Thursday, 12 August 2010

The tribunal began Thursday distributing its landmark verdict book of Duch, the first Khmer Rouge leader to be sentenced to 35 years in prison on July 26 on war crimes and crimes against humanity

A survivor of the Khmer Rouge prison S-21, Vann Nath, holds the first verdict book he received at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh August 12 ,2010. More than 500 copies of this verdict book on former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav have been released by the Cambodia-UN backed tribunal court to villagers who live near the former Khmer Rouge main prisons on the outskirts of the capital of Phnom Pen to promote awareness about the court, a court official said. Kaing Guek Eav, a former prison chief better known as Duch, was on Monday found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and received less than half the 40-year sentence sought by prosecutors for his role in the 1975-1979 reign of terror. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

A Cambodian villager reads a verdict book after it was distributed at Prey Sar village, a former Khmer Rouge S-24 prison, the outskirts of Phnom Penh August12 ,2010. More than 500 copies of this verdict book on former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav have been released by the Cambodia-UN backed tribunal court to villagers who live near the former Khmer Rouge main prisons on the outskirts of the capital of Phnom Pen to promote awareness about the court, a court official said. Kaing Guek Eav, a former prison chief better known as Duch, was on Monday found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and received less than half the 40-year sentence sought by prosecutors for his role in the 1975-1979 reign of terror. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

The survivors of Khmer Rouge prison S-21, Chum Mey (R) and Bou Meng, look at verdict books after they were distributed at Prey Sar village, a former KhmerRouge S-24 prison, the outskirts of Phnom Penh, August 12 ,2010. More than 500 copies of this verdict book on former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav have been released by the Cambodia-UN backed tribunal court to villagers who live near the former Khmer Rouge main prisons on the outskirts of the capital of Phnom Penh to promote awareness about the court, a court official said. Kaing Guek Eav, a former prison chief better known as Duch, was on Monday found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and received less than half the 40-year sentence sought by prosecutors for his role in the 1975-1979 reign of terror. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

A Cambodian child looks at the verdict book after it was distributed at Prey Sar village, a former Khmer Rouge S-24 prison, the outskirts of Phnom PenhAugust 12 ,2010. More than 500 copies of this verdict book on former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav have been released by the Cambodia-UN backed tribunal court to villagers who live near the former Khmer Rouge main prisons on the outskirts of the capital of Phnom Penh to promote awareness about the court, a court official said. Kaing Guek Eav, a former prison chief better known as Duch, was on Monday found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and received less than half the 40-year sentence sought by prosecutors for his role in the 1975-1979 reign of terror. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

A Cambodian child holds a recent verdict book of Khmer Rouge leader Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, during the books delivering by the U.N.-backedgenocide tribunal staff officials at Prey Sar village, a former Khmer Rouge S-24 prison, some 18 kilometers (11 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010. The tribunal began Thursday distributing its landmark verdict book of Duch, the first Khmer Rouge leader to be sentenced to 35 years in prison on July 26 on war crimes and crimes against humanity, more than 500 to the commune officers who live near by the former Khmer Rouge main prisons on the outskirts of the capital of Phnom Pen to promote awareness about the court, a court official said. (Photo/Heng Sinith)

Lars Olsen, right, legal communications officer of U.N,-backed genocide tribunal, distributes recent verdict book of Khmer Rouge leader Kaing Guek Eav,better known as Duch, to villagers at Prey Sar village, a former Khmer Rouge S-24 prison, some 18 kilometers (11 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010. The tribunal began Thursday distributing its landmark verdict book of Duch, the first Khmer Rouge leader to be sentenced to 35 years in prison on July 26 on war crimes and crimes against humanity, more than 500 to the commune officers who live near by the former Khmer Rouge main prisons on the outskirts of the capital of Phnom Pen to promote awareness about the court, a court official said. (Photo/Heng Sinith)

solectCambodia - Disease in pig herd

via Khmer NZ

12 Aug 2010

In its regular updates, the society said that an unknown number of pigs had died in the provinces of Battambang and Kampong Cham, while nearly 150 have perished in the southern province of Kampot.

Health officials said the disease appears to be bacterial, making an outbreak of pandemic H1N1, sometimes called swine flu, unlikely.

On Monday, August 2, officials began blood tests of pigs in Kampot, where the latest and most severe outbreak has occurred.

Blood tests

"On Saturday, August 1, we started the blood tests on seven pigs," said Kao Phal, director of the animal health department of the Ministry of Agriculture. "But until now we do not know exactly the disease that happened to the pigs is."

"The animal health department is also appealing to farmers not to transport any pigs from their farms to market for the rest of the month of August, he said."


MOFA corrects Cambodia on Taiwan’s status

via Khmer NZ

•Source: Taiwan Today
•By Elaine Hou

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement Aug. 11 stressing the ROC’s status as an independent nation, in response to a news report from Cambodia regarding that country’s acceptance of Beijing’s “one China” principle.

The mainland’s interpretation of “one China” considers Taiwan to be a province of the People’s Republic of China.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was reported by The Phnom Penh Post as saying Taiwan cannot establish a trade office in Cambodia, as the country abides by the “one-China” principle.

“The ROC has been upping efforts to expand economic relations with Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia,” the MOFA said, pointing out that Cambodia itself has been promoting its small and medium businesses and working to attract foreign investment.

Statistics show that total trade volume between the ROC and Cambodia reached US$336 million in 2009. Taiwan was also the sixth-largest foreign investor in Cambodia, to the tune of US$657 million.

“As a result of rapid economic integration in East Asia, strengthening Taiwan-Cambodia trading ties will not only benefit each side but also help regional collaboration and development,” the MOFA added.

