Saturday, 10 October 2009

Small Arms Control and Management in Cambodia

Virak Thun
October 08, 2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)

This article raises the growing concerns over the production, accumulation, and availability of illegal small arms around the world and points out negative effects of small arms misuse on post-conflict societies like Cambodia. It further acknowledges and illustrates small arms control efforts of the Cambodian government such as: (1) establishing the National Commission on Weapons Management and Reform (NCWMR); (2) enacting the Law on the Management of Weapons, Explosives and Ammunition; (3) collecting Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) nationally; and (4) initiating and developing public awareness campaigns. In-depth analysis of these small arms control efforts follows, and concluding remarks are emphasized at the end.


I. Introduction
For the last several years, much research and study has been conducted on small arms manufacturing, availability, and effects. For instance, Shah (2006) reveals that: “[a]t least 1,134 companies in 98 countries worldwide are involved in some aspect of the production of small arms and/or ammunition.” Shah (2006) further estimates that: “[t]here are around half a billion military small arms around the world; … 300,000 to half a million people around the world are killed by them each year…” Even though much of the small arms production (supply or transfer and acquisition) is legal according to national and international laws, conventions, and protocols; an increase in illicit circulation and trade (import and export) as well as the black market of small arms capture great attention. With the ready availability of and growing accessibility to illegal small arms, global security and peace are put at high risk. Like many other post-conflict countries around the world, Cambodia also witnesses or experiences threats to its national order, stability, and social, political, and economic development; as proliferation and unlawful use of small arms continue unabated. Anders (2002) indicates that: “[e]merging from decades of brutal violent conflict, Cambodia is now facing the challenge of transforming itself into a stable and secure state... A particular challenge... is the excessive accumulation and easy availability of small arms such as assault rifles, grenades and pistols.”

II. Reviews on Impacts of Small Arms Misuse
What are the negative effects of small arms misuse, especially in the case of a post-conflict society like Cambodia?

This simple, but interactive, question invites a lot of answers from many schools of thoughts. Godnick, Laurance, Stohl, and Small Arms Survey (2005) classify the effects of small arms misuse into two main categories—direct and indirect. While the direct effects are perceived as “deaths, injuries, and disabilities; terror, intimidation, and other psychological effects; … increased potential for violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws; threats to humanitarian intervention; and outbreak of intergroup violence”, the indirect impacts are heavily placed on such four major aspects as “development, tourism, post-conflict reconstruction, and governance” (Godnick, Laurance, Stohl, and Small Arms Survey, 2005). Accordingly, both kinds of the effects embrace human, social, and economic costs.

Apart from the two abovementioned divisions, Stohl (2005) acknowledges the impact of small arms that cause “the majority of today's conflict deaths and thousands more injuries each year… the spread and misuse of small arms cause, prolong, and exacerbate humanitarian crises and violent conflicts around the world and are the weapons of choice of terrorists.” Krause (2000) also gives us a thoughtful explanation that:

…the small arms and light weapons issues has been framed not just as an inter-state problem, or one that concerns traditional arms control and security actors, but as a problem with concrete societal consequences in terms of levels of violence and crime, increased medical and public health costs, the destruction of the social and communal fabric, and the creation and perpetuation of a ‘culture of violence.’

In addition, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009) shows its standpoint on the harmful effects of small arms and light weapons (SALW) that “create serious problems in today's world because they are widely available and used as tools of violence exacerbating regional and internal conflicts, and also escalating criminal activities in post-conflict societies.” Shah (2006) further advocates the idea that: “[t]he growing availability of small arms has been a major factor in the increase in the number of conflicts, and in hindering smoother rebuilding and development after a conflict has ended.” From all the well-explained perspectives above, it can be summarized that the negative effects of small arms misuse are: (1) threatening or jeopardizing national security and social order; (2) creating a “culture of violence”; (3) fueling and lengthening conflicts; (4) violating human rights and national and international laws; and (5) inhibiting the development or post-conflict reconstruction in all domains. These five key unconstructive effects of small arms can also be applied to the Cambodian context; however, more impacts of small arms are addressed in the country as well. Anders (2002) asserts a detailed description of the impacts that:

“[t]hey[small arms] fuel armed banditry, crime and social violence, and they representa risk of future destabilisation. In addition, a lack of accountability and aculture of impunity among the security forces and other state institutions implythe persistent misuse of small arms in political violence and human rightsviolations. This hinders the consolidation of the rule of law, and of a neutralstate apparatus that serves the interests of its citizens. The excessiveaccumulation and misuse of small arms is therefore undoubtedly a significantobstacle to the post-conflict transformation of Cambodia, and hence to itssustainable development.”

As the harmful effects of small arms misuse have been outlined and discussed above, the challenging priority of confronting the Cambodian government today lies at the heart of identifying its efforts to control illegal small arms. These efforts should be improved, so as to reduce or eliminate their negative effects and to strengthen the social variables of human security effectively.

III. Small Arms Control Efforts of the Cambodian Government
Amazingly, the government of Cambodia has been making significant progress in controlling and managing the production, circulation, and use of illicit small arms. Impressive progress has been accredited by Cambodian citizens as well as the regional and international community.

3.1. Establishment of the National Commission on Weapons Management and Reform (NCWMR)
The NCWMR was founded in June 2000, under the firm initiative and commitment of the Cambodian government. The main components of the Commission have encompassed the related government ministries and departments, and it has been chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister (Minister of Interior) of the nation. It has served as a backbone to contribute a positive influence to the formation of an integrated national SALW Control strategy. What is more, it has been “charged with establishing control over small arms possession and with the confiscation and collection of illegally held weapons” (Anders, 2002).

3.2. Enactment of Law on the Management of Weapons, Explosives and Ammunition
Law on the Management of Weapons, Explosives and Ammunition was adopted and came into force in 2005. The Cambodian government has implemented the Law to strengthen national security and order; to provide the principles for regulatory and effective control and management of weapons, explosives, and ammunition; to crack down illicit production, circulation, and procurement of weapons; and to bring down the crime rate in the entire country. The Law has also stipulated “regulations for the ownership of weapons for government officials, personnel in the security forces and other state employees” (Anders, 2002). Furthermore, these legalities have been aimed at offering small arms control measures to strictly ban the use of illicit small arms by civilians and penalizing them for misuse and illegal ownership of weapons. For example, Article 2 of the Law explicitly states that: “[t]his law governs the equipping, possession, carrying, utilization, purchase, sale, trading, loan, transfer, hiring, production, fabrication, repair, transportation, transit, importation, exportation, and stockpiling of weapons, explosives and ammunition of any and all types” (National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia, 2005).

