lead to a recovery in Cambodia's economy and the growth in 2010 is projected at about4.25 percent, though risks remained tilted to the downside, given uncertainties over the strength of the global recovery," he said.

Cambodian garment exports in 2009 are expected to decline by 15percent, mainly due to lower consumption in the United States. Andin tourism sector, air arrivals have fallen by double digits. Moreover, the working on large construction projects has slowed significantly in the wake of falling property prices.

"But agriculture production is a bright spot with a good harvest expected in 2009," the press release from IMF said.

Editor: Li Xianzhi

Border guard officers visit Cambodia

CAAI News Media

A delegation of the High Command of the Border Guard of Vietnam, headed by its Deputy Commander Nguyen Phuoc Loi, is paying a friendship visit to Cambodia from September 22-25.

On September 23, the officers visited the Supreme Command Headquarters of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), where they met with General Pol Saroeun.

The General warmly welcomed the Vietnamese delegation, describing their visit as proof of the friendship between the armies of the two fraternal nations.

Both sides reviewed the results of cooperation between the border guard forces of Vietnam and Cambodia, and shared experiences in maintaining security along their common borderline.

Saroeun emphasised bilateral cooperation in training military officers, saying that hundreds of Cambodian officers were trained in Vietnam and have served effectively in the RCAF in recent years.

Loi said the Vietnamese side has worked closely with their Cambodian counterparts, particularly in the exchange of information and in combating cross-border crimes.

These cooperative ties form a firm foundation for Vietnam and Cambodia to build their shared borderline into an area of peace, friendship, cooperation and development, he said.

The same day, the Vietnamese delegates paid a courtesy visit to leaders of the Cambodian Ministry of National Defence and met with Director General of National Police Neth Savoeun.
The guests are scheduled to visit Cambodia ’s south-western-most province, Koh Kong, on September 24 and 25 before concluding their visit.


People & Power- Cambodia trials revisited - 23 Sep 09

Part 1 (CAAI News Media)

Part 2 (CAAI News Media)

23 Sep 09

Comrade Duch, was head of the Khmer Rouge's secret prison and is linked to the deaths and torture of prisoners. How relevant is the trial to Cambodians today?

Deputy PM calls for halt to jingoism

Suthep: Favours talks, not picketing

(CAAI News Media)
Published: 24/09/2009

Whipping up nationalist fervour over the Cambodian border issue is a risky game which could harm trade relations with our neighbour, says Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban.

Negotiations were the way to handle the dispute, not picketing, he said yesterday.

Mr Suthep was commenting on Saturday's clash between the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and Si Sa Ket residents near a disputed 4.6 square kilometre border area with Cambodia.

PAD held the protest in Kantharalak district of Si Sa Ket to pressure authorities to force Cambodians from the disputed area, which is near Preah Vihear temple.

The protesters confronted a group of residents who tried to stop them. A clash between PAD protesters and the villagers left scores of people on both sides injured.

Mr Suthep said the government had tried to solve the border problem through negotiation to prevent the dispute from escalating into a conflict between the countries.

People should not let their emotion drive them to stage protests over sovereignty, he said.

Demarcating the boundary with Cambodia could take as long as 10 years, as the two sides could not agree on who owns what.

PM's Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey said the government would bring together Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and PAD co-leader Veera Somkhwamkid, who led the PAD protest on Saturday, to explain problems concerning Preah Vihear temple. They would appear together in a television broadcast after the prime minister returned from his overseas trip this weekend.

Natthawut Saikua, of the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), yesterday demanded Mr Abhisit clarify reports that Cambodia was building a road to Preah Vihear through the disputed area.

Asian Development Bank: The 2009 Cambodian GDP Growth Will Decline by Only 1.5% to 5.2% Compared to 2008 – Wednesday, 23.9.2009

Posted on 24 September 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 631
(CAAI News Media)

“Phnom Penh: The Asian Development Bank has predicted that, due to the global economic crisis, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Cambodia in 2009 will achieve little growth, but next year, it will be a bit better, because when the world economy will start to recover, and Cambodia will resume good growth.

“According to the Asian Development Bank Outlook 2009 Update [Broadening Openness for a Resilient Asia], released on 22 September 2009, the downturn in garment exports, construction activities, and the decline in the number of foreign tourists have led to a forecast that the GDP of Cambodia in 2009 will contract by about 1.5% compared to 2008.

