Thursday, 26 August 2010

China, Cambodia pledge to enhance law enforcement cooperation

via Khmer NZ

August 26, 2010

China and Cambodia Wednesday pledged to enhance cooperation in law enforcement, counter-terrorism, drug control and fighting transnational crime.

Zhou Yongkang, a senior leader of the Communist Party of China, spoke highly of the effective cooperation in these areas during a meeting with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng.

Zhou hoped the security and law enforcement organs of the two nations would work together to push forward the China-Cambodia comprehensive cooperative partnership.

Earlier Wednesday, Sar Kheng, also the country's Interior Minister, met with China's Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu to sign an exchange of notes on China's assistance of police equipment to Cambodia.

Meng, also a State Councilor, said China was ready to cement bilateral cooperation within multilateral frameworks, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

During the meeting, they vowed to advance bilateral cooperation in areas such as law enforcement, counter-terrorism and drug control.

Source: Xinhua

Wrestling with the Khmer Rouge Legacy

via Khmer NZ

By Tom Fawthrop

Tom Fawthrop is the co-author with Helen Jarvis of Getting Away with Genocide? Elusive Justice and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (Pluto books distributed in the United States by University of Michigan Press). He has reported on Cambodia since 1979 for The Guardian (UK), BBC, and other media. He is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus, from where it is reprinted with the kind permission of that organization.

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal delivered its first verdict in July against Kaing Guek Euv, alias “Duch,” the director of the notorious S-21 prison, a torture and extermination center under the rule of Cambodian dictator Pol Pot. After a 77-day trial, the five judges—two international and three Cambodian—unanimously convicted Duch of committing crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison.

This landmark decision came only days after the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the restoration of U.S.-Cambodian relations. U.S. officials made no mention of their critical role in helping Pol Pot’s forces come to power. Nor did the trio of former U.S. ambassadors—Charles Ray, Kent Wiedemann, and Joseph Mussomeli—issue any apologies during the two-day celebration for the Nixon administration’s secret B-52 bombings that inflicted massive destruction on the Cambodian countryside or for U.S. diplomatic support for the Khmer Rouge from 1979 to 1990.

During his trial, Duch testified that the Khmer Rouge would have likely died out if the United States had not promoted a military coup d'├ętat in 1970 against the non-aligned government led by Prince Norodom Sihanouk. "I think the Khmer Rouge would already have been demolished," he said of their status by 1970, "But Mr. Kissinger [then U.S. secretary of state] and Richard Nixon were quick [to back coup leader] Gen. Lon Nol, and then the Khmer Rouge noted the golden opportunity."

Because of this alliance, the Khmer Rouge was able to build up its power over the course of their 1970-75 war against the Lon Nol regime, Duch told the tribunal.

At these two events—a condemnation and a celebration—the media paid little attention to U.S. complicity in the Cambodian tragedy. In fact, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was set up in just such a way as to avoid asking any of the uncomfortable questions about U.S. policy. The tribunal's mandate for indictment only covers the period from April 17, 1975 to January 6, 1979, when the Khmer Rouge regime was already in power.

Any investigation into the time period that covered U.S. bombing before 1975, which directly caused the deaths of 250,000 civilians, could open up former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to liability for war crimes.

After the fall of the Pol Pot regime in 1979, U.S. foreign policy also played a major role in aggravating the sufferings of the traumatized Cambodian people. As a result of the decision to focus only on that time period during the rule of Pol Pot and his regime, the Tribunal conveniently concentrates all the guilt for the atrocities in Cambodia on the Khmer Rouge and little on their enablers.

After 1979

The toppling of the barbarous Khmer Rouge regime, which ended the Cambodian nightmare, should have been cause for international celebration. But Washington and most western governments showed no elation at all because the “wrong country”—Vietnam—liberated the Cambodians. Instead, western governments condemned Vietnam for an illegal invasion.

Washington, meanwhile, joined China in keeping the ousted Pol Pot regime alive by retaining its seat in the UN General Assembly through its diplomatic recognition as the legitimate representative of the Cambodian people. The Khmer Rouge then used its vote, along with U.S. support, to prevent any UN agency from providing development aid to a country trying to rebuild itself from the abject ruins of Pol Pot’s “Year Zero.” UNICEF, a lone exception, was the only UN agency permitted to have an office in Phnom Penh.

Why the Delay?

Why has it taken thirty years to bring Khmer Rouge leaders to trial? The Hun Sen government’s protracted negotiation with the UN legal affairs department is one oft-cited reason. But, in fact, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen requested the UN to set up a tribunal back in 1986. From 1986-1987, Australian Foreign Minister Bill Hayden called for Pol Pot to be put on trial. But the Reagan administration blocked his initiative, claiming that any attempt to prosecute Khmer Rouge leaders would “undermine” U.S.-Australian relations and the united front, with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China, against Vietnam.