3.3. National Gathering of SALW
Due to the changing security situation in the neighboring countries and around the world, Cambodia has been doing its best to improve its national security and social order and to transform itself into a safe and stable nation with no illegal small arms proliferation and availability. To ensure the high achievement of these goals, the government has been actively enforcing the nationwide collection of SALW by motivating its armed citizens and ex-combatants or ex-soldiers to surrender their illegal and unsafe weapons or ammunition to the state authority. For instance, in 1998, the City Hall of Cambodia started its weapons collection program. This initiative encouraged civilians and other former soldiers to stop possessing and using their weapons secretly and illegally and to voluntarily hand them in to the government. This collection program, accompanied by sporadic house check and searches at roadblocks for SALW, was deemed very successful and was expanded across Cambodia to implement the nationwide collection of SALW from all the entire population. “By June 2000 these efforts had led to the collection of some 66,000 weapons. More than half of these have been destroyed in public ceremonies” (Anders, 2002).
In addition to this collection program, the Cambodian Ministry of National Defense has also come to play an operational role in presenting its “nationwide programme for record-keeping and storage security of army stockpiles.” The Ministry further reports that: “[p]ilot projects in this programme have resulted in computerised registration of arms, the construction of safe storage facilities, appropriate training of staff at stockpile sites, and the destruction of surplus military weapons” (Anders, 2002).
3.4. Public Awareness Campaigns
The Cambodian government, with the support of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the international community, has launched several national campaigns in the country to raise significant public awareness about the collected weapons destruction and of a secure society with no SALW. Such public awareness campaigns include: workshops and conferences on small arms control and management; information leaflets and posters on the negative effects of SALW; weapon-made statues about non-violence or a healthy environment without SALW; and weapons destruction ceremonies held in the capital city and a few other provinces in the country. Anders (2002) claims that: “... between May 1999 and January 2003, a total of 105,000 small arms have been either crushed or burned in Flames of Peace.”
One of the best examples of public awareness campaigns is the “Control Arms” campaign launched in 2003 in Cambodia and in nearly 70 other countries around the world. This campaign, which was attended by thousands of Cambodian people, was run by a joint group of such three international organizations as Amnesty International, IANSA, and Oxfam. The campaign “has been active in highlighting the situation in Cambodia and lobbying for stricter arms controls” (Oxfam, 2009). Another viable alternative or approach to promote public awareness of small arms impacts in Cambodia is related to the use of media. Financially and technically assisted by international organizations and governments, Cambodia has been effectively utilizing media, national televisions and radios in particular. The use of the media is to disseminate the information about the damaging consequences of SALW on the welfare of people and the country at large; and about the legal punishment applied to those whose actions are against the Law on the Management of Weapons, Explosives and Ammunition.
IV. Analysis of the Small Arms Control Efforts
Although the government of Cambodia has invested its aforesaid efforts to control and manage small arms in the nation, there are still a few main weaknesses and limitations involving efforts that have been unaddressed or neglected. First of all, the formation of the NCWMR includes only the relevant government institutions, but the civil society representation and participation in the Commission do not exist; so constructive contributions of the civil society to the effective performance of the NCWMR are absent. Moreover, the chairman of the Commission is the Deputy Prime Minister (Minister of Interior) and its members are all high-ranking government officials (e.g. the Commander in Chief of the RCAF and Director General of the Police), so “it is unlikely that it can ever meet to discuss operational issues. It is too high level to be effective, and responsibility should be devolved to a more practical level to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the commission” (Wilkinson, 2006, p. 17).
In addition, although the Cambodian Law on the Management of Weapons, Explosives and Ammunition has been put in place since 2005, the implementation or enforcement of the Law remains questionable and challenging. For instance, the illegal in-country production and circulation of small arms or weapons continues to be unabated, and violent crime rates in the nation are still relatively high (compared to that in the neighboring states). Further, in reality, some government officials or personnel in the security forces can carry and use guns or weapons even though they are not on their duties, and rich and powerful individuals can also possess guns or have their bodyguards armed. Sadly enough, these people or groups can own and use weapons illicitly without being prosecuted and punished before the Law. As a result, it shows a clear sign of ineffective governmental control over their illegal possession and use of SALW though the Law has been enacted.
It is also worth emphasizing that there are other weaknesses in small arms control and management in Cambodia. The weaknesses are greatly focused on: (1) limited governmental control of SALW, coupled with “no central oversight of the number of weapons held in the dispersed stockpiles of the national and provincial army units and other security forces”; (2) inadequate security and management of stockpiles; (3) poor storage facilities, stemming from limited financial resources; (4) presence of ongoing illegal trafficking of SALW across the borders, resulting from weak border control and customs authorities; and (5) lack of regional and sub-regional coordination and cooperation in sharing information and monitoring the circulation and supply of weapons (Anders, 2002).
V. Conclusion
To a large extent, the aforementioned efforts or initiatives made by the Cambodian government are important contributing factors in the reduction of small arms proliferation, availability, and misuse. To address the main weaknesses in the efforts and to ensure a higher level of success of all initiatives, the government of Cambodia should enhance the practical implementation of the Law on the Management of Weapons, Explosives and Ammunition. Further, the government should intensify joint efforts with NGOs and international donors that can provide financial and technical assistance when needed. Finally, broader changes should be produces in governance reforms and practices, government institutions and agencies as well as the private sector. It seems like there are lots of tasks for the Cambodian government to do in both short-term and long-term periods. However, it does not necessarily mean that the government is not able to accomplish them. Starting to act now is a fundamental step that the government should not overlook.

Cambodia Fashion

REFILE - ADDING DATE Contestants pose during the finals of a modelling competition in Phnom Penh October 9, 2009.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA FASHION)

A model walks down the runway during the finals of a modelling competition in Phnom Penh. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA FASHION)

A model wears a creation by Vietnamese fashion designer Kelly Bui, during Bui's 2009 Autumn-Summer collection entitled, ' My Fair Lady', in Hanoi, Vietnam, Friday, Oct. 9, 2009.(AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

(Post by CAAI News Media)

Flash floods hit Thai-Cambodian border markets, checkpoints

(Post by CAAI News Media)

BANGKOK, Oct 9 (TNA) - Flash floods from the hills along Thai-Cambodian border in Thailand’s eastern provinces poured into the market at a checkpoint for border trade between the two neighbouring countries, more than 200 vendors were affected by the inundation which caused damage estimated at over Bt30 million (US$850,000).

