Sunday, 6 September 2009

Day 1 of Kan Bendah Festival Ceremony at Wat Odom Samakum Khmer (CAAI's Temple)

We are member of the Auckland Cambodian Community have gathered and organised to host the first Kan Bindah even at Wat Odom Samakum Khmer Temple and of The Cambodian Association (Auckland) Inc. for the offering to the Monks in order to dedicate, and pass the good deed to our diseased ancestors.

Name of the organisers

Mrs. Houng Eng Ly - Mrs. Ngov Kim Lang Ly - Mr & Mrs. Han Leang Ly - Mr & Mrs Ngov Ing Jung - Mr & Mrs. Hoc Thong Tieu - Mr & Mrs Khy Ung - Mr & Mrs Sam On Kim - Mrs. Guech Huoy Chea - Mr & Mrs Han Veng Ly - Mr & Mrs Sou Hoeung Ly - Mr & Mrs. Song Cao Lam - Mr & Mrs Meng Kaing Taing - Mr & Mrs. Meng Ly - Mr & Mrs. Leang Ly

Khmer Rouge victims boycott Duch trials

Mondulkiri Ethnic Minorities Observe Rituals

Cambodia in Pictures - The Urban's life

The CAAI News Media is welcome to everyone to download thse pictures. For those who want to have these pictures for their blogs or website, please send a request email to us or provide link back to CAAI News Media; Doing so is show kind of respect to each other and respect to the person who has committed their time for all of those pictures. Many thanks for your understanding

Southern Thailand’s Turmoil Grows

A Thai detainee (left) kisses his child as a relative looks on following a gathering in the yard of Narathiwat jail. There are several hundred suspects imprisoned in Thailand's troubled southern provinces, says rights group the Cross Cultural Foundation, and their jail terms often have a devastating effect on their families with many remaining out of contact for long periods of time. (AFP/File/Madaree Tohlala)

A Thai detainee (left) is hugged by his wife following a gathering in the yard of the Narathiwat jail. There are several hundred suspects imprisoned in Thailand's troubled southern provinces, says rights group the Cross Cultural Foundation, where they face security-related charges. (AFP/File/Madaree Tohlala)

A Thai detainee (left) eats lunch with members of his family during a gathering in the yard of Narathiwat jail. There are several hundred suspects imprisoned in Thailand's troubled southern provinces, says rights group the Cross Cultural Foundation, with many remaining out of contact with their families for long periods of time. (AFP/File/Madaree Tohlala)

A soldier stands guard as students leave their school for home in Thailand's Yala province, about 1,084 km (674 miles) south of Bangkok September 2, 2009. REUTERS/Surapan Boonthanom

Rescue workers carry the body of an injured policeman after a car bomb attack, to a hospital in Thailand's Yala province, about 1,084 km (674 miles) south of Bangkok. A bomb in a pick-up truck exploded in Thailand's southern Yala province on Friday, killing a policeman and wounding 10 villagers, police said, the latest deadly blast in a region plagued by insurgent violence. The bomb, hidden in a truck parked near an intersection, exploded as a police officer drove past in his car, a police spokesman said. "His body was trapped and burned," he said. REUTERS/Surapan Boonthanom

A view of the scene of a car bomb attack in Thailand's Yala province, about 1,084 km (674 miles) south of Bangkok . A bomb in a pick-up truck exploded in Thailand's southern Yala province on Friday, killing a policeman and wounding 10 villagers, police said, the latest deadly blast in a region plagued by insurgent violence. The bomb, hidden in a truck parked near an intersection, exploded as a police officer drove past in his car, a police spokesman said. "His body was trapped and burned," he said. REUTERS/Surapan Boonthanom

Policemen inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Thailand's Yala province, about 1,084 km (674 miles) south of Bangkok . A bomb in a pick-up truck exploded in Thailand's southern Yala province on Friday, killing a policeman and wounding 10 villagers, police said, the latest deadly blast in a region plagued by insurgent violence. The bomb, hidden in a truck parked near an intersection, exploded as a police officer drove past in his car, a police spokesman said. "His body was trapped and burned," he said. REUTERS/Surapan Boonthanom

Firefighters extinguish a fire on a pick-up truck after a bomb attack in Thailand's Yala province, about 1,084 km (674 miles) south of Bangkok . A bomb in a pick-up truck exploded in Thailand's southern Yala province on Friday, killing a policeman and wounding 10 villagers, police said, the latest deadly blast in a region plagued by insurgent violence. The bomb, hidden in a truck parked near an intersection, exploded as a police officer drove past in his car, a police spokesman said. "His body was trapped and burned," he said. REUTERS/Surapan Boonthanom

The pig was born Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009, with no nose in Svay Chrum village, Kandal province

A Cambodian woman holds a baby pig as it was born Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009, with no nose in Svay Chrum village, Kandal province, some 36 kilometers (22 miles) north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Cambodian boys, left, look at a baby pig as it was born Saturday, Sept. 5,2009, with no nose in Svay Chrum village, Kandal province, some 36 kilometers (22 miles) north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

A Cambodian man shows two baby pigs to compare the right one that was born Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009, with no nose in Svay Chrum village, Kandal province, some 36 kilometers (22 miles) north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Military doctors assist poor Cambodians

Doctors from Company No. 12 under the Ministry of Defence on September 4 presented gifts to 150 poor patients who are being treated at a hospital in Cambodia’s Santouk district.

The Vietnamese doctors also joined their Cambodian colleagues from Hospital 79 to provide free medical check-ups and medicine to 200 patients at the Santouk hospital.