In light of improving cross-strait relations and the recent signing of the Cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, the ROC government urges Cambodia to adopt an open and pragmatic attitude toward increasing economic exchanges with Taiwan, the ministry said. Continuing such unfriendly remarks will only sabotage trade realities between the two countries, it emphasized. (THN)

Write to Elaine Hou at

Iran, Cambodia sign MoUs

via Khmer NZ

ISNA - Tehran
Service: Foreign Policy

TEHRAN (ISNA)-Iran and Cambodia signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) in a bid to boost bilateral cooperation.

The agreements were inked by deputy foreign ministers of the two sides Wednesday evening.

The MoUs involve cooperation on lifting visa requirements for political passports.

The two sides also pledged to form a joint foreign ministry advisory committee.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong accompanied by a delegation held talks with Iranian officials including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and called for fostering ties with Iran in energy, investment, tourism, agriculture, culture and industry.

Iran, Cambodia urge global peace

via Khmer NZ

Thu, 12 Aug 2010

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) and Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong meet in Tehran on Wednesday.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stressed the importance of utilizing the universals shared by Iran and Cambodia to the benefit of global peace.

Iran and Cambodia both enjoy great potentials and shared points of view which should be used to serve national interests and international peace, Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Wednesday.

"Iran and Cambodia belong to the Eastern civilizations which exhibit culture, morality and friendship. These human characteristics can serve as good ground for bolstering relations," IRNA quoted the Iranian chief executive as saying.

President Ahmadinejad voiced readiness to share experience with Cambodia in various fields of agriculture, science, technology and research.

Namhong, for his part, called for promoting cooperation with the Islamic Republic in many sectors, including energy, investment, tourism, agriculture and industry.

The expansion of relations between Tehran and Phnom Penh can play a role in deepening Iran's ties with East Asian countries.

Cambodian PM to ask UN secretary-general to coordinate border issue with Thailand

via Khmer NZ

August 12, 2010

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday said that he will ask the UN Secretary General to play the role as coordinator for border issues with Thailand.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will visit Cambodia on Oct. 27- 28, Hun Sen announced at the meeting of Tonle Sap Conversation in Phnom Penh. "I will ask him to act as coordinator," he said.

The premier, however, insisted that the bilateral border talks will be resumed unless Thai legislative approved the border agreements reached by both border committees in past years, or it will just waste our time. Hun Sen said he will also invite the third party, such as the UN or the ASEAN to join the border talks.

"It is very ridiculous that Thailand accused Cambodia of invading and using forces," Hun Sen said, adding that according to the judgment of the Hague International Court in 1962, the Preah Vihear temple and its surrounding area belong to Cambodia, so there is no disputed border between Cambodia and Thailand.

"I don't know where is the area of 4.6 square kilometers, so how could I ask my people and army to withdraw?"

He also appealed to Thai media to consider about their stories before publishing after Thai Prime Minister Abhisit said Thai media misquoted him.

Meanwhile, Hun Sen reiterated that Cambodia does not seek to use force to resolve the border issue, but he said "we will defend our territorial integrity."

Hun Sen on Sunday sent letters to UN's Security Council President Vitaly Churkin, and UN's General Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki to inform about Thailand would use arms to resolve the border issue.

Cambodia and Thailand have the border conflict just one week after Cambodia's Preah Vihear Temple was registered as World Heritage Site in July 2008.

And over the past days, Cambodia and Thailand have exchanged war of words concerning who won at the recent UNESCO's meeting in Brazil on the conservation and management plan submitted by Cambodian side over the world cultural heritage site.

Cambodia was due to present its progress report on the conservation and management plan of the Preah Vihear Temple to UNESCO's committee for World Heritage, but that was opposed by Thai side, saying that it can only be done after the border issues between the two nations have been finalized.

However, UNESCO accepted the report but suggested it be examined next year in Bahrain.

Source: Xinhua

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via Khmer NZ

Cambodia Asks UN Secretary General to be Coordinator for Border Issues with Thailand

Thursday, 12 August 2010 03:07 DAP NEWS / Vibol .CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 12, 2010-Cambodian PM Hun Sen on Thursday said that he asked the Secretary General UN Ban to play the role as coordinator for border issues with Thailand.

Secretary General Ban will visit Cambodia 27-28 October this year, PM Hun Sen told the hundreds of participants of Tonle Sap Conversation meeting in Phnom Penh.

It is very ridiculous that Thailand accused Cambodia of invading and using forces. Thailand is threatening forces to invade Cambodia’s territory and take Cambodian soil, PM Hun Sen noted.

The bilateral border talks will resume unless Thai National assembly approved the border agreement in past years that border committee for the two countries had agreed. We will lose time for the talks, Pm Hun Sen added.

He also appealed to Thai Media to consider about their stories after Thai PM Abhisit said Thai Media misquoted him. Thai Media reported correctly but Thai PM always refused about his words on border issues on Thai media.

Thailand turns face to talks bilaterally with Cambodia on Border issues

Wednesday, 11 August 2010 13:39 DAP-NEWS

Thailand has started to turn face to continue bilateral talks on relationship and border issue after Cambodian PM Hun Sen sent a letter to president of UN General Assembly and President of Security Council of UN earlier this week.

Now Thailand told UN that it will resume bilateral talks based on MoU 2000 with Cambodia and the MoU is still effective. Koy Khoung, spokesman of foreign ministry of Cambodia said that the words of Thai PM in the letter to UN are groundless and tricky.

Cambodia has never had buffer zone with Thailand including 4.6square km as mention by Thai PM, Koy said, adding that that land is Khmer sovereignty. Cambodians has lived there before MoU signed.

Thailand is trying to resume talks bilaterally, “the analyst said, adding that Thai government has tried to play words and cheated its people through using secret map in 1976 with claiming that 4.6 square km as its sovereignty to make Thais confuse in its history.