Runoff floods from Cambodia’s Phnom Preuk hill in Battambang province and Khao Ta Ngok in Thailand's Sa Kaeo province combined with flash flooding from Khao Soi Dao in Chanthaburi which flowed into the Thai-Cambodian checkpoint for border trade at Ban Sub Taree and at Ban Suan Som in Soi Dao district of Chanthaburi.

The markets at both checkpoints were submerged, with border traders rushing to transfer their goods and products to higher ground as the water level is likely to continue to rise.

Flash floods also hit the 522th Marine Company base near the border.

There were no reports of casualties. (TNA)

There Is Concern about Gem Depletion while Pailin Expert Official Claimed 50% Still Remain – Thursday, 8.10.2009

Posted on 9 October 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 633
(Post by CAAI News Media)
“Pailin: Valuable gem ore in Pailin is facing depletion at present, because wicked merchants are using machinery to aggressively extract large amounts of gems, while expert officials said that they did not know anything, but now they will take action.

“According to officials of the province, merchants deploy machinery to extract gems at two sites at the Phnom Teuk Chenh region in Teuk Chenh village, Stung Kach commune, Sala Krao district, Pailin. According to that source, there are two groups of merchants who use gem sieving machinery to extract large amounts of gems in that region. The Stung Kach commune chief, Mr. Kang Chheng, told Koh Santepheap via telephone in the morning of 7 October 2009 that he did not know that merchants are extracting large amounts of gem in an area under his control by using such machinery. This commune chief said that he is at present busy with checking the election voter name lists. Therefore, he has not gone to check the sites where merchants are extracting gems.

“But an official, who asked not to be named, said that the two groups of merchants have been running their operations for many years, and they always move to every place in Pailin to explore and extract gems. But they set up also permanent sites at the Phnom Teuk Chenh region since January 2009. Among the two merchant groups, one is controlled by Sreng Kong Sri, and this man lets Dy, called Ta Sak Sar, lead the group, but who is controlling the other group is not known. The same source said that the authorities should not say that they knew nothing about the use of the machineries and the merchants who actively explore gem, because they have operated for many years, and if there were no permissions from the authorities or from expert officials, how could those merchants have done so?

“Regarding the above issue, the head of the Department of Industry, Mines, and Energy of the Province, Mr. Ea Hoeun, told Koh Santepheap in the morning of 7 October 2009 that before, he had known that there were really merchants who extract gems, adding ‘But we summoned and told them to stop their operations, and to remove all machineries a few days ago already.’ Anyway, according to citizens living in the Phnom Teuk Chenh region, in the morning of 7 October 2009, all machinery was not yet removed, but it was just seen that the operations were suspended, simply because those merchants had been informed to remain quiet temporarily to see the situation. It is believed that the operations will start again after there is green light from expert officials.

“It should be noted that many types of gem ore in Pailin, especially in the town, were almost totally exhausted by Siamese [Thai] merchants during the wartime in Cambodia. However, Mr. Ea Hoeun claimed that there still might be 50% of valuable gems remaining, except in the area of the town itself, where there is little left.

“In the morning of 7 October 2009, Koh Santepheap could not reach the two groups of merchants for comment via telephone. Commune officials said that they had all switched off their phones.”

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6773, 8.10.2009
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 8 October 2009

Tropical storm Ketsana leaves thousands homeless in Laos

October 09, 2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)

Tropical storm Ketsana which hit Lao southern provinces last week has left thousands of people homeless in the country, Lao newspaper the Vientiane Times reported Friday.

The storm hit Lao provinces of Savannakhet, Saravan, Attapeu, and Xekong. Among them, Attapeu and Xekong provinces are the worst affected, said the newspaper.

Property losses in the storm-hit provinces were estimated at about 854 billion Lao kip (100.4 million U.S. dollars), according to the newspaper.

In Xekong province, at least 508 houses were completely destroyed and 76 others were partially damaged, leaving 8,805 people homeless, said provincial Deputy Governor Phonphet Kiewlavong.

Officials are currently involved in relief efforts in Dakcheungdistrict, one of the three worst-hit areas, where figures on losses and damage have not been reported yet, said Phonphet.

In Attapeu province, floods caused by the storm affected a total area of 95,587 hectares, inundating houses, schools, offices, business facilities, farmland and livestock grazing land, according to initial reports from the province.

Some 72,850 people, out of the province's total population of 123,398, have been affected by the floodwaters, said Attapeu provincial Deputy Governor Khainthong Sisouvong.

Many people in Xekong and Attapeu provinces will face rice shortages for the next six months, according to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, more than 80 families have been left homeless due to the storm in Saravan and Savannakhet provinces.

Officials are now rushing to help affected residents rebuild houses and set up temporary shelters.

Provincial authorities said urgent requirements include food, drinking water, household and cooking equipment, medicines and construction materials, according to the newspaper.

So far, only one fatality due to the storm in Attapeu province has been confirmed in Laos, said the newspaper.

Source: Xinhua

Surprised, humbled Obama awarded Nobel Peace Prize

US President Barack Obama speaks after winning Nobel Peace Prize at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. Americans greeted President Barack Obama's surprise winning of the Nobel Peace Prize Friday with joy and derision. (AFP/Jewel Samad)

By KARL RITTER and MATT MOORE, Associated Press Writers
(Post by CAAI News Media)

OSLO – President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to build momentum behind his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.

Obama said he was surprised and deeply humbled by the honor, and planned to travel to Oslo to accept the prize.

"I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize," he said. "I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the challenges of the 21st century."

Many observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline and has yet to yield concrete achievements in peacemaking.

Some around the world objected to the choice of Obama, who still oversees wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has launched deadly counter-terror strikes in Pakistan and Somalia.

Obama said he was working to end the war in Iraq and "to confront a ruthless adversary that directly threatens the American people and our allies" in Afghanistan.

Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said their choice could be seen as an early vote of confidence in Obama intended to build global support for his policies. They lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation, and praised his pledges to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, ease American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthen the U.S. role in combating climate change.

"Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics," the citation read, in part. "Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts."

Aagot Valle, a lawmaker for the Socialist Left party who joined the committee this year, said she hoped the selection would be viewed as "support and a commitment for Obama."