“The report quoted the US Department of Commerce data which shows that Cambodian clothes exports to the US dropped by 27% in the first 5 months of 2009 from the corresponding period of 2008. As for tourism during the first four months of 2009, there was a decline by 3%, and the construction sector also faced a downturn as a consequence of falling Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), notably from Korea.

“As the global economy starts to recover, Cambodian textile exports and tourism might resume to grow again, leading to the expectation that in 2010, the Cambodian economy will achieve a 3.5% growth. However, Cambodia is encountering rising inflation – just 0.8% at present – but it will increase up to 5% in 2010. The current account deficit will be lower than forecast in March 2009 at about 5% and in 2010 at less than 7%.

“It should be remembered that according to a forecast in March 2009, when the global economic crisis was serious, it was predicted that the current account of Cambodia will decline by as much as 16% in 2009 and about 10% in 2010.

“The GDP of Cambodia achieved 10.8% growth in 2006, 10.2% in 2007, and 6.7% in 2008. According to the above forecast, Cambodia will achieve just 5.2% growth in 2009.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5002, 23.9.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 23 September 2009

False Notes

By Chatchawal Sopapan
The Nation
Published on September 24, 2009
(CAAI News Media)

Police net counterfeit dollars with a face value of almost Bt100 million; Cambodia connection being probed

US Embassy officials led Sa Kaew police yesterday in a sting operation that resulted in the arrest of a 62-year-old businesswoman and seizure of counterfeit US banknotes with a face value of more than Bt41 million.

Police sting

The embassy's four-strong counterfeit-currency team had been on the case since identifying as fake banknotes previously seized by Aranyaphrathet Police on the border with Cambodia.

The team led the way to a shop on Burapa Pirom Road, where undercover police arranged to buy a bundle of counterfeit 100-dollar bank-notes at Bt80 apiece. After the embassy men confirmed the banknotes were fake, police arrested shop owner Kimcheng Srimahakomol. A subsequent search of the premises yielded a total of 12,320 fake 100-dollar bills hidden in boxes and each printed with the serial number AL32738338D.

Clues from Cambodia

Under interrogation, Kimcheng told police she bought the banknotes from Bangkok's Yaowarat area with the intention of selling them as kong-tek - offerings to the spirit of the deceased at Chinese funerals - and that she was unaware this was illegal.

Police said sheets of Cambodian newspapers used to wrap the bundles of notes didn't fit with Kimcheng's claims and further investigation was necessary.

More incidents

This latest operation follows an incident last Wednesday in which police arrested Chatchai Wongkittikraiwal, 26, and seized counterfeit 100-dollar bills with a face value of some Bt31 million. A day later, Cambodian vendor Seng Bonlan, 36, was taken into custody after being arrested at Sa Kaew's Rong Kleu Market with Bt18 million in fake 100-dollar notes.

US Defense Secretary Vows Enhanced Ties

By Taing Sarada and Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington and Phnom Penh
23 September 2009
(CAAI News Media)

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates stressed a commitment to enhancing Cambodian peacekeeping, maritime security and counter-terrorism, following talks in Washington with Cambodian Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh.

The two senior officials met on Monday in talks unprecedented since the 1970s, as military relations between the two countries have steadily improved.

“In the meeting we were talking about how what we have done so far has had very good success,” Tea Banh said in an interview in Washington after the meeting. “They will encourage us further to monitor closely what needs to be done in order to complete it.”

The US resumed military aid to Cambodia in 2006; it had revoked aid following the 1997 coup, when Prime Minister Hun Sen and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party seized power from its government partner, Funcinpec.

“Since 2006, Cambodia has received approximately $4.5 million worth of equipment and technical assistance through the Foreign Military Financing program,” the US Embassy in Phnom Penh said in a statement.

The program funds grants of excess military transport equipment and technical assistance to the Ministry of Defense; training materials and technical assistance to the RCAF English Language Training Program; and maritime security and professional development training to the navy, the embassy said.

Cooperation with the US increased when Cambodia became a willing partner to the US’s post-9/11 war on terror, culminating in the establishment of military attach├ęs this year.

