Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Radio Australia 15/01/2008

Tuesday 15/01/2008

Khmer Republican Party authorized to open its headquarters

Lon Rith, president of the Khmer Republican Party

ECCC townhall meeting in Pailin

A Cambodian Khmer Rouge court officer, right, provides some booklets to Buddhist monks in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in northwestern Cambodia Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008. Officials from Cambodia's genocide tribunal held a town hall-style meeting Wednesday in the Khmer Rouge's former heartland to persuade residents to help with the trials and to dispel fears among neighbors of the regime's ex-rulers.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

People watch a Khmer Rouge tribunal education video during a public meeting with the co-investigating judges of the "Killing Fields" tribunal in the Kong Kang temple in the former Khmer Rouge strong hold northwest of Pailin, January 16, 2008. French and Cambodian judges of the U.N.-backed "Killing Fields" tribunal met former Khmer Rouge fighters in one of Pol Pot's final strongholds to allay their fears about the long-awaited trials.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

French judge Marcel Lemonde (C) and Cambodian judge You Bunleng (L) attend a public meeting with people in the Kong Kang temple in former Khmer Rouge strong hold northwest of Pailin, January 16, 2008. French and Cambodian judges of the U.N.-backed "Killing Fields" tribunal met former Khmer Rouge fighters in one of Pol Pot's final strongholds to allay their fears about the long-awaited trials.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

People read the Khmer Rouge tribunal book given out during a public meeting with the co-investigating judges of the "Killing Fields" tribunal in the Kong Kang temple in the former Khmer Rouge strong hold northwest of Pailin, January 16, 2008. French and Cambodian judges of the U.N.-backed "Killing Fields" tribunal met former Khmer Rouge fighters in one of Pol Pot's final strongholds to allay their fears about the long-awaited trials.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodian villagers carry the booklets as they head to a town meeting in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in northwestern Cambodia Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008. Officials from Cambodia's genocide tribunal held a town hall-style meeting Wednesday in the Khmer Rouge's former heartland to persuade residents to help with the trials and to dispel fears among neighbors of the regime's ex-rulers.

A Cambodian Khmer Rouge court officer, left, provides some booklets to villagers for a town meeting in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in northwestern Cambodia Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008. Officials from Cambodia's genocide tribunal held a town hall-style meeting Wednesday in the Khmer Rouge's former heartland to persuade residents to help with the trials and to dispel fears among neighbors of the regime's ex-rulers.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Marcel Lemonde, a U.N.-appointed judge speaks at a meeting with villagers in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in northwestern Cambodia Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008. Officials from Cambodia's genocide tribunal held a town hall-style meeting Wednesday in the Khmer Rouge's former heartland to persuade residents to help with the trials and to dispel fears among neighbors of the regime's ex-rulers.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Cambodian villagers read the booklets at a meeting in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in northwestern Cambodia Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008. Officials from Cambodia's genocide tribunal held a town hall-style meeting Wednesday in the Khmer Rouge's former heartland to persuade residents to help with the trials and to dispel fears among neighbors of the regime's ex-rulers.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Cambodia genocide tribunal holds town hall meeting in former Khmer Rouge stronghold

The Associated Press
January 16, 2008

Officials from Cambodia's genocide tribunal held a town hall-style meeting Wednesday in the Khmer Rouge's former heartland to persuade neighbors of the regime's ex-rulers to help with the trials.

Judges and officials from the U.N.-backed tribunal held the meeting at a Buddhist temple on a hillside near Pailin, a derelict town near the northwestern border with Thailand where ex-Khmer Rouge leaders set up homes and lived for decades as ordinary citizens until last year.

Five senior figures of the Khmer Rouge, whose radical policies led to the deaths of some 1.7 million people in the 1970s, were arrested last year and are awaiting long-delayed genocide trials to begin in the capital, Phnom Penh. The trials are scheduled to start this year.

More than 100 residents attended the question-and-answer session, the first activity of its kind conducted in Cambodia.

Tribunal officials hope the meeting will dispel fears that low-ranking former Khmer Rouge will become targets of the court. Officials hope to gain the valuable input of Pailin villagers as investigations continue into the alleged crimes of Khmer Rouge leaders.

Before the meeting got under way, officials distributed brochures titled, "An Introduction to the Trial of Khmer Rouge Leaders," which showed a picture of villagers in the 1980s discovering a pile of skulls.

"I can't read," said a 50-year-old woman, Chin Peap, before the meeting started. "But this picture shows the killing during the Khmer Rouge era."

The Buddhist temple where the meeting took place is the site of a 1996 ceremony that integrated ex-Khmer Rouge soldiers into the national army. The ceremony, presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen, was billed by the government as a gesture to end more than two decades of civil war.

The regime's notorious leader, Pol Pot, died in 1988.

Pol Pot's surviving deputies — Kaing Guek Eav, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith and Khieu Samphan — are being held in the tribunal's custom-built jail in Phnom Penh on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Japan seeks to boost ties with Mekong nations

TOKYO (AFP) - - Foreign ministers from countries on the Mekong River gathered Wednesday for their first joint talks with Japan as it seeks to counter China's increasing influence in the region.

The one-day meeting includes Myanmar, which has faced heavy international criticism since its deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protests in September.

Japan is expected to offer the Mekong countries -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam -- a new aid package to improve infrastructure including highways.

Tokyo, which has had uneasy ties with China and South Korea dating back to World War II, has long treated Southeast Asia as a key region of influence by lavishing development aid and trade deals.

But more recently "the presence of China -- and also South Korea -- in this region is very big," a Japanese official who handles Southeast Asian matters said.

"China has borders with all these countries except for Cambodia, and excluding Thailand, the trade volumes with China are bigger than the trade volumes with Japan for these countries," he said on condition of anonymity.