"And I hope it will be an inspiration for all those that work with nuclear disarmament and disarmament," she told The Associated Press in a rare interview. Members of the Nobel peace committee usually speak only through its chairman.

The peace prize was created partly to encourage ongoing peace efforts but Obama's efforts are at far earlier stages than past winners'. The Nobel committee acknowledged that they may not bear fruit at all.

"Some people say, and I understand it, isn't it premature? Too early? Well, I'd say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now," Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said. "It is now that we have the opportunity to respond — all of us."

In Europe and much of the world Obama is lionized for bringing the United States closer to mainstream global thinking on issues like climate change and multilateralism. A 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released in July by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world. That indicator had plunged across the world under President George W. Bush.

At home, the picture is more complicated. Obama is often criticized as he attempts to carry out his agenda — drawing fire over a host of issues from government spending to health care to the conduct of the war in Afghanistan.

U.S. Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele contended that Obama won the prize as a result of his "star power" rather than meaningful accomplishments.

"The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished?'" Steele said.

Drawing criticism from some on the left, Obama has been slow to bring troops home from Iraq and the real end of the U.S. military presence there won't come until at least 2012.

In Afghanistan, he is seriously considering ramping up the number of U.S. troops on the ground and asking for help from others, too.

"I don't think Obama deserves this. I don't know who's making all these decisions. The prize should go to someone who has done something for peace and humanity," said Ahmad Shabir, 18-year-old student in Kabul. "Since he is the president, I don't see any change in U.S. strategy in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Obama has said that battling climate change is a priority. But the U.S. seems likely to head into crucial international negotiations set for Copenhagen in December with Obama-backed legislation still stalled in Congress.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said Obama's award shows great things are expected from him in the coming years.

"In a way, it's an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all," he said. "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope."

He described the prize as a "wonderful recognition" of Obama's effort to reach out to the Arab world after years of hostility.

But Former Polish President Lech Walesa, who won the prize in 1983, questioned whether Obama deserved it now.

"So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act," Walesa said.

Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded by Swedish institutions, the peace prize is given out by a five-member committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament. Like the Parliament, the committee has a leftist slant, with three members elected by left-of-center parties. Jagland said the decision to honor Obama was unanimous.

The identity of the person who nominated Obama will not be made public unless that person steps forward. The Nobel committee received a record 205 nominations for this year's prize.

The award appeared to be at least partly a slap at Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama's predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

"Those who were in support of Bush in his belief in war solving problems, on rearmament, and that nuclear weapons play an important role ... probably won't be happy," said Valle, the Nobel Committee member.

Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award: President Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919.

Wilson received the prize for his role in founding the League of Nations, the hopeful but ultimately failed precursor to the contemporary United Nations.

The Nobel committee chairman said after awarding the 2002 prize to former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, for his mediation in international conflicts, that it should be seen as a "kick in the leg" to the Bush administration's hard line in the buildup to the Iraq war.

Five years later, the committee honored Bush's adversary in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, for his campaign to raise awareness about global warming.

In July talks in Moscow, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed that their negotiators would work out a new limit on delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads of between 500 and 1,100. They also agreed that warhead limits would be reduced from the current range of 1,700-2,200 to as low as 1,500. The United States now has about 2,200 such warheads, compared to about 2,800 for the Russians.

But there has been no word on whether either side has started to act on the reductions.

Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Obama has already provided outstanding leadership in the effort to prevent nuclear proliferation.

"He has shown an unshakable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts," ElBaradei said.

Massimo Teodori, one of Italy's leading experts of U.S. history, said the Nobel decision was a clear rejection of the "unilateral, antagonistic politics" of Obama's predecessor, George Bush.

"The prize is well deserved after the Bush years, which had antagonized the rest of the world," Teodori said. "President Obama's policy of extending his hand has reconciled the United States with the international community."

Obama also has attempted to restart stalled talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but just a day after Obama hosted the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in New York, Israeli officials boasted that they had fended off U.S. pressure to halt settlement construction. Moderate Palestinians said they felt undermined by Obama's failure to back up his demand for a freeze.

"I look forward to working closely with you in the years ahead to advance peace," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a message of congratulations to Obama.

In the Gaza Strip, leaders of the radical Hamas movement said they had heard Obama's speeches seeking better relations with the Islamic world but had not been moved.

"We are in need of actions, not sayings," Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said. "If there is no fundamental and true change in American policies toward the acknowledgment of the rights of the Palestinian people, I think this prize won't move us forward or backward."

Obama was to meet with his top advisers on the Afghan war on Friday to consider a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to send as many as 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as the U.S war there enters its ninth year.

Obama ordered 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan earlier this year and has continued the use of unmanned drones for attacks on militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a strategy devised by the Bush administration. The attacks often kill or injure civilians living in the area.

A Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan has condemned President Barack Obama's winning of the Nobel Peace Prize, saying the American president had only escalated the war by sending more troops.

Qari Yousef Ahmadi accused Obama "of having the blood of the Afghan people on his hands."

In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses."

Nominators for the prize include former laureates; current and former members of the committee and their staff; members of national governments and legislatures; university professors of law, theology, social sciences, history and philosophy; leaders of peace research and foreign affairs institutes; and members of international courts of law.

Obama will donate to charity the $1.4 million cash award that comes with the prize. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says it is likely that more than one charity will benefit.

The committee has taken a wide interpretation of Nobel's guidelines, expanding the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change.

Until seconds before the award, speculation had focused on a wide variety of candidates besides Obama: Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Colombian senator, a Chinese dissident and an Afghan woman's rights activist, among others.

Associated Press writers Ian MacDougall in Oslo, Rahim Faiez in Kabul, Celean Jacobson in Johannesburg, George Jahn in Vienna, Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland, Matti Huuhtanen in Helsinki and Jennifer Loven in Washington contributed to this report.

KRouge lawyer demands judge's disqualification in Cambodia

Marcel Lemonde

By Patrick Falby (AFP)
(Post by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH — The lawyer for a former Khmer Rouge leader on Friday filed a demand that the French investigating judge be disqualified from Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes court for alleged bias.

Michael Karnavas, attorney for ex-Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, said the motion was based on allegations that Marcel Lemonde told subordinates to favour evidence showing suspects' guilt over evidence of their innocence.

The tribunal was set up to bring to justice the leaders of the genocidal late 1970s Khmer Rouge regime.