Thai troops invaded Cambodia in July 15, 2008 at area near Preah Vihear temple. Latest development, Thailand has opposed the management plan of 11th Khmer Preah Vihear temple in a meeting in Brazil. Actually, the management plan already accepted by the world heritage center and next year, all sides will meet in Bahrain.

Cambodia plans to host the world heritage committee in 2013 in Phnom Penh or in Siem Reap. Currently, Cambodia is a permanent member of world heritage committee of UNESCO.

Thai troops fired on market and burned the market at the armed clash in 2009.

Chess mates

Photo by: Heng Chivoan

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:00 Heng Chivoan

Two men play chess at a coffeeshop on Street 240 yesterday.

Ramadan begins solemnly

Photo by: Sovan Philong

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:03 Sovan Philong

Men bow in prayer yesterday at the Mosque Jami Saad Bin Bi Wakkas on Street 173, Tuol Svay Prey I commune in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmorn district, during final prayers on the first day of Ramadan. For the next 30 days Muslims will observe the holiest month in Islam.

Foreign paedophile brags about freedom ‘at a price’

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:03 Chrann Chamroeun and James O’Toole

A CONVICTED paedophile has boasted of paying a US$11,000 bribe for an acquittal at an Appeal Court hearing in Phnom Penh tomorrow, a Swedish newspaper said yesterday.

The report came just two weeks after child rights group Action Pour Les Enfants filed complaints with the Interior and Justice ministries calling for an investigation of a 65-year-old Dutch man charged with sex crimes in April who allegedly bragged in his diary about bribing court officials in Preah Sihanouk province.

The Svenska Dagbladet newspaper report chronicled the case of a 63-year-old Swede who was arrested in May of last year and convicted of sex crimes in January, receiving a six-and-a-half year prison sentence. Though the man is not named in the article, the circumstantial information included matches the case of Johan Brahim Escori, 63, who was convicted in January on two counts of committing indecent acts and having sex with children.

“A common, simple bribe of $11,000 means that I will soon be a free man,” the unnamed Swede told Svenska Dagbladet. He also described how he had coached one of his alleged victims – his 9-year-old adopted son – to offer supportive testimony at trial.

“I am training him so that he says the right things and does not contradict himself,” the man reportedly said.

Martin Schibbye, the writer of the article, said in an email that the conversation had been recorded.

APLE director Samleang Seila said that the individual in the article was “obviously” Escori, and that he was not surprised by the revelations.

“It is ongoing bribery and corruption at the court,” Samleang Seila said. “This is very common in foreign paedophile cases.”

Appeal Court President You Bunleng said: “If court officials really take bribes in return for freeing prisoners, this is illegal and must be investigated, but I deny that this problem is happening in my institution because I always talk clearly about the bribery issue in every meeting.”

Samleang Seila said APLE was preparing to file a complaint with the government urging investigation of possible bribery in Escori’s case.

The APLE complaint filed two weeks ago concerned the case of a 65-year-old Dutch man who was arrested in Preah Sihanouk province in April and charged with committing indecent acts, purchasing child prostitution and possessing child pornography.

This man is being held in pretrial detention.

Samleang Seila said his group had obtained a diary written in Dutch that discussed thousands of dollars in bribes paid to court officials in Preah Sihanouk province. Handwriting analysis, Samleang Seila said, confirmed the author’s identity.

Kim Eng, deputy director of Preah Sihanouk provincial court, called the alleged bribery “impossible”.

Bith Kimhong, director of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department at the Ministry of the Interior, said he had yet to see the complaint.

Leaflets in capital attack CPP, Vietnam

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:03 Meas Sokchea

ONE suspect has been arrested in connection with the spreading of anti-government leaflets in central Phnom Penh yesterday, police officials said.

More than 100 of the leaflets were discovered yesterday near Wat Phnom in Daun Penh district. Angkor Wat temple is pictured on the cover of the leaflets along with the title “Nationalist Khmer Voice”.

The leaflets contain strong anti-Vietnamese rhetoric, accusing the ruling Cambodian People’s Party of “selling the nation” to Vietnam.

Using a commonword for Vietnamese that some believe to be derogatory, the tracts decry “the flow of yuon immigrants without passports” and “the theft of Khmer territory to include in the Yuon Indochinese federation”.

“If we do not stand up to resolve this suffering, it will fall on younger generations,” the leaflet goes on. “That’s why to keep the Khmer nation alive, Khmers must unite to stand up and chase out the yuon.”

Phnom Penh municipal police chief Touch Naruth said a man suspected of driving a woman who distributed the leaflets on his motorbike had been arrested and was being held for questioning. Police were still investigating the case, searching for the woman and other suspects who may have been involved, he said.

“This man was involved because he was the driver, and the woman was the scatterer,” Touch Naruth said. “When we finish our investigation, we will send him to court.”

In January, officials in Takeo province investigated a case in which antigovernment leaflets were anonymously distributed following the January 7 holiday, which commemorates the ouster of the Khmer Rouge regime back Cambodian and Vietnamese troops in 1979. The leaflets said the day should be remembered only as the day that Cambodia became “abused and occupied” by Vietnam.

Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann said critics of the government should express themselves without making rude and defamatory statements.

“I support freedom of expression, but it must be ethical expression based on facts,” Yim Sovann said. “The SRP has a platform like this.”

CPP officials listed in reservoir scams

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
A measuring strip along the Tonle Bassac river shows the water was between 4 and 5 metres deep yesterday.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:03 Khouth Sophakchakrya

THE Ministry of Water Resources has sent Prime Minister Hun Sen a list of names of district governors and commune chiefs suspected of using illicit means to secure the approval of reservoirs believed to be devastating the Tonle Sap lake.

