Thursday, 4 September 2008

Day in Pictures : Toul Sleng, Killing Fields

Tourists visit the Tuol Sleng genocide museum in Phnom Penh. Cambodia's government is seeking to register a notorious Khmer Rouge prison and its archives at the UN's cultural agency, according to documents obtained by AFP Tuesday.(AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy)

Visitors tour former Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison, now known as Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008. The U.N.'s cultural agency said Wednesday a former Khmer Rouge's notorious prison is now on its way to get listing as a world memory status after receiving a regional registration from it recently.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

A foreign tourist tours cells at the former Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison, now known as Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008. The U.N.'s cultural agency said Wednesday a former Khmer Rouge's notorious prison is now on its way to get listing as a world memory status after receiving a regional registration from it recently.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Charlie Samuel-Camps, from Britain, reads a guide book about former Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison, now known as Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008. The U.N.'s cultural agency said Wednesday a former Khmer Rouge's notorious prison is now on its way to get listing as a world memory status after receiving a regional registration from it recently.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

In this June 16, 2008, file photo, Cambodian transvestite sex worker, Su Sotheavy, left, 68, reads a letter to fellow sex workers during a prayer in front of Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Sotheavy, who was allegedly a rape victim of the Khmer Rouge, on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008 lodged a complaint with the country's genocide tribunal seeking justice in the abuse she has suffered three decades ago, her lawyer said.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith, FILE)

Sou Sotheavy, 68, a Cambodian who was born as a man but lives with a woman's lifestyle, talks on the mobile phone in a public park in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Sept, 3, 2008. The transgendered woman, who was allegedly a rape victim of the Khmer Rouge, on Wednesday lodged a complaint with the country's genocide tribunal seeking justice in the abuse she has suffered three decades ago, her lawyer said.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Sou Sotheavy, 68, right, a Cambodian who was born as a man but lives with a woman's lifestyle, sits on a motorbike-taxi with college, center, on a street in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Sept, 3, 2008. The transgendered woman, who was allegedly a rape victim of the Khmer Rouge, on Wednesday lodged a complaint with the country's genocide tribunal seeking justice in the abuse she has suffered three decades ago, her lawyer said.(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

sacravatoons :" The Land of Smiles "

Courtesy Sacravatoon

SAcravatons :" The 29 yrs old Clothe "

Courtesy Sacravatoon

Embedded Travel Guide Cambodia: Elephants in Mondulkiri


Jack Highwood loves elephants. The 26-year-old Englishman is no softy around people, but put him next to one of his beloved elephants and Jack will go all misty-eyed, clucking and cooing like a proud grandmother.

Getting your photo taken on top of an elephant in Cambodia is a piece of cake. Just go to Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh or catch a ride on one of the elephants that carries tourists around the temples of Angkor.

But if you really want to commune with the beasts, you need to brave the 10-hour bus-ride to Mondulkiri--and you need to get in touch with Jack Highwood.
East to Mondulkiri:

Mondulkiri is one of Cambodia's frontier provinces, a vast area of upland forest on the border with Vietnam. Getting to Mondulkiri from Phnom Penh isn't easy, but the first half of the trip is on good pavement, and the jungle scenery on the second half almost makes up for the brutal potholes.

The capital of Mondulkiri is a dusty town called Sen Monorom, where you'll find a smattering of decent guesthouses and exactly one bar. The bar is called The Middle of Somewhere and was started by none other than Jack Highwood, who realized soon after moving to Mondulkiri that if he wanted a gin and tonic, he'd have to make it himself.

These days Mondulkiri is seeing something of an economic boom. Gold mining has always been a cottage industry in the hills, but now multinational mining companies are drooling over the prospects of untapped veins, and the Cambodian government is bulldozing new roads through the once-virgin forest.
Hill Tribes and Elephants:

Mondulkiri is home to many of Cambodia's ethnic minorities, semi-nomadic peoples who traditionally scratched a living from the hills by farming and logging. The hill tribesmen domesticated elephants to serve as beasts of burden, but now modern machinery has made the elephants obsolete. Many of the animals are now out of a job, and their owners don't have the incentive or the resources to properly care for them.

So if the domesticated elephants of Mondulkiri are going to survive, they need to pay for their own keep. Tourism is one solution; for a few years now locals have organized elephant treks for travelers passing through.

The tours are a good way to get income to the hill-tribe communities, but not all elephants are able to haul tourists around, and there isn't enough money to go around.
Enter the Elephant Sanctuary:

Jack Highwood's mission is to create a sanctuary for retired elephants where they can live out their days in dignity and peace. The sanctuary will be coupled with an eco-tourism project, providing travelers with the unique opportunity to stay alongside elephants.

Elephants are already moving into the sanctuary, and Jack hopes to welcome the first guests to the eco-lodge in November 2008. Visit his website for details, and tell him Tim sent you.

Election Results Announced by the NEC Are Absolutely Not Accepted by the Opposition Parties

Posted on 4 September 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 576

“Mr. Sam Rainsy, the president of the Sam Rainsy Party [SRP], said publicly on the Ponleu Ploeng Tien [Light of Candle – the logo of the SRP] program [on the Sambok Khmum Radio of Mr. Mam Sonando], ‘Today, we would like to announce again that the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party do not recognize the election results as publicly announced by the National Election Committee – NEC – on 2 September 2008.’

“Mr. Sam Rainsy added, ‘We have received more evidence and more witnesses, which show that the election results are based on many fraudulent votes, different from previous elections, because the names of many citizens were removed [from the voter lists]; when they wanted to vote they could not vote, as their names were deleted and stolen, in an attempt to prevent them from voting. This is the fist problem.’

“The well-known opposition party leader continued, ‘The second problem is that Forms 1018 were issued illegally, because many Form 1018 documents were fraudulent and were provided to those who were ineligible to vote, such as the Vietnamese, underage children, and those who did not have their names in the voters lists at districts and at many poling stations; they provided fraudulent names for such people, to vote for the Cambodian People’s Party.’

“Therefore, out of the tens of thousands of votes claimed to have been received by the Cambodian People’s Party, at least 500,000 votes were from ‘unreal’ votes which are called ghost votes, using ghost names to vote. Moreover, at least more than one million citizens’ names had been deleted from the voters lists, stolen, and the people had been prevented to vote.

“These are the reasons why the votes of the opposition parties declined, since those who wanted to vote for the opposition parties could not vote. On the contrary, those who did not have names to vote were helped by getting Forms 1018 illegally to vote.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy emphasized, ‘The election results were turned around and do not reflect fairness at all, they present the citizens’ will entirely distorted, and therefore we would like to announce again the position of the SRP and of the Human Rights Party to be still against the bad activities of the Cambodian People’s Party, implemented through the NEC and through the Constitutional Council, that serve the Cambodian People’s Party.’