Karnavas said Lemonde was "giving instructions to his investigators to game the process. In other words, to look primarily for evidence that supports the prosecution".

The lawyer said he submitted his complaint based on a statement made by the former head of Lemonde's intelligence and analysis team, Wayne Bastin, at an Australian police station on Thursday.

A copy of the statement obtained by AFP said Lemonde shocked subordinates in a meeting at his Phnom Penh home in August when he told them, "I would prefer that we find more inculpatory evidence than exculpatory evidence".

Under the Khmer Rouge court's regulations, investigating judges are required to be impartial while researching allegations made by prosecutors. Defence teams are not permitted to make their own investigations.

"How is it that (Lemonde) can remain in the position in light of what we know now?" Karnavas said, adding that such behaviour was "outrageous".

Speaking on Lemonde's behalf, tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said he had no comment on the issue.

Lemonde is currently investigating the court's second case, against Ieng Sary and his wife, former minister of social affairs Ieng Thirith, as well as Khmer Rouge ideologue Nuon Chea and ex-head of state Khieu Samphan.

Heather Ryan, who monitors the court for the Open Society Justice Initiative, told AFP that the defence would probably need to demonstrate systemic bias for Lemonde to lose his job.

"An off the cuff remark made in private -- like what was quoted -- may not be significant," Ryan said.

Under the court's internal rules, Lemonde's previous work on investigations remains valid even if he is disqualified from the tribunal.

Lemonde also met controversy earlier this week when it was revealed he summoned six top government and legislative officials to testify against Khmer Rouge leaders, a move opposed by Prime Minister Hun Sen's administration.

Final arguments in the court's first trial of prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, known by the alias Duch, are scheduled for late next month.

But the tribunal, created in 2006 after several years of haggling between Cambodia and the UN, has faced accusations of political interference and allegations that local staff were forced to pay kickbacks for their jobs.

Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge emptied Cambodia's cities in a bid to forge a communist utopia between 1975-79, resulting in the deaths of up to two million people from starvation, overwork and torture.

Disqualify KRouge trial judge

Mr Karnavas said Mr Lemonde (left) was 'giving instructions to his investigators to game the process. In other words, to look primarily for evidence that supports the prosecution'. --PHOTO: REUTERS

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Oct 9, 2009

PHNOM PENH - THE lawyer for a former Khmer Rouge leader on Friday filed a demand that the French investigating judge be disqualified from Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes court for alleged bias.

Michael Karnavas, attorney for ex-Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, said the motion was based on allegations that Marcel Lemonde told subordinates to favour evidence showing suspects' guilt over evidence of their innocence.

The tribunal was set up to bring to justice the leaders of the genocidal late 1970s Khmer Rouge regime. Mr Karnavas said Mr Lemonde was 'giving instructions to his investigators to game the process. In other words, to look primarily for evidence that supports the prosecution'.

The lawyer said he submitted his complaint based on a statement made by the former head of Mr Lemonde's intelligence and analysis team, Wayne Bastin, at an Australian police station on Thursday.

A copy of the statement obtained by AFP said Lemonde shocked subordinates in a meeting at his Phnom Penh home in August when he told them, 'I would prefer that we find more inculpatory evidence than exculpatory evidence'.

Under the Khmer Rouge court's regulations, investigating judges are required to be impartial while researching allegations made by prosecutors. Defence teams are not permitted to make their own investigations. 'How is it that (Lemonde) can remain in the position in light of what we know now?' Mr Karnavas said, adding that such behaviour was 'outrageous'. -- AFP

Fake Malaria Drugs Spread, Breed Resistance to Lethal Parasite

(Post by CAAI News Media)

By Simeon Bennett

Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Fake malaria drugs from China are breeding resistance to life-saving medications in Cambodia and threatening to derail global efforts to eradicate the disease, a study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found.

Among more than 700 packets of pills sold at private drugstores in Cambodia and Thailand, 60 percent were found to be substandard or counterfeit around the border, compared with less than 5 percent in other areas in Thailand, said Patrick Lukulay, director of drug quality and information for U.S. Pharmacopeia, a Rockville, Maryland-based organization that tracks fake drugs.

Previous studies have suggested about one-third of malaria drugs in western Cambodia are fake, Lukulay said. Substandard treatments are contributing to growing resistance to genuine medicines in the area, he said. That threatens to unravel progress made against the disease in Africa, which has 90 percent of the world’s malaria cases, if the resistant strain spreads there, researchers have warned.

“We did not expect a worsening of the situation,” Lukulay said by phone from Phnom Penh yesterday. “We thought that by now things would have improved, but in fact they have not. The border areas are still notorious for having poor quality” medicines, he said.

Malaria strikes about 250 million people each year and kills more than 880,000, mostly children under age 5, according to the World Health Organization. It’s the world’s third- deadliest infectious disease, behind AIDS, which results in about 2 million deaths each year, and tuberculosis, which kills 1.6 million people annually, the Geneva-based WHO said.

Little Parasite

The disease is caused by a tiny parasite called Plasmodium, carried in the saliva of female mosquitoes. When an infected insect bites a person, the bugs travel to the liver, multiply and enter the bloodstream. There they invade red cells, leading to fever, chills, nausea and diarrhea. Unchecked, they cause red cells to stick to the walls of capillaries, slowing blood flow. Sufferers can die from organ failure without treatment.

The pills tested in the $350,000 Gates-funded study were mostly from China and touted to contain artesunate, part of a family of drugs called artemisinins that are the most potent weapons against malaria, Lukulay said. In reality, the study completed last week found that some had no active ingredient, while others contained small amounts, which fuel resistance by favoring the survival of the hardiest parasites, he said.

Treatments derived from artemisinin are taking almost twice as long to clear the parasites in patients in western Cambodia than in northwestern Thailand, showing the drugs are losing their potency against the disease, a study published in July in the New England Journal of Medicine showed.

Very Big Problem

“This is a very, very large problem potentially for the whole world,” said Nick White, director of the Bangkok-based Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, which is studying drug-resistant malaria in the areas around the Thai- Cambodia border. “The scale and the speed of the response have been unfortunately too small,” he said.

Researchers are still trying to understand why counterfeit malaria drugs are so abundant there, Lukulay said.

The WHO, which also participated in the drug-quality study, is trying to eliminate the resistant strain from that region with a mass screening and treatment program backed by $23 million from the Seattle-based Gates Foundation, the world’s richest charity.

