Illegal and unethical employment practice against Khmer employees at the Viet Sacombank in Cambodia?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"After crossing the bridge, then destroy the bridge": The Viet style of employment in Cambodia
KI-Media note: The following message was provided by an anonymous KI-Media reader regarding illegal and unethical employment practice against Khmer employees of the Viet Sacombank in Cambodia
To all Khmer employees to consider of this Vietnamese Company Called " SACOMBANK " + SBJ or whatever all in one relation.

I am currently working for this Vietnamese Gold Company Sacombank SBJ Cambodia as a Sales position. I started with this company from a very beginning. This company signing a Probationary Labour Contract for 3 months period with a salary of $200 net per month. I have worked for them since their company has no presence in Cambodia yet until recently they establish their network and Office here at 58 Norodom Blvd, Sangkat Chey Chumneas, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh. Also my probationary period has come to an end and I have perform my duties exceptionally in Labour contract.

Once the probationary period contract ended, they started to sign a fixed contract with me for One Year, however, they decreased my salary down to $180 per month and included all the job related expenses as sales person must use our own motorbike and petrol. [This contract is] Even worse than my probationary contract and when I speak to the Director of Sacombank SBJ Cambodia, Mr. Pham Anh Tai, he was making an excuse that because I can not speak Vietnamese. This is a ridiculous excuse, I wonder whether our Cambodian Labour laws protect our Khmer laborer. This foreign company is bullying our Khmer laborer and exploiting us because we need a job from them. Even more shameful and pressure from this foreign company is that even we work for them one year after that they only sign contract with us for 6 months or 1 year again.

Normally, after 3 months probationary then there will be a fixed contract without ending for a normal position like us for any other local company here in Cambodia. But this Sacombank SBJ Cambodia and their other companies such as Bank exploiting on Cambodian laborer. After probationary then sign one year contract. Even worse is after one year they can decrease our salary and sign another 6 months contract or one year again or decrease our salary. This is their practice on Cambodian employees.

Now I can not stand with their treatment to our Khmer people like me. I have submitted my resignation letter since I can not accept this insult. I hope Ministry of Labor should look into such a practice to protect Khmer laborers in our own homeland from being exploited by Vietnamese Company. Khmer need jobs that is why we labor for them but we want dignity in our home ground too.

"After crossing the bridge, then destroy the bridge," this is the Vietnamese Style!

Yours Sincerely,

Name not provided
READ MORE - Illegal and unethical employment practice against Khmer employees at the Viet Sacombank in Cambodia?

Mu Sochua versus the bestial prime minister

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Mu Sochua’s valuable heroism in her quest for justice

29 July 2010
By Pech Bandol
Free Press Magazine Online

Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy

Click here to read the article in Khmer


With her high convictions, her courage and her sharp conscience, a woman-MP from the opposition SRP party was able to awaken Cambodians from all walk of life and throughout the world to stand up in unison to defend and raise the value of justice which has been trampled by Hun Xen, the current dictator of the Phnom Penh regime.

The movement to demand justice, which, by the way, even includes sex workers, has contributed their income and put it to the disposal of Mrs. Mu Sochua after she was sentenced to lose her case to Hun Xen by the dirty Cambodian tribunal, and she was unfairly ordered to pay 16.5 million riels in fine. However, the general Cambodian public clearly knows the situation of the Cambodia court, a court that is not an institution to protect justice at all. This court is merely a tool for those who hold power. Therefore, any decision delivered by this kangaroo court in the case of Mrs. Mu Sochua is meaningless for the current human society.

To the contrary, the value of the 10 million riels is a valuable donation by the generous donors and even sex workers women have contributed to this fund as well. This shows the solidarity force to defend justice for Mrs. Mu Sochua who is now turned into a giant hammer symbol pounding on the Phnom Penh regime so that the latter learns that the conscientious Cambodian people is aware of what is right and what is wrong, and the value of honesty. At the same time, it also shows that the way Hun Xen governs right now is likened to the animal kingdom and it does not fit the image of a leader of a civilized country in the world.

In general, people observe through animal programs shown on TV that large animals, i.e. powerful animals like tigers and lions, catch smaller preys to eat. The reason these large animals can behave this way is due to the lack of unity among the smaller and weaker preys. Nevertheless, such behavior only exists in the animal kingdom, but not in the human society.

Documents produced by fossil scientists indicate that humans have evolved from apes through a period of several million years. Furthermore, in the past several tens of thousands years, the human society had relied on the law to protect social justice and the sovereignty of each individual so as to avoid rights violations, i.e. humans are equal to each other in front of the law.

If that is the case, why is Hun Xen still governing as if he is living in an animal kingdom instead?

One can still remember that during a speech given in Chhouk district, Kampot province, in April 2009, Hun Xen claimed: “There was a “cheung khlang” (thug) woman who ran to hug another person, but she accused that person of unbuttoning her blouse…”

Regarding this rude insult, anybody can understand that Hun Xen was aiming at Mrs. Mu Sochua, the Kampot SRP MP.

The use of such language affects strongly the honor of Mrs. Mu Sochua who is a Khmer woman belonging to a race that has noble behavior and culture, therefore Hun Xen should be responsible for the use of his words in this case. However, it turned out to be a very coward case when the Cambodian prime minister turns around and applies additional pressure on Mrs. Mu Sochua, the victim, instead.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Mu Sochua is still standing up with courage, refusing to kneel down to what she perceives as injustice toward her. Her heroic bravery has turned into a conviction that shook all Cambodians from all walk of life to stand up to demand justice for Mrs. Mu Sochua whose rights have been savagely violated by this powerful prime minister. Unity among the Cambodians to demand justice is also a factor that distinguishes the Cambodian society from the animal society. Common sense led us to wonder whether we should continue to preserve such bestial leader or not?
READ MORE - Mu Sochua versus the bestial prime minister

Le verdict de Dux, feuille de vigne ou doigt du sage

KI-Media Note: We are currently working with our team in Europe to obtain an English translation of the following Op-Ed in French by Dr. Hoc Pheng Chhay regarding Duch's verdict. Merci!
LE COMITE DES VICTIMES DES KHMERS-ROUGES
Siège social : 19, rue de l’Etang de la Tour 78120 Rambouillet (FRANCE)
e-mail:cvkr@wanadoo.fr - mobile :+33 (0)6 22 67 41 14 - tél/fax:+33 (0) 1 46 82 28 43
(Association Loi 1901 : J.O du 31 juillet 1999)

Le verdict de Dux, feuille de vigne ou doigt du sage

Dux a été accusé et traduit devant les CETC (Tribunal Khmer Rouge ou Chambres Extraordinaires au sein des Tribunaux Cambodgiens) pour crimes contre l’humanité et violations graves des Conventions de Genève de 1949, ainsi que pour homicide et torture, crimes prévus et réprimés par le Code pénal cambodgien de 1956. (Voir aussi les articles 3, 5, 6, 29 et 39 de la loi du 27 octobre 2004 relative à la création des CETC).

Après une audience préparatoire des 17 et 18 février 2009, le procès a eu lieu du 30 mars 2009 au 27 novembre de la même année. Durant les 77 jours de procès, 55 personnes ont été entendues par les CETC dont 9 témoins experts, 17 témoins des faits, 7 témoins de moralité et 22 parties civiles.

Né le 17 novembre 1942 dans le village de Poevveuy, province de Kompong Thom, l’accusé Dux a choisi in fine et de fait, l’unique avocat cambodgien, Me Kar Savuth (qui a plaidé « non coupable ») comme défenseur après avoir désavoué au dernier moment la ligne de défense (coupable en tant qu’exécutant d’Angkar ) de l’avocat français, Me François Roux.

Lors du procès, les Co-procureurs ont requis la peine de 40 ans de réclusion. Aujourd’hui, pour les 15 000 morts de S-21, Dux est reconnu coupable en sa qualité de Directeur du Centre de torture de Tuol Slèng (S-21) et condamné à la peine de réclusion criminelle de 30 ans.

Le verdict de Dux est une feuille de vigne

C’est une feuille de vigne de l’Humanité. Elle cache tant bien que mal les 31 années de l’impunité khmère rouge. Elle apaise bon gré mal gré la colère des victimes. Elle contribue peu ou prou à réconcilier victimes et bourreaux.

Ce verdict est une leçon pour le procès numéro 2 (Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary et Ieng Thirith). C’est une petite partie de la vérité khmère rouge qui est jugée. C’est effectivement cette vérité qui devra être au centre du débat, dans le procès suivant, au cours duquel, tous les acteurs devraient être en mesure de localiser le centre de gravité de la boule de vérité sinon elle ne cesse de rouler sans que personne ne l’appréhende.

Au XVIIe siècle, Newton démontra la trajectoire de la terre à partir de deux éléments interactifs, la terre et le soleil. Deux siècles plus tard, Poincaré révéla que si l’on introduit la lune dans le calcul, la théorie de Newton comporte une erreur. Il en va de même pour déterminer le centre de gravité de la vérité dans un procès. L’accusation (procureur) et la défense (l’accusé) ne sont pas à eux seuls des éléments suffisants pour cela. Les plaignants, eux, aideront incontestablement le tribunal à mieux appréhender la vérité. Il serait sage de prendre l’avis de tout le monde.