“He went on to say, ‘After this, I have the further information that I, Sam Rainsy, will travel to protest in front of the international community on this Wednesday. I will go to Europe, to Paris and Brussels, and to America, to New York and Washington, in order to announce our complaints about the stealing of votes. Also, I have much evidence, as I have mentioned earlier, and I have revealed this evidence on a website [not identified here] and by other means on the Internet; we use modern technology to let the world see: if anyone wants to see, they can see.’

“The evidence shows that the elections in Cambodia were not held correctly, because we have received thumbprints of tens of thousands of citizens who had expressed their dissatisfaction with the NEC that had deleted their names.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy continued that tens of thousands of citizens had made motions with thumbprints, and the numbers are increasing further day-by-day. Not only the Sam Rainsy Party, but also the Human Rights Party is conducting a campaign to collect thumbprints to show the international community that the Cambodian People’s Party, through the NEC as a tools, had deleted many citizens’ names who were eligible to vote. Those thumbprints are published on our website where people from any country can see.’

“In the meantime, Mr. Sam Rainsy asked, ‘If anyone has evidence of fraud using Form 1018, please bring them to me directly at the headquarters of the Sam Rainsy Party. Also, I would like to remind that as for those who had came from near and far places, I would like to express gratitude from all my heart, and for those who bring one sheet of paper of a fraudulent Form 1018, we will present an award of US$50 to them, corresponding to Riel 200,000.’…
“Obviously, even a working group official of the Cambodian People’s Party in Kompong Cham said publicly, in a the Ponleu Ploeng Tien program, that the elections of 27 July 2008 had many irregularities, such as intimidations, human rights abuses, and fraud using the Form 1018, creating ghost names.

“Regarding the fraudulently used Form 1018, the official continued to say that there were many such cases – village and commune chiefs met three or four days ahead of the elections to plan for the creations of Form 1018 ghost names, and other cases.

“The official of the Cambodian People’s Party said, ‘A special case was that on 17 July 2008, Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun, a high ranking official of the Cambodian People’s Party, went to strengthen the party’s affairs in Memut [Kompong Cham] and ordered lower officials to create fraudulent Forms 1018 and other cases.’

“This means that imposters of the Cambodian People’s Party and of the NEC start to become known gradually. Therefore, the international community will absolutely not recognize the election results.”

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #235, 3.9.2008
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Media report: Thai Foreign Minister resigns


Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag Wednesday tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej after some 40 days in office, The Nation news website reported, quoting a foreign ministry source.

BANGKOK, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- The yet-to-be-confirmed resignation came one day after Samak, embattled with a civil movement led by People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to topple his administration, declared a state of emergency in Bangkok following violent clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters.

The English-language Nation report quoted "a senior ranking foreign ministry official, as well as sources in the Government House" as saying that Prime Minister Samak was trying desperately to get Tej to change his mind. The premier reportedly asked Tej to wait at least until the current political crisis passes by.

There was no official confirmation on the news from Tej himself, the government or Foreign Ministry spokesman yet.

The Nation also quoted sources as saying that Tej cited his wife 's sickness as reason for his resignation.

Tej's secretary Poksak Nilubol resigned Tuesday.

Tej, 65, a veteran diplomat, took office on July 27 as head of Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs days after his predecessor Noppadon Pattama resigned after five months in office over the Preah Vihear border dispute which has arouse a wave of nationalist sentiment in the country.

Noppadon resigned after a Constitutional Court ruling had held Noppadon's signing a Thai-Cambodian Joint Communique to endorse Thailand's support for Cambodia's successful bid to list the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site as unconstitutional.

After appointed, Tej attended two rounds of ministerial talks with his Cambodian counterpart. The talks had not been able to turn out a solution to the border dispute, but both sides agreed to carry on negotiations.

After political tension heightened in the Thai capital as PAD protesters seized state institutions including the Government House on Aug. 26, which they have occupied ever since, Tej explained to diplomatic corps and the press that it was part of political evolution and the democratic process in Thailand.

Observers said the high pressure both from the border issue and the political turmoil could have prompted Tej to quit.

It is not clear if Prime Minister Samak has approved Tej's reported resignation, which would be deemed another big blow to the Samak government, which was facing a dilemma after the premier declared a state of emergency in Bangkok only to see the PAD remain defiant and refuse to disperse its rally in and around the Government House, while the army, appointed to take charge of enforcement of the emergency decree, pledge no use of force against the protesters.

Samak was speculated to prepare a statement on Thursday. Government critics were hoping it would be a declaration of resignation. Some observers expected a House dissolution to pave way for a snap election.

I will not quit or dissolve House: PM

( - Prime Minister and Defence Minister Samak Sundaravej reiterated at the radio and television stations of the Government Public Relations Department on Thursday morning that he will not resign or dissolve the House of Representatives to uphold the country's democratic regime.

The premier criticised key members of the anti-government group, the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), for making people misunderstand the situations in the country, such as the charter amendments and the border dispute around Preah Vihear temple between Thailand and Cambodia.

Prime Minister Samak questioned the PAD’s objectives and labelled the group as a cult after disobeying the law and laying siege to different state offices and Government House to pressure the government to resign. He also asked people who joined their mass rallies what would they achieve in the end and would the public and academics be satisfied with the group’s new political order.

Concerning the resignation of Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag, the premier said Mr Tej was pressured from many sides, including his wife, who did not want him to be insulted. Mr Samak said he felt for the minister and lauded his performance in the short period. He said Mr Tej is a capable person, who is not a politician but wants to work for the country. He expressed his gratitude for his work, and insisted there are no rifts between them.

Referring to the threats of cutting-off water and utility supplies posed by certain state enterprise unions, he said it would be impossible. He also thanked state enterprise workers who have the decency and know their responsibilities.

After declaring the state of emergency, he insisted the authority will continue to use soft and gentle approach to handle the civil strife, the prime minister said.

He added that the country needs law and order, and the country would not carry on, if it is uncivilized. Thus, he insisted that he and his government will not step down.

Orphans from Cambodia arrive to open arms

KHNL NBC8 Honolulu
Sep 4, 2008

HONOLULU (KHNL) -Over two dozen orphans are here in Hawaii, to share their culture and in return, get a little love.

They were greeted with lei and lots of hugs from their email foster parents Wednesday.

The foster parents have been in contact with the children for the past few years, but for many it was the first time they held them in their arms.

It was a special moment for foster parent and child.

"I've waited for three years to meet Tola my foster child," said Patty Lee."It was the most wonderful feeling to see her and hold her in my arms"

"I don't know how to say it," said Chanthy Pon, "My heart is full of the meaning of love, it is really beautiful and wonderful for me."

Families here in Hawaii, have been supporting the children at an orphanage in Cambodia, providing money for their education and emotional support for the ones who have lost their parents.

The 30 children are here for two weeks to not only spend time with their foster families but also to share their cultures.