The same day, representatives from the Ministry of Defence’s Economics Department handed over 10 sets of computers and more than 4,000 notebooks to the Bantok secondary school in the capital city of Phnom Penh.

The military officers, who are hosting the Vietnam Trade Fair 2009 in the neighbouring country from September 2-6, also donated an additional six sets of computers, over 4,000 notebooks and a number of teaching aids to a local school which has been set up by the Vietnamese community in Cambodia.

Khmer Rouge timeline

Commarade Duch (The Murderer)

Globe and Mail Update
Last updated on Friday, Sep. 04, 2009

1942. November 17. Birth of Kaing Guek Eav.

1960 - Sept. 30. Creation of the Communist Party of Kampuchea.

1963 - Saloth Sar, alias Pol Pot, becomes CPK secretary.

1964 - Kaing Guek Eav joins CPK, takes revolutionary alias Duch.

1965 - Duch becomes math teacher.

1966 - Duch goes underground with the Khmer Rouge.

1968 - Duch is arrested by King Sihanouk's police and sentenced to 20 years.

1970 - March. King Sihanouk deposed in a coup by Lon Nol, who grants amnesty to political prisoners, including Duch, who leaves for a zone controlled by the Khmer Rouge.

1971 - July. Duch put in charge of the M-13 jail until January 1975.

1975 - April 17. Khmer Rouge enter Phnom Penh and force millions of city residents to collective farms.

1975 - End April. Border clashes between Cambodia and Vietnam.

1975 - August 15. The S-21 jail is established in Phnom Penh and Duch named deputy commander.

1975 - October. S-21 becomes fully operational.

1975 - November. Duch marries.

1976 - March. Duch becomes the chairman of S-21.

1977 - Vietnamese troops raid Cambodia's Svay Rieng province. In August, the Khmer Rouge attack Vietnam's Tay Ninh province.

1978 - December. After years of border skirmishes, Vietnam invades Cambodia.

1979 - January 2-3. The last mass execution of S-21 prisoners takes place: 200 Cambodian and Vietnamese victims are killed.

1979 - January 7. Khmer Rouge regime overthrown. Vietnamese troops enter Phnom Penh, discover S-21 where the remaining prisoners had been killed hours before. Duch flees with the Khmer Rouge to their border sanctuaries.

Early 1990s. Duch distances himself from Khmer Rouge, returns to teaching.

1992 - After his wife's murder in a burglary, Duch attends Christian seminars.

1996 - Jan. 5. Under the pseudonym Hang Pin, Duch is baptized after converting to evangelical Christianity.

1999 - May. Duch is arrested after being retraced by Irish photographer Nic Dunlop.

2008 - August. Duch indicted for crimes against humanity.

2009 - March. Beginning of trial hearings against Duch.

International call to learn to love vultures - or lose them

afrol News, 4 September - BirdLife Partners in Africa and elsewhere have joined with raptor conservation and research organisations around the world to call for an “image makeover” for vultures. They will be celebrating International Vulture Awareness Day on 5 September 2009.

This comes against a backdrop of recent reports of problems facing vultures in Africa and the ongoing ones in Asia.

There have been mass vulture deaths in East Africa associated with misuse of chemicals, huge population declines in West Africa due to habitat loss, and the disappearance of vultures from large areas of their formers ranges in South Africa because of the continued use of vulture parts in traditional medicine and sorcery, the partnership noted.

Other threats identified include power line collisions and electrocutions, disturbance at breeding sites, drowning in farm reservoirs, direct persecution and declining food availability.

Vultures are said to fulfill an extremely important ecological role. They keep the environment free of carcasses and waste, restrict the spread of diseases such as anthrax and botulism, and help control numbers of pests such as rats and feral dogs by reducing the food available to them. They are of cultural value to communities in Africa and Asia, and have important eco-tourism value.

"Indeed vultures provide a perfect example of the link between birds and people. Loss of vultures would mean loss of important natural services to people, for example the cleaning of the environment of animal carcasses and waste at no charge”, said Dr Hazell Shokellu Thompson, BirdLife's Regional Director for Africa.

"One major challenge to detecting and countering these threats is that there are very few people out there watching vultures, let alone counting them. Thus it is difficult to determine population trends and to detect declining populations", said Paul Kariuki Ndang'ang'a, BirdLife's Species Programme Manager for Africa. "The Asian Vulture Crisis has shown that without proper monitoring, a population crash can take place virtually undetected."

The BirdLife Africa Partnership is therefore urging people to notice the important roles that vultures play, and the crisis they are currently facing. Organisations and individuals that have the capacity are encouraged to take action for vultures where feasible.

Some of the main conservation actions that have been identified for vultures in Africa include: establishing a monitoring network for African vultures, establishing legal protection for the species in range states, eliminating the veterinary use of diclofenac and other toxic drugs in Africa, and carrying out education and awareness programmes, particularly targeted at farmers, to reduce persecution, unintentional poisoning and hunting for cultural reasons.

By staff writer

Happy International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD09)!

A white-rumped vulture in Cambodia's Northern Plains. Credit © Allan Michaud

Vulture populations have declined more than 95% in South Asia due to diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug used on cattle which acts as a poison to vultures. Just in time for International Vulture Awareness Day (today, September 5, 2009) the Wildlife Conservation Society has announced that populations have been on the rise in Cambodia, a new population of white-rumped vultures (pictured above) has been in located in the country's Northern Plains, and eighteen new vulture fledglings took flight this year, oh happy day!

International Vulture Awareness Day will focus on promoting the conservation and awareness of vultures with events around the world -- from birth watching to visiting zoos and wildlife reserves -- and online with bloggers sharing photos, videos, and posts in the IVAD09 blog festival. Visit International Vulture Awareness Day to take part in the day's virtual event.