The ministers will hold individual meetings with Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

"Cooperative relations between Japan and Vietnam have recently advanced rapidly. I hope the bilateral relationship contributes to cooperation in the whole Mekong region," Komura told his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Gia Khiem at the start of their talks.

Complicating the meeting is the issue of Myanmar, which counts on China as its main ally.
Japan has refused Western calls to end aid to military-ruled Myanmar, and this week pledged 1.79 million dollars to improve public health there.

In October, Japan cancelled nearly five million dollars in aid in protest at the military's bloody crackdown on rallies, in which a Japanese journalist was killed.

The foreign ministry official said Komura is expected to call for democracy in Myanmar during his meetings.

Scot Marciel, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia, called Tuesday on a visit to Tokyo for all nations, including Japan and China, to send a united message to Myanmar's junta leaders that they are heading in the "wrong direction."

Human Rights Watch also wrote to Komura urging Japan to address human rights concerns in Southeast Asian countries, saying Tokyo's concerns should extend beyond Myanmar.

"In many Mekong countries, human rights abuses are rampant," Brad Adams, executive director of the rights group's Asia division, said in his letter.

"Governments chronically restrict freedom of expression, widely discriminate against ethnic minorities, pillage natural resources at the expense of local populations and provide impunity for those responsible for abuses," he said.

"Given your government�s relationship with each of the Mekong countries, and as a leading democratic power, we believe Japan can and should bring about significant improvements by speaking out clearly and publicly on human rights abuses," Adams said.

Vietnam & Cambodia Aim to Intensify Cross-Border Trade

Wednesday January 16,

AN GIANG, Jan 16 Asia Pulse - The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Cambodian Trade Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on boosting cross-border trade at a conference held in the Mekong delta province of An Giang on January 15.

At the conference, which focused on cross-border trade between the two countries in 2008 and the following years, Vietnamese delegates suggested increasing exchange of delegations at all levels, developing infrastructure for border areas and building a system of border markets and economic zones. In addition, simplification of tariff procedures at border gates, markets and economic zones are needed to boost trade, they stressed.

During recent years, trade over the Vietnam-Cambodia border lines has been brisk, with turnover growing at an average 30.82 per cent each year.

In the 2001-2007 period, total cross-border trade turnover between the two countries was over US$3.06 billion, of which Vietnam exported US$2.83 billion worth of goods to Cambodia and imported US$228.6 million.

The two countries aim to increase two-way trade turnover by 27 per cent every year to reach US$2.3 billion in 2010 and US$6.5 billion in 2015.


Cambodia bans Mia Farrow from holding Darfur ceremony

Actress Mia Farrow protests against the genocide in Darfur outside the Chinese Embassy, December 2007 in Washington, DC. Farrow has been barred from holding a ceremony at a notorious Khmer Rouge prison as part of a campaign to pressure China to end abuses in Darfur, a Cambodian official said Wednesday.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Alex Wong)

From correspondents in Phnom Penh
January 16, 2008

ACTOR Mia Farrow has been barred from holding a ceremony at a notorious Khmer Rouge prison as part of a campaign to pressure China to end abuses in Darfur, a Cambodian official said.

The American actor has started an Olympic-style torch relay through countries that have suffered genocides to draw attention to China's close ties with Sudan, as Beijing prepares to host the Games in August.

The campaign aims to push Beijing to pressure Sudan into ending the violence in Darfur, where the United Nations estimates that at least 200,000 people have died in five years of war, famine and disease.

Her group, Dream for Darfur, had planned to hold a ceremony on Sunday outside the Khmer Rouge's former prison, Tuol Sleng, which is now a genocide museum.

But interior ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the event would not be allowed.
"The Olympic Games are not a political issue. Therefore, we won't allow any rally to light a torch," he said.

"We will not support the activity. We will not allow them to politicise the Olympic Games," he said, warning the group could face prosecution if they try to go ahead.

Farrow's group said the ceremony aimed to call attention to the constructive role that China could play in the Darfur crisis.

"The symbolic Olympic torch relay is urging the Chinese Government, as both Olympic host and Sudan's strongest political and economic partner, to use its special influence with the Sudanese Government," the group said in a statement.

In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, China - which is by far the largest foreign investor in Sudan and absorbs almost two-thirds of its oil output - has been under mounting pressure to use its clout on Khartoum.

Cambodia would be the sixth stop for the group's relay, which began in Chad near the Sudanese border and continued to Rwanda, Armenia, Germany and Bosnia.

Dul Koeun Closes Hun Sen's Bodyguard Unit Training Course

Those bodyguards has finished their training of Beating, Assaulting Khmer peoples, Land Grabbing for their Ong Leung Hun Xen.

What happened after they finished their training? Their job is beating or assaulting Khmer Peoples or by secret ROB people. This is so called THE ANIMAL BODYGUARD

Life of Cambodian Children

Why those children did not go to school? Who should take full responsibility to those children education?
A Cambodian boy rides an ox cart on a road in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold some 285 kilometers (177 miles), northwest of Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

A Cambodian boy herds his cow on a road in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold some 285 kilometers (177 miles), northwest of Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Cambodian boys drain muddy water from a ditch as they try catch fish on the outskirt of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008. Some 35 percent of Cambodia's 14 million people live on less than US$.50 a day.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

A young Cambodian girl selling fish in Phnom Penh is seen in a file photo.REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Officials of Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal drive their vehicle

Officials of Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal drive their vehicle inside the compound of a Buddhist temple in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold some 285 kilometers (177 miles), northwest of Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008. Forging ahead with its work of prosecuting former Khmer Rouge leaders, Cambodia's U.N.-backed genocide tribunal has embarked on an unusual mission to win the hearts and minds or at least the grudging cooperation of the group's old loyalists.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Each Government Institution Should Review Their Web Sites

16 January 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 543

“Phnom Penh: Government institutions should review their web sites in order to facilitate those who do research and want to study about Cambodia.

