Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer

Thursday, September 27, 2007

China's 'long shadow' on Cambodia

The New York Review of Books has a long article this week on China’s support of Cambodia, written by a longtime foreign correspondent for the French newspaper Le Figaro. The article by Francois Hauter is behind this pay wall, but here is the opening paragraph, an excerpt and the surprising ending:

In Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, the economy is going strong, but the prime minister, Hun Sen, has organized the plunder of the nation's resources for the benefit of its powerful neighbor, China, in exchange for Beijing's protection.
Cambodia was on its last legs when the Vietnamese invaded in December 1978, and they installed the new government dominated by Hun Sen, who became prime minister in 1985. A consummate survivor, he is still prime minister twenty-two years later. He did everything he could to prevent the public trial of Khmer Rouge leaders demanded by the United Nations. Why? Because although he had been placed in power by the Vietnamese, he had long since transferred his allegiance to the Chinese government, which had been the chief patron of the Khmer Rouge regime, supplying it with arms, food, training, and international backing. To put the Khmer Rouge leaders on trial would have been to denounce Chinese collaboration in the Khmer genocide. It would also have compromised certain tangible interests. "China is a very great country," Hun Sen declared recently. “If 1.3 billion Chinese were all to urinate at the same time, it would unleash a major flood. But China's leaders are doing good things with their partners.... When China gives, there are no strings attached. You can do what you want with the money.”

The Cambodian leaders did not fail to take advantage of the opportunity. State assets were sold off to the highest bidder. One scholar, François Mangin, has estimated that between 1993 and 1999, the Cambodian government sold concessions to more than a third of Cambodia's most productive land, mainly to foreign companies engaged in commercial exploitation of forests, mineral resources, agriculture, fisheries, and tourism.

To cite just one example: Pheapimex and Wuzishan, two companies run by the best friend of Hun Sen's wife, were given rights to develop and exploit more than 1.26 million acres of forest with logistical support from Chinese firms.

The proceeds from land confiscation which primarily involves the pillage of Cambodian forests for Chinese exploitation have been used to finance the prime minister's party and his security force, which is the only well-equipped military unit in the country (other brigades are employed in the transport of timber). Money acquired dishonestly is laundered in nine casinos now operating in Poipet, a town near the Thai border. Western governments and international aid organizations, including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, are well aware of this phenomenal corruption.

What seems to me more singular about Beijing's attitude toward Cambodia, however, is that Chinese officials have shown themselves unable to support "good" practices rather than "bad" ones. Hun Sen and his collaborators have long held Cambodia in their grip, and that has suited the Chinese Communists just fine. Beijing has also backed the despicable military government in Burma and the paranoid North Korean dictator. Whatever mad regime might serve China's interests, regardless of the suffering inflicted on the victims of those regimes, has been accepted, tolerated, and supported by the Chinese. Western diplomats have taken much satisfaction in denouncing their "cynicism."

But is it really cynicism? It is in the name of pragmatism that the Chinese do not allow moral considerations to weigh on their minds. Without any qualms, they adapt instantly to whatever situation they find, good and bad. This absolute pragmatism is the rule in the private sphere as well as for public affairs. I am reminded of what a Chinese friend told me when I expressed my exasperation at this failure to distinguish between good and evil. She answered: "My father told me, 'Be good, but not too good, or else you will die, for your place will be in Heaven, not on earth. And don't be too bad, either, or you won't deserve your place on earth." Had the balloon seller said the same thing, it might have mitigated my rage against Hun Sen's clique.


China Rises is written by Tim Johnson, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers. He covers both China and Taiwan.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cambodia To Terminate Khmer Rouge Tribunal If Sihanouk Still Wanted To Testify

Then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk (R) during a meeting with
Khmer Rouge leaders in Cambodia's "so-called" liberation zone, in April 1973.

Great heroic King Norodom Sihanouk will become a confrontation between Cambodia and the United Nations in the trial process for former Khmer Rouge [KR] leaders

13 September 2007

Rasmei Kampuchea
Translated from Khmer and posted online
Source: KI-Media

"Great heroic King Norodom Sihanouk will become a confrontation between Cambodia and the United Nations in the trial process for former Khmer Rouge [KR] leaders," said an unattributed report from the 13 September edition of the pro-government Cambodian newspaper Phnom Penh Reaksmei Kampuchea posted on the Everyday.com.kh portal.

