Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cambodian Minister Asks Vietnam 'To Assist' in Maintaining Security in Election

Cambodian Minister Asks Vietnam 'To Assist' in Maintaining Security in Election
SEP20080328021006 Phnom Penh Agence Kampuchea Presse (Internet Version-WWW) in English 27 Mar 08
Vietnamese President Reiterates Good Ties With Cambodia

Phnom Penh, March 27, 2008 AKP --Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Tea Banh was received last Tuesday in Hanoi by Vietnamese State President Nguyen Minh Triet.

The State leader told Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh that the Party, State and people of Viet Nam have always prioritized the task of working together with Cambodia and Laos for a developed Indochinese peninsular.

General Tea Banh thanked Viet Nam for its great assistance in the past struggle to overthrow the Pol Pot genocidal regime and the current national development, Viet Nam News Agency (VNA) reported.

"The mature of the Cambodian Defense Ministry today is partially thanks to experiences drawn from Vietnamese experts on voluntary missions," VNA quoted Tea Banh as saying.

He also called on the Vietnamese Defense Ministry to assist and share experiences in maintaining security and public order in an effort to ensure Cambodia's legislative elections, scheduled for July, are a success.

General Tea Banh began a four-day official visit to Viet Nam on Mar. 24 at the invitation of Defense Minister General Phung Quang Thanh.

The Cambodian high-level military delegation embarked on talks with a host delegation led by Defense Minister Gen. Phung Quang Thanh immediately after a welcoming ceremony.
The two sides agreed to continue joint patrols at sea and exchange information on search and rescue operations. Talks also focused on the work of locating and repatriating remains of Vietnamese volunteers who died on Cambodian soil.
The two sides agreed on further exchanges of visits and stronger co-operation in personnel training between military hospitals and institutes from the two countries in order to fulfill high-level commitments to "good neighborliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive and long-term co-operation." --AKP

[Description of Source: Phnom Penh Agence Kampuchea Presse (Internet Version-WWW) in English -- Official government news agency run by the Information Ministry. Caters mostly to foreign audiences with occasional news items taken from foreign sources; root URL as of filing date: http://www.camnet.com.kh/akp]

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Thursday, March 27, 2008


Ron Abney, Cochran, Georgia,USA


What a sham and a farce the investigation of this tragic event has become. Every year we call on the Cambodian Government to investigate. We’re asking the Hun Sen government to re-open a case which he never really opened.

The FBI found out within weeks of the attack that it was planned and carried out by Hun Sen’s own private guards and covered up by Hun Sen’s top police enforcers. What a crime was committed that day. We shouldn’t be vague about culpability when we ask for a new investigation. So let’s be real.

Did those slaughtered on 3/30/97 die in vain? Even today Hun Sen is the supreme and ultimate puppeteer of all that happens in Cambodia. He decides who will be exiled and who will be allowed back in the country. He decides how far each opposition party can go in criticizing has government. He makes sure the NEC is loaded with yes men who will validate the results of the election. He decides who will be jailed and who will be released. He decides the fate of pro-democracy party commune leaders who speak out and try to organize. His forces bribe opposition part officials to join CPP. And as we saw on 3/30/97 he decides when opposition goes too far.

He is a master of intrigue. He has told the world for years that his government will bring the Khmer Rouge leaders before his court for trail. How is that trial going by the way? These KR leaders are dying right and left of old age while the corrupt judicial system in Phnom Penh makes a farce out of a situation so tragic it still rips the heart out of those who suffered at the hands of Pol Pot.

Cambodia hasn’t really changed. Everything looks shinier and tourists who fly from their own country to Bangkok or Hong Kong to Siem Reap and its five-star hotels and then back to their homes talk of how wonderful to see all the changes. They should travel about an hour from Siem Reap in any direction and see what has happened to the homeless who used to pack the streets of that great city.

Those gathered on 3/30/97 only asked for justice and political freedom. If they were alive today they would still be begging for basic human rights and the same freedom and opportunities that CPP officials enjoy.
In Cambodia everybody votes but nobody counts.