U.S. Pharmacopeia is seeking to raise awareness of counterfeit drugs in Cambodia with a campaign including television advertisements that it announced in Phnom Penh yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simeon Bennett in Singapore at

Vietnam-Cambodia trade to pick up in 2010

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Trade between Vietnam and Cambodia will increase sharply in 2010 and the former will overtake Thailand to become the latter’s key trading partner, according to economic analysts in Phnom Penh.

The analysts say although Vietnam-Cambodia trade has fallen sharply due to the global financial crunch, it is likely to hit US$2 billion when the Cambodian economy picks up next year.

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry reports that bilateral trade in the first 8 months of this year fell by 29.2 percent to US$848 million. Of the total, Vietnamese exports to Cambodia were valued at US$726 million. Vietnam is Cambodia’s fourth biggest importer of farm products, rubber and wood.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian Development Council (CDC) says over the past 9 months Vietnam’s investment in Cambodia hit US$114 million, 20 percent above last year’s 12-month total. The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) and the Saigon Commercial Bank (Sacombank) have both opened branches in Cambodia.

In the review period, an additional 40 Vietnamese businesses registered to operate in that market, outnumbering all other countries. Last year, 52 Vietnamese businesses registered to operate in Cambodia, ranking third after China (82) and Malaysia (56).

The two countries have opened 9 border gates and built land routes to facilitate exchanges of goods.

Cambodia hosts int'l meeting on global economic crisis

October 09, 2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)

Cambodia hosts a three-day meeting on Thursday in Cambodia's northern province of Siem Reap, focusing on global economic crisis.

A statement released by Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) said the annual forum's theme for this year is "Overcoming the Global Financial and Economic Crisis: The Rule of Law as the Key to Economic Freedom," which is devoted to the topic of dealing with the global economic crisis.

"We need to understand them to see which reforms are needed. Wealso need to guard against those who use the crisis as a pretext for furthering their own illiberal agendas," the statement said.

"We will try to explore how to bridge the gap between people's clamor for action and protection against the effects of the crisis can be reconciled to sober economic analysis. Otherwise we risk wasting huge amounts of resources for little effect, resources that will go to the politically powerful rather than the poor and needy," it added.

The conference is a platform for the exchange of useful information, practical techniques and networking tailored to the needs of think tanks, industry, academics and policymakers.

Since 1998, it has become the Economic Freedom Network Asia conference's custom to utilize various forms of comprehensive and interactive programs.

In addition to keynote presentations and panel discussions, this year's conference will employ the Open Space Technology (OST). OST is a facilitation method which allows participants to identify specific issues, self-select into discussion groups and work on issues with individuals of similar interests.

Keynote speakers include Keat Chhon, deputy prime minister and minister of economy and finance of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and Professor Lawrence H. White from George Mason University.

The conference is sponsored and supported by Economic Freedom Network Asia and Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty and in collaboration with the Cambodia Institute of Development Study and the Citizen Action Net for Social Development.

Source: Xinhua

Public Campaign Warns Citizens of Dangers of Counterfeit Medicines in Cambodia and Greater Mekong Subregion

"Pharmacide" Public Service Announcement


" Though they may look similar or almost identical to the intended medicine, counterfeit drugs may contain little or no active ingredient  "

October 9, 2009

(Post by CAAI News Media)

USAID, USP Screen Public Service Announcements, Documentary to Raise Awareness of Serious Public Health Threat in Developing Countries

Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Vocus/PRWEB ) October 9, 2009 -- As part of a large-scale effort to combat the dire public health consequences of counterfeit medicines on citizens in developing countries, a public service announcement (PSA) campaign is being launched in Cambodia this week by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention--with the cooperation and support of authorities in Cambodia. The PSAs are being broadcast nationally on Cambodian television and throughout Southeast Asia, where the proliferation of substandard and counterfeit medicines intended to treat HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other life-threatening conditions remains a major threat to the lives and livelihood of citizens struggling with these diseases.

Translated into five languages, the "Pharmacide" PSAs are being screened at an October 8th ceremony in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, by Flynn Fuller, USAID Cambodia Mission director; Patrick Lukulay, Ph.D., director of USP's Drug Quality and Information (DQI) Program, which is supported by USAID; and Mark Hammond of Living Films, who directed the PSAs as well as a short documentary that is also being screened. The PSA campaign is an activity of the DQI Program. Implemented by USP, a nonprofit scientific organization that develops globally recognized standards for the quality of medicines, the DQI Program advances strategies to improve the quality of medicines on four continents. A key function of the program is rooting out substandard and counterfeit medicines, which the World Health Organization estimates account for between 10 and 30 percent of all medicines in the developing world.

"Counterfeit and substandard medicines pose a grave threat to patients in Southeast Asia, but their presence in these countries remains a largely unknown problem," said Mr. Fuller. "These poor-quality medicines can contribute to adverse reactions in patients, including protracted illness and death, but may go undetected as severe symptoms and death may be wrongly attributed to the course of their disease. This is a fate that no one deserves. It is a problem that USAID, USP and national authorities take very seriously, and we hope to reach patients directly through this PSA campaign."

"Though they may look similar or almost identical to the intended medicine, counterfeit drugs may contain little or no active ingredient," added Dr. Lukulay. "It can be very difficult for patients to discern any difference, often requiring complex testing to determine the authenticity of a medicine. However, the difference can truly be life and death, which is why it is so essential for citizens to purchase medicines from a licensed pharmacy. The PSAs underscore the consequences of purchasing these drugs through alternative means, which is unfortunately an attractive option among an economically deprived population because of the lower cost. We hope that once citizens are made aware of the consequences, they will not look at this as a viable alternative."

Further compounding the problem, Lukulay added, "not only do substandard drugs affect the individual taking them, but those that contain some but not all of an active ingredient can contribute to the development of drug-resistant strains of these diseases. This is a serious public health threat in developing countries, impacting not only the individual patient but the greater population of citizens, all of whom may suffer when a medicine is no longer effective because resistance has developed."

The PSAs show the life cycle of a counterfeit drug--from the counterfeiter to the dealer to the victim. It notes that "counterfeiting is a crime against humanity, against you," and urges citizens to always use a licensed pharmacy when purchasing medicines.

Through the DQI Program, USP advances the quality of medicines via a variety of activities that include implementing active surveillance programs in which medicines are taken off the market and tested; establishing "sentinel sites" within countries to perform testing; and training local chemists working in government laboratories, medical students and other qualified parties to conduct such testing in a cost-effective manner.