Speaking at a meeting at the Tonle Sap Authority building in Phnom Penh yesterday, Minister Lim Kean Hor said many local authorities had conspired to register reservoirs funded by businessmen in the names of farmers permitted to construct them, and then taken a cut of the profits stemming from resulting fish catches.

“We have reported and sent a list of names to Prime Minister Hun Sen, for him to consider and decide the appropriate measures to take,” he said. “My officials and I are just implementing the orders of the premier.”

In April, the Tonle Sap Authority received orders from Hun Sen to destroy all manmade reservoirs surrounding the lake, including in regions 2 and 3, which are classified as protected flooded forest areas.

A total of 239 illegal reservoirs were marked for destruction in the two regions, which span six provinces: Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pursat and Kampong Chhnang.

Lim Kean Hor – who is also president of the Tonle Sap Authority – said a total of 45 reservoirs in the two regions had been destroyed since June 25.

“Despite the wet season hindering our implementation of the destruction of the reservoirs, and even though we decided to stop demolishing them temporarily, we still monitor this issue every day,” he said.

“Nearly 10,000 hectares of flooded forest in the wetlands area around the lake have been lost each year to make way for the reservoirs, agriculture land expansion, to barricade fishing lots and to promote charcoal trade.”

Water levels
The meeting also provided a forum for officials to express concern about low water levels.

“Our lake will be shallow soon if we do not take timely measures to prevent it,” said Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly. “The lake is the main economic, environmental and cultural pulse of Cambodia.”

He said water levels in the Tonle Sap were at “normal levels”, but that the Mekong River was down by roughly 3 metres compared to the same time last year, which would affect water flows in the lake.

But he also emphasised that the Cambodian People’s Party “must recognise what we have done”, as party officials – including commune chiefs and district governors – signed the documents to “approve” the building of illegal reservoirs.

“No one else has destroyed the flooded forests to make way for reservoirs,” he said.

“They are from our [the CPP’s] collection.”


Hor Namhong speaks against Iran sanctions

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:03 Sebastian Strangio and Cheang Sohka

FOREIGN Minister Hor Namhong has voiced opposition to the international sanctions imposed against Iran for its alleged nuclear weapons programme, following his two-day visit to the Islamic republic this week, Iranian media reported.

Speaking at a press conference following a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki on Tuesday, Hor Namhong said Cambodia did not support the plethora of sanctions currently in place.

“The sanction-based policies are condemned everywhere, and just a positive and constructive policy can solve the problems,” the Fars News Agency quoted Hor Namhong as saying.

The United Nations Security Council has introduced four resolutions imposing economic sanctions on Iran for its nuclear programme. Other nations have levelled even tougher measures.

Iran says that its nuclear technology will be used for peaceful purposes.

Hor Namhong said his talks with Manouchehr Mottaki also ranged over other regional and international developments.

“We talked about the situation in Iraq, the Palestinian issue, and the status quo in Afghanistan. We agreed that problems in these countries could not be resolved through war,” he said.

On Tuesday, Mottaki hailed the two countries’ expanded cooperation in the areas of trade, tourism and agriculture.

“Mutual support has paved the way for the start of a new era of economic cooperation between the two countries,” he told reporters.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said he could not clarify Hor Namhong’s comments on the Iranian sanctions. As a general matter, he said, Cambodia opposed the development of nuclear weapons.

“In general, the Cambodian government supports energy programmes that are designed for peace and development,” he said.

“We always oppose arms races. We oppose nuclear programmes that are designed for producing nuclear weapons.”

Sochua fine to be docked from pay

Photo by: Pha Lina
SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua speaks to reporters at the Supreme Court after her defamation conviction was upheld in June.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:03 Meas Sokchea

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court has authorised the National Assembly to withhold Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua’s salary to pay an 8.5 million-riel (US$2,023) fine levied against her for defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In a citation dated Tuesday and signed by Judge Chea Sok Heang, the court said the parliament’s financial department would withhold her monthly salary of 4,204,899 riels until the full amount was recovered. It said the docking of her pay did not require her consent.

“Mu Sochua must not block or prohibit an official in charge of salaries at the financial department of the parliament from seizing the debt. The president of the financial department of the parliament must carry out the above decision,” the citation read.

In July last year, Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Mu Sochua of defaming Hun Sen after she filed her own defamation lawsuit against him. The conviction has been upheld on two appeals since.

Last month, the court authorised parliament to withhold an additional 8 million riels in compensation that she owed the premier.

When contacted yesterday, Mu Sochua said she had never agreed to pay the fine, and that docking it from her salary was a violation of her rights.

“This court system is an unclear system and it is a political tool,” she said.

She described the docking of her pay as a form of “force” and “intimidation”, but said she would live to fight another day.

“My political life will be alive until the end of my life. This injustice makes me want to continue my politics,” she said.

Cheam Yeap, a senior lawmaker for the Cambodian People’s Party, said he had not seen the court citation, but that Mu Sochua’s pay would be docked once the parliament’s Permanent Committee met to approve the decision.

Two new Chi Kraeng trials

Photo by: Rann Reuy
Villagers from Siem Reap province’s Chi Kraeng commune light incense sticks on Monday outside the provincial court, where nine villagers were on trial in connection with an ongoing land dispute.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:02 Rann Reuy

Siem Reap province

SIEM Reap provincial court has scheduled two new hearings in cases stemming from an ongoing land dispute in Chi Kraeng district, according to letters obtained yesterday.

On Friday, Chheng Savoeun, one of 12 jailed villagers from Chi Kraeng commune, will stand trial on an array of charges, including destruction of private property, related to a November 2008 altercation with residents of neighbouring Anlong Samnor commune.