The Wildlife Conservation Society works to save vulture populations in Cambodia with community-supported projects such as a bird nest protection program and "restaurants" which provide reliable food sources. They work with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of the Environment, WWF, BirdLife International, the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Support is provided by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)/
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

More on the Wildlife Conservation Society

Did the killing fields really take everyone by surprise?

Duch's victims included university professor Phung Ton, who had taught him and knew several intellectuals who became top Khmer Rouge officials. The professor's was of the country when the Khmer Rouge took over. Forced into slaw labour on a collective farm, his wife and seven children took comfort in thinking that he was safe. But worried about them, he flew back to be with them. The family discovered his fate in 1979. His daughter Sunthary had bartered for some palm sugar that came wrapped in newspapers. When she looked at the paper, she saw her father's picture among a series of photos of S-21 victims.

Tu Thanh Ha

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Last updated on Saturday, Sep. 05, 2009

Richard Nixon was in the White House, Leonid Brezhnev in the Kremlin and Pierre Trudeau had just got married. The Beatles had broken up, and American troops were slowly beginning to withdraw from Vietnam.

It was 1971, and the fall of Saigon was still four years away – as was the day the Khmer Rouge in neighbouring Cambodia would overrun Phnom Penh and launch a reign of terror in which as many as 2.2 million people would die.

But in the forest clearings and muddy ponds of central Cambodia, the horror had already begun.

At a secret compound known as M-13, teenaged peasants clutching Kalashnikovs kept watch over palm-covered pits in which shackled prisoners awaited their fate as enemies of the revolution. When they weren't being tortured or shot, the prisoners died of malaria or starvation, or drowned when there was a flood.

And when evening fell in the jungle, their torturer, a former math teacher known as Comrade Duch (pronounced DOOK ), would feel sorry for himself and turn to French poetry for comfort.

He was especially fond of this stanza:

Moaning, weeping, praying is equally cowardly. Staunchly carry out your long and heavy task, in the path to which Fate saw fit to call you. Then, later, as I do, suffer and die in silence.

It is from La mort du loup, a 19th-century classic by Alfred de Vigny about a doomed wolf confronting those who've been hunting him down.

Today, gaunt and grey as he appears each morning in the prisoner's box of a Phnom Penh courtroom, Duch mentions the poem again. He seems to fancy himself a stoic, misunderstood figure, but those testifying against him say he's nothing but a wolf.


Duch's real name is Kaing Guek Eav. The 66-year-old father of four is the sole defendant in Case 001 of the first United Nations-approved trial of a Khmer Rouge.

With hundreds of spectators in cathartic attendance each day, Cambodia's darkest chapter is gradually relived in court, revealing how the methods and ideological foundations of the genocide emerged years before the killing fields happened – and detailing how the tragedy needn't have come as a bolt out of the blue.

Just as there were advance signs of the Nazi Holocaust and the Rwanda slaughter, the world did receive prior warning of what was to come.

In his opening statement at the trial, Robert Petit, the Canadian prosecutor who has since resigned, effective this week, described M-13 as Duch's “training ground.” It was there that he developed techniques that were to make him the Khmer Rouge's chief interrogator and head of S-21, better known as Tuol Sleng, a high school in Phnom Penh that was converted into a prison where thousands disappeared.

M-13 is also where Duch's atrocities first came to light. Testifying at the trial, French academic François Bizot recalled how he tipped off his country about the Khmer Rouge.

Travelling in the countryside while conducting a scholarly study of Buddhism, Mr. Bizot was captured, accused of being a CIA spy and brought to M-13. His two Cambodian aides died there, but he proved interesting to Duch, who treated him relatively well and let him go after three months.


Former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav alias Duch before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on June 29.

As he was leaving, Mr. Bizot was asked by a Khmer Rouge cadre to pass a copy of a 30-page political manifesto to the French embassy, perhaps because he believed victory was imminent. Fluent in Khmer, Mr. Bizot translated the document into French, struggling with the Communist terminology. Although he doesn't remember the exact words, he said the manifesto “foreshadowed the policies that were already being put in place by the Khmer Rouge.”

He made his delivery – but nothing happened. It was only years later, while searching the archives of the French foreign ministry, that he learned what diplomats in Phnom Penh had done. Rather than sending the entire manifesto, they provided Paris with a summary that, he says, “didn't say much. It was a text that seemed lacking in interest.”

As for the original, “I regret very much that this text has obviously disappeared.”

Mr. Bizot wasn't alone in raising a flag, according to Alexander Hinton, director of Rutgers University's Center for the Study of Genocide.

Prof. Hinton says other clues came up in the early 1970s from scholars who had interviewed defectors and refugees fleeing rebel-held zones. Word was circulating that atrocities were taking place but, in a region marked by years of conflicts and brutality, those ominous signals didn't register, he adds. “It was very difficult to convey accurately what was happening.”

But even after it became clear “what was happening,” the world was in no hurry to act. As Henry Kissinger, then the U.S. secretary of state, urged Thailand's foreign minister seven months after the fall of Phnom Penh: “You should also tell the Cambodians that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won't let that stand in our way.'


Just how oblivious the outside world was to the reality of the Khmer Rouge has been readily apparent in much of the testimony in Duch's trial.

Antonya Tioulong told the court about her sister Raingsy, who remained in Cambodia when her family resettled in France. But then, as rockets rained on Phnom Penh at the end of March, 1975, she wrote: “Must I leave as soon as possible?”