Cambodia: MPA Security discriminates against unionists

UNI Property Services

- Labour news from UNI global union - for trade unions in a global services economy. -

Cambodia's largest security company is refusing to abide by the decision of the Cambodian Arbitration Council that it must reinstate and compensate some its workers who are trying to organise.

Airport security workers in Siem Reap established a union on 10 July 2007. Their employer, MPA Security, which is the largest security company in Cambodia, told workers on the same day that it would not recognise the union.

A few days later, workers met with the company's management to discuss a number of industrial issues, including denial of time off, underpayment of entitlements such as overtime, irregular salary payments, financial penalties for workers who refuse overtime, arbitrary termination of employment and discrimination against women on the basis of pregnancy. Rather than addressing these issues, MPA unilaterally transferred the employment of 17 unionised workers to Phnom Penh airport a few days later.

The Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation (CTSWF) brought a complaint to the Cambodian Arbitration Council which decided in favour of the workers in January 2008, ordering their compensation and reinstatement.

UNI and the CTSWF are calling on the company to right the wrongs against its workers by honouring the Council's decision.

On yer bike for Cambodia

The Advertiser 24
03 September 2008

A GROUP of people in Norwich have dedicated their time to raising as much money as possible for 20 wells to be built in Cambodia to provide people with free running and clean water.

Members of the Proclaimer Church, based at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel on Boundary Road, have gathered together over the past few months in various fundraising activities, the latest of which was a fancy dress bicycle ride around Norwich's outer ring road.

Steve East is an 18 stone body builder who decided to take part as the incredible hulk. He took two hours to cycle the route with six others and raised £250. As a group the ride raised enough money for three wells to be built in Cambodia.

Mr East, 33, a cavity wall insulator, said: “It was such a good laugh. We got beeped all the way round by cars. We found either people were beeping at us or waving or clapping, or they pretended they didn't see us.

“I think they thought they'd just seen the incredible hulk on a bike and then thought, 'no, that can't be right.'”

Mr East's wife, Marie, 30, has also taken part in a number of events throughout the summer. She said: “This could change the lives of millions of people.

“It's quite exciting to find out how much money we've raised. I know we've got enough money for four wells but I think more people will hand their money in over the next few days.

“I can see us having enough for the 20 wells.”

The church is working with an organisation called Metamorphic International, which help to develop communities abroad. Through Metamorphic the money will be handed over and building will begin almost immediately.

Cambodia's population approaches 14 million

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's population is approaching 14 million people, more than half of whom are women, according to preliminary results from the first general census, local media reported Thursday.

"According to the preliminary results, the population of Cambodia stood at 13,388,910 at midnight on March 3, 2008, consisting of 6,495,512 males and 6,893,398 females," Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, who also chairs the National Census Committee, was quoted as saying in the Phnom Penh Post.

The provisional figures at the national level indicate that the total fertility rate and growth rate of the population has slowed down as predicted, he added.

The census also found that while Cambodia remains a largely rural country, more people were living in cities, the newspaper said.

The average household contained 4.7 people, according to census figures.

The projected annual growth rate in 2010 is expected to be 1.54percent, still higher than that of East Asia, which stands at 1.3 percent.

Editor: Sun

Opposition Seeks Help of Former Monarch

Former king Norodom Sihanouk

By Chiep Mony, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
03 September 2008

Khmer audio aired 03 September 2008 (793 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 03 September 2008 (793 KB) - Listen (MP3)

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has sent a letter to former king Norodom Sihanouk requesting his help in resolving "serious problems" within and outside of the country.

The continuing border standoff over Preah Vihear temple and an impending deadlock between the ruling party and the opposition over the next administration are both damaging the country, Sam Rainsy told reporters Wednesday.

The former king's past involvement in winning Cambodian ownership of Preah Vihear temple and reputation for reconciliation were both reasons for the request, Sam Rainsy said.

Then-king Sihanouk helped devise a power-sharing deal between the Cambodian People's Party and Funcinpec following a political deadlock after the 1993 elections. He also helped negotiate a coalition between the two governments following elections in 1998 and a CPP putsch in 1997.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yiep said Wednesday the former monarch will not resolve the problem. It was up to the government to resolve, he said.

If the Sam Rainsy and Human Rights parties do not participate, "it is up to them," he said, but the CPP would continue with the formation of a new government at a swearing-in ceremony Sept. 24.

"We have a government that is able to solve the problem, so we must have confidence in the government," he said.

Cambodia Requests Tuol Sleng Protection

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
03 September 2008

Khmer audio aired 03 September 2008 (1.03 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 03 September 2008 (1.03 MB) - Listen (MP3)

The government has sent a request to Unesco to include the Tuol Sleng torture museum on a list of protected sites to preserve thousands of documents and photographs remaining from the period of the Khmer Rouge.

"We sent the documents to Paris Friday, Aug. 29, in order for [Unesco] to consider admitting Tuol Sleng as a Memory of the World site," Yos Eang, deputy secretary-general of the national commission for Unesco, said. "But they have not recognized it yet. And then we have to wait [to see] if they have questions to ask, and if we have some other elements to add."

The application included a request to protect the photography, printed documents and building of Tuol Sleng and the Choeung Ek "killing fields" on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, he said.

"The aim is that they will protect our documents with [international] standards for the sake of the research of Cambodian and international people," Yos Eang said.

There were at least 15,000 prisoners detained at Tuol Sleng between 1975 and 1979, and around 4,000 confessions were preserved at the site, according to a statement issued by the Phnom Penh office of Unesco Aug. 29.

More than 6,000 prisoner biographies, 6,000 photographs and negatives of prisoners, as well as photos of visitors from China, are also kept at the site, the Unesco statement said.

Some documents have already been used for proceedings at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, the statement said.

The former Phnom Penh high school was made into a prison under the Khmer Rouge and was then turned into a museum following the occupation of the Vietnamese in 1979.

"This is a historical event that will make the world remember the crimes committed against our Cambodian people," said Khun Samen, deputy secretary-general of the Ministry of Culture, who is in charge of museums.

Verdicts Delayed in Complex Land Case

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
03 September 2008

Khmer audio aired 03 September 2008 (938 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 03 September 2008 (938 KB) - Listen (MP3)

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday indefinitely postponed the verdicts of eight people, including a deputy provincial governor, charged with illegal land development in Preah Vihear province.

Investigating judge Nhean Sovann said the case was "very complicated" and a big case, "so we cannot declare a verdict today."

The court needed time to consider all elements of the case, and the verdict will be announced in coming days, he said.

If convicted, Meas Sarouen, 49, former deputy governor of Preah Vihear; Sar Map, 47, Sa Em village chief; Mann Chantha, 32; Mann Chanthon, 28; Rim Roey, 25; Chheun Chheng, 34; Sum Sopheak, 27; Nov Tit, 34; face a maximum fine of 200,000,000 riel, or about $49,000, and up to 10 years in prison.