To view the PSA and video from the event, visit For more information, please visit or email mediarelations (at) usp (dot) org.

USP--Advancing Public Health Since 1820
The United States Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention is a scientific, nonprofit, standards-setting organization that advances public health through public standards and related programs that help ensure the quality, safety, and benefit of medicines and foods. USP's standards are recognized and used worldwide. For more information about USP visit

Cambodia. Residence d'Angkor in Siem Reap opens new Spa and suites

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This month, La Résidence d’Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia, opens its impressive Kong Kea Spa in a new wing of the boutique city resort, and eight luxury suites featuring original works of art by an aspiring Cambodian artist. Meaning ‘water for the god’ in Khmer language, the Kong Kea Spa focuses on the healing aspects of water, both visually and physically.

The water element of the spa is constantly present, from a bridge crossing a lotus pond at the entrance, to an aquarium in the reception area and illuminated water walls.

The signature treatments are based on a formula of cleansing, heating, treating and resting experiences, using locally sourced organic products such as lotus flower, natural sea salt from Kampot and Cambodian virgin sunflower oil.

The ‘Path of Ritual - Essential Formula’ signature treatment, starts with a foot cleansing experience with kaffir lime, lemongrass jasmine and lotus flower, followed by a herbal bath with cinnamon, jasmine, rosemary oil and orange peel. To end, guests will have a choice of a massage with Cambodian virgin coconut oil, a body scrub with water lily, Cambodian palm sugar and lemongrass, or a Body Wrap with cucumber, artichoke and honey.

The Kong Kea spa is spread over 475m² and includes six wet and dry treatment rooms, two of which feature private bamboo gardens. There is a relaxation area with a refreshing, indoor cold plunge pool overlooking the garden, which is available to spa guests pre and post treatment. There is also a fitness centre and a spa boutique.

In the same wing as the spa are four new ‘Spa Suites’ and four new ‘La Résidence’ Suites. Spa Suites are accessed by a dedicated lift and are over 100m² each. Each incorporates a large bedroom with a flat screen satellite television together with adjacent lounge. Sliding opaque glass doors lead into a spacious bathroom, with an enamel free-standing bathtub, separate walk-in rain shower, dual basins, dressing and storage areas. A private 27m² external garden terrace provides a natural setting for al fresco dining, or for simple relaxation.

La Résidence Suites offer the same luxurious amenities, but are located on the second floor above the Spa Suites, in the quietest area of the property ensuring maximum privacy. Each suite is 90m² and also includes a large balcony or terrace. All feature silk bed throws, cushions and curtains, which have been made locally by Artisans d’Angkor and weaved to the hotel’s bespoke specifications and design. Local art is further supported, with each suite featuring sculptures representing Khmer divinities. Each suite also includes colonial architectural drawings by Mao Soviet – a Cambodian graduate who has made a name for himself in the contemporary art scene in Cambodia.

The new suites bring the total room count of La Résidence d’Angkor to 62. Situated in the heart of Siem Reap and near the temples of Angkor Wat, the hotels is a leafy haven beside the Siem Reap river in the centre of the city, situated within a walled garden among many trees, and accessed by a bridge over a lotus pond. La Résidence d’Angkor has also recently opened a large alfresco Martini Lounge area on the first floor, overlooking the pool and the river.

Cambodia denies laying landmines near Preah Vihear


Fri, Oct 09, 2009
The Nation/Asia News Network
(Post by CAAI News Media)

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - The Cambodian military has rejected recent Thai media reports that its soldiers have laid landmines in the disputed border region around Preah Vihear temple, local media reported Thursday.

A brigade commander stationed at the 11th-century Hindu temple said there was no reason to lay landmines, and said the comments amounted to standard provocation by Thailand.

"Cambodian soldiers are not laying landmines along the border," brigade commander Yim Phim told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper. "All the mines on the border were put there in the 80s and 90s."

His comments came after a recent article in Thailand's The Nation newspaper which alleged Cambodian troops were mining the contested area. If the allegation were true, it would be a breach of Cambodia's obligations under the Ottawa Convention, which among other things bans the use of landmines.

The article drew a furious response from the Cambodian ambassador to Thailand, who described the article as "extremely provocative" and "rabble-rousing" in a letter to the newspaper on Tuesday.

Preah Vihear temple and the area surrounding it have long been a source of friction between the two countries. The temple sits on Cambodia's northern border with Thailand, and was awarded to Cambodia in 1962 by the World Court,while the area around it remains disputed.

Last year the UN's cultural body UNESCO added Preah Vihear to its World Heritage List, a move that rankled Thai nationalists.

At least seven Cambodian and Thai soldiers have since died in occasional clashes around the temple complex. However, in late August both sides stood down troops and promised to find a peaceful solution to the issue.


PM Releases Details of Vietnam Withdrawal

Written by DAP NEWS -- Friday, 09 October 2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday revealed details of the controversial, October 23, 1991 agreement that saw Vietnamese soldiers, seen by many Cambodians as a foreign invasions force, withdraw from Cambodia.

The premier talked about the “success” of withdrawing Vietnamese soldiers from Cambodia. The PM blamed those “who were to be a real historical involvement with the October 23 agreement.”

“Fighting and having negotiation between former King Norodom Sihanouk and I in December, 1987 … to start negotiation and reconciliation and consequence talking in Jakarta twice and other meetings to find political agreement,” the premier said during National Bank of Cambodia anniversary celebrations at the Chaktomuk Center. “Finding a good solution was the main topic, but one question was raised: how we can end the war? The hottest matter was the Pol Pot issue.”

Hun Sen confirmed that on September 30, 1989 all Vietnamese soldiers were withdrawn from Cambodia, which he claimed “we could achieve before deadline.”

“Even though all Vietnamese soldiers were withdrawn from Cambodia, Cambodia still had the war … However, we fought this to get stabilty and e for all Cambodians.”

Hun Sen stated that he had already covered the details of the period in his official accounts. “In 1985, the meeting among the Cambodian, Lao, and Vietnamese ministers was held, at which that time I talked with Vietnam to withdraw from five years to 10 years.”

The premier also raised a secret contact with former Royal Thai Armed force Chief General Chavalit Yungchaiyuth in the meeting Laos.

“Only I can control and cover all things,” Hun Sen said.