It was the last they heard from her. On April 17, the capital fell.

The killing went on for years. French nurse Martine Lefeuvre described what happened to her husband in 1977. A diplomat at the Cambodian embassy in Senegal, Ouk Ket was recalled when expatriates around the world were urged to return and help to rebuild the country.

As he prepared to leave, Ms. Lefeuvre expressed fear for his safety. “He looked at me and touched my cheek and said, ‘Mais, ma chérie, Cambodians are not savages.'”

He too was never heard from again. Like Raingsy Tioulong, he was among the victims of Tuol Sleng, where blindfolded prisoners were brought in handcuffs, tortured for weeks into “confessing,” and then executed.

Duch started there as the deputy commander, and thanks to his experience at M-13 was soon promoted to head of a facility that prosecutors say was at the apex of the Khmer Rouge security network.

In court, he paints himself as a mere cog in the machine – “I sacrificed everything for the revolution, sincerely and absolutely.” This week he went so far as to claim that he agreed to become Pol Pot's lead torturer just to save himself and his family.

“I made many attempts to avoid being chief of the prison but the Khmer Rouge's leaders rejected my requests,” he argued. “I did my best to survive. … I feared I would be killed.”

Others see him quite differently, as an interrogation innovator ever eager to please his superiors.

Françoise Sironi-Guilbaud, a French psychologist who interviewed Duch at length, testified that he grew up craving acceptance. Not only was he a member of Cambodia's Chinese minority who'd been saddled with a debt-ridden father, he was disenchanted by a failed romance, the arrest of his friends and the theft of his bicycle, which hampered his studies. Communism, she feels, gave him a place where he was appreciated.

Dr. Sironi-Guilbaud says he told her that he “couldn't be at the same time a revolutionary and have feelings,” when in fact he was insecure and began to worry when his superiors started to be purged from the regime. He compensated, she said, by “demonstrating extreme zeal and allegiance in order to hide his fear, going beyond his masters' expectations.”


His S-21 victims included three of his own mentors: a man who sponsored him as a member of the Communist party, a high-school teacher who had inspired him and university professor Phung Ton, who taught Duch and knew several intellectuals who became top Khmer Rouge officials.

The professor was at a conference in Switzerland when the capital fell, and his wife and seven children wound up among the millions of city dwellers forced into slave labour on collective farms – but they took comfort in thinking that he was safe.

Four years later, after the Vietnamese toppled the Khmer Rouge, the family returned to Phnom Penh, and one day his daughter Sunthary happened to trade some rice for palm sugar that came wrapped in newspaper.

“I hadn't seen anything in writing since 1975,” she testified. So she took a close look at the paper, only to find photos of Tuol Sleng victims, including one of a hollow-eyed man with a sign that read No. 17 hanging from his neck. It was her father. He had come back after all.

Prof. Ton is one of the 12,380 men, women and children Duch is charged with killing. He ran Tuol Sleng from 1976 to the last days of the regime, eradicating everyone from members of the old Cambodian regime to Communists who'd been purged, as well as Vietnamese prisoners of war and travellers from the West.

He is not being prosecuted for what he did at M-13 because it happened before the Khmer Rouge came to power, but evidence about the camp was introduced to demonstrate there was a pattern to his behaviour.

Mr. Petit, who spent three years in Cambodia before heading home to Ottawa, told the court that M-13 is where torture methods were devised by Duch, who candidly told the court how he experimented by soaking a woman before exposing her to the elements, and tying prisoners to poles.

Also while there, he perfected a system of detailed record-keeping, reporting the confessions he extracted to his superiors so they could expand their purges.

When he went to Tuol Sleng, he brought along many of the young staff he trained at M-13, people chosen for the kind of political purity that was to become a Khmer Rouge obsession. U.S. historian and Cambodia scholar Craig Etcheson told the court that Duch recruited guards from local farm boys he considered free of “capitalist or feudalist influences.”

Duch boasted to the tribunal that he found ways to enable the boys to carry out the revolution. “Once we educated them, their very nature changed. They went from being gentle beings to people capable of working in situations of extreme cruelty.”

Rice farmer Chan Khan was just 13 when he started at the camp and testified that, like the other guards, he was afraid of Duch. Of course, he had more reason for fear than most: Both of his grandfathers were among the prisoners there.

He resisted the judges' requests to explain what happened to them – which, according to Anne-Laure Porée, a Cambodia-based journalist covering the trial, may be because he is the guard who, according to a 2003 book, was forced to beat his own grandfather until the old man addressed him as “elder brother.”

Why? Because, as Duch coldly told the judges, “we had to smash the enemy spies. There was a class struggle.”

Another farmer, Uch Sorn, testified how he was caught up in the class struggle.

Now 72, he lived near M-13 in 1973, and one day, while on his way to buy hogs, he was arrested on suspicion of being a spy, taken to the camp and tossed in a pit. Eventually allowed out to work as a labourer, he saw prisoners tied to posts, being whipped or beaten with bamboo sticks, submerged in a pond or executed with a blow to the neck. Dogs, he said, wandered around the compound with human bones in their jaws.

“Each day I saw prisoners dying. Every single day. There was never a day no prisoner died,” he said.

Back then Uch Sorn wouldn't dare to look Duch in the eye, but “today, I am not afraid of him,” he told the court, “because he is now a tiger with no teeth.”


The trial, which opened in February, is expected to wrap up this month. But there is still no clear explanation for why the early warnings about what the Khmer Rouge was up to had so little impact.

As Antonya Tioulong told the court, “we weren't alarmed” when Phnom Penh fell and contact with her sister was cut off.