The report added that to the United Nations, no one could be above the law, and Peter Foster, the UN spokesman of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [KRT], recently said, "It was up to the KRT judges and prosecutors to decide who should be indicted and who should be summoned as witness."

The report also said that in light of Peter Foster's remarks, the "former king could be invited to the KRT as witness, because he used to be the head of state of the Democratic Kampuchea [DK] regime, before deciding to resign from that position in 1976. Despite the reaction from the king father [Norodom Sihanouk] and from other Cambodian leaders, the United Nations was still adamant that the indictment or summons of witnesses was up to the KRT judges."

The report further said that a letter dated 6 September 2007 sent to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Royal Palace, Mrs. Michelle Lee, deputy head of the KRT administration office, "continued to maintain that only the tribunal judges were competent to decide who should be the witnesses."

The report added that although the letter said "Peter Foster did not intend to affect the reputation of the great heroic king, Mrs. Michelle Lee did not guarantee that the king father would be neither indicted nor summoned to appear in the KRT."

The report said that Lao Mong Hay, former president of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy and a jurist currently in Hong Kong, wrote a controversial article entitled "No Immunity for Sihanouk." In the article he said, "A lot of Cambodian people still believe that Samdech Sihanouk was the instrument for the KR Victory. Therefore, he should be responsible for the suffering of the Cambodian people in the KR regime."

"Therefore," Lao Mong Hay added, "recently the KRT should be neither intimidated nor threatened by the Cambodian Government. This tribunal should preserve its independence. It should persistently withstand the immunity of Samdech Sihanouk and summon him to appear in the law court whenever the truth, justice and/or human rights require it to do so."

The report also said that Lao Mong Hay used strong words saying, "Samdech Sihanouk's immunity from the trial is illegal, does not conform to the Constitution, and cannot be protected. The use of immunity by Samdech Sihanouk himself or with the support from the government to shun the tribunal will only reinforce/strengthen the belief that he was part of the responsibilities for the suffering of the Cambodian people under the KR regime."

Lao Mong Hay added, "It is an obstruction of justice and destruction of the rights of the Cambodian people, who have already endured enough suffering. It will also prevent Cambodia from settling its past story through the court of justice."

"Nonetheless," the report added, "Cambodian leaders are resolutely against any efforts or intentions to bring the king father to the KRT. Political parties, including the Cambodian People's Party, the FUNCINPEC [National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia] Party, the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and some other parties as well as the Senate, the National Assembly, and the Royal Government led by with Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, too, condemn the idea of wanting to have the ex-king, who is sacred to the Cambodian people, tried at the KRT."

To Cambodia, the report added, the trial of the king father was to "set all the Cambodian people's heart on roaring fire." Prime Minister Hun Sen said, "We cannot remain with our hands folded. We must destroy such an intention."

Moreover, recently Khieu Kanhnharit, information minister and government spokesman, too, warned, "Cambodia would terminate the KRT if they still nurtured the intention of bringing the king father to the KRT," the report pointed out.

As for the king father, the report said, he, too, "refused to appear in the KRT as witness." He "indirectly invited Peter Foster and other UN officials to a meeting with him in the Royal Palace scheduled for 8 September to discuss the questions regarding the KR and himself."

However, the report added, UN officials and judges "did not to and see the ex-king as scheduled, partly because the letter of invitation had not been sent to the KRT officially."

To this point, the report further said, there was "fear about a deadlock in the KRT. What would happen if the UN judges still had the intent to invite the king father to the KRT and Cambodia resolutely objected to it?"

"Will the United Nations be still imbued with the idea of inviting the king father to the law court despite Cambodia's objection? The great heroic king will become a test for the cooperation between Cambodia and the United Nations," the report concluded.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cambodia's Anti-Trafficking Efforts Still Weak, US Czar Says

11 September 2007
Source: VOANews

When the US State Department's new anti-human trafficking chief took his position in June, he found himself tasked with bringing nearly 50 countries in line with US standards for fighting the practice.