Le verdict, le doigt du sage

Quand le sage lui montre la lune, l’imbécile ne voit que le doigt. Cependant, quand le tribunal donne le verdict, nous sommes obligés de nous arrêter sur le chiffre 30.

Le 22 juin 2005, un ancien lieutenant SS, Gerhard Sommer, fut condamné à la prison à vie pour le massacre de Saint ‘Anna (560 morts) le 12 août 1944. Il est sage de ne pas comparer les chiffres. On ne saura jamais ce qui s’est passé dans la tête des juges pour ne condamner Dux qu’à une toute petite peine de 30 ans en tant que responsable et coupable des 15 000 morts de Tuol Slèng. Les victimes ont été, peut-être, moins convaincantes dans leur explication. Les « experts » de personnalité et « témoins » de moralité de Dux ont été probablement mieux écoutés par le tribunal que les victimes dans leur démonstration.

Ces victimes, pour revenir à celles de la seconde guerre mondiale, ont fait dire à Patton (général américain) à la vue du camp de concentration nazi de Buchenwald : « vous êtes par l’horreur que vous avez vécue l’évite de l’Humanité ».

Ce matin, à l’aube, sur le site de l’AFP, il y a à la rubrique Internationale, le bandeau d’annonce du verdict de Dux et la séquence vidéo de Chum Mey, l’un des rescapés de S-21, qui a déclaré : « je veux qu’il (Dux) soit condamné à la prison à vie pour que le mot ‘réconciliation’ ait un sens ». Cette déclaration a été enregistrée avant la tombée du verdict. Vers midi, tout ce qui rapporte au procès Khmer rouge disparaît de l’écran pour faire place à un événement tragique, l’assassinat d’un otage français…

Rambouillet, le 26 juillet 2010

Le Président du CVKR
Dr. Hoc Phéng CHHAY
(Magistrat)
READ MORE - Le verdict de Dux, feuille de vigne ou doigt du sage

«Douch» s'en tire avec 19 ans de prison

Des parents des victimes, comme Hong Sa Vath, ci-dessus, ont dénoncé une sentence trop clémente. (Photo : Agence Reuters Chor Sokunthea)

Procès de l'ex-tortionnaire khmer rouge de la prison S-21

27 juillet 2010
Agence Reuters
«Je suis choqué comme tout le monde, a déclaré Theary Seng, un avocat des droits de l'Homme qui a perdu ses deux parents. C'est inacceptable qu'un homme qui a tué des milliers de personnes ne soit emprisonné que 19 ans.» «Je ne peux pas l'accepter, a commenté Saodi Ouch, 46 ans, en sanglots. Ma famille est morte [...] ma soeur aînée, mon grand frère. Je suis la seule toujours vivante
Phnom Penh — «Douch» échappe à la perpétuité. Le tribunal spécial de Phnom Penh chargé de juger les anciens dirigeants khmers rouges a condamné hier à 35 ans de détention l'ex-tortionnaire de la prison S-21. Kaing Guek Eav, alias «Douch», 67 ans, ne devrait toutefois passer que 19 ans derrière les barreaux, le tribunal ayant notamment pris en compte le fait qu'il est détenu depuis onze ans.

Kaing Guek Eav est le premier responsable traduit devant ce tribunal international soutenu par les Nations unies. Quarante ans de réclusion avaient été requis contre lui pour crimes de guerre et crimes contre l'humanité.

L'accusé, qui a reconnu son rôle dans l'organisation de la prison de Tuol Sleng (S-21) et demandé pardon aux familles des victimes, est resté impassible, le regard lointain en écoutant la sentence, qui signifie qu'il pourrait un jour sortir de prison.

«Je suis choqué comme tout le monde, a déclaré Theary Seng, un avocat des droits de l'Homme qui a perdu ses deux parents. C'est inacceptable qu'un homme qui a tué des milliers de personnes ne soit emprisonné que 19 ans.» «Je ne peux pas l'accepter, a commenté Saodi Ouch, 46 ans, en sanglots. Ma famille est morte [...] ma soeur aînée, mon grand frère. Je suis la seule toujours vivante.»

Tuol Sleng était une école élémentaire transformée en prison par les Khmers rouges pour ceux qu'ils considéraient comme les pires ennemis d'État, espions, traîtres et saboteurs.

Nombre des 16 000 personnes qui y sont passées ont été torturées. Les bourreaux les ont électrocutées, leur ont arraché les ongles des orteils ou les ont quasiment noyées afin de leur soutirer des aveux. Aujourd'hui, S-21 est devenue un musée. Ses murs de béton sont recouverts des images d'hommes, de femmes et d'enfants, photographiés juste avant leur exécution.

Sous le régime khmer rouge de 1975 à 1979, plus de 1,7 million de Cambodgiens, soit environ un quart de la population, sont morts exécutés ou épuisés par le travail forcé, ou encore victimes de la famine ou du manque de soins médicaux.

Ancien professeur de mathématiques, Douch avait rejoint le mouvement de Pol Pot, le chef des Khmers rouges, en 1967, trois ans avant que les États-Unis ne commencent à pilonner le Cambodge pour essayer d'anéantir les troupes nord-vietnamiennes et Viet Cong qui s'y trouvaient. A partir de 1976, Duch était devenu le chef de S-21.

Disparu pendant 20 ans

Après l'intervention vietnamienne qui a contraint les Khmers rouges à quitter le pouvoir en 1979, Douch a disparu pendant près de 20 ans, vivant sous de fausses identités dans le nord-ouest du Cambodge, où il s'était converti au christianisme. Identifié par un journaliste britannique, il avait été arrêté il y a onze ans.

Douch est pour l'instant le seul Khmer rouge à avoir été jugé. Pol Pot est mort en 1998 et quatre autres hauts dirigeants khmers rouges sont en attente d'un jugement.

Le tribunal dit avoir pris en considération le contexte historique des atrocités commises à l'époque, celui de la Guerre froide. Il a aussi reconnu que Douch n'était pas membre du premier cercle des dirigeants du régime et qu'il avait coopéré avec le tribunal, reconnaissant sa responsabilité et exprimant des remords «limités».

Au cours des 77 jours du procès, Douch a reconnu avoir supervisé la mort de quelque 16 000 personnes qui sont passées dans cette prison.

Une des juges du tribunal international, Silvia Cartwright, a dit comprendre que les personnes qui subissaient le règne de terreur des Khmers rouges puissent être bouleversées par le verdict.

«C'est une des raisons pour lesquelles nous avons un tribunal objectif [...] prononçant une condamnation aussi équilibrée que possible, a-t-elle déclaré. Si on laissait aux victimes décider de la manière de punir une personne, alors ce serait peut-être le règne de la foule furieuse.»

«Il faut avoir à l'esprit que les victimes sont profondément blessées et traumatisées, a-t-elle ajouté. «On ne pourra jamais leur donner ce qu'elles ont perdu [...] donc, d'une certaine manière, une condamnation ne peut être que symbolique».

L'accusation et la défense disposent d'un mois pour faire appel du verdict.
READ MORE - «Douch» s'en tire avec 19 ans de prison

Dance Troupe Prepares for Smithsonian Perfomance

Madame Tes Sam Oeun, (left) along with her husband Tes Saroeum on 'Hello VOA' on Thursday July 22nd, 2010. (Photo: by Men Kimseng)

Nuch Sarita, VOA Khmer
Washington, DC Wednesday, 28 July 2010

“This story is very popular in Cambodia.”
A US-Cambodian dance troupe under a renowned director is set to perform in Washington. The Dance Troupe of Cambodian American Heritage will perform classic stories of Hinduism and Buddhism Aug. 7 as part of the ongoing “Gods of Angkor” bronze exhibit at the Smithsonian's Free and Sackler galleries.

The dance troupe will be guided by its director, Tes Sam Oeun, a National Endowment for the Arts heritage fellow.

“Under her direction, the dance troupe has performed in numerous venues, including events of the Smithsonian Institution, the White House, the Kennedy Center, the World Monument Fund, and numerous folk festivals,” Tes Saroeum, president of the Cambodian American Heritage, told “Hello VOA” Thursday.

Tes Saroeum, who is also Tes Sam Oeun's husband, said the troupe will perform scenes from the mythical Vessantara Jataka, a Buddhist story.

“This story is very popular in Cambodia,” he said.

The story depicts the travails of a prince, Vessantara, who gives away his possessions and even his family in service to charity.

The troupe will also perform scenes from the Ramayana, Tes Saroeum said. All the performances will match the dual influences of both Buddhism and Hinduism in the “Gods of Angkor” exhibition.

Khmer classical dancing can be called Apsara dancing, he said, reflecting a belief that the style stems from the dance practiced in the courts of Angkorian kings.