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Sam Rainsy: Rooted in the Stone - My Struggle for the Revival of Cambodia

Translated from French by Luc Sâr

By Sam Rainsy

Ravaged by genocide, coveted by powerful and predatory neighbors, submitted to a corrupt nomenklatura, choked by a neo-feudal regime, Cambodia is a martyr country, and no one knows this better than Sam Rainsy. Born into a patrician family in Phnom Penh, close to King Norodom Sihanouk, a young Rainsy knew opulence and the decline when his father, a major politician, was brutally dismissed and had to live in hiding before being assassinated.

Taking refuge in Paris, the Sam family resigned themselves to live as poor immigrants. However, they never lost their hope or dignity. A gifted student, Rainsy undertook brilliant studies that led him to become an important financier specializing in mergers and acquisitions for the luxury industry…

But, how could one be happy earning money and making money for others, when one’s country is sinking in cruelty in the hands of a regime practicing mass murder? From humanitarian action in Paris for the victims of the Khmer rouge regime to election campaigns on the spot, following the fall of the communist regime, Rainsy and Saumura, his wife, launch themselves into political action, taking over the torch from their respective fathers, both of whom were signatories of the 1954 Geneva agreements on Indochina.

However, for these two westernized Cambodians, their return home was rough. Facing with difficulties, aggressions, and even assassination attempts, Rainsy countered them with Buddhist-like pacifism, while constantly seeking for calm and compromise. Becoming the Minister of Economy under Hun Sen’s first mandate government, he was able to bring order to the State finance, and this earned him more hostilities. It was in the opposition that he found his calling when he founded a democratic and liberal party involved in the defense of freedom. Facing the unleashing of violence prompted by such provocation, Rainsy maintains his bearing, unperturbed and smiling, unshakable and frugal, just like those trees deeply rooted in the stones of the Angkor temples.

In April 2008, Sam Rainsy’s 300-page-long autobiography detailing his struggle for the revival of Cambodia, “Rooted in the stone,” will be published in France by Calmann-Lévy. This book can be pre-ordered through SRP-France at a cost of euro 20, or euro 22.97 including shipping.

The Khmer and English version of the book will be published in the following months.

For additional information, please contact munysara@aol.com
or call the following telephone number in France: +33 6 19 31 42 98 or +33 6 13 06 77


Des racines dans la pierre - Mon combat pour la renaissance du Cambodge
Sam Rainsy

Ravagé par un génocide, convoité par des voisins puissants et prédateurs, mis en coupe réglée par une nomenklatura corrompue, asphyxié par un régime néo-féodal, le Cambodge est un pays martyr. Nul ne le sait mieux que Sam Rainsy. Né dans une famille patricienne de Phnom Penh proche du roi Norodom Sihanouk, le jeune Rainsy connaît l'opulence, puis la déchéance lorsque son père, un homme politique de premier plan, est brutalement limogé et doit passer dans la clandestinité avant de finir assassiné.

Réfugiés à Paris, les Sam vont se résigner à une vie d'immigrés pauvres. Mais jamais ils ne perdront l'espoir ni la dignité. Elève surdoué, Rainsy fera des études brillantes qui lui permettront de devenir un financier de haut vol, spécialiste des fusions-acquisitions dans l'industrie du luxe...

Mais comment se contenter de gagner de l'argent et d'en faire gagner, quand son pays s'enfonce dans la barbarie aux mains d'un régime qui pratique le meurtre en masse ? De l'action humanitaire à Paris en faveur des victimes des Khmers rouges aux campagnes électorales sur le terrain après la chute du régime communiste, Rainsy et sa femme Saumura se lancent dans l'action politique, reprenant le flambeau de leurs pères respectifs : ceux-ci n'étaient-ils pas co-signataires des accords de Genève sur l'Indochine en 1954 ?

Mais pour ces deux Cambodgiens occidentalisés, le retour au pays est rude. Aux difficultés, aux agressions, aux attentats, même, Rainsy oppose un pacifisme d'essence bouddhique, cherchant avec constance l'apaisement et le compromis. Ministre de l'Economie du premier gouvernement Hun Sen, il parvient à mettre de l'ordre dans les finances de l'Etat, ce qui lui vaut de nouvelles inimitiés. Mais c'est dans l'opposition qu'il trouvera sa voie, en créant un parti démocrate, libéral et attaché à la défense des libertés. Devant le déchaînement de violence que déclenche une telle provocation, Rainsy maintient le cap, impavide et souriant, inébranlable et frugal, à l'image de ces arbres qui poussent dans la pierre des temples d'Angkor.