“The United States is interested in providing scholarships for military students to study in other countries,” Tea Banh said, but he added that US assistance remains smaller than that of China.

The general also met with Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, who he said expressed concern over human rights and democracy.

“His concern is an issue that we are also taking care of and monitoring closely,” Tea Banh said. “I told him that I accept some matters that he raised with me. I told him that one country, or one district, needs to have its own laws. As we watch closely, Cambodia has improved a lot, including in the respect of human rights.”

Cambodia’s rights record has come under pressure in recent months, following a string of lawsuits and at least one prison sentence against government dissenters, and earlier this month the US House of Representative’s Human Rights Commission called three public leaders from Cambodia to testify.

Economy To Shrink 1.5 Percent: ADB

By Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
23 September 2009
(CAAI News Media)

The global economic recession is expected to contract Cambodia’s economy by about 1.5 percent this year, the Asian Development Bank reported Tuesday, with the key economic drivers affected.

Dwindling clothing exports, especially to the US market, along with a slow-down in construction and tourist arrivals, contributed to the ADB’s Development Outlook 2009 Update.

“These domains rely mostly on the global economy,” said Kim Chantha, a spokesman for the ADB.

Clothing exports to the US dropped 27 percent in the first five months of the year, compared to the same period for 2008. Tourist arrivals fell 3 percent in the first four months of the year, compared to the same period the year before. And major construction projects, especially from South Korea, have fallen sharply.

The government had estimated a growth rate of 2 percent, said Tim Phalla, director of the economic guidelines department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. “The economic situation in Cambodia and the world is changing very quickly, and noting is quite sure.”

The ADB estimated a rebound in 2010, however, with growth reaching 3.5 percent, as global markets slowly recovery, stimulating garment export and tourism.

US Gives Money To Boost Economic Performance

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
23 September 2009
(CAAI News Media)

The US provided $7.79 million to the government Wednesday to aid economic growth performance, as international institutions have warned of a shrinking economy.

The funds will be used to expand USAID’s program for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, which seeks to alleviate poverty by increasing productivity of family businesses.

The program has helped some 3,000 farmers increase their incomes between 100 percent and 340 percent, according to US figures.

US Ambassador Carol Rodley said the program would help thousands of Cambodians and would foster new relationships in the business sector.

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said in a ceremony the economic crisis had diminished Cambodia’s capacity for high economic growth.

“Assistance provided by the international community is crucial for contributing to bringing high economic growth back on track,” he said.

The US expects to commit $61.8 million in assistance to Cambodia this year, as the country struggles in the wake of the global financial crisis. Some international agencies have warned the countries economy could contract this year, a stark reversal from the high rates it had enjoyed in recent years.

Asian Countries Suffer From Weak Institutions: ADB

By Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
23 September 2009
(CAAI News Media)
Asia is suffering from a deficit of governance, public management and rule of law, in large part due to corruption, a senior Asian Development Bank official said, urging institutional capacity building for countries like Cambodia to climb out of poverty.

“Our advice to the government is to continue the momentum of institution-building,” said Rajat Nag, managing director-general of the ADB, in an exclusive interview with VOA last week. “We recognize that these take time. We recognize that it is not only important to have the right laws on the books, but they have to be implemented fairly, and we are working with the government of Cambodia as indeed elsewhere to continue that process.”

Cambodia has spent almost ten years drafting on an anti-corruption law, but it remains unfinished. Efforts are underway meanwhile to help the government set up an anti-corruption body.

“These things are not done overnight,” Nag said. “These things are also, quite frankly, not done in public. I think we should work with the government, and we do talk to them very frankly, but these are done as part of a long-run institutional reform progress which is continuing.”

The ADB believes that investing in health and education is also important and must take place side by side so that Cambodia can bridge the widening gap between the rich and poor.

“In a country like Cambodia, we emphasize very much investment in health and education, but also I think the government needs to look at the issue of rising inequality, rising disparity,” Nag said. “You’ve got people who are doing extremely well and people who are falling below the poverty line and falling through the cracks.”

Group: Too many soldiers in foreign service roles


WASHINGTON — Shortages among diplomats and civilian staff abroad have left U.S. reconstruction projects too reliant on military personnel to take their place, a nongovernment organization warned Wednesday.