“The French media were calling it ‘A Socialist Victory … A Pink Victory in Southeast Asia.' We thought that a normal Communist regime would be in place. We were far from thinking there would be a tragedy of such proportions.”

François Bizot has a theory about what happened. Now 69 and an emeritus professor at the École française d'Extrême-Orient, he wrote his memoirs in 2003 and attributed the skepticism about the reports of Communist atrocities to widespread anti-American feelings among Europeans.

“Fear of appearing to support the Americans so froze minds that nowhere in Europe were people free enough to voice their indignation and denounce the lies,” he explained. “Popular wisdom was on the side of liberty and non-intervention …

"Yet there were those witnesses who, many years earlier, had condemned the horror being plotted in the shelter of the forests.

“A turn of bad luck made me one of them.”

Tu Thanh Ha is a Globe and Mail reporter.

‘This country has a long way to go.'

Canadian co-prosecutor Robert Petit. In his opening statement, he told the tribunal that hearing the facts would give back to the victims of the Khmer Rouge the dignity that was denied to them in their last moments. After three years in Cambodia, Mr. Petit resigned, effective this week, citing personal reasons, and will resume his work for the federal Justice Department in Ottawa. “It’s obvious that some people in the government, from the prime minister downward, think they have a right to tell the courts what to do here,” he said in an interview, addressing the issue of political interference in Cambodian courts. “It’s not their job to take that on. It’s mine. It’s the court’s.” Jared Ferrie

Last updated on Saturday, Sep. 05, 2009

PHNOM PENH -- This week Canadian lawyer Robert Petit's three-year stint as co-prosecutor for Cambodia's war-crimes tribunal officially came to an end. He cited “personal and family reasons” for his departure, but it's widely believed that political pressure is really to blame.

Co-sponsored by the United Nations and Cambodia, the tribunal has cost $150-million but so far just five aging Khmer Rouge leaders have been charged, with only one brought to trial.

Mr. Petit, a 48-year-old veteran of conflict remediation in Rwanda, Bosnia, East Timor and Sierra Leone, says he has solid cases against another six veterans of the regime.

Cambodia's prime minister, himself a former Khmer Rouge officer as are many of his political allies, has said he'd rather see the court fail than expand its caseload because another civil war could result. But on Wednesday, a day after Mr. Petit's resignation took effect, the tribunal's Cambodian judges failed to persuade their international counterparts to block any new investigations.

Just before he left Cambodia, the usually tight-lipped Mr. Petit spoke candidly with Jared Ferrie, a Canadian writer based in Phnom Penh, about the challenges he faced.

On political interference

“It's obvious that some people in the government from the Prime Minister downward think they have a right to tell the courts what to do here. … It certainly speaks volumes about the work that remains to be done in this country …”

During a public meeting, “one older gentleman got up and asked me, ‘How is it possible that you want some more suspects when the government said there shouldn't be?' He was genuinely puzzled. As long as people believe this is a fair question, this country has a long way to go.”

What about fears that too many trials will rekindle the civil war?

“I think that's hogwash. Cambodians have paid such a high price for their peace and current stability that nobody's going to take to the bush for a few old geriatric mass murderers. It's not going to happen … To a certain extent, people who oppose that are probably still profiting one way or another from it, from impunity.

“It's always the red herring that's raised by politicians whenever accountability threatens the status quo. I think it's been proven time and time again – at least in terms of accountability for mass crimes – that on the contrary, accountability is one of the essential steps toward reconciliation and stability.

Does it matter if suspects die before their trials?

“That's one of the things that keeps me awake at night … Without these people, these events would not have happened. Their story holds the key for the Cambodian people to understand why it happened and hopefully learn from that. So I think it's fundamental that these remaining individuals face trial.”

Will other cases be like Duch's?

“It's going to be much different because, as far as I know, none of the other accused have admitted any kind of responsibility. …

“As far as I'm aware, only people kill people. A system itself is nothing without people that either create it, run it, or implement it.”

What motivates him

“One of the greatest things we have living in Canada is to be able to count on the rule of law … I've never wanted to be anything but a prosecutor. And being able to prosecute these types of individuals for these types of crimes and bringing some justice to the victims of the worst possible violations – I think there's no better deal.”

But there are limitations“My neighbour in Ottawa was a Cambodian family. Both were refugees, both made it through the Khmer Rouge, both lost members of their family. The lady was supportive, saying, ‘You're going to do your best; whatever happens it will be at least that.'

“The husband was furious with me for even taking the job: ‘Where were you and where was the UN when my family was getting killed? Where are you now with all the millions you're going to spend when my current family members are eating grass?'

“And both of these opinions are legitimate. Both of these feelings you have to respect. … A lot of people come to the court and go away disappointed. These courts generally speaking will prosecute people who never got their hands dirty, the architects or the high-level commanders, which is one of the things that I'm trying to achieve with these additional prosecutions. You can always find killers.”

On leaving Cambodia

“Of all the places I've dragged my family to, this has certainly been the best, and it's with great reluctance and great sadness that we are leaving.

“It's been a wonderful personal experience living here. My wife and kids have been very happy living here and unfortunately it has to end at this point.”

Watch this video in a new windowEarly study on H1N1 deaths


The Centers for Disease Control just released an early study on H1N1, also known as swine flu, deaths. It said 36 children died from the virus in the United States - seven of those were under 5 years old.

Khmer Language Teaching Is Included in a Thai Government Approved Curriculum – Saturday, 5.9.2009

Posted on 6 September 2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 628

“Though there have been some hostilities regarding border disputes, the Thai government has included Khmer language teaching into the state curriculum at many schools, following a request by the Khmer Language and Culture Association of Surin Province (LCASP).