The eight men were arrested in November 2007, after forestry officials of the Ministry of Agriculture accused them of illegally clearing 135 hectares of state land in Chhoam K'san district, Preah Vihear province.

On Nov. 15, 2007, Cambodian police, military police and forestry officials began a three-day operation which led to the arrests of 16 people, the deaths of two villagers, and the serious injury of four others.

Chhay Cheng, who was the wife of Mann Chanthon, and Oeun Eng, another villager, were both shot dead by the security forces.

Police say the villagers were armed with bows and arrows and hand grenades, forcing them to open fire during the crackdown.

Seven of the original 16 arrested were charged with illegal land development and were released on bail and will face court charges later. Another man charged in the operation is in a hospital in Vietnam, ill.

Defense lawyers for all eight accused said during a hearing on Monday the 22 villagers were clearing the land for farming and housing, but they were unaware the government owned it.

The defense also denied the grenades belonged to the villagers, saying the explosives were left over ordnance from fighting between government forces and the Khmer Rouge.

The villagers had bows and arrows for hunting and did not use them against the authorities, defense lawyers said.

Youths To Discuss Political Participation

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
03 September 2008

An independent election monitor plans to invite 60 youths to a seminar on Thursday to discuss the challenges facing young Cambodians interested in politics.

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections will host the one-day seminar in Kampong Cham province.

Participating youths will be encouraged to raise their concerns in social and political participation, especially with regards to political discrimination of youths in the political process.

"We have suffered from the separation of political tendencies and the disqualification of youth from political and social affairs," said Seng Rithy, chief of education and advocacy for the Khmer Youth Association. "So we have the opportunity to raise up the effort to push the new government to open more rights and freedom in politics for youth."

Politicians do not take care of youths interested in politics and social development, denying them opportunities for leadership, said Sok Na, a student at the Kampong Cham National School of Agriculture who plans to participate in Thursday's seminar.

"This seminar aims to find out the necessary requests and the needs of the youth to forward to political parties, especially the ruling party or the winning party, to compose the national political platform to serve the interests of the youth," said Koul Panha, executive director of Comfrel.

Cambodian People's Party lawmaker Cheam Yiep said Wednesday the ruling party "respects the rights and freedoms of politics by the people in conformity with the constitution."

As Administration Prepares, Policy Questions

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
03 September 2008

Khmer audio aired 02 September 2008 (1.11 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 02 September 2008 (1.11 MB) - Listen (MP3)

As the newly elected members of the National Assembly prepare to be sworn in later this month, questions remain over what the legislative body will look like and how fair it will be in representing the voters, an analyst said Tuesday.

The ruling Cambodian People's Party officially won 90 of 123 National Assembly seats in July's election, but Lao Monghay, a researcher at the Asian Human Rights Commission, warned Tuesday that the nine committees of the new parliament should reflect all parties.

The opposition Sam Rainsy and Human Rights parties won 29 seats between them, representing about 1.7 million votes.

CPP officials have said they will not share with the opposition any of the nine committees, which include human rights, foreign relations, finance, health, social affairs, and others.

"They can do that by law, but it's loosing a democratic principle," Lao Monghay said. "If there is no representative of more than one million people's voice in the Assembly, it looks to fall short of democracy."

Meanwhile, he said, there has been little discussion of policy priorities in the wake of the election.
"I see only the winning party dragging smaller parties to join them, but not yet a discussion of national policy and what is the form of the government," Lao Monghay said.

There has also been no discussion on whether the CPP will rule alone or as a coalition, he said.

The new National Assembly will be sworn in at a ceremony Sept. 24, but both opposition parties have threatened to boycott the proceedings.

Victim of Khmer Rouge sexual abuse seeks justice

International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press
Published: September 3, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: A Cambodian transgender woman filed a complaint Wednesday with the Khmer Rouge genocide tribunal alleging that she suffered repeated sexual abuse at the hands of the communist group when it held power three decades ago.

Sou Sotheavy, 68, said she is the first Cambodian to pursue legal action for alleged sexual violence under Khmer Rouge rule. She claims Khmer Rouge soldiers repeatedly raped her as punishment for "moral offenses." She was born male but has been living as a female since her teenage years.

The Khmer Rouge, whose radical policies between 1975-79 led to the death of about 1.7 million Cambodians, espoused a puritanical morality and imposed strict rules against sexual misconduct.

Silke Studzinsky, the plaintiff's lawyer, said she hoped her client's action would inspire other victims of sexual abuse by the Khmer Rouge to do the same.

"This step would encourage other victims of such crimes to come forward and demand acknowledgment and justice for their suffering, which has largely been ignored until now," the lawyer said.

In Sou Sotheavy's case, soldiers made her cut her long hair — a rule they applied to all men and women — and wear men's clothing, she said.

They also forced her to marry a woman and ordered them to perform sexual intercourse to produce a child, she said.

Sou Sotheavy said she had a daughter with the woman she was forced to marry but left the relationship after the Khmer Rouge was ousted from power by a Vietnamese invasion in 1979.

The radical communist group banned romance, forced many men and women into mass marriages and tortured or killed those who engaged in unsanctioned sexual relations.

But genocide researchers have also found many instances of rape and sexual violence committed by Khmer Rouge operatives.

In US, Cambodians Celebrate Community

By Sivon Brahm, VOA Khmer
Original report from Virginia
03 September 2008

Khmer audio aired 26 August (1.87 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 26 August (1.87 MB) - Listen (MP3)

This year's Cambodian Community Day, celebrated in Alexandria, Va., featured a mohori ensemble, classical and folk dances, and a showcase of Cambodian livelihoods, including an open market, rice mill, palm-tree climbers, traditional wedding, cooking show and the making of silk flowers.

The festival, held in Alexandria's Ben Brenman park on Sunday, was co-sponsored by the Alexandria Department of Recreation and the Cambodian Community Day committee, among others.

Sophia Tep, chairman of the Community Day committee, welcomed guests, who were able move under several tents to see traditional Cambodian daily life.

Tropical fruit was available in the market, and visitors watched as a groom carried traditional gifts in a procession for his bride. Music for the procession was provided by a master of classical music, Chum Ngek.

A woman named Pha Ngin showed her skills at making silk flowers and cook Demaz Tep had on offer sweet rice with fresh lobster, beef salad and green mango salad for visitors.

Proceeds from the event went to supporting Cambodian culture and higher education in the US.

US-Cambodians Urged to Vote for President

By Taing Sarada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Massachussetts
03 September 2008

Khmer audio aired 29 August (1.38 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 29 August (1.38 MB) - Listen (MP3)

As the US presidential race heats up, Cambodians in the US say they are ready to vote, and urged their fellow expatriates to do the same.