“Earlier this week, a group of students discussed their research in a meeting in a complex of an university in Phnom Penh in order to complete their assignments and submit them to their professors; however, Rasmei Kampuchea became interested in their complaint about the lack of documents on the web sites of different ministries of the Cambodian government.

“The students complained that the web sites of almost all ministries do not have sufficient information for their research, and the information is not up-to-date.

“None of them dared to give an interview to Rasmei Kampuchea, but after getting this information, Rasmei Kampuchea tried to browse a web site they had mentioned – the web site of the Council of Ministers with the address

But when it was visited, what they had stated seemed not to be right at all. The web site is written in Khmer, in good order, with many documents, though there are in general not so many which try to show something new and up-to-date.

Rasmei Kampuchea tried to browse through it step by step, from the first page to a page which says ‘Ministries.’ When we clicked it, it names 26 ministries, 2 secretariats-of-state, and another link is to the Phnom Penh Municipality.

From this point on, Rasmei Kampuchea journalists spent time from the beginning until the end of the week to click on the names of all ministries, from one point to the next, and they found that all ministries of the Cambodian government have their own web sites, and those web sites are designed not worse than the web sites of ministries or departments of neighboring countries.

But what is a pity is that hardly any of those web sites have anything new, and some ministries show only information collected in 2005, while at this time the world moves already into the year 2008.

“Rasmei Kampuchea could not contact the designers of those web sites; however, Mr. Phu Leewood, the Secretary-General of the National Information Technology Development Authority [NiDA], told Rasmei Kampuchea by phone that the government pays very high attention to information technology, but the design of the different ministries’ web sites is the work of the ministries.

He said on Friday, 11 January, ‘According to the Rectangular Strategy of the government, information technology development receives high priority attention, but such development has always also many lacking points.’

“He continued to say that, seeing the importance of information technology, the government decided to create NiDA in 2000, and up to now, this Authority has trained approximately 6,000 public servants and the public; as for web site design, more than 30 people have been trained.

“Since 2000 up to now, after eight years, looking at the web sites of different ministries, it seems that a lot of information is lacking.

“Mr. Leewood said stated that it is normal that during a development process, there are always some missing points, but the government pays much attention; and concerning the web sites of the ministries, the Authority [of NiDA] does not have the right to intervene.

“He stated, ‘As for the web site of any ministry, that ministry has to find up-to-date information, not NiDA.’

“Mr. Eng Chhay Ieng, a parliamentarian [and secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party], said that web sites are like libraries or bookshops. Therefore the government should pay attention to organize them well, so that it becomes possible to find lots of information, because web sites are warehouses of documents which facilitate the work of those who do research and study about Cambodia.

“He stated, ‘The Ministries should pay attention to improve their web sites.’

“A senior official of a non-government organization who is working on information technology development, told Rasmei Kampuchea - without giving his name - that the lack of information on web sites is a deficiency that the ministries should rectify. He said, ‘The government should pays attention to this deficiency so that researchers do not waste time.’

“He went on to say that because some officials in some ministries have not been aware, they also seem not to be interested in this problem, and they do not consider the collection of information as a priority, while other countries pay much more attention.

Mr. Leewood said that the promotion of web site design is part of the Cambodian government’s intention in its public administration reform programs.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4488, 13-14.1.2008

Getting Angry with Other People Who Grab Land, Taking Revenge on Parliamentarian Chin Kimsreng

16 January 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 543

“Phnom Penh: A man, who seems to have mental problems, knocked a Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker down, causing serious injury. Moreover, the same man rammed the lawmaker’s car into the front gate of his house, damaging it badly.

“This event happened at 11:30 p.m. on 13 January in front of the house #17, Street 71, Boeng Keng Kang, Chamkarmon. While being detained by the police, the offender tried to commit suicide repeatedly, but he was rescued in time.

“Local police said that the above home belongs to Mr. Chin Kimsreng, 70, a lawmaker of the Cambodian People’s Party from Kompong Cham. His house is separated into two halves, to rent one to a French person to open a small bar, while the rest was kept as his residence. The offender is Ros Sovann, 28, a guard working for Protek Security, residing at Russey Sros, Niroth, Meanchey. He had been sent by his company to guard Mr. Chin Kimsreng’s home.

“Ros Sovann seemed not to be frightened about his act. A witness, as well as the police, said that Ros Sovann behaved like a mad man. However, according to what Ros Sovann said, his act was planned. Ros Sovann said that he had a rancor against high-ranking officials, after his land in Russey Sros village had been abusively grabbed by high-ranking officials.

This land problem prevents him also from getting married. His mother told him that only if she could sell her land she would be able to support his wedding. Since then, he has always been so rancorous against high-ranking officials so that he even requested that his company send him to guard high-ranking officials’ homes, in order to find a chance of taking revenge on them. Later, the company sent him to guard Chin Kim Sreng’s home which was rented to the French person to open a small bar.

“Ros Sovann added that while he saw Chin Kimsreng stopping his Lexus car in front of his house and was opening the gate, he attacked Chin Kimsreng with a steel pipe and knocked him unconscious, so that he fell on the ground. Then Ros Sovann got into Chin Kimsreng’s car and began ramming it into the front gate of the house.

“Police said that Ros Sovann confirmed that he never had a rancor specifically against Chin Kimsreng as a person, and he did not run away.

“Alerted by the noise of the Lexus, nearby private security guards turned out to help and stopp Ros Sovann. The victim Chin Kimsreng was sent to Calmette Hospital, and on 14 January he was still unconscious.