"The soldiers often lack the specific knowledge necessary to accomplish the tasks" of reconstruction and development, the nonprofit group Refugees International said in a report. "The situation is wasteful, reduces America's foreign policy efforts and leaves us open to complaints of militarism."

The author of the report, Ron Capps, said at a news conference that with the State Department short of some 4,000 officers, temporary use of soldiers may be necessary. But, he said, "if a Pentagon role is permanent, that's a worry."

"The notion that American military power alone is enough to keep America secure has been completely discredited," the report said.

John Herbst, the State Department's reconstruction coordinator, said more foreign officers are needed and that the department already plans to add 1,200. But he did not criticize the use of soldiers to fill the shortage of diplomats and other civilians abroad.

Refugees International is an international humanitarian organization and does not receive U.S. funds. It was formed in 1979 in response to forced repatriation of thousands of Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees.

DOT invites stakeholders to participates in Vietnam Travel Fair

(CAAI News Media)
September 23, 2009 
By Lynda B. Valencia

MANILA, Sept. 23 — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is inviting hotels, resorts, tour operators, transport services and other stakeholders in the Philippine travel industry to participate in the upcoming International Travel Expo (ITE) on October 1 to 3 at the Phu To Exhibition Center, Ho Chi Minh City.

Considered as one of the foremost tourism travel fair in Asia, with more than 150 international buyer and corporate travel managers, the ITE Vietnam is on its 5th year.

Under the theme, “Gap Go in Another World,” or “to meet in another world,” the fair will introduce the 3CODe concept, or “Three Countries, One Destination,” referring to countries of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

The three are packaged as one exciting destination, in a multi-agenda campaign to promote the three countries. Highlighting the World Heritage Sites present in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the 'the cooperation builds upon the three nations’ shared yet diverse cultural and scenic features to pave the way for sustainable tourism development of the region.

DOT Secretary Joseph 'Ace' Durano, said “The ITE is likewise a venue where stakeholders can discuss investment opportunities, in exhaustive business-to-business sessions with three nations closer to home.”

Citing similarities with the said countries, Durano further said, “More than just a consumer trade fair, it is also learning exchange in terms of economic viability of tourism measures between our country and theirs.”

Latest trends in the travel industry and how other countries strategize in capturing the Asian market, also form part of the ITE Vietnam’s agenda, Durano shared.

In the said travel fair, the DOT will highlight its adventure tourism and shopping campaign.

Adventure tourism covers exciting activities such as diving, white water rafting, surfing, caving, wakeboarding, ziplines, kayaking and wild bird watching.

Eduardo Jarque, Jr., Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions said, “While we have these different packages, we also have other specialized activities for the niche travelers.”

Among the specialized package are spa retreats, dolphin and firefly watching, wedding and honeymoon destination and glamping or glam camping.

“Golfing is also big with Asian markets, and we have some of the best golf sites around the country,” Jarque added.

Meanwhile, Director Rica Bueno, DOT Team Asia-Pacific head mentioned, “Several partners have already confirmed their participation. We look forward to meatier and more intensive business-to-business sessions with their counterparts in the fair.”

Among the partners of the agency are, Shroff Travel, Manila Hotel, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air. (PNA) LOR/LBV

CAMBODIA: Khmer Rouge Tribunal Ends Testimony at First Int’l Trial

IPS News
By Robert Carmichael

(CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH, Sep 23 (IPS) - After 72 days of hearings, the first international trial of a Khmer Rouge regime member has wrapped up its often horrific testimony in the Cambodian capital.

Comrade Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav, has sat placidly in the dock since proceedings began in late March, as the court unravelled his meticulous supervision of at least 15,000 murders while he headed the main Khmer Rouge torture centre, known as S-21, in the 1970s.

Although Duch has repeatedly apologised to victims, many Cambodians do not believe his expressions of remorse are genuine. Despite that he did so again on the penultimate day of testimony.

"I would like to apologise," he told the court. "I would like to seek forgiveness from the families of the victims."

But while Duch admits to the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, he has also continually pleaded that he was a mere functionary in a much bigger system. He said he had no choice but to follow the orders handed down from his superiors to execute S-21’s inmates by sending them to the Killing Fields at Chhoeung Ek outside Phnom Penh.