"The election in America this year is very important, because it can not only change the domestic economy but the world's," said Uong Rithy, who served three terms as a city councilman in Lowell, Mass. "It is also important that more Cambodian-Americans participate in politics so they can draw the attention of American politicians to Cambodian communities and Cambodian issues."

The US presidential election, which will be held in November, pits US senators John McCain and Barrack Obama in a race of historical importance.

Obama is the first black candidate for a major political party, and the election comes as the US economy is faltering and a war in Iraq continues.

Teng Vanak, a US-Cambodian from Lowell and supporter of the Democratic Party, said recently she has registered to vote for the past ten years. A win for Obama will be a good sign for US diversity, she said.

"If he wins the election, it will be a green light for other diversity groups, including Cambodian-Americans and Latino-Americans born in the US, to compete for the presidential position," she said. "Here is a land of hope and a land of opportunity. I wish for many Cambodian-Americans to come out to vote more this year, so that we can empower our Cambodian community in Lowell and other places in America. I think it is very important."

Another Cambodian in Lowell, Chea Vicheavy, who supports the Republicans, said she hoped a win for McCain would draw more attention to Cambodian issues.

McCain is a veteran pilot of the Vietnam War who was a prisoner of war.

"I think that if John McCain succeeds in the election competition, he will be interested more in Cambodian issues, because he used to go to Cambodia and he used to fight in the Vietnam War," Chea Vicheavy said.

Not all Cambodians in the US will be able to vote. Livan Yary, a recent immigrant to Lowell, said he did not yet have the right to vote, but he said the elections in the US were much different than Cambodia.

"I always see the election campaign in Cambodia mixed with violence and cheating," he said. "It is not a kind of standard of democracy. But the election campaign in America is not like that. The election in America is safer and has more democratic standards. The election in Cambodia is just cheating international eyes."

Everybody must get stonedEverybody must get stoned

Rick Valenzuela; Having two areas of your body worked on simultaneously makes for double the fun.

Rick Valenzuela; Amara Spa staff apply hot stones to a client during a massage treatment. The stones are heated to a temperature of 50-60 degrees Celsius.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Anita Surewicz
Wednesday, 03 September 2008

A four-hand, hot-stone massage may be just the thing to untie the knots in those aching muscles

"HOT-STONE massage is one of our most popular treatments," says Dang Deeprasit, manager of Amara Spa.

Opened four months ago, Amara Spa is one of only two salons in Phnom Penh that offer the hot-stone treatment and the only one that uses two therapists during the procedure, said Deeprasit.

The four-hand, aromatherapy, hot-stone body treatment is an interesting variation on the typical, run-of-the-mill massage.

Using smooth, water-heated Basalt volcanic stones, the treatment aims to warm and relax the muscles.

"Lava stones are used during the treatment because they absorb heat and retain it for a long time," explained Deeprasit. The stones come in various sizes and are either placed on parts of the body or used to massage the body.

Rock and roll

It is alleged that this specialty massage originated in ancient times when it was used to improve mental, spiritual and physical health. In China, hot stones were used as early as 1500 BC as a method for relieving muscle pains and stress. American Indians used hot stones to detoxify and to promote balance in the body, and in some European countries hot stones or bricks were wrapped in cloth and used to provide relief for injuries.

" Lava stones are used during the treatment because they absorb heat and retain it. "

The treatment begins when the smooth, flat stones are immersed in hot water until they reach a desired temperature (usually between 50-60 degrees Celsius). They are then placed at various key points along the spine, in the palms of the hands, between the toes and on the feet. Make sure that you let the therapist know if the stone are too hot or should be heated further if they are not of the desired temperature.

Once the muscles are warm, and primed for massage, the therapist will apply oil to the body and use the hot stones to massage muscles of the legs, arms and torso.

"The hot-stone treatment is great for relaxation and sore, tired muscles," said Deeprasit.

Applying hot stones to the body is said to alleviate a variety of health conditions and ailments including back pain, arthritis, stress and insomnia. The warmth of the hot stones is deeply relaxing and acts to calm the body and the mind. Hot stones are also used for improving blood circulation by increasing the temperature of the skin and muscle tissue.

Deeprasit, who is a proponent of the treatment, said that the treatment also promotes detoxification. "Drinking lots of water after the treatment is important to flash out the toxins which are released during the massage," she said.

Amara Spa is at the corner of Sisowath Quay and Street 110, where a four-hand, hot-stone massage will set you back US$55.

New motorcycle club revs up to help kids

PHOTO supplied; Members of the Cambodia Motorcycle Club get ready to ride.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Stephanie McKay
Wednesday, 03 September 2008

CHILDREN throughout provincial Cambodia are set to benefit from a new Phnom Penh-based charity operating under the guise of a motorcycle club.

Cambodia Motorcycle Club founder Murray Heath said the group was formed "by a few guys" dissatisfied with the work of other charities and aid organisations in Cambodia.

"We just wanted to start up something that could raise money without being an NGO," Heath said. "We needed a flag to fly under and a lot of expats have motorbikes."

Money raised via a minimum membership of US$10 a year per family would go directly to those who needed it, he said.

The group would also hold motorcycle-related events such as Christmas toy runs to children outside of Phnom Penh.

Heath said the group would meet monthly at various local establishments with the intention of being transparent in all its activities.

"Every cent raised will go to where it's supposed to," he said. He invited those interested in knowing more to email him at

Actress Saray Sakana gets serious about her career

Vandy Rattana; Saray Sakana emotes while shooting a scene as a young factory worker in the film Palace of Dreams. "I like to act sad the best," says the 18-year-old actress, a rising star in Cambodian cinema.

The Phnom Penh Post

Wednesday, 03 September 2008

With several feature films behind her, 18-year-old film star lives her dream of becoming an actress but also continues to study to develop her craft

SINCE being talent-spotted at a "pretty girl and boy" beauty contest two years ago, 18-year-old Cambodian actress Saray Sakana's star has been on the rise.

Having just wrapped Palace of Dreams, a 90-minute "edutainment" movie about the dangers of HIV produced by the BBC World Service Trust, Saray Sakana has built up an impressive body of work in a short time.

"I have always wanted to be a movie star since I was a young girl," Saray Sakana said.

Due for release in October, the movie Heart Talk, a thriller from Khmer Mekong Films about three female broadcasters at a hip but troubled Phnom Penh radio station, was the first film Saray Sakana acted in. With no formal acting training, it was a case of on-the-job training.

"The first time I acted I felt embarrassed and shocked, but just a short time after I could perform more smoothly. I have never studied how to be an actress, and I think I can do it because I love it and it comes naturally to me," she said. "I was taught by the producers and older actors what to do and what not to do."

A serious approach

Saray Sakana said she likes to perform in many different genres but prefers acting in serious dramas.

