Archive for August, 2011

KI Media Cheam Yeap: Cambodia never used power to oppress anybody (sic! sic…

31 August, 2011

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Synopsis: CPP MP Cheam Yeap rejected the statement issued by Surya Subedi, the UN Special Raporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia, who indicated that leadership in Cambodia is conducted through orders rather than through the rule of law. Cheam Yeap said that everybody is Cambodia is under the law, starting from the king and that Cambodia has never suppressed freedom rights on its people.

KI-Media Note: Cheam Yeap is right, everybody in Cambodia is under the law, from the king down to the ordinary citizen. Of course, in Cambodia, there is only person is above the law: he is the king-maker by the name of Hun Xen because he is above the king.


Posted By Heng Soy to KI Media at 9/01/2011 03:22:00 AM

KI Media Taking cue from the Jasmine Revolution?

31 August, 2011

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Posted By Heng Soy to KI Media at 9/01/2011 03:08:00 AM

KI Media Sibling Band: Santana’s Black Magic Woman and Oye Como Va

31 August, 2011


Posted By Heng Soy to KI Media at 9/01/2011 12:49:00 AM

KI Media Parents Say Poor Education Aiding Illiteracy

31 August, 2011
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Two young Cambodian boys play near their slum home on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. (Photo: AP)

Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer | Phnom Penh

“We illiterate, it’s like we have blind eyes, and we don’t make any progress like the literates.”

Van La is a rice farmer in Kampong Speu province’s Udong district. Like many Cambodians, she is illiterate. And while she hopes her children will not suffer the same fate, many parents and educational professionals fear that Cambodia’s education system may fail her.

“We face difficulties,” she said as she worked at planting rice seedlings on a recent day. “We illiterate, it’s like we have blind eyes, and we don’t make any progress like the literates.”

Government statistics show that 70 percent of the population is somewhat literate, but development experts say that a poor education environment and other factors are hurting the country’s progress.

Van La said she was determined to send her children to school, so that they might learn to read and write and better their futures, but she could still face an uphill struggle.

Poor parents cannot always afford to send their children to school, where low-salaried teachers often ask for bribes.

“If my family has money, I will study to high levels like others,” said Un Dom, who is 12 and lives in the same district. “But if my parents have no money, I cannot continue my studies in upper classes. I have a poor family. I may not be able to study to the upper classes as others do.”

Some parents, like Van Botum, 34, who lives in Phnom Penh, say that even when they send their children to school, they aren’t learning as well as they should.

“My oldest daughter studies in Grade 6, as normal,” she said. “But my youngest daughter, in Grade 5, can’t read or write at all. She feels bad, ashamed and fearful, and then she doesn’t mind her studies.”

Educators, too, acknowledge the difficulties.

Ros Tith Malay, a teacher at Boeung Trabek primary school, said the worries of parents and children are warranted.

“Teachers have a hard time making a living from the government’s inadequate offers of salary,” she said. “So the teachers have to demand money from students in exchange for their teaching, for fuel and to support their lives.”

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said such practices damage Cambodia’s human resources and socio-economic development.

“The young have very little knowledge, no skills and no resources,” he said. “So investors hesitate to invest in Cambodia.”

Illiteracy also begets its own problems, said Heng Sreang, a professor at the Royal Phnom Penh University.

“The illiterates cannot walk out of their villages,” he said. “So their lives are facing more poverty.”

Even those few who can read and write have difficulties finding a job, he added.

Santosh Khatri, an education specialist at Unesco in Phnom Penh, said illiteracy is common among the rural poor, those who survive on basic agriculture. Efforts are underway to encourage more reading, he said. “They can improve their livelihoods and improve their agricultural techniques” with literacy.

The government, meanwhile, has “six strategies” in its approach to education, including the promotion of literacy, said Ou Eng, director-general of the Ministry of Education.

“For this reason in both primary and secondary schools, we have a number of works aimed at strengthening education quality and service with equity,” he said.


Posted By Heng Soy to KI Media at 9/01/2011 12:46:00 AM

KI Media Khmer Rouge Tribunal Continues Outreach Work As Trials Slow

31 August, 2011
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Monks attend the Khmer Rouge tribunal outreach in Samlaut district, western Cambodia on Friday 26, August 2011. (Photo: VOA – R. Carmichael)

Robert Carmichael | Samlaut, Cambodia
Voice of America

Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge tribunal is often in the news for the wrong reasons – funding problems, delays and allegations of political interference, to name a few.