He and Khlin Eang will then appear before the court on August 17 for a hearing about a January 2009 protest that saw villagers briefly lock lawyers and judges inside the provincial courthouse. They have both been charged with incitement and illegal human detention, among other crimes.

Both cases stem from a land dispute dating back to 1986, when one large village was divided equally between Chi Kraeng and Anlong Samnor communes, leaving an unspecified amount of farmland in dispute.

In January 2009, the provincial court ruled that all of the disputed land belonged to Anlong Samnor, triggering conflicts between villagers from the two communes.

Deputy prosecutor Heng Pheng said yesterday that he believed other jailed villagers would also be called to court on August 17, but couldn’t remember their names.

“I can’t remember all of this because there are a lot of cases,” he said.

On Monday, the provincial court concluded hearings in a case concerning a March 2009 altercation that saw military police open fire on residents of Chi Kraeng.

Four villagers were reported injured, but no military police officers have been charged.

River park plans ‘surprising’

Photo by: Pha Lina
Homes line the Tonle Sap riverfront in Daun Penh and Russey Keo districts. Hundreds of families in the area could be displaced by a public park project announced this week.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:02 Chhay Channyda

REPRESENTATIVES of more than 800 families living along the Tonle Sap river expressed shock yesterday after learning that Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema announced on Tuesday that houses in three communes would be dismantled to make way for a public park.

Sok Kha, 44, a resident of Srah Chak commune in Daun Penh district, said yesterday that government officials had given them no warning before making the announcement.

“I have lived here for 30 years, so I was surprised to hear that all of a sudden they want to make a public park on our land,” he said.

Speaking at a ground-breaking ceremony in Russey Keo district on Tuesday, Kep Chuktema announced that residents of Russey Keo commune, Tuol Sangke commune and Srah Chak commune would be evicted to make way for a 100-by-250-metre public park.

The park, which will take six months to complete, is to be built with funding from City Hall as well as US$700,000 from Sokimex, a local petrol corporation that owns a petroleum depot on National Road 5 near the proposed park.

Sok Kha said he doubted that residents would be given fair compensation.

“Development is in the public’s interests, so if the government offers us fair compensation I will accept it,” he said. “But in my experience ... people affected by development projects do not receive fair compensation.”

Kep Chuktema said on Tuesday that he had ordered municipal officials to spread information about the impending relocation. But it would appear that details have been slow to trickle down to residents.

Hor Hong Seng, 45, who rents a home in Tuol Sangke commune, where he also has a machinery shop, said that few residents had heard anything about the park until Tuesday.

He said his business would suffer if he was forced to move.

Chan Samang, the chief of Russey Keo commune, said yesterday that she had not begun informing residents of the impending eviction because she still lacked important details.

“I myself do not know exactly what to tell people because we just received the order from Governor Kep Chuktema yesterday,” she said. “I do not know how much compensation City Hall will pay to affected families.”

“Residents have lived here for a long time, but the authorities have never recognised that they live legally on this land,” she said.

Heu Heng, the general director of Sokimex, said yesterday that the company had already begun land reclamation at the site and planned to build a drainage system as well as public parking spaces. He said that only one house on Sokimex’s land would have to be dismantled.

David Pred, executive director of Bridges Across Borders Cambodia, said yesterday that “authorities should consult the families and find a solution that is consistent with the law” and does not negatively impact livelihoods.

Am Sam Ath, a technical supervisor for the rights group Licadho, said that City Hall should take time “to arrange meetings with affected residents to discuss compensation” in exchange for leaving their land.

“We do not want to see authorities use force to evict people from their houses like at Dey Krahorm, Group 78 and other areas,” he said, referring to past violent evictions.

Kep Chuktema and Phnom Penh deputy governor Nuon Sameth could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Villagers accuse police of brutality in eviction

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:02 May Titthara

VILLAGERS who accuse police of using guns and electric batons to drive them from disputed land in Kampong Cham province earlier this week said yesterday that they had filed a complaint with a rights group after local officials ignored their requests for intervention.

Three people received minor injuries when police used force in an attempt to remove roughly 100 villagers from 41 hectares of disputed rice fields in Stung Trang district’s Prek Kak commune on Monday, villagers said. Chear Thearith, district deputy police chief, said civilian and military police had been hired by the Long Sreng Company, a firm that has been trying to develop the site into a rubber plantation since April.

Village representative Chhem Sareth, 51, said yesterday that he had filed a complaint with the rights group Adhoc because he had not received any response to numerous complaints to the district governor.

“The authorities did not help villagers, but they help the company,” he said. “We suspect that the authority received incentive money from the company.”

Stung Trang district governor Kao Sok An said yesterday that he had “no right” to talk about the case.

“Don’t ask me about this, ask Chan Tong Yves,” he said, referring to a secretary of state at the Agriculture Ministry who could not be reached.

Neang Sovath, Adhoc’s provincial coordinator, said he had received a complaint from the villagers and was preparing a document to be sent to local authorities on their behalf.

“We would ask provincial authorities to stop using police or military police for making them afraid,” he said.

Long Sreng Company representatives could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Families have a month to leave protected land

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:02 May Titthara

ABOUT 173 Oddar Meanchey province families whose homes were razed by local authorities in May have been told they have a month to finish harvesting their rice before being forced off their land for good.

On May 25, more than 100 homes in O’Ampil village in Anlong Veng commune were burned down and dismantled by local authorities. Siem Reap provincial court had ordered that the homes be removed following a complaint filed by Forestry Administration officials, who accused the families of living illegally on protected land.

Citing the threat of disease and lack of infrastructure at a relocation site, the families defied the court’s orders and resettled in O’Ampil village on June 29.

Chhaom Chhoeun, an O’Ampil resident, said yesterday that villagers would resist relocation if authorities tried to enforce the new deadline.