“At the Chamkarmon district temporary detention center, Ros Sovann tried to commit suicide 2 or 3 times, until the electricity was disconnected.

“According to the police report, first Ros Sovann tore a pillow into pieces and tied himself with the pieces to the bar of the door to commit suicide, but he did not succeed, because the pieces of the pillow were too fragile. After that, Ros Sovann tried to commit suicide with an electric wire, but he was rescued by police in time. Police said that they could not sleep the whole night, as they had organized shifts to keep watching Ros Sovann.

“Nov Yeab, 54, Ros Sovann’s mother said that her son has had mental problems after she didn’t agree to support his wedding, because her land dispute was not settled. She added that formerly she had a plot of land of 15×200 meters at Russey Sros village. Currently she has only 15×40 meters of land, because the other part was grabbed from her. That land had been rented out to Klauk Dul, the village chief, to build a village office, but later the land was sold by a new village chief. In 1994, she filed a complaint to the court, but no one has sought justice for her so far.”

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4489, 15.1.2008

Judges hold talks in ex-Rouge stronghold

Wednesday, 16 January, 2008

PAILIN, Cambodia: Judges from Cambodia’s genocide tribunal met yesterday for the first time with former Khmer Rouge rebels in one of their last strongholds to urge them to cooperate with the UN-backed court.Although the court’s mandate allows it to try only the most senior Khmer Rouge leaders, many lower-ranking cadres suspect they could be prosecuted for atrocities committed by the regime, which seized control of Cambodia in 1975.

“We hope our meeting will help clear up any misunderstanding about our mission in order to convince them to give evidence in future trials,” said judge You Bunleng.

“The court cannot implement its task without their support and involvement,” he said before meeting with government and security officials — many of whom were once Khmer Rouge members — in western Cambodia’s Pailin region.

Tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said following the four-hour meeting that the officials present had asked a lot of questions and were “assured” by the co-investigating judges that the trials would not target junior regime members.

“People have been frustrated by this question for years, and it is good that we met,” he said.“Before now they had only heard from NGOs (non-governmental organisations) but now the judges are the ones to say” that lower-ranking cadres would not be prosecuted, he added.

Pailin was one of the final refuges of the brutal regime, which was driven out of power in 1979. Soldiers and officials fled to the remote region to re-group and try and battle the new government.

Judges and other tribunal officials will Wednesday meet with villagers, many of whom were also members of the communist movement, at the end of their brief visit to the remote region.Up to two million people died of starvation, disease and overwork, or were executed under the Khmer Rouge, which emptied Cambodia’s cities, exiling millions to vast collective farms in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia.

Schools, religion and currency were also outlawed and the educated classes targeted for extermination by the communists.Five regime heads have been detained so far on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges, and tribunal officials have not ruled out more arrests.

Pailin governor and former Khmer Rouge cadre Y Chhean said it would be up to individual ex-rebels whether to cooperate with the court’s efforts to gather evidence.

The tribunal was established in July 2006 after nearly a decade of negotiations between Cambodia and the United Nations, with trials expected to begin in mid-2008.


Cambodia’s seaside airport set to become the biggest

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cambodia’s Tourism Minister Thong Khon has assured that the country’s new seaside airport near Sihanoukville will become the country’s largest as part of a bid to attract tourists to the area.

The Tourism Minister Thong Khon told AFP news agency that the airport would become bigger than Phnom Penh International Airport.

The airport currently only charters domestic flights, however plans are underway to make the airport a regional hub. The airport is set to complete the first phase of its 200 million dollar expansion by March.

ABC news Australia has reported that direct flights between Siem Reap, the gateway to Cambodia's famed Angkor temples, and foreign cities have prompted a rise in tourist arrivals.Cambodian officials hope to attract 2.4 million tourists in 2008.

In Pailin, Judges Find Questions of Trust

By Mean Veasna,
VOA Khmer Original report from Pailin
15 January 2008

Listen Mean Veasna reports in Khmer

Khmer Rouge tribunal judges met for the first time with former rebels in the remote mountains of the northwest Monday, in an effort to curb fears of further arrests of low- and mid-level cadre.

In a three-hour, closed-door meeting in Pailin, the judges and former Khmer Rouge discussed the mandate of the tribunal, which is to prosecute only top leaders of the regime.

Pailin authorities, police, and military officials met with judges and about 150 former Khmer Rouge.

“There were many questions,” said Pailin Deputy Governor Keut Sothea, a former Khmer Rouge cadre, of the meeting. “The questions were meant to clear any doubt. Other participants said they were given enough explanations to trust” the judges.

Tribunal investigating judge You Bunleng said the meetings were aimed to allay fears of Pailin residents who live among former Khmer Rouge. Pailin was a Khmer Rouge stronghold, and many former supporters of the regime still live in the area.

Two top leaders, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, who were both arrested in late 2007 and charged with atrocity crimes, lived in Pailin.

“We know that the ECCC can proceed because of a clear understanding and cooperation from local authorities,” You Bunleng said, referring to the tribunal by its official name, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. “And the people have to understand too.”
Pailin Governor Y Chhean, who is close to former leaders of the Khmer Rouge, told reporters in Pailin he was cooperating with tribunal officials.

Some former cadre in the area, however, expressed concern about the fate of their former leaders, all of whom await trials while detained at a tribunal center in Phnom Penh.

Ieng Sary Delays Investigation Inquiry

By Sok Khemara,
VOA Khmer Original report from Washington
15 January 2008

Listen Sok Khemara reports in Khmer

Jailed Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary did not attend questioning by judges earlier this month because he was not ready, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Ieng Sary was “invited to questioning” Jan. 10 but did not go, lawyer Ang Udom, said.