Cambodia is one of those countries, and if its efforts have not been strong enough, Mark Lagon said in a recent interview.

"Over time we've tried to get Cambodia's attention. At one point in the past it was subject to partial sanctions," Lagon said.

Cambodia remains on a US watch list for countries that are not doing enough to fight the movement of people for sex or labor. This is the second year it has been on the list, and, Lagon said, it can't stay there forever. It must either improve, or fall back onto a list of countries who are subject to US sanctions for their complicity in the practice.

The US estimates about 800,000 people are trafficked between nations each year. Most of them are women, and nearly half of them are under 18 years old. In Asia, Lagon said, that means Burmese victimized in the Thai fishing industry, sex trafficking to Malaysia, and high numbers of people shipped across China for labor in brick kilns and on farms.

In Cambodia, most of those trafficked are sex slaves.

"At a certain point, one has to ask the question, is this a matter of will, rather than a matter of lacking capacity?" Lagon said.

Cambodia has not done enough to stop corrupt officials—including the national police—that allow the slave trade to thrive.

The worst of that is child prostitution, with customers from Asia and abroad.

"Americans as tourists can be insidious consumers of sexually exploited children," he said, "and we're going to do everything we can, in partnership, to fight those bastards."

The practice is difficult to destroy at its roots. Traffickers are devious. They prey on the hopes of the rural poor, promising them a better life. They often find a ready ear.

"They say, 'Migrate to this other place, other part of the country, another neighboring state [country], there will be better economic conditions there," Lagon said. "And they often describe a different life, a life as a dancer, a life as a domestic servant, and it turns out to be something frightfully different."

Recruiters will ask to hold a passport, an obvious warning sign and an easy way for criminals to control trafficking victims. And Human trafficking is lucrative, making it difficult to stamp out.

In Cambodia, police officials, including National Police Chief Hok Lundy, have been implicated in the crime of buying and selling human beings for the sex trade.

Although some US agencies work with Hok Lundy, and he has denied involvement, Lagon, who's former boss was a strong opponent of the police chief, said he has not seen satisfactory proof from Hok Lundy to clear him of the allegations.

"The burden of proof must always lie with officials who have been corrupt and who have been part of the problem and part of dehumanization of their fellow citizens," Lagon said. "That will always be the case with Hok Lundy."

Until recently, the US State Department refused to allow Hok Lundy in the country , and Lagon said such measures may be working.

Agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation now work with the police, but Lagon said the US is still pushing the authorities to clean up.

"We're trying to work, region-wide, on the key to the puzzle," he said. "And the key to the puzzle is rule of law."

Without the rule of law, he said, there never be dignity for all.


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Thursday, September 06, 2007

The rise and rise of a Cambodian capitalist

Kith Meng (Owner of Royal Group of Companies: CTN, MobiTel-012,
the Camlot lottery company and a 45% stake venture with Australia's ANZ Bank
and the head of the Phnom Penh Chamber of Commerce)

By Shawn W Crispin
Source: Asia Time Online

PHNOM PENH – Kith Meng's is the bold new face of Cambodian capitalism. Widely considered the country's richest entrepreneur, the Sino-Khmer businessman presides over a sprawling business empire held under his Royal Group of Companies which has leveraged into and helped drive Cambodia's recent economic boom.

With impeccable political connections - including not least his role as a personal advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen - Kith Meng, 37, has secured a growing trove of lucrative government concessions, licenses and land deals that his Royal Group has in sometimes controversial fashion translated into big business profits.

Those include his controlling stakes in CTN television, mobile telecom leader Mobitel, the Camlot lottery company and a 45% stake in a commercial banking joint venture with Australia's ANZ Bank, where he serves as board chairman and reportedly drives strategic decision-making.

Last year he purchased the swanky Cambodiana Hotel, newly established the Infinity Insurance company and accumulated extensive property holdings and development concessions in the capital Phnom Penh, in what his critics contend are often opaque deals brokered with various line ministries. (Kith Meng could not be reached through his Royal Group for comment.)

His growing service sector empire has drawn both favorable and unfavorable comparisons to neighboring Thailand's telecom tycoon-cum-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's commercial and political ascent. He reportedly will seek a seat on the national senate at upcoming elections and some Phnom Penh-based analysts see him one day as a potential successor to the 55-year-old Hun Sen, who they note rose to political prominence through his military prowess rather than business acumen.