“Even after we finish the harvest, we will not return to the relocation village because there is nothing there,” he said.

Meas Socheat, a village representative, said a 25-year-old man had died due to poor conditions at the relocation site. “A lot of people got sick with malaria, typhoid and diarrhoea.... one man died after drinking dirty water,” he said.

Yim Phanna, the governor of Anlong Veng district, declined to comment on conditions at the relocation site, but said the families “could not be allowed to live in a wildlife sanctuary”.

Philimore case dropped

Photo by: Pha Lina
Women preparing for job placement in Malaysia review English lessons at the Philimore recruitment centre in Phnom Penh.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear and Khuon Leakhana

THE mother of a woman who says she was abused while working in Malaysia as a domestic helper said yesterday that she had decided not to pursue legal action against the Cambodian labour-recruitment firm that sent her daughter abroad, after the company agreed to an out-of-court-settlement.

Nun Phar says her 24-year-old daughter, Moeung Sophat, fell ill after being overworked while in Malaysia and needed to be hospitalised upon her return to Cambodia late last month, when she looked pale and thin and was no longer menstruating. Shortly after her daughter came back, Nun Phar threatened to file complaints against Philimore, the government-sanctioned recruitment firm that sent Moeung Sophat abroad, unless it agreed to pay US$1,000 in compensation.

Yesterday, she said she had agreed to drop the complaints against the company in exchange for a slightly smaller settlement.

“I decided to stop complaints about the company because they agreed to give me 3 million riels [US$707] already, even though this amount of money is not enough for treatment my daughter,” she said.

Sok Chanpheakdey, director of Philimore, yesterday confirmed that the company had paid Nun Phar 3 million riels, but denied that it had done so because of any wrongdoing on the part of the company.

“We decided to give her 3 million riels for encouragement and for her to do something to help her living standard,” he said. “It is not for compensation because we are not wrong.”

He said that the company was also helping Moeung Sophat prepare a complaint against her Malaysian employer, who she says was abusive.

“We went to her house in order to take her pictures and we will help her to file a complaint against her employer in Malaysia,” he said.

Sok Chanpheakdey said Philimore regularly sends between 250 and 300 domestic workers to Malaysia every month.

Three separate migrant-recruitment firms were investigated last month following allegations of abuse.

Abhisit responds to UN gibe

Photo by: AFP
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva addresses a Yellow Shirt rally, held despite Thailand’s emergency rules, in Bangkok.

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:02 Cheang Sokha

THAI Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday rejected claims that Thailand would forcibly seize control of contested areas along the border with Cambodia, after Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote to the United Nations Security Council on Sunday.

In his letters to the Security Council and General Assembly, Hun Sen denounced comments by Abhisit during a Yellow Shirt rally on Saturday, when he reportedly said he would “use both democratic and military means” to protect Thai sovereignty.

In a speech Monday, Hun Sen said existing bilateral negotiations had failed, and he called for an international conference to resolve the conflict.

In a letter to Security Council President Vitaly Churkin on Tuesday, Abhisit said the comments in Hun Sen’s letter were “misquoted, taken out of context and misunderstood”.

He also said Thailand was committed to solving the dispute through a memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries in 2000, and rejected claims that it would use force. “Thailand believes that only by working together on the basis of friendship and good neighbourliness can Thailand and Cambodia overcome the current differences for the benefits of the two countries and peoples,” he said.

Also Tuesday, Abhisit demanded that Cambodians leave disputed areas along the border, and blamed them for triggering the standoff.

Both countries claim a 4.6-square kilometre area adjacent to Preah Vihear temple, which was awarded to Cambodia by a 1962 ruling from the International Court of Justice.

The current standoff began in July 2008, when Preah Vihear won recognition as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural OrganisationWorld Heritage site, stirring nationalist unrest in Thailand.

The Council of Ministers issued a statement yesterday dismissing Abhisit’s response, noting that his comments were widely reported in the Thai media and saying that if they were wrong, they should have been corrected.

“Mr Abhisit, by his own account, has demonstrated the total lack of credibility of the Thai media,” the statement said. “In the meantime, if the Thai media is correct, it proves this fact that Mr Abhisit is a liar, a rogue with a very sophisticated, manipulative mind.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Abhisit’s backtracking was evidence of a “bad habit” plaguing the current Thai leadership. “I think the explanation of Abhisit to the UN looks like a robber pretending to be a victim,” he said.

The Council of Ministers said it would push for a more international solution rather than bilateral talks, which it called “a scheme to use Cambodia as Thailand’s political hostage in the indefinite political squabble inside Thailand”.

It said that Thailand’s use of a “unilateral and not internationally recognised” map to back up its border claims recalled the strategies of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.

The two countries also agreed yesterday to postpone an upcoming General Border Commission meeting, scheduled for August 27-28 in Bangkok. Yesterday, Thailand’s defence spokesman Thanathip Sawangsaeng said Cambodia had requested an indefinite postponement of the meeting.

But Chhum Socheat said Thai Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan phoned Defence Minister Tea Banh, saying that “the time for the discussion is not appropriate”.

In any case, he said, Cambodia would not be taking part in one-on-one talks with Thailand following Hun Sen’s call for an international conference.

“Based on the speech of Prime Minister Hun Sen, bilateral talks with Thailand have had no result. We have to obey our leader’s recommendation, and we don’t want to talk with them bilaterally,” he said.


City court hears case of birthday boy bank robber

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:02 Chrann Chamroeun

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court this week heard the case against a Frenchman accused of attempting to rob a bank in February, with the defence saying the suspect deserved a lenient sentence because at the time of the incident he had been “disappointed” his parents hadn’t called to wish him a happy birthday.