“We asked to delay…and the court also accepted our request, as we have not yet studied completely enough to be able to answer the courts,” Ang Udom said.

Ieng Sary, 82, was arrested in Phnom Penh in November and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the special tribunal courts, despite an amnesty deal in 1998, when he defected to the government with a mass of rebel troops.

Ang Udom said he needed time to study a large number of documents pertaining to Ieng Sary’s case.

Tribunal officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Under tribunal law, a defendant has the right to remain silent until a hearing.

Police Clash With Kampong Speu Workers

By Heng Reaksmey,
VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh
15 January 2008

Listen Heng Reaksmey reports in Khmer

At least three policemen and nine factory workers were wounded in a clash Tuesday, human rights officials and witnesses said.

A human rights worker said violence erupted during a demonstration in front of the factory of Cambodia Apparel, in Kampong Speu province, when two trucks full of police arrived to disperse demonstrating workers.

By 10 am, workers and police were scuffling, leading to the injuries, witnesses said. Cambodia’s turbulent garment industry has seen several violent conflicts in recent weeks.

Cambodia Center for Human Rights investigator Chhim Savuth said the workers were demonstrating peacefully before the police arrived, though workers were suspected of seeking to steal merchandise.

The police were led by Kampong Speu police chief and “assaulted the workers,” he said.

“There was a scuffle right away,” Chhim Savuth said. Kampong Speu Deputy Police Chief Sam Samuon said the workers assaulted police first, by throwing rocks at them.

At least three police were hurt, he said, adding that some of the instigators of the protest did not work at the factory.

“More than 10 strikers came from Phnom Penh to create violence,” he said. “We are conducting research. If the strikers are from Cambodia Apparel factory, it is all right that they had a strike.
But now a number of people are from Phnom Penh, or are brought here from other factories, to incite the people to strike.”

Workers have been on strike since Jan. 2 to demand deposits and restitution for three Cambodian labor leaders allegedly fired without reason.

Cambodia Apparel administration chief Un Heang could not be reached for comment.

Chea Saly, a Cambodia Apparel worker said a number of people had been “bought” to disperse the strikers.

“I appeal to all the institutions and the government to pay attention to the workers,” Chea Saly said. “Workers want to work if there are jobs. But if their company puts pressure on them until they cannot take it any more, there will be strikes, and strikes are not wrong.”

Extortion in NE Prison Leaves Spirits ‘Broken’

By Chiep Mony,
VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh
15 January 2008

Listen Chiep Mony reports in Khmer

Detainees in a prison in the northeast province of Mondolkiri are being held in poor conditions far beyond legal limits, raising suspicions of corruption, a prison official said Tuesday.

Prisoners who can’t bribe their way out of detention grow sick as they are held without trial, and “their spirit is broken,” the official told VOA Khmer, on condition of anonymity.

At least two women and five men are serving time without trial, some as long as one year, in the Mondolkiri facility, the official said.

Charges range from theft to murder to adultery, the official said.

“There are many people, and they are sick,” the official said. “They have not been sentenced. Their spirit is broken.”

“Each person is asked to pay at least $1,500” to be released the official continued. “The smallest amount, $1,500.”

Mondolkiri Prison Chief An Kimleng dismissed the allegations.

“Fines” for detainees prior to trial dates are possible, he said, but “the prison chief has no right to put people on trial.”

Em Veasna, a human rights worker in Mondolkiri, said such cases of extortion were likely, especially if news of them was trickling out.

Mondolkiri Court Chief Lou Sousambath could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Japan donates $500,000 for Cambodian students

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

PHNOM PENH — Japan has donated $500,000 for Cambodian students through the World Food Program, the WFP said in a statement Tuesday.

"WFP appreciates Japan's quick response, which will enable us to address the urgent need of hungry Cambodian children, including 76,000 poor students, to eat a hot breakfast and receive an education for one school year in a country where fewer than 50% of enrolled children complete grade six," Thomas Keusters, country director WFP Cambodia, said.

Student soccer gifts arrive in Cambodia

Children at Cambodian orphanage with soccer jerseys and balls donated by Brooklyn students.

Tuesday, January 15th 2008

Goal! The international soccer jersey incident is now officially over.

A shipment of donated soccer goods from a Boerum Hill school finally reached a group of Cambodian orphans last week after being held up for 16 months by allegedly corrupt port officials demanding hundreds of dollars in "fees."

"I feel happy because we were able to help a poor country," said Eli Shirk, 11, whose mother, Paula, founded the nonprofit behind the shipment as a way to help the birth village of Eli's adopted brother, Rudi, 6.

"It was unfair they wouldn't give them everything," said Eli. "It didn't seem right they didn't want to help their own country."

The delivery brings to an end a frustrating 18 months for the students of Public School 261, who gathered the used goods and shipped them off in August 2006. The equipment arrived in Phnom Penh just two months later - but the mission stalled when Cambodian port officials demanded "fees" from $650 to $1,560 to release the goods to the Palm Tree Institute orphanage.

Members of the group, Brooklyn Bridge to Cambodia, then tried everything they could to release the donations, from writing to Cambodian and U.S. government officials to printing an Op-Ed in the Cambodia Daily newspaper. But nothing worked until the group turned to the Daily News in December and to Sens. Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, who pressured government officials in both countries to intervene.

"I am very delighted to have the gift from students in New York," Srim, a young girl at the orphanage who is also Rudi's sister, said to a local volunteer when the youngsters were finally able to try on the colorful soccer jerseys to pose for a photo.

"Even though we have never met each other, we feel that we are very close friends ... knowing that they care for us so much," Srim said.

The donations were to be released to the orphanage just before Christmas. But unexpected delays held up the shipment again, until it finally arrived in large cardboard boxes last Wednesday.