Only after the Cold War ended and a Cambodian peace deal was signed could Cambodians put a Khmer Rouge tribunal back on the agenda. In 1997, in his human rights report, UN Special Rapporteur for Cambodia Thomas Hammarberg included a request from Cambodian leaders for a UN-aided tribunal. The General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution that noted for the first time that crimes against humanity had occurred in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, and they needed to be addressed. This delay in bringing the Khmer Rouge to trial stretched for nearly twenty years because Washington blocked all attempts at setting up a tribunal.

Given this unhappy record of the United States and its contribution to the Cambodian tragedy, the Cambodia government had expected that their longstanding request for the cancellation of a very old debt of $339 million would receive a sympathetic hearing in Washington.

After all, this debt is based on original loans to the military regime of General Lon Nol who came to power in 1970 with U.S. military support. Cambodia’s government says that in part, these loans were used to buy weapons and support that war, which caused great suffering to the Cambodian people. Much of the $339 million represents interest accumulated over the last thirty years.

And yet, for all the recent improvement in U.S.-Cambodia relations, Washington remains obdurate in insisting that the current government in Phnom Penh repay the debt.

To show some measure of respect for the Cambodian people, the Obama administration should stop demanding that Cambodians pay for the bombs used to kill so many of their fellow citizens. Washington should reverse current policy and cancel the debt. Moreover, as compensation for people killed and infrastructure destroyed during the war, the United States should extend considerably more humanitarian aid to Cambodian war victims than the few small grants so far provided to U.S. charities. The United States can’t undo all the damage done by the secret bombing campaign and support for the Khmer Rouge. But at this late date, Washington can at least help Cambodia deal with the legacy of the war and the destructive political force that grew out of it.

Cambodia seize 12.9 million smuggled cold pills

via Khmer NZ


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Police have arrested a man for smuggling into Cambodia a huge quantity of cold medicine containing an essential ingredient used to manufacture the illegal stimulant methamphetamine.

A prosecutor of Banteay Meanchey province, So Vat, said that 35-year old An Pheakdey was charged Wednesday with three offenses related to smuggling medicine. He would not speculate what the penalty might be.

Provincial police chief Hun Hean said An Pheakdey was arrested Sunday after police raided his warehouse and found some 12.85 million South Korean-made cold pills.

He said the medicine was smuggled from Thailand and contains pseudoephedrine. He did not say whether police suspected the pills were intended for conversion into illegal stimulants.

Mekong Region Rail Network Plan to Go Ahead

via Khmer NZ

By NewsDesk

A railway network connecting Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam via regional rail lines is expected to be endorsed in Vietnam by representatives from the countries, the Asian Development Bank said.

The plan includes an option to use existing lines to connect Bangkok with Phnom Penh, and Nanning with Kunming.

The plan says the route between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh, the only missing link on the line, would require $1.09bn for completion, excluding the $7bn additional funds needed to upgrade the existing lines.

The Mekong regional rail network implementation will mark the first step towards an integrated railway system in the region, which could carry 3.2 million passengers by 2025.

Child-friendly schools make a progressive leap in Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

By Jay LaMonica

STUNG TRENG PROVINCE, Cambodia, 25 August 2010 – Long Kan Buthom, 11, performs a traditional Khmer dance with ease. Her radiant smile, expressive hand movements and precise choreography come from long hours of practice.

VIDEO: UNICEF reports on child-friendly schools in in the remote Stung Treng province of Cambodia.

Buthom says that her dance teacher is very strict and doesn’t allow the girls to chat during the hand and foot bending exercises that are crucial to the ancient art form.

While Buthom enjoys dance, however, her real passion is drawing. She loves to draw cartoon characters and would like to be a painter or a lawyer when she grows up.

Child leadership

Buthom is a member of the Student Council at Reachea Nukol Primary School in Cambodia’s remote Stung Treng province, which lies in the northeast corner of the country along the border with Laos. While she is just 11 years old, she has an important job in the Student Council: to disseminate key information to the other students.

© UNICEF video
Boys and girls study at a child-friendly school in Stung Treng province, Cambodia.

Every morning, the entire student body assembles outside the school to sing the national anthem and raise the flag – one opportunity for Buthom to perform her work. On one recent morning, she spoke to her fellow students about the need to put trash in new garbage bins all around the school. She also stressed the importance of hand washing after handling trash.

Reachea Nukol has changed dramatically in the six years Buthom has been a student there. Just a few years ago, it became a UNICEF-supported ‘child-friendly’ school.

Voice for students

The UNICEF Child-Friendly Schools Initiative aims to provide an equal opportunity for all children within a safe and nurturing environment. Teachers and caregivers are trained to recognize children’s emotional needs and to encourage them to express themselves without fear. As a result, students find teachers to be more understanding of their needs and interests and are able to approach learning in a positive way.

© UNICEF video
Souk Lek, 6, attends a child-friendly school in Cambodia's remote Stung Treng province.

With a stronger voice, students at Reachea Nukol are also able to help make practical changes that improve their quality of life at school.

“There was no library before,” said Buthom. “We studied individually and there was no group discussion at all. There were not enough materials to use.” She added that the creation of the Student Council has led to better discipline and more leadership among students across the school.

Gender equality

Every morning Buthom rides her bicycle to Reachea Nukol, where her favorite subjects are social studies and science. After school she takes English classes from her father, who runs a small outdoor school tutoring local children. Her father has impressed upon Buthom the importance of education.