"The only way to survive was to fulfil the duties assigned to us … so I tried to survive on a daily basis," Duch told the court during the final week of testimony.

Duch has repeatedly insisted he did not personally arrest, torture or kill anyone, and told the court that suspected "enemies" of the revolution simply had to be killed. Anyone who was arrested was by default guilty, and the function of prisons like S-21 was to extract a confession before killing them.

Many people have expressed hope that the trial will offer some relief and answers to the events that consumed Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. Two million people are thought to have died from execution, starvation and overwork in the brutal four years of Khmer Rouge rule.

Prosecutors used the proceedings to accuse him of operating S-21, one of nearly 200 detention centres around the country, with uncommonly ruthless efficiency.

Powerful testimony from witnesses, recounting their harrowing experiences, has echoed those of the many more who were enslaved around the country.

Bou Meng, 68, told the court how he became one of the handful of prisoners who survived S-21. Duch had heard Bou Meng was an artist, so he put him to work painting huge propaganda portraits of Pol Pot and other senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

The former prisoner’s wife, who was arrested with him, disappeared and was killed at S-21. His emotional testimony described how he was beaten with sticks by S-21 interrogators, who accused him of spying for America and the Soviet Union, common charges under an increasingly paranoid regime.

"Every time they beat me, they asked me questions: ‘Who introduced you into the CIA (the U.S.’s Central Intelligence Agency)? What was their name?’" Bou Meng told the court in July, breaking down in tears. "I responded that I did not know – I gave the same response."

"I could not think of any mistakes I had made," he said. "I did not know of any KGB (Russia’s former national security agency) or CIA network. They just kept beating me up."

Duch admitted to the tribunal that most confessions, which were extracted from each prisoner through beatings, electrocution and even the removal of toenails, were untrue. He told the court a number of times that in ordering the executions, he was simply following orders.

"The decision of the Party was overwhelming," he told the court on the penultimate day of testimony on Sep. 16 as he described how he had his brother-in-law arrested, tortured and then executed. "Nobody could stand in its way. . . . I was an ordinary party member. I had no right to protest."

The damage wrought by the Khmer Rouge was felt mainly in Cambodia, but the trial also showed how the effects of the regime’s murders rippled around the world to terrible effect.

The court heard from a French woman whose Cambodian diplomat husband returned to the country in 1977 and was murdered at S-21, and a New Zealand sportsman whose brother was taken from his yacht, which had strayed into Cambodian waters, and eventually killed.

Duch’s guilt is not in question – the key unknown is what sentence will be levied on him. (Cambodia does not have the death penalty.)

Final arguments in the trial will take place at the end of November, and judges are expected to hand down their verdict in 2010.

Duch’s defence has indicated its belief that judges should take into account his numerous apologies and admissions of guilt, as well as the fact that he spent a decade in detention before his trial.

But whether Duch’s remorse is genuine — which many Cambodians doubt — the fact that he has apologised is important to some, such as former S-21 survivor Chum Mey, 79.

Chum Mey told the court during his testimony in June that five of his children died under the Khmer Rouge. When he finally returned to his village, just two relatives were still alive there. Despite being tortured at S-21, Chum Mey said – in a video recorded before the trial began and shown by the defence on the penultimate day of the trial – that he bears no grudge against Duch.

"Before I was not free to speak out as I am doing now," he said in the video, which was filmed at S-21 in February 2008 when Duch, who broke down in tears at the prison, returned there and apologised to the nation. "I thank Duch for coming to give testimony. . . . I would ask him to speak the truth before the court."

Duch claims to have done that despite some significant inconsistencies in his statements such as refuting the testimony of some parties who said they saw him torture or kill people. But even he admits that saving himself by carrying out the killings of so many thousands of others was fundamentally dishonourable.

"Yes, you can say I am a coward," Duch told the court in the final week of testimony.

CAMBODIA: More Khmer Rouge Leaders May Stand Trial

Former inmates of Tuol Sleng prison.
Credit:Andre Nette/IPS

CAAI News Media

IPS News
By Andrew Nette

PHNOM PENH, Nov 27 (IPS) - With its first trial delayed until early 2009, the Khmer Rouge tribunal is facing another challenge: how to balance its mandate to try only former leaders deemed most senior against pressure to prove its independence by ordering further arrests.