Au mois d'avril 2008, un livre autobiographique de Sam Rainsy relatant son combat pour la renaissance du Cambodge, intitulé "Des racines dans la pierre", paraîtra en France aux éditions Calmann-Lévy. Vous trouverez ci-joint la couverture du livre ainsi qu'un résumé de son contenu (300 pages).

Vous pouvez d'ores et déjà commander ce livre auprès de PSR-France qui vous le remettra en main propre au prix de 20 euros (prix public) ou vous l'expédiera par la Poste au prix de 22,97 euros.

Les éditions en khmer et en anglais paraîtront dans les mois suivants.

Prière de contacter munysara@aol.com ou
+33 6 19 31 42 98 ou +33 6 13 06 77 00

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Cambodia's Dysfunctional Democracy

March 26, 2008
UPI Asia Online

Column: Rule by Fear

HONG KONG, China - Cambodia is bound to a set of obligations under the international agreements that were concluded in 1991 to end the war in the country. Cambodia has undertaken, among other things, to adopt democracy, to observe and respect human rights and to be governed by the rule of law.

The country's Constitution, which emanates from a U.N.-organized constituent election in 1993, incorporates all of its international obligations and provides for all basic institutions for a parliamentary democracy and the rule of law. It is a constitutional monarchy with a separation of powers. It has an independent and impartial judiciary whose duty is to protect the rights and freedoms of its citizens.

Cambodia has since then abandoned communism, embraced a market economy and become a more open society. However, communist legacies have stalled the creation of institutions for parliamentary democracy and the rule of law worthy of their names and their functioning. The government is not accountable to the National Assembly, for example, when the prime minister and other government ministers flout their constitutional duties and spurn the assembly's summons to answer its questions.

The government and, through it, the prime minister, currently Hun Sen, have effective control over all state institutions, including the king, the Constitutional Council, the National Assembly and the judiciary. Hun Sen's power is all the stronger when he has effective control of his ruling party, the Cambodian People's Party, a former communist party whose discipline has remained as strict as ever.

Party members are appointed to all positions of responsibility in all state institutions -- the army, the security forces, the civil service, the National Election Committee, and even the legal profession. Hun Sen and the CPP have the support of rich businessmen through cronyism, and he and other leading CPP members have built up strong personal relationships among themselves and rich businessmen through the marriages of their children or through business connections.

The dysfunctional institutions for parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, and the concomitant concentration of power, that have been created by this phenomenon have led to an abuse of power and position, corruption, inequality before the law and impunity for the rich and powerful.

Many crimes throughout the years, especially the notorious ones in which top officials are widely known to have been involved, have remained uninvestigated. Almost all such perpetrators have escaped punishment for their crimes. These notorious crimes include, for example, the killing and injuring of peaceful demonstrators in 1997, the killing of some 40 senior rival party members in a coup a few months later, the killing of a famous actress in 1999, labor union leaders in 2004 and 2007 and evictees in 2007 and the attempted murder of female singers in 2003 and 2007.

Many powerful and rich people have abused their power and position and are known to have been involved in land-grabbing, which is a major issue that has put at least 150,000 people at risk of being evicted, according to a survey. Hun Sen has publicly acknowledged that land-grabbers are officials of his ruling party and people in power. In recent years, land-grabbers have used members of the security forces to forcibly evict people from their homes and lands, beating them, destroying their properties and arresting them if they resist. According to one NGO, at least 5,585 families in 2007 were evicted, and nearly 150 people were arrested, one-third of whom are still in prison in 2008.

In February 2008, the Cambodia national police commissioner allegedly ordered the punishment of a police officer who refused to follow an order to cede his land to a senior government minister in a land dispute. This police officer was allegedly illegally arrested, tortured and denied medical treatment.

In the same month, the son of an advisor to a top leader of the country shot at a metal frame builder whose nephew had a brawl with that advisor's other son, but the bullet missed the builder. The builder's nephew was arrested, yet both of the advisor's sons were not. The advisor used his position to arrange with the police and the court for an out-of-court settlement and for the dropping of all charges against his sons, which is illegal under Cambodian law.