"I can act in all kinds of stories and perform many different emotions ... but I like to act sad the best. I also like watching my own performance because I want to know how I perform in order to improve myself," she said.

In Palace of Dreams, which will be shown in Cambodian cinemas and on television as well as used in extensive outreach programs around the country, Saray Sakana portrays a factory worker from a poor family who goes to work in a nightclub in Phnom Penh in order to find more money to help her family.

"I like this movie very much because I can educate youth through this movie," she said. "The story is educating youth about HIV/Aids, which is a good thing.

"Saray Sakana also sings and has recently returned from performing in France, her first time singing abroad. She also has plans to go to America, but doesn't expect to be a performer for the rest of her life.

" I watch Hollywood movies because it can help me to improve my performances. "

"I like being an actress while I am still young and pretty," she said. "When I'm older, I will stop performing and if I can I would like to open a shop. I don't want to be an actress forever."

Constantly learning

Busy with acting, she says "sometimes I don't have enough time to sleep", but she still finds time to pursue other interests.

"When I have spare time, I usually read books and watch Hollywood movies because it can help me to improve my performances. I like to see the older actresses perform and sometimes I copy some techniques, to do as they do. But I also have my own style," she said. "I also study English and like visiting Sihanoukville when I get the chance."

Saray Sakana, who is building a large fan base, said she was proud to be involved in the domestic movie industry. "I hope to be successful as an actress. I am so happy and proud that I have become a movie star as I have wished for this since I was young."

Government short by more than $1b for development plan

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Hor Hab
Wednesday, 03 September 2008

Council of Ministers announces investments totaling $2.4 billion for the next three years, but some officials say many projects at risk

HUNDREDS of development projects planned through 2011 could be in jeopardy due to shortfall of more than US$1 billion in funding, government officials have said following the Council of Ministers announcement last week of a $2.4 billion investment plan.

Some 552 projects, mostly in infrastructure like roads and bridges, have been targeted for the next three years, of which 239 have already been begun, the Ministry of Planning said Friday.

The government and donors have pledged $1.4 billion towards completing the projects.

But a slowing economy and record-high inflation could put many of the projects out of reach as the government struggles to make up the difference, said Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann.


"I worry that Cambodia will not have enough budget to handle the development projects due to the slow economic situation, high inflation, corruption and problems with land seizures," he told the Post Sunday.

Sok Borisoth, director of the anti-corruption group Pact, said he hoped the government could obtain more international funds, but that this would depend on whether donors felt Cambodia was working towards reform.

The Kingdom remains one of the most corrupt in Asia, and routinely falls to the bottom of the list on global graft ratings.

Donors for years have demanded that the government approve anti-corruption legislation, which has yet to reach the National assembly for debate.

Nguon Nhel, first vice president of the National Assembly, acknowledged that an unknown number of projects might not be completed due to the funding shortfall.

"But we hope to get close to our target," he said.

Nguon Nhel said the government would try to strengthen its tax revenue collection system in a bid to raise more money for the public coffers, as well as make more appeals to the international community.

"We get a lot of help from development partners such as Japan, China and many other countries," Nguon Nhel said.

He said the government's 2009-2011 development plan would prioritise agriculture and water-resource projects - both areas where he said the country was lacking.

"The government wants to push the export of agriculture products, as there are more countries asking to buy Cambodian agricultural products," he said.

"So we have to improve the irrigation system, water supply, rice seeds and agricultural technique," Nguon Nhel added.

Only 44 percent of Cambodia's rice fields have access to irrigation.

But the opposition says the focus should lean more towards social services like education and health care, as well as upgrading the power grid "because these are key to sustainable development", Yim Sovann said.

New Yamaha plant to fuel cycle sales: officials

TRACEY SHELTON; Yamaha motorcycles for sale in downtown Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

The Phnom Penh Post

Wednesday, 03 September 2008

Company says new venture will capitalise on the Kingdom's booming motorcycle market while creating several hundred new jobs

A NEW joint venture between Yamaha Motor Co, Toyota Tsusho Corp and Kong Nuon Import & Export hopes to tap into Cambodia's burgeoning motorcycle market, with full domestic production of new bikes expected to begin in 2011, company officials said this week.

"Yamaha Motor, Toyota Tsusho and Kong Nuon Import & Export have agreed to establish ... Yamaha Motor Cambodia Co (YMKH), for the manufacture and marketing of motorcycles with the aim of strengthening the foundation of the motorcycle business in the Cambodia market," the partners said in a statement released Monday.

The company said it would begin operations this October with the assembly of motorcycles from premanufactured parts, with the aim of eventually moving towards in-house production.

The US$11.5 million venture is 70-percent owned by Yamaha Motor, with Toyota taking a 20 percent stake and Kong Nuon Import retaining 10 percent, said YMKH Chairman Kong Nuon.

Since March 2007, Asia Motors Co (AMC), a joint venture between Toyota Tsusho and Kong Nuon Import & Export, has been assembling and marketing motorcycles with parts and components supplied as kits by Thai Yamaha Motor Co.

YMKH will begin by taking over operations at the AMC factory, incorporating the company's sales network and acquiring a 94,890-square-metre lot in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone for the construction of a new factory, Kong Nuon said.

The aim of the new factory will be to reduce costs and lead time through complete knock-down manufacturing within three years. Plans call for AMC to be dissolved following the transfer of operations to YMKH at the end of September, according to the statement.

The current rapid economic growth in Cambodia shows a growing demand for motorcycles, with sales reaching 130,000 units in 2007, said Matoba Michifumi, managing director of YMKH, on Monday.

"The outlook of stable economic growth for the future and the size of the young demographic that will be potential motorcycle users point to continued growth in motorcycle demand, with forecasts of 250,000 units by 2010 and 500,000 units by 2015," he said.

Motorcycles and scooters remain the most popular form of vehicle transport among Cambodia's emerging middle class.

"For the first year, the plant will manufacture about 30,000 motorcycles, with the goal of gaining about 30 percent of the total market share of new motorcycle demand in Cambodia in the next few years," he said. "It will employ about 400 workers when it is in full operation."


The government has worked to develop Cambodia's manufacturing sector as both a source of jobs and better access to a more diverse array of global markets.

Ith Praing, secretary of state for the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, said the new plant represents a step in the government's plan to reduce the Kingdom's reliance on foreign imports.

"Having a local manufacturing plant will be much better than importing products from overseas," he told the Post Tuesday.

"A domestic factory will reduce [transport costs and import taxes] and generate new jobs for local Cambodians," he added.

While YMKH hopes to become a dominant force in the domestic market, other motorcycle importers say the new plant will have little effect on business.

"We are not concerned about Yamaha Motor because the popularity of Yamaha is less than that of Honda motorcycles," said Sar Chhneang, marketing manager of Honda NCX Co, told the Post Tuesday.