© UNICEF video
Cambodian primary school students clap during a song.

There was a time not too long ago when girls weren’t allowed to attend school in Cambodia. But today all children have an equal opportunity to receive an education.

Buthom says her role model is her grandfather, who was executed by the Khmer Rouge when her father was a little boy. Two of her uncles were also killed because they had attended university. In an attempt to destroy traditional culture, the regime even targeted classical dancers.

Today’s changes also go a long way toward helping Cambodia achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals targets relating to achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equality. The MDGs, a set of internationally recognized targets for reducing poverty worldwide, call for the elimination of gender disparities at all levels of education by the year 2015.

Hope for the future

Since the days of the Khmer Rouge, however, life has improved across the country, and children – both girls and boys alike – can have hope for the future.

“There have been lots of changes in Cambodia,” said Buthom. “Now there are bridges, roads, schools and hospitals. Our government has rebuilt many things that were destroyed.”

Next year, Buthom will be moving up to secondary school. She plans to continue her studies and hopes to develop her passion for drawing. She and her friends will continue to study traditional dance, celebrating the traditional cultural art that is so unique to Cambodia.

Buthom also hopes to one day move to Phnom Penh or another big city to pursue a law degree.

Sondhi: Thaksin's resignation a ploy

via Khmer NZ

Published: 25/08/2010

Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's resignation as economic adviser to the Cambodian government is only a political ploy, People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) leader Sondhi Limthongkul said on Wednesday.

Mr Sondhi said Thaksin's resignation was just part of a political strategy, since it can be done immediately by just getting approval.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen could show his sincerity by handing over a number of people charged with terrorism, like Arisman Pongruangrong, who are believed to be hiding in Cambodia.

The two countries would be good neighbours if Cambodia returned all of them to Thailand, the yelllow-shirt leader said.

"If Hun Sen fails to do so, then it means he is hiding his real intentions," he said.

Mr Sondhi said Thaksin had been quiet for some time and could be plotting some new action against the government that would cause problems for Thai people.

"I have no trust the situation and I believe Thailand will shortly be down in flames because Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is not resolute in his decisions.

"It is dreadful that Thai people allow red-shirt leader and Puea Thai Party MP Jatuporn Prompan ramble on all the time," he said.

Mr Sondhi said he could agree with Mr Jatuporn if his opinions backed by reason and logic.

When Thaksin was running the government he was the centre of corruption, but in the Abhisit administration corruption had spread to to all ministries, he said.

"I believe there is more corruption now than during the Thaksin administration," Mr Sondhi said.

Leaders warn on S.E. Asia's rich-poor gap

Emulating the European Union's example, ASEAN wants to establish by 2015 a single market

via Khmer NZ

By Ian Timberlake (AFP)
DANANG, Vietnam — Southeast Asian leaders warned Wednesday of a widening gap between the booming region's richest and poorest nations that could threaten its ambitious drive for an EU-style single market.

Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have recorded high growth rates but their per capita gross domestic product remains the lowest among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"The danger of (a) widening development gap remains a major obstacle to ASEAN's future development, especially given the context of expanded ASEAN economic integration," Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said in opening remarks to an annual meeting of the bloc's trade and commerce ministers.

Emulating the European Union's example, ASEAN wants to establish by 2015 a single market and manufacturing base of about 600 million people -- a goal that has been spurred by intensifying competition from China and India.

The discrepancy between ASEAN's rich and poor members "is quite wide" and could undermine efforts to create the single market, ASEAN secretary general Surin Pitsuwan told reporters.

"A house divided by such a gap is not stable," he said.

According to ASEAN statistics, GDP per capita in the bloc ranges from 419 dollars in Myanmar to more than 36,000 dollars in Singapore.

Surin said the gulf within ASEAN had widened because some countries were better able to attract investment as the global economy recovered from the crisis which struck in 2008.

"It has come up quite often at the highest level, of how to help bridge this gap," he said.

The Vietnamese prime minister, who chaired the meeting, urged ministers to "work out concrete and robust measures" to create a more equitable ASEAN.

But the bloc has been more focused on initiatives such as forging individual free trade deals and does not have the budgets or structures in place to address the issue, said Leon Perera, group managing director of Spire Research and Consulting in Singapore.

"I think they haven't really set that goal in a serious way," he told AFP by telephone.

Perera said that "other things being equal, you tend to get more inequality" as a consequence of globalisation, and a development gap may be more significant within countries than between them.

"I think what has not been developed is... some kind of process where you have a more systematic way of addressing the different levels of capacity," said Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Pangestu.

She said Europe has a special fund to address differences within that bloc.

ASEAN announced earlier this year agreement in principle to establish an infrastructure fund, which could help equalise development.

In Vietnam alone, the European Chamber of Commerce has cited estimates that the country needs around 70-80 billion dollars of investment in infrastructure, such as ports and roads, over the next five to 10 years.

The Indonesian minister said that fostering increased trade and investment within Southeast Asia and the wider region will help counter a possible "double-dip" global recession.