A former refugee from political violence, Kith Meng's is one of Cambodia's most compelling rags to riches stories. His father, Kith Peng Ike, a Sino-Khmer businessman and landlord, was singled out as a "class enemy" during the Khmer Rouge's genocidal purges and he reportedly died from starvation in one of the radical Maoist group's labor camps.

Kith Meng and his family fled the country for Australia, where he was raised and educated. He returned to his war-torn homeland in the early 1990s to help his elder brother, Sophan Kith, to develop the resurrected family business, which upon reestablishment was first known as the Royal Cambodia Company. The enterprise started modestly, supplying furniture, food and office equipment to the United Nations authority that ushered Cambodia's rocky transition from civil war to parliamentary democracy.

In 1991 the Royal Group won the rights to distribute exclusively Canon copiers throughout the country and it quickly spun those monopoly revenues into a joint venture in 1993 with Motorola to establish one of Cambodia's first wireless communication networks. It later did a deal with Luxembourg's Millicom International Cellular, which over the years has grown into the country's leading mobile telecom outfit, Mobitel.

In 1994 Sophan Kith died under mysterious circumstances and, peculiar to cultural norms of seniority as the youngest sibling, Kith Meng took control over the family business. He now serves as both the company's chairman and chief executive officer and his cut-throat approach to business expansion has rapidly transformed the Royal Group into Cambodia's leading service sector conglomerate.

Young gun
As a Western-educated, 37-year-old entrepreneur, Kith Meng's resume stands out among the older generation of ethnic Chinese businessmen who dominate Cambodia's traditional economy. Cambodian politicians have long relied on Sino-Khmer businessmen to run crucial sectors of the national economy, similar to the ethnic-based government-business nexuses seen in Thailand and Indonesia.

In Cambodia that privilege comes with a royal title known as Okhna, which is bestowed on those who make sizable financial contributions to the royal family. Kith Meng is believed to be one of the youngest businessmen to ever receive the honorific and his meteoric commercial rise includes his recent selection as the head the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce.

As Cambodia becomes more integrated into the global economy, Kith Meng has emerged as the government's de facto spokesman for selling the country to potential foreign investors as a profitable and desirable place to do business. He is regularly seen on local television wining and dining foreign business delegations. On the Royal Group's website is a pitch to potential foreign investors to help build its proposed Royal Caesar Casino, which it's billing as "the largest and most dazzling gaming facility in the Cambodia hemisphere".

Beyond the diplomacy and hype, there is much more at play to Kith Meng's growing prominence than mere spin-doctoring. Some political analysts contend that Hun Sen has played an instrumental role in cultivating and mobilizing the young entrepreneur's modern business image in a vigorous public relations effort to shirk his and his government's notorious reputation as the "Mafia on the Mekong".

Cambodia emerged from nearly three decades of civil war only to become known as a regional hub for illicit business, including rampant money laundering, drug smuggling, human trafficking and illegal logging. Hun Sen and his Cambodia People's Party's (CPP) have been directly linked to shadowy figures reputedly involved in illicit businesses, including his established ties to businessman Theng Bunma, who has contributed millions of dollars to the premier's past election campaigns and also implicated by US authorities for alleged drug trafficking.

As Cambodia's aboveground economy booms, state concessions are no doubt providing rich new sources of legitimate revenues for Hun Sen's government. It is unknown whether Kith Meng contributes funds directly to his CPP, but his concession payments to line ministries are no doubt bolstering state coffers. One Phnom Penh-based Western businessman who spoke on condition of anonymity and claims to have personally conducted the due diligence research on the Royal Group's recent joint venture with Australia's ANZ Bank says that his in-depth investigations failed to turn up any "dirty laundry" in Kith Meng's past or present business dealings.

Reborn landed gentry
That's not to say his business practices lack for controversy. Kith Meng's style has reportedly ruffled feathers among the more established Okhna represented in the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, whereby the older generation of Sino-Khmer businessmen have bristled at his perceived patronizing lectures about globalization and at what some of them reportedly view as his overly direct Western-style of interaction.