Cambodia, WB Study Impact of Typhoon Ketsana

Written by DAP NEWS -- Friday, 09 October 2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)

Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday that the Government will work with the World Bank to evaluate the impact of deadly typhoon Ketsana which hit Cambodia last week, killing at least 20 people.

The infrastructure of the typhoon -hit region will be re-developed, said the PM at Phnom Penh’s Chaktomuk theater hall during a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the reestablishment of National Bank of Cambodia. Ketsana struck northern Cambodia and the Tonle Sap region, creating flooding and destroying property, including rice fields.

Local and international organizations and the Government are helping victims with rice seed, basic shelter and food, and other items.

So far, the Government has not revealed the price of damage from the storm.

MoH Cracks Down on Illegal Medication

Written by DAP NEWS -- Friday, 09 October 2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)

Cases involving the criminal use of illegal and expired medicine have numbered 327 in the third quarter of 2009, the Committee Health Agency (CHA) of Phnom Penh said on Thursday.

Yim Yan, a medical source, said that the problem would continue without proper supervision.

“It is simple for the developed countries … but if we focus on it, it will probably be good.”

The Government first began to confiscate illegal, counterfeit or expired date medicines in 2000, though crackdowns on pharmacies have intensified since 2008. “There are over 1,000 shops sell the illegal medicines but it is very difficult to cut down on them because all medicines are always imported with professional skill.”

The MoH may check and confiscate any imported and exported medicines that do not meet Cambodia’s legal requirements.

Phnom Penh Vice Director of the MoH Pharmacy Prem Narun said that “all illegal medicines need to be prohibited and confiscated, and then destroyed.”

H1N1 Prevention Better Than Cure

Written by DAP NEWS -- Friday, 09 October 2009
(Post by CAAI News Media)

As Cambodians increasingly worry about A/H1N1, which has far as killed three Cambodians, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has tried control the spread of infections.

But people on the street were still worried.

One Cambodian pork vendor at Kandal market was surprised to hear of fatalities. “I do not care about this but I heard three Cambodians died of A/H1N1 so I am very afraid.”

She added that she now wears a face mask to prevent infection.

The MoH’s Department the Anti-epidemiology’s Sok Touch told DAP News Cambodia that he already advised Cambodians on how to prevent the disease.

The MoH has said that cases might occur, though last week the MoH invited all foreign clinics to declare symptoms of A/H1N1. The upcoming Water Festival in the first week of November is a major opportunity for the disease to spread, she said, advising all Cambodians to wear face masks

Until now, there are 123 cases for Cambodia of the A/H1N1, which included at least three Cambodian people were died, according to MoH´s website.

The A/H1N1, has occurred since June 24, 2009 in Cambodia, the first of which was an American student. Over 343,000 people have been infected and at least about 4,100 people died from A/H1N1, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Minister for the Health Mom Bunheng said that all travelers or suspected infected should avoid the case to the others, and clean hands with shampoo and use a handkerchief.

Norng Narin, Ratanakiri district governor, told DAP News Cambodia that over 700-800 families were worried about their feed and nutrition, but also pay attention to the A/H1N1 infections during the Ketsona storm.

Govt testimony could bias KRT: PM

Photo by: AFP
Prime Minister Hun Sen arrives at Chaktomuk Theatre on Thursday for a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the National Bank of Cambodia.

(Post by CAAI News Media)

Friday, 09 October 2009 15:04 Sebastian Strangio and Cheang Sokha

THE testimony of senior government officials could prejudice the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s upcoming case against four former regime leaders, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday, a day after the court made public documents summonsing six senior government officials to appear as witnesses at the hybrid court.

“These [officials] made the Pol Pot regime collapse, and they adopted the law on the Khmer Rouge tribunal, so if they go as witnesses, it would make the accused persons guilty,” Hun Sen said during a speech at Chaktomuk theatre on Thursday. “How is justice to be done? My main problem is that turning the plaintiffs into witnesses would doom the accused.”

The premier was responding to six letters of summons, dated September 25 and bearing the signature of International Co-Investigating Judge Marcel Lemonde, requesting that six government officials – Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly President Heng Samrin, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, Finance Minister Keat Chhon and two CPP senators – appear at the tribunal to provide testimony “in the framework of the investigation under way against Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan and other leaders”.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan echoed the premier’s statements, saying the testimony of senior government officials was “not necessary”, since there are witnesses and documentary evidence to spare.

“I think there’s enough proof already. It’s not necessary. This court has to be fair for both parties,” he said.

On Thursday, it remained unclear whether the six officials would obey the summons and appear in court. Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said his boss, Hor Namhong, was too busy to have considered the issue, and officials representing Chea Sim, Heng Samrin and Keat Chhon declined to comment.

Senator Sim Ka could not be reached on Thursday, while Senator Ouk Bunchhoeun said that he “did not wish to elaborate” on the matter.

Pack your bags
A day earlier, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said that though the individuals could appear in court voluntarily, the government’s position was that they should not give testimony. He said that foreign officials involved in the court could “pack their clothes and return home” if they were not satisfied with the decision.

According to Rule 60 of the internal rules of the ECCC, if any witness refuses a summons to appear in court, the co-investigating judges may issue an order “requesting the judicial police to compel the witness to appear”.

If any of the six officials do fail to appear, however, the tribunal could face some thorny challenges in implementing the rule.

“The questions are whether Judge Lemonde would issue an order pursuant to Rule 60 and whether the judicial police would serve it [to the officials],” said Heather Ryan, a trial monitor at the Open Society Justice Initiative.

“We don’t yet know the answers to either of those questions.”

Ryan said that making the cover letters of the summonses public would “increase the transparency of the court and, hopefully, the chances that the summonses are respected”.

Court officials expressed hopes on Thursday that the officials would obey the court’s request regardless of their role in setting up the Khmer Rouge trial process.

“We would expect that any law-abiding citizen would comply with a summons issued by a court of law,” said tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen. “That would apply especially to any representative of organs that played a crucial role in setting up the ECCC.”

Although the cover letters to the summonses bear only the signature of Lemonde, observers and court officials downplayed speculation of a rift between the international investigating judge and his Cambodian counterpart, You Bun Leng.

“The fact that the cover letters were signed by Judge Lemonde alone is significant only if the attached summonses were also signed only by Judge Lemonde and if his Cambodian counterpart declined to signed them because he did not agree that the documents should be issued,” Ryan said.

Olsen said he could not say whether one or both signatures appeared on the official summonses since the documents had not been made public.

You Bun Leng did not wish to comment when contacted on Thursday.