“So when the Smithsonian asked us to perform something related to the ‘Gods of Angkor’...we decided to perform the story of Prince Vessantara, which is close to the exhibit’s crowned Buddha, and the story of Ramayana, which is related to the Hindu bronze sculptures.”
READ MORE - Dance Troupe Prepares for Smithsonian Perfomance

In Chicago, US-Cambodians Seek Political Voice

A group of Cambodians met in Chicago over the weekend to discuss ways their community might receive more attention. (Photo: by Men Kimseng)

Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer
Chicago Wednesday, 28 July 2010

“Essentially, Cambodians should register to vote and go vote, all the time, from local to presidential elections.”
Although they face a raft of problems from health to education, US-Cambodians say they remain underrepresented by policy makers. A group of Cambodians met in Chicago over the weekend to discuss ways their community might receive more attention.

Participants told VOA Khmer they want better representation, but that requires a stronger, more unified voice within their communities.

“There are two reasons why Cambodian community don't get much support and understanding,” said Van Sar, an organizer of the Chicago forum. “This is because, first, we don't have representatives within the US leadership. Secondly, we don't have a strong, joint voice from our civil society organizations to influence US policy.”

The forum, the first of its kind, was organized by the Cambodian Association in Illinois and the Khmer Alliance Foundation, in conjunction with the National Cambodian American Health Initiative.

A low percentage of Cambodians take advantage of opportunities in the US. Just more than 10 percent of Cambodian high schoolers graduate, according to statistics at the forum.

“Those who know the real need of our children's education are we the parents,” said Boeuy Te, a member of the National Education Association.

Of the Cambodians who do graduate with advanced degrees, he said, few work in government institutions where they might push to improve the lives of fellow Cambodians.

Low political participation in general was also discussed at the forum.

“Essentially, Cambodians should register to vote and go vote, all the time, from local to presidential elections,” Siv Sichan, a former US ambassador to the UN, said. “Here if we want our voice heard, we have to be active. And if we just stay home, our voice won't be heard.”

There are approximately 270,000 Cambodians living in the US. Only 60,000 have become full US citizens. That means a wide majority do not have the right to vote, an important part of gaining political attention.

That said, the Chicago forum did draw Mike Quigley, a Democrat for Illinois in the US House of Representatives.

“It's not one act,” he told VOA Khmer. “I think it's a relationship that builds from here. We've been in DC for a year now. We've learned a little bit about how to get things done. So I think working with my district office here and in Washington, DC, we'll sit down as often as we need to to work out individual cases and broader issues. It's not one thing; it's a series of things.”
READ MORE - In Chicago, US-Cambodians Seek Political Voice

Duch Victims Want Stupa in Remembrance of the Dead


Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Washington, DC Wednesday, 28 July 2010

“That means we recall those who died, especially family members of the victims, who want to see the names of the deceased, because there might be a place to commemorate the souls of the victims.”
Victims of the Khmer Rouge say they should be granted more compensation than was handed over by the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Monday.

The court sentenced Khmer Rouge torture chief Duch, whose real name is Kaing Kek Iev, to a further 19 years in prison, and it read the names of some victims as part of its judgement.

Now, a number of victims say a stupa should be erected to commemorate the more than 12,000 people who died within Tuol Sleng prison under Duch's supervision.

The tribunal is meant to include the needs of victims, as part of national reconciliation under a scheme called “collective compensation.” As part of the compensation, tribunal judges ordered the names of victims be listed on the tribunal website.

But Chum Sirath, a civil party complainant in the Duch trial, said few people will be able to see the website, and that a stupa erected in a public place would be better compensation.

Chum Sarith lost four members of his family, including a baby, at Tuol Sleng. He said the 35-year sentence, commuted to a remaining 19 years, sent the wrong message to the public. The murderer of a single person can receive a similar sentence, he said.

Chum Mey, who survived the torture center, said even perpetrators of crimes at Tuol Sleng lost family members, making a stupa an important part of reconciliation. “So when we all together commemorate a ceremony at a temple again and again, then we know each other and become mutual friends,” he said. “Then reconciliation will be done.”

Long Panhavuth, a tribunal monitor for the Cambodian Justice Initiative, said he agreed with the stupa proposal.

“That means we recall those who died, especially family members of the victims, who want to see the names of the deceased, because there might be a place to commemorate the souls of the victims,” he said.

The Duch verdict was a landmark for the UN-backed court, as it seeks to try those most responsible for the mass atrocities of the Khmer Rouge.

In a press briefing in Washington Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley applauded “the commitment of the national and international judges for their comprehensive and independent work to uphold an international standard of justice and due process in this case.”

The verdict provided relief for some victims. Van Nath, who also survived Tuol Sleng, told VOA Khmer he felt better after Monday's announcement.

The tribunal will now move forward with its second case, against senior leaders of the regime now in detention, including Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith.
READ MORE - Duch Victims Want Stupa in Remembrance of the Dead

[Thai sore losers] Govt issues temple ultimatum

Thais will quit heritage body if plans are passed

29/07/2010
Bangkok Post

Thailand is threatening to resign its membership of the World Heritage Committee if it goes ahead and approves Cambodia's management plan for Preah Vihear temple.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday sent a strong message to the committee, meeting in Brazil, that approval of the plan proposed by Phnom Penh could mean the end of Thai membership of the body.

Thailand's main concern is that the plan could include part or all of a disputed 4.6 square kilometre area buffer zone claimed by the two countries.

Thai PBS television quoted Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti as saying in Brazil that the plan to manage the Hindu Khmer temple and surrounding areas included a square kilometre of the disputed land.

Mr Suwit, who heads the Thai delegation in Brasilia, told the prime minister he believed Cambodia had won the backing of several committee members for its plan.

"If the WHC takes into consideration the matter, we will veto it and would consider withdrawing as a world heritage member," the prime minister said after the cabinet meeting.

But Thailand will cooperate with the WHC if its decision on Cambodia's management plan for the temple and its surrounding areas does not affect the country's sovereignty.

The prime minister's warning came hours before the 21-member committee planned to discuss the issue. The issue was expected to go on the agenda for talks last night.

Cambodia was asked to submit the plan for approval after the Hindu temple was listed as a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 2008.

Mr Abhisit said the WHC could stop helping oversee management of Thailand's world heritage sites if Bangkok withdrew its membership.

Thailand could also lose the chance of asking the committee to inscribe new ones.

But he stressed that Thailand had to send a message to the WHC as Thailand and Cambodia have yet to demarcate the overlapping area.

If the committee endorsed the plan, it would show the panel did not respect Unesco's will in protecting cultural heritage and building peace, he said.

He also warned that approval could lead to simmering conflicts and violence between the two countries.

The People's Alliance for Democracy against Dictatorship protested in front of Unesco's Bangkok office on Tuesday. Two more protests took place yesterday, in Hat Yai district in Songkhla and Muang district in Kanchanaburi.

The Bangkok protest prompted Unesco director-general Irina Bokova to issue a statement from Brazil yesterday calling for dialogue in safeguarding the temple.

Ms Bokova said she had met the Thai and Cambodian representatives to stress the committee's mission, which was to promote heritage "with full respect and without prejudice to the sovereignty of member states or to any territorial claims".

"Protecting and enhancing our natural and cultural heritage, means building the peace, respect and solidarity which lies at the heart of Unesco's mission. It is our common responsibility to make these sites emblems of peace, dialogue and reconciliation," she said.

A senior Thai official working on the issue considered the Thai move as "serious action" which would put Unesco under pressure to drop the Cambodian plan.

"I don't think the government's decision will result in any difficulty for the country," the official said.

Adul Wichiancharoen, former president of the WHC, backed the government's decision to consider withdrawing Thailand's membership if the WHC did not delay consideration of Cambodia's management plan.

He said the move might be necessary because Unesco had apparently acted in favour of Cambodia. This included delays in releasing Cambodia's management plan, which put Thailand at a disadvantage.

Mr Adul said the government would have to justify any decision to quit by showing the international community how Cambodia's management plan would affect Thai sovereignty.

He saw no drawbacks if Thailand withdrew its WHC membership.

"We don't have to stick to the body's principles or rules if they compromise the national interest," he said.

"I don't think there will be any affect on the world heritage sites in Thailand. There is no rule saying world heritage status will be revoked if we quit."

Meanwhile, Thailand has closed the Khao Phra Viharn National Park in Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district temporarily for safety reasons.

Theerayuth Wongpongprai, chief of the park, said the 2nd Army Region ordered him not to open the park until the security situation returned to normal.

"Although there is no sign of violence at the time being, we have been told to keep the park closed for security reasons," he said.

The park opened for public visits in April. But it was ordered to close again during the red shirt rallies, which ended in May.
READ MORE - [Thai sore losers] Govt issues temple ultimatum

Preah Vihear's borders 'must come first'[: Sore Thai losers]

Mr Suwit told me that it is likely that Thailand will lose [and Cambodia’s plan will be accepted]. - ABHISIT VEJJAJIVA
29/07/2010
Pradit Ruangdit
Bangkok Post


Concern that the World Heritage committee will back Cambodia's management plan for Preah Vihear temple overshadowed the cabinet meeting yesterday.

Ministers spent 40 minutes discussing countermeasures after being told by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti in Brasilia that Cambodia had gained the upper hand over the temple.

"Mr Suwit told me that it is likely that Thailand will lose [and Cambodia's plan will be accepted]," Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was quoted as saying by a source to the other ministers.