Whether those complaints stem from genuine pique or instead heartfelt fear of Kith Meng's expanding reach into other Okhna's once monopolized markets is unclear. One Western aid agency representative, who spoke with Asia Times Online on condition of anonymity, says that soon after launching last year’s joint venture with ANZ Bank, Kith Meng pushed to expand the bank's local branch network much faster than ANZ first planned. That aggressive strategy, it turns, has paid off handsomely through a fast growing market share of deposits and the lion's share of loans in the nascent home mortgage market.

Other times, critics say, Kith Meng's Royal Group pushes too hard. In June 2006 police armed with batons, tear gas and AK47 assault rifles evicted at least 20 families from a contested land plot worth several million dollars next to Phnom Penh's Preah Monivong Hospital which the government had controversially awarded to the Royal Group for development. The resident families were reportedly given US$500-$1,500 in compensation and trucked to a relocation site 30 kilometers outside the capital which lacked electricity and water.

Similar complaints have arisen from his plans for the landmark Bassac Theater. In 2005, the culture ministry granted the concession, which called on the Royal Group to rehabilitate the damaged structure in exchange for the rights to outfit the theater's surrounding land with new offices and a conference center. The company has since decided to demolish the historic building and evict the scores of artists who after the Khmer Rouge's "class enemy" purges took refuge in the old theater.

Those same artists have resurrected the traditional Khmer art forms that the Maoist movement aimed to destroy and after squatting at the historic site for over a decade, each has received $300 to abandon an area where land prices now top $1,000 per square meter. The irony of such deals is not lost on Kith Meng's critics, who contend that the Royal Group is capitalizing on the legal vacuum for adjudicating land ownership rights created by the Khmer Rouge's destruction of the national land registries.

On the Royal Group's website, Kith Meng says in a statement that the company's origins trace "back to the early days of the Khmer Rouge occupation" – meaning, presumably, the property and businesses his father maintained before the radical Maoist movement killed him and drove his family, including a young Kith Meng, into exile. In Cambodia's latest capitalist incarnation, government connections often trump historical claims and reassert old social class divisions, of which Kith Meng's and the Royal Group's fast expanding commercial domain is living proof.

Shawn W Crispin is Asia Times Online's Southeast Asia Editor.


Cambodia's MobiTel to buy telecommunication materials from Singapore
September 05, 2007
Source: People's Daily Online

MobiTel, Cambodia's largest mobile phone service provider, signed an agreement to purchase 150 million U.S. dollars worth of telecommunication materials from the Singapore-based Alcaltel-Lucent Company, officials said on Wednesday.

"Today we signed the purchase agreement of telecommunication materials from Alcatel-Lucent Company to further advance the availability of world-class cellular phone services in Cambodia," said Kith Meng, chairman of MobiTel.

The agreement will allow a major expansion of MobiTel's rural network, increasing the access to modern communication for many more people throughout Cambodia, he said.

Pierre-Alain Cadillon, vice president and head of the South Asia regional unit of Alcatel-Lucent, said that the expansion over the next four years will bring a new range of mobile communication services, ranging from voice mail, video transmission, mobile TV to internet access, to more three million subscribers in Cambodia.

Kith Meng said that MobiTel borrowed money from banks of the United States and Australia to finish the purchase, and the Cambodian government also provided support.

Kith Meng and Pierre-Alain Cadillon signed the agreement here Wednesday in the presence of Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

Cambodia opened the mobile telecommunication sector to private capital in 1992. Currently, around 21 percent of the kingdom's 14 million population adopt mobile phone as their major communication solution.

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No immunity for Sihanouk

Lao Mong Hay is currently a senior researcher at the
Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong. He was previously
director of the Khmer Institute of Democracy in Phnom Penh,
Cambodia, and a visiting professor at the University of
Toronto in 2003. In 1997, he received an award from
Human Rights Watch and the Nansen Medal in 2000 from the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Commentary: No immunity for Sihanouk
Column: Rule by Fear
Source: UPI Asia Online

Over the last two weeks, the Cambodian government has mounted vitriolic attacks against a request for former King Sihanouk, now 84, to be stripped of his immunity and face trial in the mixed Cambodian-U.N. tribunal set up to try senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

The government branded the request by the Cambodian Action Committee for Justice and Equity, a U.S.-based non-governmental organization, a "public agitation" that "could have the result of jeopardizing the peace and unity" of Cambodia "and play into the hands of those who would seek to return [the country] to its former state of war and chaos." Prime Minister Hun Sen called the request "very barbaric" and said that the top state institutions could not stand by and watch it set a fire blazing in the heart of the Cambodian people.