“According to information received, the provincial Department of Education of the Province of Surin of Thailand has recently agreed to include Khmer language teaching into the curriculum at schools under the control of the Royal Government of Thailand, but the information does not specify at which levels Khmer language will be included.

“Based on that source, the agreement to include Khmer language into the curriculum was announced on 5 August 2009 in a press conference, where representatives of 30 to 40 primary and secondary schools from different districts of the province discussed the program to teach the Khmer language.

“According to that source, based on the official plan, Khmer language teaching at some state schools will be taught in two sessions per week, from primary school to secondary school, starting from Grade 1 to Grade 12, and this program will start beginning in the Svay District of Surin.

“Regarding the inclusion of Khmer language teaching into the curriculum, approved by the Thai government, a secretary of state of the [Cambodian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong, said on 4 September 2009 that he did not know about this, while the secretaries of states of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Chea Oueng and Mr. Chey Chab, could not be reached for comment, because they were busy in meetings.

“The vice-president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia [and professor of history], Dr. Ruos Chantraboth, said that the inclusion of Khmer language teaching by Thai government agencies into a state approved curriculum is good, if it is applied from primary to secondary education, because if they apply it only at universities, it is nothing new, as there have been Khmer language programs [at universities] since long ago. That is why some scholars in Thailand can use the Khmer language.

“He added that in Surin, there is an association of Mr. Chey Mongkol [who calls himself with his Thai name Chaimongkol Chalermsukjitsri on his own website], who is trying to teach the Khmer language to Khmer people there.

“Mr. Ruos Chantraboth talked about the history related to Thailand and Cambodia, saying that he did not remember the time when some provinces of Cambodia fell under the control of Thailand, but he said that there were many provinces that had been controlled by Thailand [see Historical Note on Cambodian-Thai relations in The Mirror of 20.8.2009].

“Mr. Ruos Chantraboth went on to say that the inclusion of Khmer language teaching into a state approved curriculum might be their politics to persuade Khmer people there to set themselves apart from the central Khmers [that is: from Cambodia], because if the [Thai] government would restrict its citizens, they might stand up to protest. Thus, this curriculum might show some Thai intentions; the inclusion of the Khmer language in a curriculum is not because they appreciate that Khmer is beautiful or friendly, or they want to strengthen the ties between both countries, but it is just a strategy.

“It should be noted that the Khmer Language and Culture Association of Surin Province, created by Mr. Chey Mongkol, aims to teach Khmer children there to know their own language.

“In the meantime, he had made efforts to expand his teaching and had requested the Thai government to include Khmer language teaching into the curriculum of the state, and now a source said that the Department of Education of Thailand has already agreed with this request.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2041, 5.9.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 5 September 2009

Southern Thailand’s Turmoil Grows

A vehicle burned after a bomb attack in Thailand's Yala province, south of Bangkok, on Friday.

The New York Times

Published: September 4, 2009

PAKA LUE SONG, Thailand — The soldiers patrolling this hamlet racked by insurgent violence measure their progress modestly: two years ago, when villagers saw them coming, they closed their shutters. Now, they say, most residents peer out of their wood-frame houses and offer strained smiles.

“The local people have started to open their hearts,” said Capt. Niran Chaisalih, the leader of a government paramilitary force garrisoned at the village school.

Paka Lue Song, only a 15-minute drive from the provincial capital, Pattani, is a starting point for Thailand’s influx of troops into the country’s troubled southern provinces, where ethnic Malay Muslims are battling for autonomy from Thailand’s Buddhist majority.

The number of people in security forces, including the army, the police and militias, in the region has doubled over the past two years to about 60,000, said Srisompob Jitpiromsri, a leading expert on the insurgency and the associate dean at Prince of Songkla University in Pattani.

The huge increase in security forces initially helped reduce the violence as well as the death toll, which fell by 40 percent last year. But the number of killings has risen in recent months. More than 330 people have been killed so far this year, compared with 285 in the same period last year. Among the dead are civilians — including many Malays — soldiers and insurgents.

There have been so many killings in the three southern provinces — about 3,500 since 2004 — that the government began distributing a glossy brochure last year guiding victims’ families through the process of applying for government compensation.

Although the insurgency has been active for decades in the south, the current phase is considered particularly dangerous because the militants appear to have more of an Islamist agenda and because apparently sectarian attacks have strained the mutual tolerance between Buddhists and Muslims. It also comes at a time of deep political turmoil and social unease in Thailand that has hobbled several governments in the last three years and last year drove away many of the tourists who help sustain the country’s economy.

The surge in troops is palpable across the three southern provinces, only a few hours’ drive from Thailand’s main tourist beaches. There is now the equivalent of one soldier or police officer for every seven households. Soldiers in Humvees patrol the main roads, and police and military checkpoints screen motorists every few miles.

Sa-nguan Indrarak, the president of a federation of schoolteachers in the south, questions whether the army’s presence has been worth the $3.2 billion that the government has spent in the south over the past five years. (Teachers, obvious symbols of the Thai state, have been prime targets in the insurgency, with 95 killed since 2004.) Troops should leave and the government should train local security forces, who have a better understanding of the terrain, Mr. Sa-nguan argues.

Soldiers are resented in part because they behave inappropriately around both mosques and Buddhist temples, drinking, dancing and flirting, he said. But there have also been reports of human rights abuses; in January, Amnesty International published a report saying security forces “systemically engage in torture” — including using electric shocks — in their attempts to gather information and to force communities into withholding or withdrawing support for the rebels.