The plan submitted by Cambodia includes a map involving the disputed 4.6 square kilometre area.

Thailand's main concern is that the plan could include part or all of the disputed area.

Thai PBS television quoted Mr Suwit as saying in Brazil that the plan to manage the Hindu temple and surrounding areas included a square kilometre of the disputed land.

Cambodia plans to ask for Thai cooperation to manage any area still claimed by the two countries, Mr Suwit said.

The lead Thai delegate admitted to the prime minister that the Cambodian delegation had lobbied for support from other committee members, the source said.

Mr Abhisit spelled out the government's position to cabinet.

"It is not the time for talks about world heritage because the two countries should talk about demarcation first," the source quoted the prime minister as saying.

Mr Suwit also complained about Cambodia not sending the plan to Thailand to inspect six months ahead of the meeting, as required.

Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga and Deputy Education Minister Chaiyot Jiramethakorn said Thai sovereignty must come first.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said the process of discussing the Cambodian plan had not been transparent and Thailand had not been treated fairly.

The debate at the cabinet meeting led to a decision by Thailand to warn the meeting in Brazil that Thailand would consider withdrawing from the World Heritage Committee.
READ MORE - Preah Vihear's borders 'must come first'[: Sore Thai losers]

Public figures weigh in on prison term

Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Cheang Sokha and Jame O'Tools
The Phnom Penh Post


AS coverage of Monday’s verdict at the Khmer Rouge tribunal was beamed across the world, some of the Kingdom’s most prominent political figures weighed in on the landmark ruling.

Speaking at Phnom Penh International Airport upon his return from Singapore with a delegation led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong called the judgment “inappropriate”.

“Thousands and thousands of Cambodian people were tortured at Tuol Sleng and brought to be killed at Choeung Ek,” Hor Namhong said. “This sentence seems light and unsuitable compared with the number of people who have been killed.”

He added that he was only expressing his personal view, as the government’s official stance was to respect the independent judgment of the court.

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party agreed that the sentence was lighter than expected, but praised the court’s achievement nonetheless.

“Although falling short of what many survivors and families had hoped for, the verdict today is a first step toward accountability and healing,” the SRP said in a statement. It also said that it supported further prosecutions of Khmer Rouge leaders. Hun Sen has publicly expressed his opposition to prosecutions beyond the court’s second case, warning that they could plunge the country back into “civil war”.

Prince Sisowath Thomico, assistant to King Father Norodom Sihanouk, called the proceedings at the court “politically biased” and “a masquerade”.

“I … would like to warmly praise all the participants, most of all the foreign participants in that media show,” he said in an email. “I just can’t wait to watch the next episode of that prime-time political series.”

Hun Sen himself has not yet commented publicly on the verdict, but Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan called it “a historical point”. He did not comment on the substance of the judgment, but said that the tribunal is “an independent body [that] we have to respect”.
READ MORE - Public figures weigh in on prison term

Public figures weigh in on prison term

Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Cheang Sokha and Jame O'Tools
The Phnom Penh Post


AS coverage of Monday’s verdict at the Khmer Rouge tribunal was beamed across the world, some of the Kingdom’s most prominent political figures weighed in on the landmark ruling.

Speaking at Phnom Penh International Airport upon his return from Singapore with a delegation led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong called the judgment “inappropriate”.

“Thousands and thousands of Cambodian people were tortured at Tuol Sleng and brought to be killed at Choeung Ek,” Hor Namhong said. “This sentence seems light and unsuitable compared with the number of people who have been killed.”

He added that he was only expressing his personal view, as the government’s official stance was to respect the independent judgment of the court.

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party agreed that the sentence was lighter than expected, but praised the court’s achievement nonetheless.

“Although falling short of what many survivors and families had hoped for, the verdict today is a first step toward accountability and healing,” the SRP said in a statement. It also said that it supported further prosecutions of Khmer Rouge leaders. Hun Sen has publicly expressed his opposition to prosecutions beyond the court’s second case, warning that they could plunge the country back into “civil war”.

Prince Sisowath Thomico, assistant to King Father Norodom Sihanouk, called the proceedings at the court “politically biased” and “a masquerade”.

“I … would like to warmly praise all the participants, most of all the foreign participants in that media show,” he said in an email. “I just can’t wait to watch the next episode of that prime-time political series.”

Hun Sen himself has not yet commented publicly on the verdict, but Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan called it “a historical point”. He did not comment on the substance of the judgment, but said that the tribunal is “an independent body [that] we have to respect”.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY NETH PHEAKTRA
READ MORE - Public figures weigh in on prison term

Cambodia's Teflon Tribunal


28 Jul 2010
By Simon Roughneen
for ISN Security Watch (Zurich, Switzerland)


The first conviction against one of the lead perpetrators of mass murder under the Khmer Rouge was issued on Monday, but questions remain about the tribunal process, Simon Roughneen writes for ISN Security Watch.
-----------------
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a hybrid UN-Cambodian war crimes tribunal, sentenced 'Comrade Duch', a former Khmer Rouge chief jailer and executioner to 35 years in prison Monday for overseeing the deaths of thousands of people in the gristly 'S-21' detention and torture center during the height of the Pol Pot regime.

An estimated 1.7 million people, a quarter of the country's population, were killed during the Communist Khmer Rouge era, as Pol Pot and his lieutenants sought to return the country to 'Year Zero', abolishing money and property and herding people out of cities and into massive labor camps. Across the country, an estimated 5 million survivors of the Khmer Rouge era remain, alongside thousands of Khmer Rouge officers and foot soldiers.

Small time for big crime

Relatives of victims wept as the verdict was handed out, but for some, the catharsis turned to anger and disappointment as it became apparent that Kaing Guek Eav, to give his real name, may serve no more than 18-19 years, by which time he will be 85-86 years old. He has already spent 11 years in jail, since Irish journalist Nic Dunlop discovered the executioner living quietly under a pseudonym in rural Cambodia. The sentence took into account time already served, meaning that Comrade Duch could one day leave jail as a free albeit elderly man.

Dr Sophal Ear is a Cambodian-American political economist and a survivor of the genocide. He is now a TED Fellow based in Monterey, California, and, stressing that these were his views alone, told ISN Security Watch that "No sentence can be sufficient in this lifetime or the next. How do you sentence someone responsible for a place that killed up to 16,000 people?"

Speaking to media after the sentence was announced, prosecutor Chea Leang said that the prosecution team could "reserve our right to review," after they had sought a 45-year term for Comrade Duch, but added that "This sentence is a clear message to those who commit crimes - those who took many lives cannot avoid justice."

One judge, Jean-Marc Lavergne, issued a dissenting statement after the sentence, which concluded that "I am therefore of the opinion that in this case, the law does not allow the Chamber to sentence Kiang Guek Eav to more than 30 years imprisonment.”

During his 77-day proceedings, Duch admitted to heading S-21 - now a genocide museum - where the worst ‘enemies’ of the paranoid and murderous Khmer Rouge state were held and brutalized. More than 16,000 people passed through its gates before they were killed. Torture used to extract confessions included pulling out prisoners' toenails and electrocution. Duch personally signed off on the executions, which he usually documented beforehand by photographing the accused before having them taken to a nearby orchard, one of Cambodia's Killing Fields, to be murdered.

According to the indictment against Duch, executioners threw victims to their deaths, bludgeoned them and then slit their bellies, or slowly bled inmates to death. Duch himself allegedly oversaw the atrocities, which included dropping children from the third floor of the building.

Unlike the other four defendants whose trials are due to take place next year, Duch was not part of the Khmer Rouge leadership and is the only major figure of the regime to have expressed remorse, even offering at one point to face a public stoning and to allow victims to visit him in jail. But he made a surprising request on the final day of his trial in November 2009, asking to be acquitted and freed, which left many wondering if his contrition was sincere.

Politics of justice

The sentencing will likely bolster the view that the tribunal has been a slow, politicized process.

Andrew Cayley, who was appointed international prosecutor late in 2009, has said that the court will move to bring the other four other defendants to trial by 2011. The accused are some of the most notorious figures from the Khmer Rouge leadership - Khieu Samphan, former head of state; Nuon Chea, known as 'Brother Number Two' and the regime's chief ideologist; Ieng Sary, the regime's foreign minister; and Khieu Thirith, Ieng Sary's wife and minister for social affairs under Pol Pot, who died in 1998 without ever facing trial. All are aged between 78 and 86, and are reportedly in poor health.

The possibility that the four will not see a day in court is real, and underscores some of the problems inherent to the tribunal throughout its existence, with allegations of political interference and kickbacks compounding the sheer slowness of the proceedings and the limited number of indictees in a country where tens of thousands of former Khmer Rouge members are at large over 30 years after the regime was felled by the invading Vietnamese Army.

Attempts to have the caseload doubled to 10 were dismissed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, himself a former Khmer Rouge member, who said "If the court wants to charge more senior Khmer Rouge cadres, the court must show the reasons to Prime Minister Hun Sen."