But although the judicial progress is slow, the Phnom Penh-based court continues to spread its message around the country, most recently in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Samlaut in western Cambodia.

Samlaut district has a long association with the Khmer Rouge. It was here in 1967 that the initial uprising took place which ultimately culminated in the rule of Pol Pot’s government between 1975 and 1979 and the deaths of around two million people.

But the end of Khmer Rouge rule in 1979 did not mark the end of the movement. Propped up by Thailand, China and Western nations such as the United States, the Khmer Rouge ran their civil war from an arc of districts in western Cambodia.

Samlaut was one of those areas. It remained under Khmer Rouge control until the late 1990s when the movement finally collapsed in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s demise.

The U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal was created to bring some sense of justice to victims of the Khmer Rouge. But its creation took years of negotiations with Cambodian authorities who wanted to control the process. The tribunal is modeled on the French legal system and includes local judges and international judges who are approved by both the U.N. and Cambodia.

The Khmer Rouge tribunal tasked with prosecuting former leaders and those most responsible is understandably not popular in places like this, where some see it as the embodiment of victors’ justice.

Court spokesman Lars Olsen, who visited Samlaut last week with the tribunal’s outreach team, says that provides a good reason for court representatives to visit.

“I’m pleased that a relatively large number of people turned up and that after some hesitation at least they chose to air some of their thoughts about the court process,” Olsen said. “And as one could have expected from an area like this that is inhabited by a lot of former Khmer Rouge, they have reservations about the court process and they also expressed this view very clearly.”

Around 200 residents attended, sitting on plastic chairs under a multicolored tarpaulin.

What they hear is straightforward enough: an explanation of how the court works, and discussion about its cases, including the tribunal’s first against the Khmer Rouge jailer Comrade Duch, who used to live in Samlaut.

Six court staff made the 350-kilometer trip to Samlaut, including Deputy Prosecutor Vincent De Wilde d’Estmael.

It fell to him to explain the role of the prosecution.

“Our goal is to end the impunity regarding the crimes that were committed in the Democratic Kampuchea period,” he explained. “Impunity has lasted too long. And, second, we would like that the truth is found about those crimes and that justice is rendered to the numerous Cambodian people who were victims of the crimes committed.

It’s a message that frankly goes down better in non-Khmer Rouge areas of Cambodia.

In Samlaut, residents said the tribunal was within its rights to prosecute the senior leaders, but nobody else. This man said that trying others could undermine peace and stability.

That closely echoes the government’s opinion. Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has long said he will not permit the prosecution of five mid-ranking Khmer Rouge cadres whom the tribunal is investigating.

Olsen says in other parts of Cambodia people cannot understand how so few can be tried for such extraordinary crimes. “That’s obviously not the case here. It was very much a focus of: Why do this now? Why jeopardize the achievements they have had since the peace? And is this some kind of revenge? And, of course, it’s important for us to hear these concerns and also be able to address them,” he said.

To date, the tribunal has held about a dozen public forums around the country. Most are targeted at victims of the Khmer Rouge.

This outreach in Samlaut was the second to focus on a former Khmer Rouge stronghold.

As the court gears up for the start next year of Case Two, the trial of the senior leaders, there will be many visits like this to make sure Cambodians on both sides of the divide are kept informed.


Posted By Heng Soy to KI Media at 9/01/2011 12:39:00 AM

KI Media Khmer Rouge court takes action against US news service

31 August, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Cambodia’s UN-backed war crimes court said on Wednesday it had started contempt of court proceedings against Voice of America Khmer for revealing confidential information about a new Khmer Rouge case.

The move comes after the US-funded news service posted an article and video on its website describing prosecution allegations of mass killings and other atrocities by three mid-level cadres during the regime’s 1975-79 rule.

The service cited a document obtained by a source close to the court.

VOA Khmer ‘on 10 August 2011 quoted verbatim from a confidential document… and even showed that document on a video’, said the two judges who are still investigating the claims in the court’s fourth and final case.


Posted By Heng Soy to KI Media at 9/01/2011 12:34:00 AM

KI Media Cambodia Calls for Talks With Thailand on Disputed Offshore Gas

31 August, 2011

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) — Cambodia called for official talks with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to jointly develop areas of the Gulf of Thailand that may be rich in oil and gas after revealing it held secret meetings with her predecessor.