Sar Chhneang said sales of Honda motorcycles have increased 30 percent year-on-year. This year's sales are expected to increase two- or threefold over last year's numbers," he said.

He declined to give exact sales figures.

It is a free market, so the sale of products depends on marketing strategy and product loyalty among consumers, Sar Chhneang added.

Nationalism and oil do not mix

VANDY RATTANA; Monks walk in front of Preah Vihear temple, which may not be at the heart of the current border dispute.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Brendan Brady and Thet Sambath
Wednesday, 03 September 2008

Some say the Preah Vihear dispute goes beyond an 11th-century temple and into far deeper waters: the disputed oil-rich, offshore block claimed by both Cambodia and Thailand

THE implications of the current border standoff with Thailand reach far beyond the 4.6-square-kilometre patch of land around Preah Vihear.

Allegations are ringing out that the soldiers, RPGs and tanks now stationed on the frontier are there for a more important reason than the age-old animosity between the two neighbours, a reason that transcends the national pride-imbued issue of ownership of the storied 11th-century Hindu temple: oil.

Thailand and Cambodia both assert claims over some 27,000 square kilometres of disputed maritime territory in the Gulf of Thailand that is believed to contain significant amounts of oil and gas reserves.

The expanse of water known as the Overlapping Claims Area, or OCA, has been the source of a contentious, decades-old dispute with Thailand but has gained a new imperative amidst the current border crisis.

" Cambodia makes one line, thailand makes another, and it makes an overlapping area. "

Typically, a marine border extends out about 22km from a country's coastline. Besides marine resources, the maritime border determines exclusive economic zones where natural resources can be claimed, including those under the seabed.

Talks over the Overlapping Claims Area had resumed in April after years of stalemate but remained in their early stages.

The dispute goes back to the 1970s, but six years ago Cambodia and Thailand negotiated a joint development agreement that was hoped to resolve the problem. Now, things do not look so good.

"Because of politics, we've had no chance to talk with Thailand. Cambodia makes one line, Thailand makes another, and it makes an overlapping area," Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan told the Post on August 27.

The original model negotiated by Thailand and Cambodia called for a 50-50 split of resources, but Phnom Penh has more recently pressured for a 60-40 sharing ratio - a move Thailand has resisted. Oil experts say that Cambodia is likely to resist simply splitting the area down the middle because the better prospects would lie in the Thai half.

More than temples

Since the border dispute erupted, suspicions have intensified that by asserting control over Preah Vihear, Cambodia is angling to improve its claims over the disputed offshore block.

Some in Thailand claim that recognising Preah Vihear as belonging to Cambodia would legitimise the 1908 map and give way to Cambodia asserting more control over the contested waters and its riches.

"What is foreseeable is that the disputed territorial areas on land can be a model for the overlapping sea boundaries, because they are based on the same French mapping principle," the Bangkok Post quoted retired Vice Admiral Pratheep Chuen-arom as saying on July 29.

According to Pratheep, the border drawn by France in the 1960s extended into the sea, "cutting through parts of Thailand's Kud Island, while Thailand drew a different line close to Cambodia's Kong Island."

More than 90 degrees lies between the two lines, forming a vast expanse of disputed waters.

According to Phay Siphan, the borders drawn by Thailand are a "unilateral map" without international legitimacy.

He said Cambodia's maritime border with Thailand is formed by a line of sight between the summit of Chom Yeam, the international checkpoint at pillar 73, and the summit of Koh Kud.

He said, however, that this demarcation is more than a century old, stemming from the 1908 map and not the 1962 international court ruling that also legitimised Cambodia's sovereignty over Preah Vihear.

Whose land is it?

The 1962 court decision did not draw a new map or "take Preah Vihear temple and give it to Cambodia; it confirmed the borders and proved that Preah Vihear lies within Cambodian territory, and it ordered Thailand to get out of that land," Phay Siphan said.

"Thailand always treats that area [along the French-drawn border] as a war zone to protect their own interests."

Either way, the border standoff has intensified the race to map out the border between the two.

Hong Sean, a soldier standing guard at the Chom Yeam international checkpoint at pillar 73, said a team of Cambodian and Thai military officials had been in the area two weeks ago and were "still working to reach an agreement on the location of the pillars 71 and 72."

Var Kimhong, head of the National Border Committee, dismissed claims that Thailand could lose maritime territory if it recognises Cambodia's ownership of land at Preah Vihear.

But he added that Cambodia stands by the French-drawn map, saying "existing documents establish the border demarcation".

Teachers demand school director be removed from post

Teachers have been filing complaints since February against their school director but to no avail, they claim. "Most of the teachers are dissatisfied with Vongsa's leadership, and we want him to be fired from his post," Nao Chan said.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Cheang Sokha
Wednesday, 03 September 2008

Seven Kampong Thom teachers have lodged a complaint against Phat Sanday secondary school director accusing him of corruption

SECONDARY school teachers in Kampong Thom's Kampong Svay district have filed a complaint to the provincial Education Department against the school's director, citing corruption and nepotism.

Nao Chan, a teacher at Phat Sanday secondary school, said the school's director, Pich Vongsa, had been fabricating teacher names and collecting their salaries.

Pich Vongsa has withheld two months' worth of over-time salary from the seven teachers who lodged the complaint, said Nao Chan.

"We have been told that the 300,000 riels (US$75) will be paid to the teachers if we withdraw the complaint," he told the Post Tuesday.

No solution in sight

Pich Vongsa denied the accusation and said that the complaints against him have been made by jealous teachers who want to hijack his position at the school.

"I couldn't make corruption here," he said about the remote school, which is located 360km from Kampong Thom's provincial capital, adding that the school's seven teachers and 100 students face many difficulties, including flooding during the wet season.

Uon Silot, deputy president of Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said that he has documents to prove irregularities in the school's management.

"We have passed the complaint to the Education Department but nothing has been done," Uon Silot said.

Sou Kimsry, director of Kampong Thom's provincial Education Department, said that he has not received any of the teachers' complaints.

CPP to cast single ballot to form new NA, government

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Meas Sokchea
Wednesday, 03 September 2008

Party officials say block vote would reduce chances of a hung ballot; opposition claims it betrays divisions within ruling party

THE Cambodian People's Party, with a clear parliamentary majority, expects to use a single block vote to both usher in the National Assembly and create a new government when the body convenes on September 24.

The move has drawn fire from opposition groups, but government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the CPP employed the same tactic in 2004, when party members confirmed both the National Assembly and government with one ballot.

"During the last mandate, we voted in one block. We will do the same this time to avoid difficulties," said Khieu Kanharith, who also serves as information minister.

Opposition leaders and human rights activists, however, say the block vote method is unconstitutional and contradicts fundamental democratic principles.

"These are sovereign institutions and cannot be voted on in a package," said Thun Saray, president of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC) and the NGO Adhoc. "It is shameful. No other country operates this way."