The tribunal has been criticized in some quarters for failing to account for the role of US bombing runs in Cambodia during the years leading up to the Khmer Rouge takeover in 1975, which some historians allege facilitated the rise of Pol Pot, who was supported at various times by the North Vietnamese and by China.

Sophal Eal summed up the court so far as "the Teflon tribunal," saying that "nothing sticks to it." He described the verdict as "the first down-payment for the international community's failure to deal with the Khmer Rouge in the first place," with the tribunal likely to limp on, dependent on the financial backing of donor states.

In the hours after the first verdict was handed down, one of the three known survivors of Comrade Duch's murder-camp stood on the steps outside the court and let his feelings be known. Chum Mey was tortured in S-21, while his wife and children were killed by the Khmer Rouge. "I ask if Cambodians are happy and the world is happy that millions of people died, a lot of money has been spent on the court - and the perpetrator is free in 19 years? I am not happy with that," he said.

Chum Mey's dismay may be deepened by an announcement on Tuesday by Duch's lawyer, Kar Savuth, who told the AFP news agency: "We will appeal against the decision."
--------
Simon Roughneen is an ISN Security Watch senior correspondent, currently in Southeast Asia. His website is www.simonroughneen.com.
READ MORE - Cambodia's Teflon Tribunal

Cambodia's Troubled Tribunal

July 28, 2010
I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor
By PETER MAGUIRE
International Herald Tribune (Paris, France)


Cambodia’s war crimes court, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, or ECCC, deserves credit for convicting Kaing Guek Eav, better known as “Duch,” for war crimes and sentencing him to 35 years in prison. But Duch was the legal equivalent of a “tomato can” in boxing — an unskilled opponent used to pad a win-loss record. His conviction was an easy knockout.

Now that that legal mismatch is over, the long delayed main event — the trial of the aging Khmer Rouge political leaders — Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea and Ieng Thirith — can begin.

Unlike Duch, a functionary who admitted he was “responsible for the crimes committed” and expressed “deep regret and heartfelt sorrow,” the regime’s top leaders will mount aggressive defenses and maintain their innocence until the end.

None of the four defendants were hands-on killers like Duch — they simply issued orders from on high. Thus their cases will require the tribunal to take a much broader view of their legal mandate. Unlike Duch, these defendants were careful to distance themselves from the atrocities.

Their cases will rely heavily on the court’s reading of the conspiracy charge because while the accused were architects of Khmer Rouge policy and issued the orders, they did not carry them out.

Their cases were further complicated in December when charges of genocide were added to the indictments. Many scholars have argued that adding genocide, a narrowly defined legal concept, will only increase the burden on the prosecution. Why, they ask, should this war crimes court be turned into a venue for an unresolved debate over academic definitions?

As if the legal difficulties facing the court were not enough, Hun Sen, Cambodia’s all-powerful ruler, soured on the ECCC when it tried to open additional investigations and indict more suspects last September. The prime minister said such a move could rekindle civil war.

Ever since Hun Sen forced his way to power after the country’s U.N.-sponsored elections in 1993, he has outfoxed generations of U.N. bureaucrats and Western diplomats. He is quick to remind the U.N.’s legal specialists that he calls the shots. “If the court wants to charge more former senior Khmer Rouge cadres, [it] must show the reasons to Prime Minister Hun Sen,” he said. “Hun Sen only protects the peace of the nation.”

He has stated openly that he hopes the ECCC fails and that his government can try the Khmer Rouge leaders on its own. As long as the ECCC was willing to play by Hun Sen’s rules, the court was tolerated. Once it began to act with greater autonomy, the court started to break down along national/international lines. The Cambodian prosecutor, Chea Leang, refused to investigate new cases, and Judge You Bunleng “unsigned” his letter authorizing new investigations. When the court’s international co-investigating judge, Marcel Lemonde of France, tried to summon six high-ranking Cambodian government officials to give testimony, they all refused. The Cambodian government took the position that no one was compelled to testify before the ECCC.

Earlier this month, foreign defense lawyers for Nuon Chea accused the Cambodian government of implementing a “concerted policy” to undermine new investigations and called for a U.N. inquiry. They asserted that “recent developments have confirmed longstanding suspicions that certain members of the Royal Government of Cambodia are interfering with the administration of justice at the ECCC.”

The U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has appointed a special expert to examine the allegations of political interference, but, given its past record, the organization is unlikely to press its case.

Although the court has clearly lost the support of the Cambodian government, the trials are scheduled to drag on until 2015. Despite allegations of corruption, massive budget overruns and a conspicuously slow pace, the court’s donors, including the United States, continue to fund it. Originally expected to cost $20 million a year and to take three years, the court has already spent at least $70 million and convicted only one suspect.

The biggest problem facing the ECCC is living up to it’s own hype. Claims that such trials lead to healing, closure, truth and reconciliation are speculative at best. How does one measure “healing, closure and reconciliation”?

While most Cambodians would like to see the Khmer Rouge leaders punished, they’ve grown used to seeing common thieves and their government’s political opponents suffer far worse punishment than that meted out to Duch. Bou Meng, a survivor of the Tuol Sleng prison, described Duch’s sentence to reporters as “a slap in the face.”

The U.N. legal experts and their cheerleaders in the human rights industry have lost sight of a basic fact: No matter how procedurally perfect the ECCC is, if it outlives the people it was supposed to try, it cannot be judged a success.

Peter Maguire is the author of “Facing Death in Cambodia” and “Law and War: International Law and American History.” He has taught the law and theory of war at Bard College and Columbia University.
READ MORE - Cambodia's Troubled Tribunal

Khmer Rouge Leader's Sentence Gets Mixed Reaction

Robert Carmichael, VOA
Phnom Penh 28 July 2010


On Monday, a United Nations-backed tribunal convicted Kaing Guek Eav, known as Comrade Duch, of war crimes and crimes against humanity - the first major Khmer Rouge figure to be tried since the regime was overthrown. He has already spent 16 years in prison, and the tribunal sentenced him to another 19 years.

Eight months after his trial concluded, Comrade Duch was sentenced to 35 years by the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal in Phnom Penh.

The court deducted 11 years for time already spent in pre-trial detention for Duch, who headed the movement's main torture and execution center known as S-21. And it granted a further five-year credit because Duch was held illegally for some of that time.

The end result is that Duch will likely serve just 19 more years.

His sentence surprised and angered many people, including Bou Meng and Chum Mey, two of the survivors of S-21 prison. They felt it was unduly lenient for a man who had overseen the torture and execution of more than 12,000 people.

Speaking outside the court Theary Seng, a Cambodian-American lawyer who lost members of her family to the Khmer Rouge, said 19 years was insufficient for the horrific acts the 67-year-old defendant had overseen while head of S-21.

"That is not acceptable," Seng said. "What is unacceptable is to envision him as a free man even for one minute in the public sphere."

But the reaction was mixed. While some welcomed the verdict, including a third S-21 survivor, the artist Vann Nath, others felt Duch should have been executed.

The reaction from Cambodians living overseas was also mixed.

Professor Leakhena Nou, a Cambodian-American sociologist, was in court on Monday along with three Cambodian-Americans who have applied to be civil parties in the court's second case, which should start next year.

"As you heard from one of our civil parties in today's meeting, she was not very happy with the verdict, having lost one of her parents and her siblings. But from our older survivor, who is in his late 70s, he felt that one positive thing that came out of the trial was the transparent process on how the rule of law was implemented," Nou said. "Although he was not happy with the number of years, he felt the court did make a concerted effort to find justice."

Speaking on Wednesday, Theary Seng said civil society must now focus on the second case involving four senior Khmer Rouge leaders who will be tried for their alleged roles in the deaths of around 1.7 million Cambodians.

"That responsibility rests with the senior Khmer Rouge leaders, and that's case 002," Seng said. "So we need to shift our anger now and our energy from anger toward energy in lobbying and advocating and demanding that case 002 involving the senior Khmer Rouge leaders take place, and take place soon before these old men die of ill health and of old age.”

Beyond case two, the court's international investigating judge said he wants to look at another five suspects.

The court has faced complaints of political interference as well as a series of cash crunches over the years.

Anne Heindel is a legal adviser at the Documentation Center of Cambodia, an archive of papers on the Khmer Rouge period. She says there is a risk that donors simply won't pay for any further prosecutions.

"In many ways, I think funding might be the greater issue actually," Heindel stated. "It could very well be that when it comes to it, it will be the donors that aren't willing to pay for cases 3 and 4 rather than the government saying we aren't willing to let these cases move forward. And that's actually my greatest concern right now, because Japan is not putting forward as much support as it has in the past and thus far there's been no other state willing to take its place."

Sociologist Leakhena Nou notes that a successful tribunal process would have huge benefits for Cambodian society and for Cambodians living overseas.

Not only would it help survivors get recognition of their suffering and provide a sense of closure, she says, it would also leave a beneficial legacy for current and future generations.