"This is a game-changer for the Cambodian orphans who have for too long had too little in their lives," said Schumer.

"Thanks to the unfailing generosity of the kids of Brooklyn, a dedicated embassy, and a helpful ambassador, the orphans of the Palm Tree Institute will now be able to bend it like Beckham to their hearts' content."

Paula Shirk, who has raised thousands of dollars to help Rudi's birth family, said the group is already planning its next project, sending food to Rudi's impoverished birth village.

CAMBODIA: Bracing for more dengue fever outbreaks

Source: IRIN

Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.

PHNOM PENH, 15 January 2008 (IRIN) - Cambodia could be facing another severe dengue fever outbreak, according to health workers.

"If not this year, then next year - it will certainly come," warned the leading dengue fever specialist with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia, Chang Moh Seng. "It's only a matter of time."

Last year 407 people died of dengue fever, which is caused by a mosquito-transmitted virus, and nearly 40,000 cases were reported during 2007.

"This was the most serious dengue epidemic I have experienced in nearly 30 years of working in the area," Chang told IRIN. "And the death rate in Cambodia's outbreak of reported cases was extraordinarily high," he said.

"Health education regarding the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dengue fever is insufficient, under-funded, and irregular," according to a 2007 study - Community and School-Based Health Education for Dengue Control in Rural Cambodia: A Process Evaluation in PLoS (Public Library of Science) Neglected Tropical Disease - by Sokrin Khun from Cambodia's Ministry of Health and Professor Lenore Manderson of Monash University in Australia.

WHO specialists are warning that now is the time to prepare for the next epidemic. According to Chang, in the next few months of the dry season, the authorities and international aid organisations need to be extremely vigilant. "We need to minimise the outbreak… It's very difficult to diagnose, treat and control the disease," Chang said.

Diagnosis is made all the more difficult because the symptoms vary greatly. They include rashes, blistering headaches, nausea and excruciating joint aches. The most serious form of the disease can cause internal bleeding, liver enlargement and circulatory shutdown.

Four strains

There are four different strains of the virus - D1, D2, D3 and D4. When a new strain emerges a serious outbreak of dengue fever is almost certain to follow. But it is impossible to predict when or why a new strain emerges, according to health specialists.

"Our worry now is that the next outbreak will be D1 or D4, the two strains of the virus that have not emerged in Cambodia in the recent past," said Chang. That is why monitoring of new cases now is critical. "There needs to be increased virus surveillance," he said.

"But it [surveillance and diagnosis] is very technically demanding and involves very costly biological tests," said Chang. "The provincial hospitals just don't have the facilities to conduct this kind of research."

Health officials in Cambodia said it was essential the diagnosis process be improved so patients are referred to hospital earlier, as this would reduce mortality rates. The Cambodian Health Ministry, with medical and expert assistance from Thai health officials and WHO, has been training rural doctors to recognise the symptoms of dengue fever.

Tourism, migrant workers help spread disease

Chang said a key reason for the massive outbreak of dengue in 2007 was that the D3 strain emerged in the Battanbang area, northwestern Cambodia, where the historic site of Angkor Wat in Seam Reap is located: The increase in tourism and migrant workers spread the disease throughout Cambodia, according to the WHO in Cambodia.

"There is no vaccine [so far] to prevent dengue fever, so the best way to combat the virus is to control the breeding grounds of the mosquitoes," Chang insists.

But in Cambodia that is a Herculean task. "The magnitude of mosquito breeding in Cambodia is the worse in the world; it's much worse than either Laos and Vietnam," says Chang.

Anti-mosquito projects lack resources

Jars of water are the most common breeding ground for mosquitoes. Almost every household in Cambodia has large, uncovered water storage jars and tanks, as well as discarded containers and tyres and coconut shells that trap water - perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Cambodian health authorities and the WHO have been experimenting with other prevention options with some success. These include using chemicals which are safe for people but kill mosquitoes and larvae, using different water storage containers with lids, and even breeding small fish in the water containers which feed on the mosquito larvae.

These schemes, especially the fish project, show promise in the long run, but it will take several years before prevention measures are sufficiently widespread to be effective, according to Chang.

The Cambodian government is keen on several of these projects but lacks the finances to implement a rigorous and co-ordinated plan of action. "The political will is there, but not the resources," one government health official who declined to be identified, told IRIN.

Clinical preparedness

WHO and the Cambodian Health Ministry are concentrating on clinical preparedness in case another significant dengue fever outbreak occurs in 2008.

Mobile clinical and health teams at provincial level are currently being trained; they are doing their best with limited resources to stockpile essential medical supplies in several provinces and district hospitals.

But the fear amongst foreign health experts is that this is still too little too late.

Cambodia amends constitution for better public administration

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian National Assembly here on Tuesday amended two articles of the Constitution to specify division pattern of administrative areas to facilitate better political participation of the civilians.

The Cambodian territory is divided as capital city, special city, province, district, khan, commune and sangkat, according to the revision.

"We hope that the amendment of the two articles will provide easy way for reform of administrative management at grass-root level and better practice of decentralization to advance democracy and public services with effectiveness and sustainability," Prime Minister Hun Sen told reporters at the National Assembly.

The amendments are a must for implementing progress of politics, administration, society and economy of the country in the future, he added.

Cambodia used to have a four-level system of administrative division, which might lead to statistics confusion and difficulties when there were election and census.

Currently, Cambodia has 20 provinces and four special cities which are directly governed by the central government.