Other leading state institutions joined the government in "absolutely rejecting" and "condemning" the request. They glorified Sihanouk's services to the nation, which included giving Cambodia its independence, territorial integrity, unity and national reconciliation. They also claimed he had suffered when he had been overthrown by a coup in 1970 and when he had been under the rule of the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979. Sihanouk "had suffered more than most rulers," Hun Sen claimed.

In line with Cambodian law and assistance agreements between the Cambodian government and the United Nations, Peter Foster, the tribunal's U.N. spokesman, in his comment on the same request, was reported as saying that it was up to the tribunal to decide whom to call as a witness and whom to indict. He added that Sihanouk could be called as a witness.

Following this statement, the government issued a warning on Aug. 31 that "Cambodia will kick out the Khmer Rouge Tribunal if it brings Great, Valorous King Sihanouk to trial." Moreover, it asserted that there should not be a summons to Sihanouk to appear in court as a witness. If the judges or prosecutors of that tribunal "issue such a summons, we shall kick out that tribunal," it added, claiming that any such summons would "humiliate" what it called the "symbol" of Cambodia.

Sihanouk became king of Cambodia in 1941 and abdicated in 1955. In 1960, he became head of state with executive power but was not crowned king at that time. In 1970, he was overthrown in a coup, which engulfed Cambodia during the Vietnam War and led to the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge's armed struggle alongside and with support from the Vietnamese communist forces.

Sihanouk, while in China in the immediate aftermath of being overthrown, became the head of the Khmer Rouge-dominated government in exile. From China, Sihanouk used his popularity to mobilize the Cambodian people to "go into the maquis (jungle)" to join the Khmer Rouge. The latter's army then grew from strength to strength and won power in 1975, and Sihanouk remained head of state of the Khmer Rouge regime until 1976.

In 1982, Sihanouk again became head of state of the Cambodian resistance movement against the Vietnamese-installed government in Cambodia. At the end of the latter war, in 1993, he was re-crowned king. Although he abdicated again in 2004, the Cambodian Parliament named him "Great Valorous King" in recognition of his lifelong dedicated service to the country and achievements and conferred upon him the same privileges and immunities as those constitutionally conferred upon the reigning monarch, which includes immunity from prosecution.

This act of Parliament conferring immunity was unconstitutional, however, as the Constitution of Cambodia confers this immunity only upon the reigning monarch and not upon anyone else. Nor has that act any moral legitimacy, for under its Constitution, Cambodia is supposed to be governed by the rule of law under which all are equal before the law and no one is above the law.

Furthermore, many Cambodian people still believe that Sihanouk was instrumental in the Khmer Rouge's victory and was therefore also responsible for the suffering of the Cambodian people under the Khmer Rouge's rule. They also want justice and to know the truth about their horrible past history in which Sihanouk must have had a hand due to his association with the Khmer Rouge.

Sihanouk's immunity from prosecution is illegitimate, unconstitutional and indefensible. Any use of it by Sihanouk himself or with government support to evade any court action only strengthens the belief in his share of responsibility for the suffering of the Cambodian people under the Khmer Rouge's rule. It is an obstruction of justice and jeopardizes the rights of Cambodia's people, who have endured enough grief. It will prevent the Cambodian nation from addressing their past through the tribunal.

The Khmer Rouge Tribunal thus should not be intimidated by the Cambodian government's latest threat and should maintain its independence. It should challenge Sihanouk's immunity and summons him to appear whenever truth, justice and/or the rights of the people so require.


(Lao Mong Hay is currently a senior researcher at the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong. He was previously director of the Khmer Institute of Democracy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and a visiting professor at the University of Toronto in 2003. In 1997, he received an award from Human Rights Watch and the Nansen Medal in 2000 from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.)

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