Two days after his verdict was handed down, many are looking to a brighter future in which the catastrophe that Duch and others wrought on Cambodia is - in some small way - repaired.
READ MORE - Khmer Rouge Leader's Sentence Gets Mixed Reaction

Utah, Cambodian Soldiers guard children's safety

Jul 27, 2010
By Capt. Choli Ence, 128th MPAD, UTNG
www.Army.mil (USA)

Story Highlights
  • Utah National Guard Soldiers worked alongside Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Soldiers to complete construction of a local school
  • The school-building project broke ground April 4
  • Prior to construction of this school, many of the local children had to cross a busy two-lane road to get to school
  • Many of the local school children have frequented the construction site
KAMPONG SPEU, Cambodia -- Utah National Guard Soldiers from the 197th Special Troops Company (Airborne) worked alongside Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Soldiers to complete construction of a local school during the humanitarian and civic assistance project for Angkor Sentinel 2010 here, July 12 - 30.

The Global Peace Operations Initiative, Angkor Sentinel 2010, co-sponsored by U.S. Army, Pacific, is a multi-national program and is the latest in a continuing series of regional exercises designed to promote peacekeeping capabilities of securities forces in both Cambodia and other countries. It has included a command-post exercise, a field-training exercise, and an HCA project.

The school-building project broke ground April 4 with the majority of the U.S. Soldiers arriving in Cambodia to assist with the construction on June 12.

Lt. Col. Holly Ottesen, operations officer with the 97th Troop Command said, "This is the first exercise that we as the 97th TC have participated in where we have been able to do a HCA project in conjunction with the exercise."

According to 1st Lt. Thomas Ashton, platoon leader of the base support platoon, 197th STC (Airborne), the school was designed by the RCAF in consultation with local education officials and contains three classrooms that will hold up to 120 students along with a separate building for restrooms.

The project has not been without its share of growing pains as both the Americans and Cambodians learned to adapt to each others different construction methods.

"We come in with our American know-how and it doesn't necessarily fit in with their Cambodian way of building structures," said Ashton.

Both the U.S. and RCAF Soldiers are working tirelessly together, however, to have the school completed by the dedication ceremony scheduled for July 29.

The U.S. and RCAF Soldiers were also assisted by Navy Seabees who were in the area drilling wells.

Prior to the construction of this school, the nearest school, Makara 7, required many of the local school children to cross a busy two-lane road.

Throughout the construction of the school, many of the local school children have frequented the construction site.

Ashton said that the best part of being involved in the HCA project is becoming a member of the community. "It's cool that the kids we know now have a school in their neighborhood and they don't have to go and risk their lives to go to school."

Spc. Paul Morrison, a supply logistical specialist with the 197th STC (Airborne) agreed, "These kids come out every day and seeing the smile of their faces is very rewarding."
READ MORE - Utah, Cambodian Soldiers guard children's safety

No Real Justice for the Killing Fields


Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Written by Bruce Walker
New American


Reuters reported that a United Nations tribunal has tried and sentenced Kaing Guek Eav, the first Khmer Rouge commander to face charges of crimes against humanity for murder, rape, and similar horrific crimes.

When Kaing ran Toul Sleng prison during the years following the communist takeover of Cambodia, he oversaw the murder of 14,000. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but his sentenced was reduced by 19 years for time served, and he might be released earlier if he shows signs of rehabilitation. Kaing Guek Eav is 67 years old, so he has an excellent chance of dying in prison before his sentence ends.

There is absolutely no doubt that the Khmer Rouge committed those deeds that have come to be called “crimes against humanity.” Communism was responsible for the brutal extermination of 100 million people in the 20th century, making it the most murderous ideology in the history of the world. Surely no one will shed tears for Kaing, a sadist who has shown no remorse for the murder, mayhem, torture, and rape committed under his supervision. But the extra-legal process of trying and sentencing this thug cannot be condoned by decent men and women. Why?

First, international law is not really “law” at all. Who creates this legal system? Unelected bureaucrats in nongovernmental organizations do, for the most part. The normal process of passing laws is utterly ignored in the making of international law. If Cambodia had formed a government and chosen to try Kaing, that would be one thing. But that has not happened. Instead, an imaginary system of justice has been invented to supersede normal justice.

Second, the application of this international law is wildly uneven. The Nuremberg Trials, for example, took place before the Second World War had even ended. The trial of Kaing, by contrast, took place 35 years after the horrors of the Killing Fields began. The presumed prosecutor of “crimes against humanity” is us, “humanity.” But even in the nonsensical legal system of international law, the underlying principle of justice for the murder of millions means nothing if it is not uniformly applied. So, while the “judges” at Nuremberg were trying the devilish Nazi leaders, why were the Soviet judges themselves not also on trial? The Soviet government had been, in practice, an ally of the Nazis from August 1939 to June 1941. The Soviets gave Rudolph Hess a guided tour of the Gulag and helped teach the Nazis how to run a system of concentration camps. The Soviet government by 1939 had murdered as many innocent Soviet citizens as Nazis murdered in the Holocaust.

When the Soviet Union fell, why were there no Nuremberg Trials? Mao Tse Tung may well have murdered more people than anyone in history. If it is possible for the human imagination and conscience to grasp this ugly fact, Mao may have been even more inhuman and even more sociopathic in his murders than Hitler or Stalin. Has the Communist Party of China or that nation’s government ever proposed trials for the flacks of Mao who committee megacide? No, there has not even been a hint of justice for these victims.

Third, selective prosecution of savage and murderous regimes that lose wars or which are overthrown in revolution ensures that injustice, not justice, will prevail. When Roosevelt, for example, demanded “unconditional surrender,” the impact, as we now know, crippled those honorable and decent Germans who were appalled by the evil of Nazism and by its mass murder of millions of Jews, Poles, Russians, Gypsies and other innocent victims of Nazi malice.

What should be done to prevent the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust, the Gulag, and the Killing Fields? Individuals should speak out when the men, women, and children are being killed and records of the outrages should be made and disseminated (like Armin Wegener did with the Armenian genocide — Wegener, by the way, spoke out very early against Stalinism and then against Nazism, for which he paid a price.) Governments can express disapproval, deny diplomatic recognition, and so forth — America, to its great credit, acted alone and without pressure to help Jews in Europe and Asia even when America was a very young nation. The governments of nations in which genocide and other diabolical evil has occurred — such as those that occurred under Communism, Nazism, or any similar totalitarian system — should undertake, under their own laws, justice and remedial action. If the governments of nations that devour their own are not willing to do that — and the failure to prosecute communist murderers in Russia and in China are glaring examples — then how can anyone say that justice is being done?

Historically speaking, the only true protection against evil has been trust in God and following His will. This is not politically correct, but it is historical fact. The cure for the Killing Fields, the Holocaust, and the Gulag is the restoration of the morally serious faith of Christians and of Jews.
READ MORE - No Real Justice for the Killing Fields

Cambodia alarmed at illegal import of pigs from Vietnam

July 28, 2010
Xinhua

Cambodia is alarmed at the illegal import of pigs from the neighboring country of Vietnam.

Srun Pov, president of Association of Pigs Raising in Cambodia, said Wednesday that about 1,000 pigs are illegally imported from Vietnam into Cambodia every day, and some of them are ill.

He said if such situation continued, the pig raising industry in Cambodia will be dead, adding that the pigs imported from Vietnam are priced at just over 6,000 riel (about 1.42 U.S. dollars) per kilogram, about 3,000 riel cheaper than pigs raised in Cambodia.

Srun Pov, however, acknowledged that throughout Cambodia, a total of more than 4,000 pigs are needed for daily consumption, and in Phnom Penh alone it needs between 1,200 to 1,300 pigs, but the domestic pigs in Cambodia is not sufficient.

He said the country lacks about 700 to 800 pigs per day, but farmers are discouraged to raise pigs because of those imported ones from neighboring countries.

Cambodia allowed to import 800 pigs per day from Thailand, but as their price is higher than those imported from Vietnam, Thai pigs import have been stalled over the past months, said Srun Pov.

In May this year, Curtis Hundley, chairman of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) of the USAID said Cambodia had imported about one million pigs per year from Thailand alone and that had lost about 45 million U.S. dollars a year to the farmers' pockets.

Cambodia is an agrarian country and rich in natural resources, while it still imports pigs, chicken and fish from neighboring countries as well as other household stuff and products for daily consumption.
READ MORE - Cambodia alarmed at illegal import of pigs from Vietnam

Cambodian strike unlinked to wage dispute


28 July 2010
By Ngo Tuan Just-Style

This week's garment worker clashes in Cambodia were caused by internal frictions rather than wage demands, a local manufacturing body told just-style.

Around 100 policemen armed with electric batons and riot shields clashed with some 3,000 - mostly female - workers who were on strike against the suspension of a local union official working at their factory.

Ken Loo, Secretary General of Garment Manufacturer's Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said there was no relation between the local Free Trade Union’s threat of national strike and the strike at the Malaysian-owned factory, in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, yesterday (27 July).

"This strike is totally unrelated to the minimum wage issue," he said. "It is a dispute within the factory."

A union official named Mon Chana was dismissed for unknown reasons. Nine workers were initially reported injured in the clashes but this remains unconfirmed.

"About the workers being injured, I do not have confirmation as to whether workers were actually injured or not," Ken Loon added.