Fears have grown that the United States economy -- a key engine of global growth -- could dip back into recession after a fragile recovery from the 2008 crisis.

"We talk about that, and we need to be cognizant of the risks of the global environment that we face," Pangestu said.

Surin said Southeast Asian nations need closer cooperation to deal with incidents such as this week's Philippines bus hijacking that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

Next Asian Riviera a green dream for Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Cambodia may soon join the ranks of Phuket, Koh Samui and Bali with plans to transform the picture perfect island of Koh Rong into the "next Asian Riviera".

Architects and environmental consultants have worked to create "Asia's first environmentally planned resort destination" in a study which outlined a 25 year transformation of the island, according to Property Report.

The study to renovate Koh Rong is currently being distributed to international investors, many "already eyeing early progress with keen interest", despite the projected quarter century completion, CB Richard Ellis Thailand Chairman David Simister said.

"We are targeting forward looking investors within the region and globally who share a mutual vision on ecological development and who want to be part of creating South East Asia's new resort destination."

While the study details plans for an international airport as well as possible sites for hotels, resorts, golf courses and shopping there is a highlighted emphasis on guidelines for sustainable development.

"Key to the eco strategy is that all development partners conform to recycling and low energy use, with minimal use of high energy consuming materials," study participant MAP Architects Director David Clarke said.

Various projects will be restricted to "an eco-green theme with earth tones", organic farming will be implemented, fresh water will be collected from small reservoirs and dams beneath the island, and there will possibly be educational lessons dedicated to environmental sustainability.

"The master plan for Koh Rong presents perhaps a unique opportunity to create virtually from the beginning a truly ecologically sustainable large scale resort community," Scott Wilson General Manager Lauri Van Run said.

According to Mr Clarke, all that remains is bringing the dream to life, "we need to sell this island to the world".

The island located 44 kilometers from the Sihanoukville coast of Cambodia was recognised earlier in the year by international business magazine Forbes which listed Koh Rong in the top 22 of "Asia's Best Beaches".

Cambodian Royal Army Guards visit Vietnam

via Khmer NZ


A delegation of the High Command of the Cambodian Royal Army Guards led by deputy commander General Dieng Sarun, has paid a working visit to the High Command of Military Zone 7.

During a session with the Cambodian delegation, Lieutenant General Trieu Xuan Hoa, Commander of Military Zone 7, briefed the guests on the armed forces’ contribution to socio-economic development in the region.

General Dieng Sarun, who is also deputy chief of the Cambodian Infantry High Command and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s adviser, said he wished his visit to Military Zone 7 would be a good opportunity for the delegation of the Cambodia High Command of Guards to learn and share experiences with the Vietnamese armed forces.

The visit was made under a protocol on bilateral cooperation between the defence ministries of Vietnam and Cambodia.

AsiaInfo-Linkage Signs Deal with Mfone in Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

BEIJING and SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ -- AsiaInfo-Linkage, Inc. (Nasdaq: ASIA) ("AsiaInfo-Linkage" or the "Company"), a leading provider of telecom software solutions and IT security products and services in China, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Mfone Co., Ltd. ("Mfone"), a leading provider of fixed and mobile telecommunications services in Cambodia, to develop a Business Intelligence ("BI") system for the operator.

AsiaInfo-Linkage's President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Zhang, commented, "This agreement is of great significance as it marks our first win and entry into the Southeast Asian telecommunications market. This system will enhance Mfone's decision-making capabilities and decrease its operating costs, thus making the company more profitable over the long-term. We are excited about the momentum gained with this project in Southeast Asia and we will continue to pursue opportunities in the region."

The BI system is being built in response to increased competition in the Cambodian telecommunications market. It is being designed primarily to enhance business analysis capability and optimize enterprise operation and management. Pursuant to the agreement, AsiaInfo-Linkage will provide a "full turnkey solution," including engineering and design, procuring and supplying products, and installation, commissioning, training and on-site support.

About AsiaInfo-Linkage, Inc.

AsiaInfo-Linkage, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASIA) is a leading provider of high-quality software solutions and IT products and services in China's telecommunications industry. Following the merger between AsiaInfo and Linkage on July 1, 2010, AsiaInfo-Linkage leverages both AsiaInfo's and Linkage's leading market positions and complementary customer bases to provide a robust, comprehensive service offering primarily to China's telecom operators. AsiaInfo-Linkage's world-class R&D capabilities and extensive base of highly skilled engineers provide best-of-class solutions to help customers differentiate themselves from their competitors.

For more information about AsiaInfo-Linkage, please visit .

Thai-Cambodia ties expected to be improved after Thaksin's resignation

via kHMER nz

August 25, 2010

Just one day after Cambodian authorities announced the resignation of ex-Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinnawatra as its advisor, Thailand sent its ambassador back to Phnom Penh on Tuesday and three Thais detained by Cambodia have been released.

Tension between the two neighboring countries seems to thaw.


On Tuesday evening, Prasas Prasasvinitchai, Thai ambassador to Cambodia returnd to his post after almost 10-month absence since the Cambodian government appointed convicted ex-premier Thaksin as its economic adviser last October.