Thun Saray said the call for a block vote suggested the CPP had internal divisions they did not want exposed should parliamentarians be allowed to vote separately.

"The CPP has a clear mandate with 90 seats. It would be easy for them to create these two bodies independently," he said.

Kem Sokha, president of the opposition Human Rights Party, said Tuesday the decision betrayed a growing lack of confidence within the CPP.

"They are cutting the head to fit the hat," he said.

Son Chhay, a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian, said the law clearly states the National Assembly must be created first by a separate vote before confirming a new government. "The father must be born before the child," he said.

But Khieu Kanharith affirmed the party's right to employ the block vote, while denying divisions within the CPP.

"We will continue to vote in this way because the constitution does not prohibit it."

Tuol Sleng Museum applies for registration with Unesco

VANDY RATTANA; Tourists look at mug shots of inmates while visiting Tuol Sleng prison Tuesday.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by May Titthara
Wednesday, 03 September 2008

Help sought from agency's Memory of the World Program to preserve photo, document archives, part of S-21 building

THE notorious Tuol Sleng prison and its vast torture archive will be registered with Unesco's Memory of the World program by early 2009, a museum official told the Post Tuesday.

Chey Sopheara, deputy director of the Department of Museums in charge of S-21, said the government submitted its application to help preserve the prison's archives as well as a part of the building to the United Nations agency last Friday.

The archive contains over 5,000 photographs of the more than 15,000 prisoners, as well as biographical records of Khmer Rouge officials and inmates, torture instruments and written confessions, said a copy of the application to Unesco's Memory of the World program.

While the S-21 building started out its life as one of Phnom Penh's secondary schools, the Khmer Rouge regime transformed it into the country's most notorious prisons after they captured the capital in April 1975.

"Undoubtedly crucial as evidence to be used in the forthcoming Khmer Rouge trial, the archive is also an essential part of Cambodia's recent history," the application said.

"We want the younger generations to know about the genocide that happened in Cambodia," said Chey Sopheara.

Samm Kalyan, from the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), said that registering S-21 with the Memory of the World project plays an important role in educating the world about Cambodia's "dark history".

The prison was run by Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, who is among five Khmer Rouge leaders detained by the UN-backed court for crimes committed during the regime's 1975-79 rule. Duch's trial for crimes against humanity is expected to begin in October.

KR tribunal officials deny graft claims exist, despite judges' concern

The Victims Unit at the Extraordinary Chambers has so far received almost 1,800 complaints from victims of the Khmer Rouge seeking redress. It has only three permanent staff members currently processing victim applications.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Georgia Wilkins
Wednesday, 03 September 2008

Court spokespeople say no specific corruption complaints have been made, as UN continues review of allegations of salary kickbacks

A SPOKESPERSON from the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Tuesday dismissed corruption allegations that were described a day earlier as a "major" issue by court judges.

Describing them as unsubstantiated "rumours", spokeswoman Helen Jarvis, who was recently appointed as one of the court's ethics monitors, said: "No specific complaints have ever been made."

The tribunal has been rocked by the re-emergence of allegations that staff on the Cambodian side of the UN-backed court were forced to kick back a significant portion of their salaries to their bosses.

The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services in New York has been reviewing multiple formal complaints of graft since the beginning of August.

Addressing the fourth plenary session of judges Monday, Trial Chamber Judge Silvia Cartwright urged "all efforts to ensure that the [graft] allegations are dealt with ... and independent measures are put in place."

In the wake of the allegations, hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds were frozen by the UN Development Program.

UN public affairs officer Peter Foster said Tuesday he did not know at what stage the UN probe was at, saying "I have heard no information at all" and that the results of the review would be sent straight to the Cambodian government once completed.

Praise for Tolbert

Also on the first day of the weeklong plenary session, judges commended the work of UN financial expert David Tolbert, who was brought in when the scandal-plagued court had to justify a tripling of its original budget to donors.


"Without [Tolbert's] support ... the ECCC would by now be very weak indeed," said Cartwright, a New Zealander.

Tolbert, who will leave later this week, was to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Tuesday to discuss financial issues related to the court, but the details of the meeting have not been made public.

"The meeting [with Sok An] was private," Jarvis said.

Tolbert has been trying to help ease donor concerns about financial management and pave the way to further funding for the genocide tribunal, which faces a US$40 million shortfall.

Amid ongoing financial and administrative hurdles, the plenary session is expected limit its discussion to internal issues, including scope of appeals and legal representation of civil parties.

New Australian-funded Pailin road will boost trade

PHOTO SUPPLIED; Australian Ambassador Margaret Adamson cuts the ribbon at the opening Tuesday of a 29-kilometre rural road near Pailin Tuesday.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Will Hine and Kay Kimsong
Wednesday, 03 September 2008

Australia's ambassador presides over the opening of the road, which will cut hours off of some journeys in the province

A RURAL road project financed by the Australian government and opened near Pailin is expected to improve the lives of villagers and kickstart development in the area, officials said Tuesday at the opening of the 29 kilometres thoroughfare in the former Khmer Rouge stronghold.

Australian Ambassador Margaret Adamson and Pailin Governor Y Chhien formally opened the US$600,000 route in a ribbon-cutting ceremony before a crowd of several hundred people.

Adamson said the Pailin municipality was remote and in need of more new roads. "This road demonstrates the importance of small-scale infrastructure to the lives of rural people," Adamson said.

"It will reduce transport times, improve access for farmers to markets and improve the access of over 7,000 people to nine primary schools, two secondary schools, two health centres and nine pagodas."

The Pailin Municipality is set to contribute to the scheme by building bridges along the route towards the end of this year. A maintenance committee and traffic-control posts are also planned to improve the longevity of the road surface.

CARE Cambodia director Sharon Wilkinson, who oversaw the tendering and construction of the road, said travel to schools and marketplaces would be reduced from 10 to three hours in some instances.


Farmers previously had the price of their produce "beaten down" by middlemen, due to delays in transporting cargo.

"Now I am expecting their prices [received by farmers] to double," Wilkinson said.

She added that the new road, formerly an overgrown track used by the Khmer Rouge, has been in use for the past three weeks, and was "a very good investment".

Building infrastructure

Ieng Vuth, first deputy governor of Pailin, said the opening of the road should increase domestic business and trade with Thailand.

The municipality now hopes to build another 17km road and connect it to the road opened Tuesday to create one large loop that would circle the area. This new section is expected to cost $85,000, and Ieng Vuth hopes Australia will assist in financing the project.

"While we plan to build infrastructure as a base for economic development, future investment will be spent on developing agro-industry, because 99 percent of Pailin residents are farmers," he said.

Exports to Thailand, already expected to be boosted by the road, would further increase in value if the municipality could enhance their quality, Ieng Vuthy said.

He said 300,000 tonnes of corn was already being shipped to Thailand from Pailin each year.