The Cambodian factory, called Berry Apparel (Cambodia) Co, produces apparel products for Western brands including Adidas, Gap, Puma and Benetton.
READ MORE - Cambodian strike unlinked to wage dispute

Abhisit intent on provoking war with Cambodia?

Thai army to reinforce Cambodian border if needed


Wednesday, July 28, 2010
By KINAN SUCHAOVANICH (AP)

BANGKOK — Thailand's army is prepared to defend its border with Cambodia if a territorial dispute heats up, the prime minister said Wednesday, as the two nations were set to tussle on the diplomatic front at a U.N. meeting in Brazil.

Deadly clashes have flared in the past over the Preah Vihear temple, which the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization named a World Heritage site in 2008, over Thailand's objections.

Two Thai soldiers were killed and 12 wounded in April 2009 after troops exchanged fire with assault rifles and rocket launchers along Cambodia's northern border near the temple, one of several clashes in recent years.

Cambodia will present a management plan in Brazil on the disputed territory at a UNESCO meeting this week.

The International Court of Justice in 1962 ruled the 10th-century border temple belongs to Cambodia, rejecting Thai claims. Cambodia's World Heritage bid reignited Thai resentment over the ruling, and there have been small armed clashes in the area during the past few years.

Thailand claims the management plan would infringe on a small area of undemarcated territory around the temple, of which both sides stake a claim. It has called on UNESCO to reject the plan, and said it will walk out of the meeting if it is accepted. It also said it would consider withdrawing from UNESCO's membership if Cambodia's plan is accepted.

Leaders of both countries have used the issue to stir up nationalist sentiment and shore up domestic political support.

Abhisit met Wednesday with Defense Minister Pravit Wongsuwan, who told him that, pending Cabinet approval, the army is ready to deploy more troops to the already heavily defended border if Cambodian forces intrude into Thai territory.

"The army is now ready to defend our sovereignty if breached," said Abhisit after his weekly Cabinet meeting. He said he was appealing to members of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee "to remember the very purpose this committee was set up for. It should be a purveyor of peace and culture, not of tension and conflicts."

A Thai delegation, led by Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Suwit Khunkitti, is in Brasilia to attend the UNESCO meeting.

"We must make it clear that Thailand cannot and will not accept the proposal," said Abhisit. "And if the committee will not listen to our objection, we will not take part in the voting process."
READ MORE - Abhisit intent on provoking war with Cambodia?

[Thai] Cabinet firm on Thailand's stance on Preah Vihear

28/07/2010
Bangkok Post

Cabinet has instructed Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti to walk out of the meeting if the World Heritage Committee (WHC) discusses Cambodia's management plan for the Preah Vihear temple without taking Thailand's protest into consideration, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

Mr Suwit is in Brasilia, Brazil's capital, to attend the WHC meeting, which is due to discuss Cambodia's management plan for the 1,000-year-old Hindu temple.

Mr Abhisit said the cabinet on Wednesday agreed that if the WHC went ahead with consideration of Cambodia's proposal, Mr Suwit should walk out and boycott the vote.

Mr Suwit should also review Thailand's WHC membership if it looked likely to endorse the management plan.

The prime minister stressed that even if the WHC endorses Cambodian management of the site, it would not have any effect on the dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.

Cambodia would not be able to use the WHC endorsement to manage the overlapping territory of 4.6 square kilometres which is still in dispute and has not been demarcated, Mr Abhisit said.

He said Thailand would try to solve this problem without the use of force, but the Thai army was ready to protect Thai sovereignty over its territory.

It might take as long as a year to withdraw WHC membership, because the matter would require approval from the House of Representatives.

But if Thailand withdrew from the WHC, the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site would not be able to proceed, Mr Abhisit said.

Therefore, Thailand would persist in its attempt to delay the WHC's consideration of the Cambodian proposal and ask the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to adhere to its intention of promoting peace, not conflict, the prime minister said.

Deputy government spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said the cabinet resolution followed a fax from Mr Suwit on Wednesday morning asking that it confirm Thailand's stance.

Thailand has made clear that it will not cooperate with the WHC if it agrees to the management plan for the Preah Vihear temple, because it infringes on the disputed border area.
READ MORE - [Thai] Cabinet firm on Thailand's stance on Preah Vihear

[Thai] Cabinet firm on Thailand's stance on Preah Vihear

28/07/2010
Bangkok Post

Cabinet has instructed Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti to walk out of the meeting if the World Heritage Committee (WHC) discusses Cambodia's management plan for the Preah Vihear temple without taking Thailand's protest into consideration, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

Mr Suwit is in Brasilia, Brazil's capital, to attend the WHC meeting, which is due to discuss Cambodia's management plan for the 1,000-year-old Hindu temple.

Mr Abhisit said the cabinet on Wednesday agreed that if the WHC went ahead with consideration of Cambodia's proposal, Mr Suwit should walk out and boycott the vote.

Mr Suwit should also review Thailand's WHC membership if it looked likely to endorse the management plan.

The prime minister stressed that even if the WHC endorses Cambodian management of the site, it would not have any effect on the dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.

Cambodia would not be able to use the WHC endorsement to manage the overlapping territory of 4.6 square kilometres which is still in dispute and has not been demarcated, Mr Abhisit said.

He said Thailand would try to solve this problem without the use of force, but the Thai army was ready to protect Thai sovereignty over its territory.

It might take as long as a year to withdraw WHC membership, because the matter would require approval from the House of Representatives.

But if Thailand withdrew from the WHC, the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site would not be able to proceed, Mr Abhisit said.

Therefore, Thailand would persist in its attempt to delay the WHC's consideration of the Cambodian proposal and ask the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to adhere to its intention of promoting peace, not conflict, the prime minister said.

Deputy government spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said the cabinet resolution followed a fax from Mr Suwit on Wednesday morning asking that it confirm Thailand's stance.

Thailand has made clear that it will not cooperate with the WHC if it agrees to the management plan for the Preah Vihear temple, because it infringes on the disputed border area.
READ MORE - [Thai] Cabinet firm on Thailand's stance on Preah Vihear

Thailand ready to go to war with Cambodia over Preah Vihear temple?

OUTRAGE: Members of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) hold Thai national flags and placards during a rally to oppose the Cambodian plan on administering Preah Vihear Temple, a World Heritage Site, at Unesco's local office in Bangkok on Tuesday 27 July 2010. Thailand and Cambodia have been locked in nationalist tensions and a troop standoff at their disputed border since July 2008, when Unesco approved Cambodia's request to grant the 11th century Preah Vihear temple the World Heritage status. -- AFP

Thailand to defend rights over land dispute with Cambodia

Bangkok, Wednesday 28 July 2010
By WATTANA KHAMCHU and PIYANART SRIVALO
The Nation


Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has vowed on 27 July 2010 to protect Thailand's rights and interests, as Cambodia makes moves to submit its management plan for Preah Vihear Temple and its adjacent areas at the Unesco World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil.

The Thai delegation, led by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti, is at the forum to lobby against the plan. The meeting runs until August 3.

"We think the World Heritage Committee should not consider this plan until Thailand and Cambodia have agreed upon the demarcation line," Abhisit said, after discussing the issue on Tuesday with some leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

He met the yellow-shirt leaders for two hours after about 1,000 PAD supporters rallied outside the Unesco office on Sukhumvit Road despite the emergency decree.

Unesco recognised the ancient temple as a World Heritage Site in 2008. Preah Vihear, perched on a mountain on the Thai-Cambodian border, has been the source of a sovereignty dispute between the two nations for decades. In 1962, the International Court of Justice ruled that the temple belonged to Cambodia, but failed to make a decision on the land adjacent the complex, giving rise to constant spats between the two nations.

According to PAD co-founder Chamlong Srimuang, Thailand would lose more than 1.8 million rai of land to Cambodia if this management plan were to go ahead. Chamlong threatened to unseat Abhisit if he failed to protect Thailand's sovereignty.

However, after meeting the PAD leaders, Abhisit admitted that he and PAD view the issue from different perspectives. "But our intention is the same. We are committed to protecting our country's sovereignty and rights," the premier reiterated.

Abhisit promised that his government would not accept a resolution from the Unesco World Heritage Committee that could hurt the Kingdom's interests in any way.

"The resolution must not interfere with Thailand's territory or sovereignty," he said. "We will not cooperate if the management plan encroaches on our soil."

Abhisit also revealed that the Cabinet would discuss the issue today.

When asked if Thailand would withdraw from the Unesco World Heritage Committee if Cambodia's management plan were to be approved, Abhisit said: "There are many options. We may consider harsh measures."

He added that Unesco had already been told about his government's stance on the plan.

"The United Nations and its related agencies were established to promote peace. The Unesco World Heritage Committee needs to review why its world-heritage inscription often turns tourism zones into areas of conflict," he said.

Abhisit said Cambodia and Thailand had built up a military presence along the border to declare their rights without confrontation for a while now, and though he agreed to discuss the issue with PAD leaders yesterday, he would not bow to their pressure about what his government should do.

PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongpan told the ASTV that Abhisit did not agree with the PAD suggestion that the government cancel the memorandum of understanding on demarcation signed with Cambodia in 2000.

He said the PM also rejected the PAD suggestion that Thailand force Cambodian soldiers and people out of the disputed area.