The question of who to prosecute is a complex matter for all war crimes tribunals but particularly so for Cambodia given its fractured history and also the structure of the tribunal; a special chamber within the Cambodian court system comprising local and international judges.

Although further suspects in addition to the five currently in custody have been identified, international and Cambodia co-prosecutors have been unable to agree on whether to pursue them and, if so, how many to investigate.

Kaing Guek Eav, otherwise known as Duch, head of the infamous Tuol Sleng torture centre will be the first of these to stand trial, sometime in early 2009.

The other four are Noun Chea or ‘Brother No 2’ as he was known in the Khmer Rouge hierarchy, former Democratic Kampuchea head of state Khieu Samphan, and former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary and his wife, Ieng Thirith, the regime’s Minister of Social Action.

The sole legal power to initiate the prosecution of crimes allegedly committed during the reign of the Khmer Rouge rests with the Office of Co-Prosecutors (OCP).

Speculation of further arrests increased substantially in mid-June when international co-prosecutor Robert Petit revealed investigations were underway into other former members of Khmer Rouge, and additional defendants could be named.

The timing of the comments, on the eve of a meeting of donors in New York to discuss the tribunals’ budget, was viewed as significant.

"Given the massive and systematic nature of the crimes I think there will be more accused or at least they should be investigated," Petit told IPS at the time.

"We feel we have the evidence to make a decision, hopefully soon," he said. "We are all mindful this needs to be a quick process."

Discussions have since been underway between Cambodian and international co-prosecutors to reach agreement on whether additional suspects should be investigated and, if so, how many there should be.

Although no official information has been released, these discussions are believed to be focusing on between two and six names, on the basis of evidence prepared by prosecution researchers.

The October bulletin from the tribunal’s public affairs unit bulletin stated the OCP has "continued the analysis of evidence to identify further criminal acts and potential suspects for a possible subsequent introductory submission."

"This process is expected to be finalised in the following few weeks," it said.

But no public announcement has yet been made and no updated information provided on the status of OCP’s deliberations.

Petit was not in Cambodia and could not be contacted for comment on the issue.

Deputy co-prosecutor, William Smith, declined to comment.

Cambodian co-prosecutors have repeatedly refused to comment publicly on their deliberations.

If international and Cambodian co-prosecutors agree to recommend further arrests, a brief will be put together for the co-investigating judges who will then decide whether enough evidence exists to take the cases to the tribunal.

If no agreement is reached, under the tribunal’s rules the international side can still move ahead by filing a notice of with the five member Pre-Trial Chamber (comprising three Khmer and two foreign judges).

A majority of four is needed to block the move.

Tribunal observers believe international co-prosecutors will do everything they can to avoid taking the issue to the Pre-Trial Chamber and risk signalling a public split between the two sides.

Although there is no formal time limit on when a decision needs to be reached, the observers say in practical terms if additional prosecutions are going to occur the process will need to commence soon.

There are only two conditions guiding the work of co-prosecutors in the agreement between the UN and Cambodian government establishing the tribunal: that those indicated be ‘senior’ and ‘most responsible’ and the crimes committed during the period which the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia, April 17 1975 to January 6 1979.

Given the fact that the tribunal is taking place in Cambodia and the presence of ex-Khmer Rouge in so many parts of the society, some in positions of power, the reality is more complex.

Most observers agree former senior government and military officials in the Khmer Rouge regime continue to live freely in Cambodia.

"The prosecution of additional suspects is critical to the ability of the tribunal to give the public a realistic picture of responsibility for a broad range of Khmer Rouge atrocities," said Heather Ryan, a Phnom Penh observer with the Open Society Justice Initiative.

"Further prosecutions are also necessary to demonstrate that the court is truly independent of political pressure to limit prosecutions to only the most notorious few."

The expectation of further arrests is also high amongst the Cambodian public given the amount of money being spent on the process, particularly compared to the lack of funding for the criminal justice system generally in Cambodia.

"We agree with the principle of combining justice and peace," said Thun Saray, President of ADHOC, a local rights organisation who lived through the Khmer Rouge period.

"It is a difficult balancing act. If they can show proof for another four or five arrests and limit it to this then, yes, they should go ahead but limit it to these people."

"Why concentrate on only the top five when there are others out there?"