“Cambodia would welcome the resumption of open and official negotiation on this issue and will pursue such a course as soon as practicable,” the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority said in a statement yesterday.

Talks on delineating 26,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Thailand stalled as battles between the neighbors since 2008 over temples on their land border killed more than two dozen people. Ex-leader Abhisit Vejjajiva scrapped a 2001 deal that established a framework for the talks after Cambodia appointed Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck’s brother, as an adviser.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An held “secret meetings” with Suthep Thaugsuban, Abhisit’s deputy, the past two years on the disputed maritime territory, according to the statement. Cambodia’s petroleum agency said Abhisit has been “attempting to derail” negotiations with Yingluck’s government, which took power earlier this month.

Suthep declined to comment when reached by phone today.

–With assistance from Supunnabul Suwannakij in Bangkok. Editor: Tony Jordan


Posted By Heng Soy to KI Media at 9/01/2011 12:31:00 AM

KI Media Suthep denies secret deals over maritime zone

31 August, 2011

September 1, 2011
The Nation

Former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban admitted yesterday that he met Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An twice – in Hong Kong and Kunming – but did not make any secret deal over the maritime resources in the overlapping zone in the Gulf of Thailand.

The Thai government under Abhisit Vejjajiva then invited Sok An to talk on the matter in Thailand but the latter had no free time to visit Thailand and so informal meetings were held in Hong Kong, Suthep said.

I told Sok An that – as both of us were appointed chief negotiators on the overlapping area in the sea – why didn’t we open a formal meeting to follow what previous governments had done,” Suthep told reporters.

“Returning home, I rushed to issue a letter of invitation to talk in Thailand – but the meeting has never taken place as the bilateral relations turned sour,” he said.

Suthep decided to clarify his meetings with Sok An after the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority issued a statement on Tuesday accusing Abhisit’s administration of attempting to make a secret deal on the maritime zone.

Abhisit sent his deputy Suthep to have ‘behind-the-scenes’ meetings with Sok An in Hong Kong in August 2009 and in Kunming in July 2010, the statement said.

Suthep said he would make a formal clarification to Phnom Penh when he saw the statement in detail.

“The Democrat Party and I have no conflict of interest over this matter. The negotiation of the overlapping area is for the benefit of the country. I don’t think anybody could have a personal interest in the deal. The process of negotiation must go through parliament scrutiny with public acknowledgement,” he said.

However the issue of the overlapping area in the Gulf of Thailand became controversial as Democrat MPs accused Yingluck Shinawatra’s government – during the policy debate in the Parliament last week – of trying to make a deal with Cambodia over the maritime zone for the personal benefit of her brother and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Former Prime Minister Abhisit, who is leader of the Democrats, said yesterday Cambodia had issued the statement to discredit his government because he had never responded to Cambodian demands but did everything to protect Thai interest.

Under his government, Suthep simply tried to establish a framework of negotiation on the maritime zone deal and prepare to ask permission from the Parliament to open the talks, Abhisit said.

“As we put on hold the 2001 memorandum of understanding (MoU) on this matter, the attempt was over. There is nothing to hide,” he said.

“By common sense, if my government had done anything for the benefit of Cambodia, Cambodia would be satisfied. But we have never done as they wanted, that’s the reason they discredit us,” Abhisit said.

The ruling Pheu Thai’s MP Sunai Jullapongsathon yesterday questioned why Abhisit’s government did not talk over the matter with Cambodia openly. He asked: Why did Suthep, who was then in charge of security matters, handle the maritime deal? Why did Suthep have to meet with Sok An before and after the decision to scrap the 2001 memorandum of understanding on the maritime? “Or did that happen because you could not cut the deal [as a] personal interest?” Sunai said.

Abhisit’s government decided to terminate the MoU on the maritime deal signed with Cambodia during Thaksin’s administration in 2001, as Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen had appointed Thaksin as his adviser in November 2009.

However denunciation of the MoU did not come into force as Abhsiti’s government had not formally informed Phnom Penh over its decision.


Posted By Heng Soy to KI Media at 9/01/2011 12:22:00 AM

KI Media Oil dispute flares up

31 August, 2011

Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Tom Brennan and Vong Sohkeng
The Phnom Penh Post

Secret meetings between high-ranking Thai and Cambodian officials to solve the demarcation of disputed offshore petroleum resources took place during the administration of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority revealed yesterday.