Francois Chateau, 48, was arrested on February 11 after he allegedly held up a Cambodia Asia Bank branch in Chamkarmon district and stole nearly US$300.

Intoxicated, he reportedly ran into and broke a glass door while attempting to flee, and was arrested outside the bank moments later.

At a hearing on Tuesday, Chateau confessed to charges of robbery and illegal use of a weapon, but said that he had been drunk and upset that no birthday wishes had been forthcoming from his parents.

Defence lawyer Dun Vibol told the court that Chateau’s parents typically sent him money for his birthday, but had failed to do so this year.

“He was very drunk and disappointed with his parents for not congratulating him on his birthday,” he said.

“His parents always send him money through that bank, but they failed to do it, and that caused him to commit a foolish act.”

Dun Vibol also said Chateau was suffering from “brain damage” caused by a motorbike accident last year, which he said made the suspect “very aggressive”.

He went on to note that the gun used during the robbery did not belong to Chateau.

“It was given to him by a Canadian man who used it as collateral for my client to fix his car at his garage,” he said.

“I request the court to slash down my client’s sentence to a minimum, because he confessed to the two charges. He did them innocently in his deeply drunken and anxious state.”

But lawyer Cheng Peng Hab, who is representing the bank, said the excuses offered by the defence did not justify Chateau’s actions.

“They were not related to the crime, and if he was drunk and had a mental illness, he should not have committed armed robbery,” he said. “He should have hung out around the riverside or somewhere else.”

He said the bank was hoping for Chateau to be sentenced “according to the law”. In addition, he said, Chateau should be made to repay the $300, as well as $205 to repair the glass door and $5,000 in compensation.

If found guilty, Chateau faces a sentence of five to 10 years in prison for the robbery, as well as an additional six months to two years for the illegal use of a firearm.

Presiding Judge Sin Visal said no date had been set for the verdict.

Child sex case postponed
Yesterday, the Municipal Court postponed for the third time a hearing against a Japanese man accused of purchasing sex from a 13-year-old girl in September last year.

Atsushi Kato, 48, was arrested on September 7 from a Social Affairs Department rehabilitation centre, where he had met the Vietnamese girl, a prostitute who had been sent there for re-education.

He was charged with purchasing child prostitution after allegedly confessing to having sex with the girl at a brothel in Daun Penh district’s Chaktomuk commune 10 times before he was arrested.

Defence lawyer Kao Soupha expressed outrage at the postponement. “Court officials should have informed me in advance, not just for me and my client but for everyone,” he said.

“A court clerk only just informed us that the case is postponed to an unscheduled date. It wastes our time, and my client has been in jail for nearly a year.”

Police Blotter: 12 Aug 2010

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:00 Tang Khyhay

A woman was seriously injured in an accident involving a drunkard after giving birth in Kampong Chhnang province on Tuesday. Witnesses said that the woman had just delivered a baby on a motorbike-pulled cart when the drunken driver crashed into it, injuring both the woman and the newborn baby. Kampong Chhnang’s deputy police chief said the perpetrator was still drunk after the accident, and that he was found to have high levels of alcohol in his system.

A drunken porter died after falling off a five-storey building in Prampi Makara district on Monday. Police said the victim gathered with his friends on the fifth floor to drink, and that the door was locked to prevent people from leaving while there was still beer left. A neighbour said she saw the victim at the window waving his hand to friends on the ground before he fell. The police concluded that the victim died because he tried to get out of the house through the window.

A man died after being struck by lightning while he was walking home with his wife in Kampong Cham province’s Tboang Khmum district Monday. The chief of his village said that the victim was chasing his wife during rainy weather. Police examined
the corpse and concluded that the victim definitely died of a lightning strike.

A man was arrested for raping a girl in Stoung district, Kampong Thom province, on Sunday. Police said the victim and her siblings were walking to pick vegetables when the suspect came and encouraged the young children to go back home. The suspect raped the victim in the bushes and warned her not to tell anyone about it. After receiving a complaint from the victim’s mother, police arrested the suspect and sent him to the provincial police station.

One person died and another was injured in a traffic accident involving a car and a government truck parked at an illegal logging checkpoint in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district on Monday. Police said forestry officials put the truck across the road to block vehicles that were transporting illegal logs, and that this technique had caused the accident. Both cars were confiscated by police pending further investigation, and the injured man was sent to a hospital in Siem Reap province.

Acid attack: Victim says he will not file charges

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:01 Kim Samath

Acid attack

A MAN who was seriously injured in an acid attack on Russian Boulevard on Monday night said yesterday he would not pursue legal action against the suspect, a police official said.

Son Kannareth, Russey Keo commune police chief, said he suspected that the victim, who had originally vowed to press charges against his assailant, had decided not to file a complaint out of fear of retribution.

“It is difficult to find the reason, but even though the victim did not file a complaint, we will not [close] this case at this time,” he said. “We will still keep investigating to arrest the suspect and punish [the suspect] through the law.”

The victim said that he had not been involved in any recent disputes, and that he might not have been the intended target of the attack because he did not recognise the assailant, Son Kannareth said.

Chhun Sophea, programme manager at the Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity, said the victim had been transferred to the organisation’s medical facility yesterday.

“He has to spend a long time on treatment because he got seriously injured,” she said.

New maths lessons daunting: students

your say: Cambodia’s new maths curriculum

“I initially chose the high-level class because I wanted to try it, but it was too difficult for me, so now I have switched to the basic-level class.” – Leang Sokuntheara, 17, student

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:01 Sun Narin

IT just doesn’t add up. So say youths who next year will become the first class of students to be tested on an updated and more challenging maths curriculum as part of the Kingdom’s national grade-12 exam.