Thai News Agency (TNA) quoted Prasas as saying that he would coordinate with Cambodian authorities to present his credentials to King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace.

The process was expected to finish within two weeks and was necessary before he could officially resume his duties, he said.

The ambassador also said he would subsequently pay a courtesy call on the Cambodian Foreign Minister and he believed that bilateral relations will gradually improve.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian ambassador to Thailand You Aye is expected to arrive in Bangkok on Wednesday.


Another sign that tension has been eased is that three Thais detained by Cambodian authorities for nearly a week were set free on Tuesday.

The Cambodian authorities have released the three and will hand them over to Thai authorities at a border checkpoint in Thai northeastern province of Si Sa Ket, the TNA quoted Somkiart Sangkhaosutthirak, deputy governor of northeastern border province of Surin as saying.

Last Wednesday, Sanong Wongcharoen, Lim Puangpet and Lan Sapsri, villagers in Surin were detained by Cambodian army on charges of illegal entry into the country and possessing firearms. Since then, the three were detained in a prison in Cambodia's Siem Reap province.

Their release was secured after negotiations between the Thai and Cambodian authorities.

Early Tuesday, the Bangkok Post online quoted Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, Secretary to Thai Foreign Minister as saying that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered Siem Reap governor to release the three men and they are expected to be released in two to three days after documentation is complete.


Several Thai officials hoped that relations with Cambodia will be improved after Thaksin resigned as an economic adviser to the Cambodian government.

This would lead to better cooperation between the two countries, and an easing of tension along the border, Chavanond said.

Meanwhile, Suthep Thaugsuban, Deputy Prime Minister for security affairs, said he would like to thank Hun Sen for announcing Thaksin's resignation.

"I thank all sides for trying to improve Thai-Cambodian ties. I believe both countries can now discuss the border situation more smoothly," he said.

Similarly, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said the tension should be eased and the two countries will be able to hold talks to resolve the border dispute around Preah Vihear temple.

"All issues between Thailand and Cambodia should improve as both countries already cooperate in many areas," he said.

Supreme Commander Songkitti Chakkrabat said the Thai-Cambodian rift should narrow down since Thaksin has resigned.

"Thailand and Cambodia are neighbours and have positive ties," the Commander said.

Source: Xinhua

Former Khmer Rouge prison chief appeals conviction

Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav, was found guilty last month of war crimes and crimes against humanity

via Khmer NZ

By Suy Se (AFP)

PHNOM PENH — Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Duch has appealed against his conviction by Cambodia's UN-backed war crimes court, his lawyers said Wednesday, describing the verdict as a "miscarriage of justice."

Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav, was last month sentenced to 30 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity for overseeing the execution of 15,000 people, including women and children, at Tuol Sleng prison.

The appeal, filed late Tuesday, calls for Duch's acquittal, partly on the grounds that the court does not have jurisdiction to convict him, his lawyer Kang Ritheary told AFP.

"A low-ranking person like Duch should not have been tried," Kang Ritheary said.

The appeal notice argues that the tribunal "applied victor's justice" and was established for the sole purpose of prosecuting Duch.

Prosecutors are also appealing against the sentence, seeking the maximum 40-year jail term.

They also want enslavement, imprisonment, torture, rape, extermination and other inhumane acts to be added to Duch's list of convictions.

The 67-year-old was initially handed a jail term of 35 years but the court reduced the sentence on the grounds that he had been detained illegally for years before the UN-backed tribunal was established.

It also took into account the years Duch has served since his arrest in 1999, meaning that he could walk free in about 19 years -- to the dismay of survivors and relatives of victims.

During his trial, Duch repeatedly apologised for overseeing the mass murder at the prison -- also known as S-21 -- but shocked the court in November by finally asking to be acquitted.

Led by "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge wiped out nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population through starvation, overwork and execution.

Tuol Sleng was at the centre of the Khmer Rouge security apparatus and thousands of inmates were taken from there for execution in a nearby orchard that served as a "killing field".

But the court found there was insufficient evidence to prove Duch personally committed torture or other inhumane acts, the judge said.

The joint trial of four more senior Khmer Rouge leaders charged with genocide is expected to start in 2011.

The court is also investigating whether to open more cases against five other former Khmer Rouge cadres, after a dispute between the international and Cambodian co-prosecutors over whether to pursue more suspects.

The Khmer Rouge was ousted by Vietnamese-backed forces in 1979, but continued to fight a civil war until 1998. Pol Pot died that same year.

Duch has been detained since 1999, when he was found working as a Christian aid worker in the jungle. He was formally arrested by the tribunal in July 2007.

Khmer Rouge jailer Duch submits appeal

via Khmer NZ

By Guy De Launey
BBC News, Phnom Penh

25 August 2010

Duch oversaw the deaths of thousands of men, women and children at Tuol Sleng prison

A former Khmer Rouge prison chief found guilty of crimes against humanity has started formal appeal proceedings.

Last month, judges at a UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia sentenced Kaing Guek Eav to 35 years for his role in the torture and murder of thousands of people.

But the man best known as Comrade Duch has argued that he should not be held responsible.