In a statement some commentators described as “coordinated attack” by the current Cambodian and Thai governments against political opponents, it also claimed there have been no such discussions since the election of Puea Thai in July.

The two countries first signed a memorandum of understanding on joint management of the Overlapping Claims Area in 2001, with a joint working group discussing further details from 2001 to 2007. The MoU for managing the OCA, which is thought to hold significant oil and gas reserves, was put on hold by the Thai government in November 2009.

“Even during the past few years when the [joint working group] did not meet formally, the Abhisit government continued to engage the Royal Government of Cambodia in negotiations on the OCA on multiple occasions …” the statement said.

Discussions had been held by high-ranking officials including Prime Minister Hun Sen and Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and Thai counterparts such as former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban and former Minister of Defence Pravit Wongsuwan, it said.

Those meetings took place between June 2009 and July 2010 in locations including Kandal province, Kunming, China, and Hong Kong, according to the CNPA. Suthep Thaugsuban at the time “indicated a strong preference to resolve this issue during the mandate of the Abhisit government,” and was instructed to do so by Abhisit Vejjajiva himself.

The CNPA claimed that Abhisit Vejjajiva had “wildly accused [deposed former Thai Prime Minister] Thaksin Shinawatra, who openly worked with Cambodia, of having secret interests with Cambodia”, adding that Abhisit Vejjajiva is now “attempting to derail” any future talks between Cambodia and the newly elected Thai government.

“Cambodia is obliged to reveal this secret in order to protect the interests of Cambodia and H.E. Thaksin Shinawatra against the baseless allegations made on the part of the Democrats,” it said.

Although representatives from the Thai Democrat Party could not be reached yesterday, some expert observers questioned the overtly political nature of the statement.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, lead researcher for political and strategic affairs at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies’ ASEAN Studies Centre in Singapore said the statement could be the result of political maneuvering by the governments in Bangkok and Phnom Penh.

“I should think that this is a coordinated attack between Cambodia and the Yingluck government in discrediting the Democrat [Party] and at the same time enhancing their position at home,” he said.

OCA negotiations most likely will not be hurt by recent claims from the Democrat Party, he added. In fact, he said they may result in greater transparency as Cambodia and Thailand look for an equitable solution.

Regardless, the issue will remain unsolved until the two countries find a solution to the disputed area around Preah Vihear temple, said Christopher Larkin, managing director of political risk consultancy CLC Asia.

“No matter what Thaksin’s relationship with Cambodia is, I think an agreement on the street level is something that’s not palatable to the Thai public. Preah Vihear needs to be solved first.”

He added that the OCA was a “very politically unpopular issue” in Thailand, and that compromise of any kind carried with it serious political risk.

“I think there is the worry within policy-making circles that any talk of settling the maritime disputes generally leads to accusations of ‘selling out’, especially from the Thai side, where compromises on the Preah Vihear issue are seen as a trade-off for additional economic benefit from the Cambodians in the OCA.”

The CNPA’s statement also highlighted claims from Democrat Party Member of Parliament Anik Amranand last week, who it says accused Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government and Cambodia of meeting in secret to negotiate over the OCA for reasons of personal rather than public interest.

The CNPA yesterday denied such meetings took place, though added it hoped talks would openly resume soon.

“So far, the newly formed government led by Prime Minister Yingluck has not yet held any meeting or raised any proposal with the Royal Government of Cambodia to resolve the OCA, let alone any proposal to settle the dispute in exchange for any private individual gains as alleged by” Anik Amranand, it said.

“Nevertheless, the Royal Government of Cambodia would welcome the resumption of open and official negotiation on this issue and will pursue such a course as soon as practicable in the mutual interests of both people and countries.”


Posted By Heng Soy to KI Media at 8/31/2011 10:33:00 PM

KI Media Press Release From The Co-investi​gating Judges [-Don’t cry over s…

31 August, 2011

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PRESS RELEASE BY THE CO-INVESTIGATING JUDGES

31 August 2011

After Voice of America Khmer on 10 August 2011 quoted verbatim from a confidential document of the ECCC and even showed that document on a video, the Co-Investigating Judges have instituted proceedings for Interference with the Administration of Justice (Contempt of Court) pursuant to ECCC Internal Rule 35.

Anyone intending further disclosure of confidential court documents is hereby warned that his case could be transferred to the National Prosecutor pursuant to Rule 35 (2) (c).


Posted By Heng Soy to KI Media at 8/31/2011 10:26:00 PM