However many believe the Cambodian government is keen to restrict the tribunal’s focus to the five currently on trial, fearing that any further arrests could potentially open a Pandora’s Box of additional prosecutions.

The second half of the 1990s saw the government embark on a largely successful strategy of encouraging members of the guerrilla movement to defect, sometimes in exchange for high-level positions in the country’s military and provincial power structures.

Many believe the government is concerned that further arrests could disturb some of these arrangements and create unrest.

"I know the government is worried about this but I don’t see why, " said Saray. "There is already enough protection in the law to ensure any arrests will not be spread too far."

Others point out the tribunal is yet to deal with the five senior leaders in custody and additional arrests could risk diluting the tribunal’s resources and focus, as well as donor patience with the process.

Who these additional defendants might be is also not clear.

Most academic specialists in the area are working for the tribunal and not talking.

Members of the Communist Party central committee, those deemed most senior and responsible, are either dead or in custody.

Most leaders of the Khmer Rouge’s zone system, the next level of authority, are thought to be dead, either by natural causes or purges.

While deputy zone commanders would not have given orders, they would have been influential. There is speculation some of them may still be alive.

Another potential pool of candidates is from amongst the ranks of commanders of army groups and security establishments attached to each zone.

In his 2001 book, Seven Candidates for Prosecution: Accountability for the Crimes of the Khmer Rouge, academic Stephen Heder drew on then newly available archival material to present the leaders most complicit in the Khmer Rouge’s crimes.

Of these, Noun Chea, Ieng Sary and Khieu Samphan, are in custody.

Ta Mok and Kae Pok, who as heads of zones directed or otherwise facilitated the arrests of suspected traitors and failed to punish atrocities perpetrated by their subordinates, are both dead.

This leaves Sou Met and Meah Muth who held predominantly military ranks in the Khmer Rouge "just below the senior level, which positioned them to implement party policies and influence the conduct of lower level cadres", wrote Heder.

According to ‘Getting Away With Genocide? Exclusive Justice and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’, co-authored by British journalist Tom Fawthrop and Helen Jarvis, currently the tribunal’s public affairs chief, both Met and Muth currently hold senior positions in the Cambodian army.

"One problem with including these two as prime suspects is that it extends the scope considerably beyond the highest bodies of the Centre, raising the question of how many others held equal rank and would therefore logically be included as prime suspects," the book states.

Potential prosecutions could also arise from material gathered by the prosecution on the detention and interrogation centres run by the Khmer Rouge.

Although Tuol Sleng remains the best known and most important of these centres, it was only one of many run by the Khmer Rouge.

Other large detention centres operated in Kandal, Takeo and Siem Reap provinces.

NGO’s doing outreach work with victims of these facilities claim they have collected considerable evidence about their operations, including witness statements about what went on, and have identified former guards.

Thai Leader Calls For Peace After Activists' Clash

(CAAI News Media)

Thai Prime Minister Calls For Reconciliation After Activists' March To Border Sparks Violence

(AP) Thailand's prime minister called for peace and reconciliation on Sunday, a day after a nationalist group provoked clashes with police and villagers during a march to the Cambodian border.

"We can express different opinions but please don't hurt each other. Don't hurt our own people," Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

At least 17 people were injured in northeastern Sisaket province when several hundred members of the People's Alliance for Democracy tried to march to a border area claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia to demand that the Thai government seize the territory. They clashed with police and with hundreds of local Thai villagers who oppose them.

Both the protesters and villagers were armed with sticks, slingshots and other homemade weapons.

The alliance also led demonstrations three years ago that helped spark a military coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for alleged corruption and disrespect for the country's monarch. After Thaksin's allies returned to power, it occupied the prime minister's office for three months last year and seized the capital's two airports for a week.

Abhisit, a Thaksin rival who took office after those demonstrations, sought to appease the protesters, saying Sunday that they should "be assured we are not losing out territory" and that the government was continuing to work on the issue.

"I'm sorry that police couldn't prevent the violence. They were really outnumbered and couldn't block the protesters," he said, adding that they were under strict instructions not to use force.

Police mostly carried only riot shields, making it difficult for them to fend off attacks by the alliance's marchers. Television footage showed alliance members thrusting staffs bearing the Thai flag.