Prosecutors have also launched their own appeal.

They said earlier this month that the sentence passed was too lenient as, with time already served, Duch would be free in at most 19 years.

That is hard for many survivors of the Khmer Rouge era to swallow.

Duch's appeal may add to their unease.

He admitted overseeing the systematic torture and murder of thousands of people at the S-21 detention centre and even apologised to the victims' relatives in court.

But the former prison chief now says he should not have been on trial at all.

The tribunal was set up to prosecute the surviving senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge and those most responsible for the worst atrocities.

Duch claims he falls into neither category.

The appeals may be heard as early as the end of November.

Cambodian envoy returns to Thailand

via Khmer NZ

Published: 25/08/2010

The Cambodian ambassador to Thailand, You Aye, returned to Bangkok on Wednesday, a day after the Thai envoy left for Phnom Penh to resume his duties.

Mrs You Aye arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport in the morning on flight TG 932 from Phnom Penh.

She left the airport without giving any interviews.

Ties between Bangkok and Phnom Penh have suddenly improved after ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra resigned as an economic adviser to Cambodia.

On Tuesday, Thai ambassador to Cambodia Prasas Prasasvinitchai returned to Phnom Penh. Mr Prasas said he expected to resume his duties within two weeks after presenting his credentials to Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said he has instructed Mr Prasas to create better understanding and boost bilateral ties.

Mr Kasit said Thailand has supported Cambodia in fields such as loans and technology. He expects bilateral ties to continue, and pending negotiations and cooperation in education, culture, border security and landmine-clearance to progress under the existing framework of cooperation.

He also expressed confidence that the Preah Vihear dispute will not affect overall relations and that both countries will not let it become an obstacle.

Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan also said he believes relations between the two countries will now improve, adding that military ties between the two countries remain strong.

Gen Prawit said problems between Thailand and Cambodia should end now that Thaksin has resigned.

Archaeologists discover ancient Buddha statues in Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

Phnom Penh, Aug 25 (Kyodo) Japanese archaeologists have discovered six ancient Buddha statues in Cambodia, a member of the team has said. Yukitsugu Tabata, an archaeologist and a team leader at the excavation site told Kyodo News that the six statues were unearthed Friday at Banteay Kdei Temple, which is located 7 kilometers east of Cambodia's famed Angkor Wat Temple. He said the discovery of the severed upper halves of the six statues came during the month-long excavation work that began on Aug 13. The statues date back in the 13th century and are in the Bayon style, said Tabata. The statues are believed to have been made about the same time as the death of King Jayavarman VII, founder of the Banteay Kdei Temple and after which his successor changed the established religion from Mahayana Buddhism to Hinduism.(Kyodo)

MFA Press Statement: Appointment of Singapore's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

The Government has appointed Mr S Premjith as Singapore's next Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia. He will assume post on 30 August 2010.

Mr Premjith joined the Singapore Foreign Service in October 1994. He served as Country Officer for International Economics before his posting to the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta in 1997 as First Secretary (Political). In 2001, Mr Premjith was awarded the Chevening Scholarship from the British Government to pursue a Masters Degree in Development Studies at Cambridge University, United Kingdom. Upon his return to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he served as Deputy Director for Indonesia in the Southeast Asia Directorate from September 2002 to March 2005. He was appointed Acting Director for South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa Directorate on 1 April 2005 and subsequently served as Director from November 2005 to July 2010.

Cambodia, Thai resume diplomatic ties helpful to relation improvement: official

via Khmer NZ

August 25, 2010

The restoration of the diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Thailand will be sure to help further improve relations between the two countries, a government official said on Tuesday.

Thailand ambassador arrived here on Tuesday evening to resume his work in Cambodia after absence of nearly 10 months.

Koy Kuong, foreign ministry's spokesman confirmed to Xinhua on Tuesday evening that "Cambodian ambassador, Madame You Ay, will return to perform her duty as ambassador tomorrow, now that Thai ambassador has returned to Phnom Penh."

Cambodia, Thailand downgraded their diplomatic relation on Nov. 5 last year after Cambodia appointed Thaksin as advisor to Cambodian government and Prime Minister Hun Sen. Thai recalled ambassador Prasas Prasasvinitchai and Cambodia made the same move on the same day.

But Thaksin made a surprise resignation from the posts on Monday and Cambodian government announced it had accepted his resignation.

Just hours after Cambodia confirmed to Thailand with Thaksin's resignation from the posts, Thai government said it would send back the ambassador to Cambodia the next day, and Cambodia said it will reciprocate its ambassador.

Koy Kuong said that the restoration of the diplomatic relations between the two countries will be sure to help the further improvement of the relations in various fields.

However, he declined to give further details about what's the effect it will be on the solution of border dispute between two countries. "I can't answer the question now, all we can do is to wait and see," he said. "We can not say that with the restoration of a good diplomatic relation, all the problems will be solved such as the border issue."

Cambodia and Thailand has had border dispute since Cambodia's Preah Vihear Temple was registered as World Heritage Site in July 2008.

Since then several rounds of military clashes have occurred between the two countries' armies and caused some deaths and injuries on both sides.