Dengue Fever Ready "Venus On Earth"

Cambodian pop band Dengue Fever will release “Venus On Earth,” their eagerly anticipated third full-length CD on January 22, 2008 from M80 Music. “Venus On Earth” features eleven new original tracks and will be distributed through Allegro/NAIL.
Dengue Fever premiered music from “Venus On Earth” at WOMEX, the worlds largest professional Music Conference, Trade Fair and Showcase for World, Roots, Folk, Ethnic, Traditional, Alternative World, Local and Diaspora Music in Seville, Spain in October. Dengue Fever was selected as one of only 30 bands out of more than 600 applicants to showcase at this once-in-a-lifetime event. Additional live dates in Europe as well as Australia are pending.

Dengue Fever's uncommon pop/world music sound has garnered critical acclaim well before their sophomore album “Escape From Dragon House” was released in 2005. However that same year, the editors of online retail giant Amazon named their record #1 International release of the year. In 2006, Mojo (U.K.) named the same album into their Top 10 World Music releases of the year. The New York Times, Associated Press, Pitchfork, Los Angeles Times, BBC, Reuters Television, Spin, NPR, Global Rhythm and other influential outlets have praised the band's psychedelic Khmer Rock sound. More recently, European outlets such as French magazines Monocle and Chronic'art, the London Observer, Song Lines have extensively covered the band, while Italian Vogue and fRoots (U.K) features have been confirmed.

All tracks from “Venus on Earth” were written by Zac Holtzman and Dengue Fever and produced in Los Angeles by Paul Dreux Smith and Dengue Fever. Recording took place at Phase Four studios along with Jim Putnam (Radar Bros.) as well as Pan 3. “Venus” tracks listing is as follows: 1. Seeing Hands, 2. Clipped Wings, 3. Tiger Phone Card, 4. Woman in the Shoes, 5. Sober Driver, 6. Monsoon of Perfume, 7. Integratron, 8. Oceans of Venus, 9. Laugh Track, 10. Tooth and Nail and 11. Mr. Orange.

A documentary on Dengue Fever, entitled “Sleepwalking Through the Mekong” recently screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival and was featured opening night at the Margaret Mead Film Festival at the Museum of Natural History in New York City .

“Sleepwalking” chronicles the band's first shows outside the United States in lead singer Chhom Nimol's homeland of Cambodia. It was the first time a Western-based band performed Khmer Rock in Cambodia since Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took over the country in 1975.

Cambodian PM appeals for co-ruling party to work hark for upcoming election

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen here on Tuesday appealed to the co-ruling Funcinpec Party to work hard for the general election in July, so as to enable itself to co-establish government once again with his Cambodian People's Party (CPP).

During the election, if Funcinpec can't find a seat at the National Assembly, it will face difficulties and troubles, he told reporters at the assembly.

Meanwhile, he called on Funcinpec to treat its members nicely and well prepare itself for the upcoming political events.

Recently, a dozen of senior members left Funcinpec and joined CPP, which was widely seen as a signal for the party's overall failure.

The royalist Funcinpec Party has co-governed the kingdom with CPP since 1993.

However, the party started to fall apart in 2006 as its leaders made open their internal conflicts. Prince Norodom Ranariddh was then fired as party president and had to create another party to keep afloat his political life.

During the commune councils election in April 2007, CPP scored landslide victory while Funcinpec ended up with poor records. The outcome has raised concern that the latter one might have scant support to continue its co-government with CPP in the next administrative term.

Khmer-Krom: Appeal Against Violence To Monks


UNPO member representative, Mr Thach, appeals to the Cambodian authorities to investigate violence against monks.

Below is an appeal originally published on 19 December 2007 on behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation:

On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, we would like to condemn the actions of Cambodian authorities to use violence against Khmer Krom monk protestors.

At 8:00 am on the 17 December 2007, a group of 50 Buddhist monks headed to the Vietnam Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in the hope of handing a petition.

In the petition, the Buddhist monks appealed for the return of former monk, Tim Sakhorn to Cambodia and for Vietnam authorities look into the case of land confiscation in Kampuchea-Krom (the Mekong Delta).

The monks also requested that five former Buddhist monks, currently serving prison in Vietnam be released. The Vietnam Embassy closed its gates and refused the petition, saying that the petition should be placed in the mail box.

A team of 100 riot police, armed with shields and electric batons had arrived earlier in front of the Embassy. Instead of attempting to resolve the situation, the Cambodian police started to force the protestors into small groups and disperse the crowd.

At about 10:30 am, a riot broke out between the Buddhist monks and the police. Unarmed, number Buddhist monks were hit by the electric batons, resulting in three unconscious, namely, Venerable Ly Vanny, Venerable Meng Savan Dararithy and Venerable Lam Keo Samnang and fifteen others wounded.

The police authorities told bystanders that the protestors were not real monks, thereby attempting to justify their actions. On behalf of the Khmer Krom around the world, we condemn the over reactions of the Cambodian authorities against defenceless Buddhist monks.

We would like to appeal your help to:

• Remind the Cambodian government that such violent acts are unacceptable in the eyes of the world and violates the principles of the Cambodian Constitution and United Nations treaties and declaration.

• Support an independent investigation into the situation and apprehend the police officers responsible for using the batons.

• Urge Vietnam Embassy in Phnom Penh to accept petitions though the use of non violence means and not by resorting to outright denial.

• Ensure that steps are taken to ensure protestors are protected from police in future incidents.
Yours sincerely,

Thach Ngoc Thach
KKF President

Source Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation

FUNCINPEC hopes to keep alliance with CPP

Posted: 2008/01/15
From: Mathaba

Phnom Penh (VNA) – General Secretary of the FUNCINPEC party Nhiek Bun Chhay said he hoped his party would retain 26 seats in the next National Assembly of Cambodia in order to maintain the ruling coalition with the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

Cambodia is scheduled to hold general election on July 27, in which the CPP sets for about 80 seats. Recently, some senior FUNCINPEC officials have left the royalist party to join the CPP.