The insurgency has been distinct from other rebel movements in the region because the perpetrators remain shadowy, ill-defined groups that do not claim responsibility for the violence. Experts say they believe that the aims of the groups, among them the Pattani Islamic Mujahedeen Movement and the National Revolution Front-Coordinate, are to drive Buddhists from the area, discredit the government and put into place strict Islamic laws.

Although they say they believe that some financing for the groups comes from abroad, several counterterrorism experts in Thailand and elsewhere discount significant connections with other militant movements, like Al Qaeda and the Indonesian group Jemaah Islamiyah. The movement here, they say, appears to involve a localized struggle over territory and control overlaid with historical resentment over the domination of the Thai state.

Malay Muslims make up about 80 percent of the 1.7 million people living in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala Provinces.

The ouster of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a military coup in 2006 raised hopes that the generals who took over, including several senior Muslim officials, would be more conciliatory than Mr. Thaksin, who had blamed bandits for the violence and oversaw a hard-line policy toward the area. But despite an unprecedented apology for Mr. Thaksin’s iron-fisted policies by a military-installed prime minister, the insurgency has ground on.

In Paka Lue Song, a village considered dangerous enough that local journalists refuse to enter it, army medics are trying to win over villagers by giving them free medical treatment. As soldiers prepared to walk through the village on a recent day, one raised the antenna of a radio to hear a dispatcher issue a bulletin: a police officer had been ambushed in Yala Province.

Sumeth Pranphet/Associated Press
Soldiers aided victims of a bombing on Thursday in Pattani Province, southern Thailand, where ethnic Malay Muslims seek autonomy from the Buddhist majority.

The soldiers proceeded on their mission, handing out vitamin C to children.

Second Lt. Pongpayap Petwisai, a 27-year-old army doctor, walked through the village prescribing medication for eye infections, dispensing balms for aching muscles and monitoring blood pressure.

“What we are trying to do is get people on our side,” said Dr. Pongpayap, who was partly inspired to become a doctor by the 1998 film “Saving Private Ryan.”

More recently, the government has also stepped up its program of providing weapons to local militias and “village guards,” especially in Buddhist enclaves. These volunteers now number about 71,000, according to Rungrawee Chalermsripinyorat, who monitors the insurgency for the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization that aims to prevent deadly conflicts.

She said she feared that the program could backfire, leading to vigilante killings if the weapons fell into the wrong hands.

Those who cooperate with the military are already at risk of being attacked by insurgents.

In Paka Lue Song, Dr. Pongpayap examined the injured hand of Gade Yusoh, a 57-year-old rubber tapper who soldiers said had been helpful to them.

Gunmen suspected of being insurgents fired into Mr. Gade’s house one evening three months ago while he was watching television. “I’m not afraid,” he said. His nervous laugh suggested otherwise.

It remains unclear if the programs aimed at winning the hearts and minds of villagers — a standard counterinsurgency practice — are working. When this reporter toured a neighboring village without the army medical team, local officials heaped scorn on the government initiative.

“They just want a photo opportunity,” said one local government official, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution by the army. Other criticism has been more public. Outside a village Dr. Pongpayap visited, graffiti appeared the day after.

“Don’t come back here,” it said. “If you shoot one of us, we will shoot two of you.”

Top official in China's volatile Urumqi sacked

Chinese paramilitary police form a line as they disperse the crowds after the unconfirmed report of a needle attack on a boy outside the People's Square in Urumqi, Xinjiang province, China, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009. Thousands of troops, backed by tanks and metal barricades, patrolled the western city of Urumqi on Saturday after five people died in protests over a series of bizarre needle attacks that China's police chief has blamed on Muslim separatists.(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer

URUMQI, China – Chinese leaders bowed to public demands and sacked the head of a western city wracked by communal violence and a bizarre string of needle attacks, hoping to calm uneasy mobs and end protests that percolated for a third day Saturday.

The removal of Urumqi's Communist Party Secretary Li Zhi came amid reports of police again dispersing crowds outside Urumqi's government offices using tear gas, and more unconfirmed reports of needle attacks, including one on an 11-year-old boy in a downtown square.

The city's chief prosecutor announced further details about four people arrested over the attacks, but offered little to back up the government's claims that they were an organized campaign to spread terror.

Protesters marched by the thousands Thursday and Friday demanding the resignation of Li and his boss, Xinjiang party secretary Wang Lequan, for failing to provide adequate public safety in the city. Also sacked was the police chief of Xinjiang, China's westernmost region that abuts Central Asia and whose capital is Urumqi.

An Urumqi government spokeswoman and the official Xinhua News Agency gave no reasons in announcing the changes. But July's riot was the worst communal violence in more than a decade in Xinjiang — where Uighur separatists have waged a sporadically violent campaign for a homeland. The renewed protests this week underscored the difficulties authorities were having in reasserting control.

The firing may also help quash calls to dismiss Wang — a member of the country's ruling Politburo and an ally of President Hu Jintao.

"I would say that this is the sacrificial lamb," Russell Leigh Moses, an analyst of Chinese politics based in Beijing. "But it will be interesting to see what the reaction in the streets is and whether this satisfies people's anger or not."

Li, a 58-year-old career official in Xinjiang, played a visible role during the July violence and recent protests. In July he climbed atop a car with a megaphone and urged an angry crowd of Han Chinese to show their patriotism by fighting separatists but not ordinary Uighurs.

On Thursday, when more than 10,000 people protested through the city, Li and Wang separately waded into crowds to meet with protesters to defuse tensions, only to be greeted with shouts to "step down."