Source: Xinhua

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via Khmer NZ

Cambodia Orders Local Authorities to Minimize Impact of National Road 6’Development

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 07:09 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 25, 2010-Cambodian Pm Hun Sen on Wednesday ordered to local authorities to think about minimizing the impact from development project of expanding national road 6 linking from Japanese- Cambodian Bridge to Ba-Teay district in Kompong Cham province.

As schedule project, the road needs to expand 25 m more from old one but this morning Samdech gave recommendation to expand only 15m that is enough to minimize the impact on houses of local people,” Klang Huot, Russey Keo district’s governor said by phone.

Samdech PM Hun Sen approached here with his few bodyquard to ask about the impact and recommended that words, Huot added.

Recently, local residents gathered in front of PM Hun Sen’s resident near Independent monument to demand proper compensation. They did not oppose the development project form the government.

National road 6 A always met the traffic jam at weekend because road is small size and number of population in Phnom Penh grow rapidly. More car and business transaction, transportation linked to other provinces.

There are 90 families affecting from the development project. The local people thanked the leadership from the PM.

Cambodia´s Ambassador Arrives in Bangkok

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 04:26 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 25, 2010-The Cambodian foreign ministry announced on Wednesday that its ambassador arrived in Bangkok this morning to resume her position.

“Ambassador You Ay arrived in Bangkok in the past few hours,” Koy Khuong , spokesman of foreign ministry said.

Cambodia sent ambassador back to Bangkok today after Thai ambassador arrived here yesterday evening.

The diplomatic ties cut off after Thailand recalled its ambassador back to Bangkok when Cambodia side appointed former Thai PM Thaksin as economic advisor. But at that time, Cambodia told Thai side to open eyes to see the background of the border conflict.

Cambodia and Thailand resume their relation but the main issue now; Thai troops have to return to their stations prior to July 15, 2008 near 11th Khmer Preah Vihear temple.

The day that Thai troops arrived at the area near the temple and that time is second time after Thai military unit needed the temple but Thailand lost the case of the temple at the international court of justice. In 1962, the temple was awarded to Cambodia through verdict of ICJ.

The military escalation at the temple occurred after Thai military unit used the own and secret map to invade Cambodia’s sovereignty near temple. That kind of manner is like German leader Hilter used the map to occupy the polish territory and invaded Poland in the beginning of the world war two.

Cambodian Official Says no Release 3 Thai Citizens

Tuesday, 24 August 2010 13:29 DAP NEWS/Sorn Sopheak

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 24, 2010- A Cambodian government advisor and the spokesman of press and quick reaction unit on Tuesday evening said that it is not true for any reports saying that 3 Thai citizens will be released in the next 2 or 3 days followed the Premier Hun Sen´s order.

“This is not true and it is fake information from Thailand,” Mr. Tith Sothea told DAP News.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has not ordered to release the 3 Thai citizens, who were arrested by Cambodian authorities on Wednesday last week and accused by Seam Reip Provincial court, because he doesn´t have a legal right to interfere the court´s duty.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the release of three Thai men arrested last week for entering Cambodian territory illegally to hunt and forage, Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to the foreign minister, confirmed on Tuesday, according to Bangkok Post.

Mr Chavanond said Hun Sen has ordered the Siem Reap governor to release the three men.

They were expected to be released in two to three days after documentation is complete, he said.

The 3 Thai citizens were accused of illegal crossing and holding weapons into Cambodian land by Seam Reap Provincial court.

Australia Helps Police and Accused Person’s Facilities in Cambodia

Tuesday, 24 August 2010 13:03 DAP NEWS / VIBOL

CAMBODIA, PHNOM PENH, AUGUST 24, 2010-Prum Sokha, Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior and HE Ms Margaret Adamson, the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia 24 August 2010 opened new judicial police facilities at Battambang Police Commission Compound.

The new facilities are part of Australia’s support for better infrastructure through the Cambodia Criminal Justice Assistance Project (CCJAP). Through CCJAP, Australia has provided AU$4million for capital works to improve provincial; police, court and prison buildings in five provinces (Battambang, Prey Veng, Banteay Mean Chey, Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham), the statement from the embassy obtained to day said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, HE Ms Margaret Adamson said “This new building will provide better working conditions for police officers, enabling them to work in a more effective and efficient manner. It has also been designed to provide better conditions for accused persons, for victims and for the local residents who are working with the police to report and reduce crime”.

HE Prum Sokha, Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior, said “This physical infrastructure is a good example of a strong effort of both governments toward supporting reform in Cambodia.

“ Now, with competent police officers and new infrastructure, I strongly believe our police officers will be able to perform their duties more efficiently and professionally to ensure security and safety to our communities and will gain more confidence and trust from communities.” Sokha added.

“This building will enable provincial police commissioner to link important activities to the strategic objectives of Cambodian National Police accordingly and will improve the infrastructure of provincial police in order to expand technical-scientific and development training programs related to the key points of the interview and the trainings in order to support criminal and sexual abuse investigation especially related to women and juveniles”, said General Sar Thet, Provincial Police Commissioner of Battambang Province.