"The prime minister said his government would exercise its right to protest, and did not want to see the dispute develop into a war," Panthep said.

He said Abhisit also disagreed with the idea of not sending a team to the Unesco World Heritage meeting, even though the PAD believes a boycott would be more effective.

However, Panthep admitted that the PAD agreed with Abhisit's plan to not accept Cambodia's map.

"It would be a violation of Thailand's sovereignty," he said.

After learning of the meeting results, the PAD protesters dispersed peacefully.
READ MORE - Thailand ready to go to war with Cambodia over Preah Vihear temple?

Theary Seng's Comment on Duch's Verdict Posted on the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights


U.N. BACKED COURT CONVICTS KHMER ROUGE PRISON COMMANDANT

7/27/2010
Originally Posted at: http://www.rfkcenter.org/node/530

The RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights recognizes the significance of the guilty verdict by the UN-backed court in Cambodia against Duch, the commandant of Toul Sleng prison. We consider it as one step closer to recovery and reconciliation of a society traumatized by the horrors of war. Duch was convicted of crimes against humanity for overseeing the killing and torture of more than 14,000 people at the notorious Khmer Rouge prison.

However, the sentence of 35 years and its subsequent reduction to 19 years for such unspeakable crimes may not adequately hold accountable someone who was most responsible for what has come to be known as "the killing fields." RFK Center's partner in Cambodia, Theary Seng, reacted to the decision with mixed emotions. Here is what she said:

On 26 July 2010, the Extraordinary Chambers (informally, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal) convicted the former director of the notorious Tuol Sleng torture center, Comrade Duch, for crimes against humanity in the sadistic murders of at least 14,000 Cambodians including a handful of foreigners and sentenced him to 35 years of imprisonment. The conviction marked a milestone for Cambodians after having waited some 30 years for some form of credible justice.

However, many Cambodian survivors, including myself, viewed the sentencing to be too lenient and incompehensible in light of the enormity of his crimes. After the Extraordinary Chambers deducted 5 years for his cooperation and 11 years for the illegal pre-Extraordinary Chambers detention in a military prison from the 35 years, the victims are left with Comrade Duch effectively receiving 11 hours of imprisonment for each live he brutally murdered.

Up until this puzzling verdict, we Cambodians have been viewing the Extraordinary Chambers as a very powerful catalyst in breaking the silence of our past 30 years and transitioning us into a culture of dialogue and memorializing. However, this lenient verdict has taken the air out of us and broken the momentum in our stride toward a more fuller justice of both legal accountability and just peace. We will need to regain our composure and faith very quickly from this setback in order to concentrate on the larger picture, which is the demand for the quick start of the "senior Khmer Rouge leaders" in Case 002. Case 001 regarding Comrade Duch is significant in familiarizing us Cambodians with the Extraordinary Chambers and in this regards, it was a test-run for the heart of the matter - the trial of the Senior Khmer Rouge leaders. Duch was only one director of one Khmer Rouge detention center. During the Khmer Rouge regime, there existed at least 200 other detention centers and thousands of "killiing fields"; he was not a "senior" Khmer Rouge leader and should not be the sole scapegoat of this murderous, genocidal regime.

His conviction on 26 July 2010 is a very good start, even if disappointing in terms of the light sentencing; but it is only a start in the legal process as well as the journey of healing. The heart of the Extraordinary Chambers is the anticipated trial of the Senior Khmer Rouge leaders in Case 002, which we must advocate for it to happen quickly before they die of old age, ill health and/or from more invidious political interests.
READ MORE - Theary Seng's Comment on Duch's Verdict Posted on the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights

History reminder for a forgetful reader

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


មានខ្មែរមួយចំនួន មិនដែលគិតអំពីពួកអាសៀម វាចង់យកដីខ្មែរនោះទេ គឺគិតតែអំពីយួនទៅវិញ។ យួនវាបានជួយក្បាលម៉ែឪវា ពួកវាមិនដែលគិតទេ។ ចុះអាសៀមវាយកដីខ្មែរតាំងពី ឆ្នាំ ១៣៥០មកម្តេចក៏ អាពួកវង្វេងប្រវត្តិសាស្ត្រ វាមិនយកមកនិយាយផង? អាពួកទាំងនេះបើ បានកាន់កាប់ ស្រុកខ្មែរច្បាស់ ជាដូចអាឌុចទៀតហើយ។
A number of Khmer people never thought about Ah Siem wanting Khmer lands at all, they only think about the Yuons taking Khmer lands instead. The Yuons came to save their parent’ heads, they never think about it. How about Ah Siem taking Khmer lands since 1350, why these history-confused people do not talk about them? These people if they govern Cambodia, it will surely be like Ah Duch all over again.
The irate and forgetful reader probably did not follow the news closely enough to notice that:
  • In November 2009, Mr. Rong Chhun, President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA) organized a protest against the Thai troops presence in Cambodia. His group was prohibited from holding such public protest by the very same puppet regime that was installed by the Yuon invading troops in 1979.

Cops preventing Rong Chhun from holding a protest against the Siamese
  • On July 15, 2010, CITA again organized a day of anger against the Siamese troop invasion of Cambodia in Preah Vihear, again CITA was prevented by cops of Hun Xen’s regime from holding such public protest against the Siamese.

Cops preventing Rong Chhun and CITA from holding a protest against the Siamese during the day of anger against Thai troop invasion of Cambodia in Preah Vihear

  • Now, who is protecting the Siamese interest? The Cambodian people protesting against the Siamese or the puppet regime installed by Hanoi whose leader is a good friend of Thaksin?

Hun Xen embracing his best friend and Siamese advisor Thaksin
READ MORE - History reminder for a forgetful reader

Sam Rainsy to all Cambodians: The major national issues are borders and Yuon immigrants

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy (Photo: Sovannara, RFI)

27 July 2010
By Pech Bandol
Free Press Magazine Online

Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy
Click here to read the article in Khmer


In response to questions asked by Cambodians living throughout the world, including those who live in the American continent and in Europe (Austria, Finland, France, Norway), opposition leader Sam Rainsy – who is currently living in self-exile – told them that Cambodia is currently at the edge of a dangerous abyss due to border problems with Vietnam, as well as due to the illegal Viet immigrants.

You Saravuth, the former editor-in-chief of the pro-opposition Sralanh Khmer newspaper who had to flee Cambodia in 2006 stemming from a lawsuit initiated by Hun Xen’s nephew and who is currently living in Norway, indicated that during the video-conference meeting with Sam Rainsy on 25 July, the latter responded to numerous questions filed by overseas Cambodians on his personal situation, as well as the situation faced by Cambodia vis-à-vis her neighbors.

According to You Saravuth, Sam Rainsy discussed about his personal situation with the audience, including the restriction of freedom rights on regular citizens and opposition MPs by the government, the use of the court system to serve the interest of the rich and powerful so that these people can violate human rights and democracy. Sam Rainsy said that he is struggling to resolve these hot issues with the International communities, in particular with countries that are signatories to the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia.

Regarding the border issue, the situation is tense due to the encroachments from neighboring countries, in particular along the eastern borders with Vietnam. Because the Yuon government knows that the Phnom Penh regime is its puppet, the encroachments are still taking place. Cambodian territories where blatant encroachments can be observed are found in Svay Rieng, Takeo and Kanpong Cham provinces. Because the villagers dare to rise up to protest against the loss of their rice fields, Hun Xen’s regime went on to send them to jail, such was the case of Mr. Prum Chea and Mrs. Meas Srey. This situation creates fear among several Cambodian villagers living along the border who no longer dare to protest even though they know that the Yuons are encroaching on their rice fields, their only source of income. Sam Rainsy said that, up to now, he collected numerous map documents and testimonials which indicated that the Yuon indeed encroached on Cambodian territories through a blind eye by the Phnom Penh regime.

Regarding the illegal flow of Yuon immigrants to Cambodia, this is also a dangerous problem for Cambodia. Currently, there are more than 3 million Yuons living illegally in Cambodia. These Yuon communities receive close attention and support from the Yuon leaders, and they also being spoiled by the Phnom Penh regime as well.

This situation brings shame and major losses to the Cambodian interest, it is an act of national treason, of betrayal of the Cambodian people by the ruling CPP party. According to Sam Rainsy, the resolution of these problems can only be done through unity of the Cambodian people, the rightful owners of the country, and through an election change to salvage the country.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy left Cambodia in 2009 following the uprooting of border stakes along the Yuon border. These stakes were planted as part of Yuon encroachments on rice fields belonging to Cambodian farmers in Koh Kban Kandal village, Samrong commune, Chantrea district, Svay Rieng province. Because of this case, Sam Rainsy was sentenced in absentia by the Svay Rieng provincial court to 2-year of jail time in January 2010.

Regarding his return to Cambodia, opposition leader Sam Rainsy told overseas Cambodians that it will depend on the resolution from the International community and he hoped that democratic countries in the world will not allow Hun Xen to go on with his misdeeds.
READ MORE - Sam Rainsy to all Cambodians: The major national issues are borders and Yuon immigrants

 
 
 

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