"Do I not know that I should protect my brothers and sisters?" Li told them, according to footage aired on Urumqi's TV station and recounted by a local newspaper editor.

It wasn't clear whether protesters would be assuaged and two key demands — an end to the syringe attacks and the swift punishment of those responsible for the July rioting — have yet to be met.

Urumqi's prosecutor said among the 21 suspects in custody, all of them Uighurs, two jabbed a taxi driver with a heroin-filled syringe to steal 710 yuan ($105) to buy drugs.

Overall, a show of force by thousands of troops on patrols restored calm to much of the city. Paramilitary police manned checkpoints around government and party offices and put up barricades backed by tanks at entrances to a heavily Uighur neighborhood — a sign that officials were worried the mainly Han protesters might try to storm in.

More than 500 people have sought treatment for stabbings, though only about 100 showed signs of having been pricked, according to state media reports. Members of a visiting People's Liberation Army medical team said they conducted checks on 22 patients who showed clear signs of having been stabbed and found no indication that radioactive or biochemical substances had been used in any of the attacks.

Tests were still being conducted for HIV, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases, and the results would be made public at a time to be determined by the Xinjiang government, said Qian Jun, one of the team's leaders.

Urumqi Prosecutor Udgar Abdulrahman said four of the detained suspects — three men aged 19, 34 and 47, and one woman, 22 — were charged with endangering public security. Aside from the two who stabbed the taxi driver for drug money, Abdulrahman said the others acted separately. One jabbed a fruit seller and the other a police officer. No motive was given for the other attacks.

Abdulrahman did not cite an obvious political link to the stabbings, but said he believed there was a degree of coordination. "At this point, we think there is a plot and it is organized," he said.

Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu said Friday the same Muslim separatists that Beijing blames for the July 5 ethnic rioting also orchestrated the syringe attacks.

The government has not provided an ethnic breakdown of the five killed in Thursday's protests. A report in Urumqi's Morning Post on Saturday said a "small number of people became overexcited and lost control of themselves" during the demonstrations. It said casualties included police, paramilitary troops and innocent civilians, but gave no specifics.

By most accounts, the July 5 riot started after police confronted peaceful Uighur protesters, who then attacked Han Chinese. Days later, Han vigilantes tore through Uighur neighborhoods to retaliate.

US, SKorea envoys discuss NKorean nuclear claim

South Korean Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, right, shakes hands with the U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth during their meeting at the South-North Dialogue Secretariat building in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009. Washington's special envoy on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, is in the region for discussions with China, South Korea and Japan over how to bring Pyongyang back to six-nation talks that the North has boycotted since earlier this year. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

By KWANG-TAE KIM, Associated Press Writer

SEOUL, South Korea – Top nuclear envoys from South Korea and the United States held talks Saturday on a strategy to bring North Korea back to disarmament talks, a day after the North claimed it is in the final stages of enriching uranium.

U.S. special envoy on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, and South Korean envoy Wi Sung-lac made no comments after their meeting. Bosworth later met with South Korea's minister in charge of relations with North Korea, and the Unification Ministry said the two agreed to closely cooperate in resolving the nuclear dispute.

Bosworth said in Beijing on Friday that any nuclear development in North Korea was a matter of concern.

"We confirm the necessity to maintain a coordinated position and the need for a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," he said.

Bosworth is to leave for Tokyo on Sunday for similar consultations with Japanese officials. Chief U.S. nuclear negotiator, Sung Kim, plans to return to Seoul on Tuesday to meet with Russian nuclear envoy Grigory Logvinov.

North Korea also announced it is continuing to weaponize plutonium. Uranium offers an easier way to make nuclear weapons, and uranium-based bombs may work without requiring test explosions.

Washington shows no signs of easing pressure on North Korea through new U.N. sanctions, despite a series of conciliatory gestures by the North, including the release of two detained American journalists and a reported invitation to top U.S. envoys, including Bosworth, to visit Pyongyang.

"We are prepared for both dialogue and sanctions," the North said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council carried Friday by its official Korean Central News Agency. If some members of the council put "sanctions first before dialogue, we would respond with bolstering our nuclear deterrence first before we meet them in a dialogue," it said.

The North warned it would be left with no choice but to take "yet another strong self-defensive countermeasure" if the standoff continues. It did not elaborate.

A pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan urged the U.S. to hold talks with the North to make the Korean peninsula nuclear-free. The Choson Sinbo newspaper, widely seen as a mouthpiece for North Korea, said time is not "limitless" for the U.S. to decide whether to hold talks or continue to pursue sanctions.

The U.S. has pressed for North Korea to return to six-nation talks on its nuclear program with the U.S., South Korea, China, Russia and Japan.

North Korea has said it will only talk one-on-one with the Obama administration.

Bosworth said Friday the U.S. is willing to have direct talks, but only within the framework of the six-nation talks.

Analysts said the North appears to be trying to add urgency to the standoff.

"The North is saying that the more delayed U.S.-North Korea talks are, the greater its nuclear capabilities will become," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies.

Meanwhile, a report by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security said there is no sign of reconstruction at the North's main Yongbyon nuclear reactor, which was partially disabled under an agreement reached in the six-nation talks. It cited commercial satellite imagery taken Aug. 10 by DigitalGlobe.

Separately, North Korea also said it will continue to seek self-defensive measures in response to an alleged U.S. move to develop a new bunker-buster bomb, KCNA reported. It claimed the U.S. is accelerating production of the bomb to destroy "underground nuclear facilities" in North Korea and Iran.


Associated Press writers Jae-soon Chang and Wanjin Park in Seoul, Chi-Chi Zhang in Beijing and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.