However, at an extraordinary gathering this week, the CPP confirmed to continue its alliance with the FUNCINPEC, calling the royalist party a trustworthy partner.

Cambodian street kids spearhead Khmer food revival

By Gillian Murdoch

Phnom Penh (Reuters Life!) - First kill your tarantulas by pressing hard on their bodies then remove the fangs and wash the spiders thoroughly, advises the glossy in-house recipe book from Phnom Penh's Romdeng restaurant.

Served with a lime and pepper sauce, the crispy arachnids, fried to remove their venom, became a delicacy during Khmer Rouge reign over Cambodia when Pol Pot's plan to create an agrarian utopia forced millions from cities to the country.

The spiders are part of the restaurant's mission to champion Khmer food from the present and dating back to the Khmer Kingdom of over 1,000 years ago while also helping provide work and a new life for street kids.

Virtually annihilated during the Khmer Rouge's reign that ended in 1979, Cambodia's traditional specialties are less well-known than Western-friendly pad thais and rice-paper rolls from bigger neighbors Thailand and Vietnam although many regional dishes have their roots in Khmer cooking.

But with Cambodia rapidly developing, restaurants such as Romdeng are helping spearhead a comeback, said founder Sebastien Marot and top chef Sok Chhong who put together the cookbook "From Spiders to Water Lillies."

While the spiders may seem like a gimmick, the restaurant also has a serious social mission -- getting young people off the streets and into employment and education.

Run by Cambodian non-profit Mit Samlanh or Friends, Romdeng and its sister restaurant Friends are staffed by former street kids who design the menus, cook the dishes, wait tables, and even sew the silk cushions for the chairs.

So what will Cambodia's breakthrough dish be if tarantulas are not to everyone's taste?

The country is considering submitting its "prahok" fish paste and peppercorns from the southeastern town of Kampot for trademarking as distinctive national products but it is "amok" curry that probably has the widest crossover appeal.

Milder than other curries, as Cambodia's traditional dishes were first cooked up in the days before traders introduced chili to the region, it is named after the dark green amok leaf that's shredded into the dish as a seasoning.

Not surprisingly in a country crisscrossed by the Mekong and two other mighty rivers, the Tonle Sap and the Bassac, fish and shrimps feature heavily on Cambodian menus.

A range of local vegetable dishes also get a creative spin, in dishes like morning glory and water spinach salad, and sautéed rice and chive flower cakes on green papaya salad.

As there are no starters or mains in Khmer culture, all the food comes at once, and there are also no knives so don't wait for anything more than your fork and spoon.

Washed down the meal with a bottle of local Anchor beer, a shot of honey-flavored Khmer rice wine, or fancy combination juices such as sweet tamarind, guava and honey.

True converts to Khmer cooking can end the meal with a commitment by buying the cookbook that feeds its profits back into the endeavor.

Romdeng:#21, Street 278 Phnom Penh (Tel:+ 855 92 219 565)
Friends: #215, Street 13, Phnom Penh (Tel:+855 12 802 072)

Cambodian man turns up alive at his own funeral

Posted : Tue, 15 Jan 2008
Author : DPA

Phnom Penh - A Cambodian family thought they had seen a ghost when the husband and father they believed they were cremating turned up alive and well at his own funeral, local media said Tuesday.

Khmer-language newspaper Koh Santepheap said the family had decided to hold a funeral for Oum Souv, 24, after the dedicated family man went missing for two days and two nights and a subsequent search of jungle nearby turned up an unclaimed decomposing body.

However, the real Souv had been drugged, robbed and left for dead in woodland in a neighbouring village and he came to and made his way home to his distraught family members just as they began cremating the wrong man, the paper said.

In Cambodia, Khmer Rouge court goes to the Khmer Rouge

Posted : Tue, 15 Jan 2008
Author : DPA

Phnom Penh - About 150 former Khmer Rouge attended meetings with the prosecuting judges of the impending Khmer Rouge tribunal Tuesday, although many of their leaders did not, officials said. The visit by the prosecuting judges and officials of the joint UN-Cambodia 56-million-dollar tribunal followed concerns the rank and file members of the movement from former stronghold Pailin would not cooperate with the tribunal.

Court media officer Reach Sambath said the ice was broken and the two-day visit, which ends Wednesday, was a success. Some local officials in the remote municipality on the north-western border with Thailand, around 500 kilometres from the capital, expressed doubt.

"We feel it was a success. Many people asked questions, and we answered," Sambath said from Pailin by telephone.

However local officials said many of the majority former Khmer Rouge residents remained unconvinced that trying their aging former leaders, five of whom are currently in custody and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, was necessary and remained scared they may yet be targeted.

Officials said Pailin governor and former Khmer Rouge commander Y Chhien was not there. The area's parliamentary representative Ieng Vuth, whose mother Khieu Thirith and father Ieng Sary are both in jail awaiting trial at the hearings, was also not present.

"Many people asked why jail them when they are so old and why only focus on the 1975-79 period," local deputy director of religion, Sam Savouen, said.

Other officials, most of whom are former Khmer Rouge and many of whom still credit former deputy prime minister of the regime, Ieng Sary, with brokering a deal with the government in 1996 which ended the fighting while leaving the Khmer Rouge in charge of the resource-rich area, declined comment and did not attend.

Sambath said the court would visit a pagoda and speak with more people Wednesday before ending the visit, hopefully winning more hearts and minds along the way with honesty and detailed answers.

"We want their trust and we need their participation," he said.

Up to 2 million people died during the Khmer Rouge's 1975-79 ultra-Maoist Democratic Kampuchea regime which sought to abolish social classes, markets, religion and even money in a drive to create an agrarian utopia.