The updated curriculum for the “high level” mathematics track includes lessons on new subjects including probability, parametric equations and long division, said Hourth Si Ath, a member of the Phnom Penh maths inspection committee.

new book and the lessons are good, but only 15 to 20 percent of my students are interested in the material. It is new, so I have to revise all my previous lessons.” – Chan Sovannarak, 45, teacher
“It’s challenging compared with the basic level,” Hourth Si Ath said. “It is also hard for the teachers because they have not been trained by the Ministry [of Education] about the teaching methodology.”

The updated maths curriculum, developed in 2005, was first implemented in 2008 for grade-10 students. These same students are now preparing to enter grade 12, and will thus need to demonstrate mastery of the new material in order to pass their high school exit exams next year.

Students have the option of selecting the “basic” or “high-level” track, though some say they did not realise what they were getting into when they opted for the more challenging curriculum in grade 10.

“These lessons and exercises are not suitable for my ability,” said Sun Dalin, 17, a student at Sisowath High School.

Hai Daneka, a 17-year-old student at Pursat High School, agreed.

“This is appropriate only for university students,” she said. “I’m worried about the national examination since this is the first time this material will be included.”

Kong Chantha, a maths teacher at Pursat High School, said teachers in more remote parts of the Kingdom had received little instruction in how to teach the material and were hindered by the lack of resources in their classrooms.

“Many of the exercises in the trigonometry section are hard to calculate in your head – you need a calculator,” Kong Chantha said.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, dismissed the concerns of the students, noting that they had the option to switch curriculums if they found the material too challenging.

He said, however, that teachers, particularly in rural areas, may require additional training in order to explain the material properly.

“It may be a problem for teachers if they don’t have the competence to teach it,” Rong Chhun said.

The Ministry of Education is working to address this issue, said Eng Kimly, director of the ministry’s department of curriculum development, planning expanded teacher training sessions in advance of the new school year and the impending national exams.

Khang Kim Sreang, a math teacher at Sisowath High School, said that although many students had expressed concern about the new curriculum, its difficulty had been exaggerated.

“It’s appropriate for the students – they’ve just heard that it’s more difficult by word of mouth,” he said. “Teachers just need to find more exercises for students to do.”

In the event that students do struggle with the exam, Eng Kimly said, the most likely cause would not be the difficulty of the material, but a more familiar culprit. “What we are worried about is that students will not study,” he said.

Having faith in Cambodia’s youths

via Khmer NZ

Thursday, 12 August 2010 15:01 Richard Bridle

Richard Bridle

Today marks our celebration of both the annual International Youth Day and the launch of the International Year of Youth, under the theme “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”.

The United Nations in Cambodia recognises the importance of Cambodia’s young people to the future of this country, and we welcome this spotlight on the needs and aspirations of one-third of Cambodia’s people.

It is our duty to listen to those voices and engage in that dialogue, to include Cambodia’s young people in the development process and in the future of their country.

The UN General Assembly defines youths as individuals aged between 15 and 24 years, and young people between 10 and 24 years of age. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, however, takes a broader view and defines youth as those between the ages of 14 and 30 years of age.

Cambodia’s population iof young people, proportionately one of the largest in Southeast Asia, presents significant opportunities, but it also presents tremendous challenges.

Despite recent rapid economic growth, there are simply not enough jobs for youths.

Unemployment among youths is higher than for any other age group. At the current pace of job creation, Cambodia will not have the capacity to place the increasing numbers of young people who are entering the workforce each year.

Currently estimated at 250,000-300,000 new entrants to the labour market each year, this number is expected to rise to 400,000 in the coming years.

The significant numbers of young people who find themselves unemployed or underemployed are all vulnerable to trafficking, entry into illegal sectors and use.

Rural poor who migrate to cities for work are more likely than others to be homeless and unemployed, and are more likely to turn to criminal behaviour or to migrate in search of employment as unskilled labourers.

We know that education is one of the best options to link youths with decent employment opportunities, but access to education at all levels in Cambodia continues to be unevenly distributed between urban and rural areas, as well as between rich and poor.

Additionally, poverty and economic shocks force many young people to leave school without acquiring the basic skills they need for work and for life. Only half of young people complete primary school, and only a quarter proceed to lower secondary school.

And it is important to note that school attendance alone is not a panacea. The quality and substance of their education is what will allow the young people of Cambodia to take their place in an increasingly competitive region.

Education will also enable the youth of Cambodia to make valuable contributions to their country’s development. Soon today’s youth will be Cambodia’s leaders, educators, businesspeople and farmers. If youths are to become an engine of growth for this country, much more needs to be done to ensure their meaningful participation in education, employment, development and governance.

The United Nations system in Cambodia works with youths to ensure that their voices are heard and that their needs and concerns are addressed in our work. The issues and concerns affecting youths are integrated into each area of the UN Development Assistance Framework 2011-2015, and this will continue to inform the work we undertake.

For example, in education, the UN in Cambodia is supporting government to: strengthen and implement policies and strategies for technical and vocational education and training; increase the quality of training programmes through developing skills standards, testing, accreditation and certification procedures; and increasing the evidence base for monitoring equitable access to quality basic education.

The UN Youth Advisory Panel, the first of its kind in the world, gives youths an opportunity to become more informed about development, the United Nations, and our ongoing commitment to the issues that affect young people. And it also serves to remind us of the importance of youths to development.

The Situation Analysis of Youth in Cambodia, published by the UN in Cambodia in October 2009, laid the groundwork for future work in this area, and the findings of this study contributed to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport’s crucial work on the National Youth Policy.

Cambodia’s youths are the most affected sector of society in terms of coping with rapid economic growth and social change, but they are also the most resilient and adaptable segment of the population.

The UN in Cambodia will continue to work with young people as they strive to create a better future for themselves, for their families and for their country.

Richard Bridle is acting UN resident coordinator for Camboadia.