Australia has supported reform across the criminal justice system in Cambodia since 1997. The Cambodia Criminal Justice Assistance Project Phase 3 (2007 – 2012) works with the Royal Government and NGOs and communities to improve prisons, policing, courts, crime prevention and community safety in six provinces.

Heads up on a visit

Photo by: Heng Chivoan

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:00 Heng Chivoan

Workers erect billboard images of Vietnamese president Nguyen Minh Triet and his wife Tran Thi Kim Chi on Sothearos Boulevard yesterday. The couple are scheduled to arrive in Phnom Penh on Thursday for a state visit, during which Triet is expected to have an audience with the King and meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Sinking feeling

Photo by: Heng Chivoan

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:00 Heng Chivoan

Touch Chanda, 37, stands ankle-deep in water in his house at the Boeung Kak lakeside yesterday. Residents blame heavy rains, bad drainage systems and recent attempts to fill the lake for the prolonged flooding that they say has caused illness and forced some families to relocate.

HK mourns and fumes over Manila bloodbath

Photo by: AFP

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:03 AFP

Employees at Hong Kong’s stock exchange observe a minute’s silence yesterday in memory of the victims of the Manila bus hijacking.

Thai envoy returns to Cambodia

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:03 Cheang Sokha and James O’Toole

THAILAND’S ambassador to Cambodia returned to the country late yesterday, ending a nine-month-long diplomatic spat over Phnom Penh’s appointment of Thailand’s fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser last year.

Ambassador Prasas Prasasvinitchai, who was welcomed by Thai embassy officials as he touched down at Phnom Penh International Airport last night, was withdrawn to Bangkok in November after Cambodia made Thaksin’s appointment public. Cambodia followed suit, plunging diplomatic relations to their lowest point in years.

The latest Thai move followed Cambodia’s announcement on Monday that Thaksin – who is wanted in Thailand on graft charges and has fled into exile – had resigned from his post.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said You Ay, Cambodia’s ambassador to Thailand, was scheduled to leave for Bangkok this morning.

“If [Prasas] arrives in Phnom Penh this evening, the Cambodian government will send its ambassador to Thailand tomorrow morning,” Koy Kuong said yesterday.

Thani Thongphakdi, deputy spokesman of the Thai foreign affairs ministry, expressed optimism about the ambassador’s reappointment.

“We appreciate the decision taken by the Cambodian government, and we believe that this augurs well for the relations between both countries,” he said.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva also said that the resignation of Thaksin and the subsequent return of Thailand’s ambassador to Phnom Penh had boosted hopes of an easing of diplomatic tensions, which have risen over the countries' border dispute.

“I believe that the normalised relations with the reinstatement of the ambassadors will clear the way for the two countries to more easily resolve all problems,” the Thai News Agency quoted Abhisit as saying.

Land spat prompts posters

via Khmer NZ

Wednesday, 25 August 2010 15:03 Chhay Channyda

FEARING eviction from their farmland, villagers in Koh Kong province spent yesterday putting up posters urging local authorities to intervene on their behalf, a day after bulldozers moved in to clear land claimed by the villagers.

Phao Nheung, a representative of 34 families in Sre Ambel district’s Chi Khor Krom commune, said villagers put up seven large posters asking the government to step in and stop “powerful people” from taking over the land.

Is it fair for me? My land is still my land. Even if they try to erect fences, one day they will be removed.

On Monday, villagers said more than 20 armed police and civilian officials cleared 14.5 hectares of disputed farmland. The families have claimed 100 hectares of farmland in the area, but the Supreme Court last year ruled that the land fell on property previously awarded to two businessmen, including prominent Koh Kong tycoon Heng Huy.

Phao Nheung said yesterday that villagers had not been offered any compensation.

“Heng Huy has talked about paying compensation to villagers,” she said. “Instead, they cleared our land without compensation.”

Yesterday, Heng Huy said he had the right to clear the land, which he said would become part of a sugar plantation.

“They are bad people living illegally on my land. They want to ask money from me,” he said. Heng Huy said villagers blocked the road to his plantation and his office yesterday.

“Is it fair for me? My land is still my land. Even if they try to erect fences, one day they will be removed,” he said.

Local officials have so farsided with Heng Huy in the dispute. Provincial Governor Bun Leut yesterday said the villagers would have to remove the posters.

“This case is a court case that awarded [the land] to Heng Huy, so we must follow the court’s verdict,” he said.

However, the governor said that villagers would be compensated for relocating.

“I will ask the villagers and Heng Huy to compromise by paying some compensation to the villagers,” he said.

But the villagers, who claim to have lived on the land since 1980, say they aren’t interested in leaving.

Phao Nheung said the community has also asked the provincial court to intervene.

“We want the provincial court to open an investigation into the case because we are the group ... that is victimised by the dispute,” she said.

Ouch Leng, a land programme officer for local rights group Adhoc, said the posters the villagers put up yesterday should be a message telling all businessmen “not to grab villagers’ land violently”.

Koh Kong court prosecutor Top Chhun Heng said he was unfamiliar with the case.