The clashes were linked to a decades-old territorial dispute. The World Court in 1962 awarded control over the nearby 11th century Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia, but some surrounding land remains in dispute.

The People's Alliance for Democracy seized on the land issue last year to stir up nationalist sentiment and attract support, accusing the government of failing to defend Thailand's sovereignty.

Abhisit after the clashes told the army and police to negotiate with the protesters, who agreed to send a small group Sunday to a spot near the temple to make their statement. About 30 of the group's representatives, escorted by soldiers, carried an assortment of royal symbols to the area Sunday.

"We demand that the government and army press the intruders to move out. We are not making war but are protecting our sovereignty," protest leader Veera Somkwamkit said.

The Saturday confrontation came on the same day that about 20,000 pro-Thaksin demonstrators in Bangkok marked the third anniversary of the military coup, saying it set back the cause of democracy.

The protesters want Abhisit to step down, claiming he came to power illegitimately.

More than 6,000 police were on hand to prevent a repeat of rioting that killed at least two and injured hundreds in the last major anti-government protests in April. There was no violence.

Thaksin, who is in self-imposed exile, addressed the crowd by video.

"The whole world thought Thailand was already developed, or almost developed, but it has gone backward to dictatorship," he said.

Cambodia to host Mekong-Japan foreign ministers meeting next week
CAAI News Media

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia will host the Second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting next week to review progress and to set out future direction for cooperation in the region, according to a press release issued Wednesday by Cambodia's Foreign Ministry.

The press release said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong will chair the meeting of foreign ministers from Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam from Oct. 2 to 3 in Siem Reap.

On the sidelines of the Mekong-Japan meeting, Hor Namhong will also chair the Second Foreign Minister's Meeting of the Emerald Triangle Cooperation between Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

The ministers will review the progress of Japan-Mekong cooperation since "Japan-Mekong Region Partnership Program" was launched in 2007 and the First Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in Tokyo in January 2008, and to set out the future direction of the cooperation in this mechanism.

Siem Reap is chosen as an alternative venue for many international meetings or conferences beside Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh and coastal beach of Sihanoukville in southwestern Cambodia.

Editor: Yan

Ex-NMI teacher gets 10 years in jail in Cambodia for sexual abuse of minor

Thursday, September 24, 2009
CAAI News Media
By Ferdie de la Torre

Michael J. Dodd, a former teacher at an elementary school here on Saipan, was convicted last month in Cambodia for sexual abuse of a minor girl.

Dodd was sentenced to 10 years in jail in the CNMI in 2002 for molesting several children but was given parole after five years.

According to newspapers from Cambodia, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted and sentenced the 60-year-old Dodd to 10 years in jail for sexually abusing a 14-year-old Vietnamese girl.

Dodd, from Washington, was ordered to pay 20 million riels ($4,824) in compensation to the girl.

The judge also ordered the victim's mother to 10 years in jail for aiding in the sexual abuse of her daughter.

The newspapers said authorities arrested Dodd in Phnom Penh's Dauhn Denh district in Oct. 2008 over allegations of child sex abuse and procurement involving the victim and another 13-year-old girl.

In July 2002, Dodd pleaded guilty to five child molestation charges in the CNMI Superior Court. Then Presiding Judge Edward Manibusan sentenced the defendant to 10 years in prison.

During the sentencing hearing, Dodd admitted to the charges and apologized for his wrongdoings.

“I had no right to touch them. I was their teacher, not their playmate. It struck me like a knife to see the repercussions of what I did,” Dodd told the parents of the victims who were in the courtroom.

Press Secretary Charles Reyes Jr. said yesterday that according to the Office of the Attorney General, Dodd was placed on parole on May 15, 2006 for his crimes in the CNMI.

Reyes said the parole was granted only on the condition that he leave the CNMI.

CNMI Board of Parole chairman R.B. Camacho in a statement said they have been monitoring Dodd's case in Cambodia closely and have had a good communication with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Camacho said there was some discussion about returning Dodd to the CNMI prior to being brought to trial in Cambodia.

“I'm glad that the Cambodia justice system was given time to complete its work. I think the Commonwealth is safer and that justice is better served with Mr. Dodd remaining in Cambodia and being held accountable for his new crimes there,” Camacho said.