Earlier in January the bodyguards of a powerful person were caught on camera grabbing and assaulting the driver of a truck who failed to stop in time to make way for the car of their boss to drive through a busy section of a national highway on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Yet no investigation has been reported, although the story with the photo of the assault has been published in a leading national newspaper.

Louis Antoine Léon de Saint-Just, a French revolutionary leader in the 18th century, said that France had too many laws but too few institutions and that despotism would not decline until there were more institutions. Cambodia seems to have sufficient laws and institutions to counter despotism, but law enforcement is defective due to defective institutions.

It is time for the Cambodian government to correct defects in law enforcement and the country's institutions. The Cambodian National Assembly, as the representative of the nation responsible for the formation of the government, should exercise its power to make this government accountable to it. The judiciary should uphold its independence and impartiality and protect the rights and freedoms of all Cambodian citizens. Its members should not be affiliated to any political party, as almost all of them are at the moment.

All other institutions, including the army, the security forces, the civil service, the National Election Committee and the legal profession, should uphold their political neutrality and their impartiality. Above all, the government and the ruling party should respect the independence, political neutrality and impartiality applicable to the country's institutions.
(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.)

Labels: Abuse of power, Cronyism, Dysfunctional democracy, Hun Sen's control of power, Lack of justice, Land-grabbing by the rich and powerful, Lao Mong Hay

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Cambodia thanks Vietnam for military assistance

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 10:46:46 Vietnam (GMT+07)
Source: VNA

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh Tuesday thanked Vietnam for its past assistance in overthrowing the genocidal Pol Pot regime and its current help in developing Cambodia.

At a meeting with President Nguyen Minh Triet in Hanoi, General Tea Banh, who doubles as the country’s Defense Minister, said “the maturity of the Cambodian Defense Ministry today is partially thanks to … Vietnamese experts on voluntary missions.”

Triet said Vietnam always held cooperation with Cambodia and Laos as a high priority in developing the Indochinese peninsula.

Tea Banh began a four-day official visit to Vietnam Monday at the invitation of Vietnamese Minister of Defense General, Phung Quang Thanh.

During their meeting Tuesday, Banh and Thanh agreed to cooperate on locating and repatriating the remains of Vietnamese volunteers who died on Cambodian soil.

Banh asked the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense to share its experiences in maintaining security and public order and help Cambodia ensure the success of the country’s legislative elections in July.

The leaders agreed they would meet again in the future to strengthen cooperation in personnel training between military hospitals and institutes.

The two sides also agreed to continue joint sea patrols and exchange information on search and rescue operations.

Source: VNA

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Sok Kong: I am a Vietnamese

20 March 2008
Translated from Vietnamese by Wanna
Originally posted at: http://www.xwanna.com

Original article in Vietnamese: “Tôi là người Việt Nam!"

Maybe some people are still skeptical about who is Sok Kong? Now, believe me and believe him (Sok Kong)!

Oknha Sok Kong said...

Tôi sinh ra ở Prey Veng. Ba mẹ tôi là người VN, tôi được sinh ra ở CPC. Năm 1975 sang VN làm ruộng ở Đồng Tháp. Lúc đó tôi 23 tuổi. Năm 1979 tôi trở lại CPC

Translation: I was born in Prey Veng. My parents are Vietnamese, I was born in Cambodia. In 1975, I backed to VN and do farming at Don Thap province. I was then 23. In 1979, I returned to Cambodia

Tôi giàu con lắm, có đến sáu đứa: ba trai, ba gái. Con trai đầu làm việc ở TP.HCM, con trai thứ hai quản lý khách sạn và xí nghiệp may số 1, con trai thứ ba quản lý xí nghiệp may 2, ba đứa con gái còn đi học ở Úc.

Translation: I have many children, including 6: 3 sons, 3 daughters. My eldest son works at HCM(Ho Chi Minh) city; My second son is a manager of a hotel and garment factory Number 01; My third son is a manager of garment factory Number 02; My three daughters are all studying in Australia.

Trước đây vì một số lý do tôi không muốn ai biết mình là người VN. Còn bây giờ thì không. Tôi là người VN. Tôi vinh dự về điều đó!

Translation: In the past, from some reasons, I don't want anyone to know that I am a Vietnamese. Now, it's NOT. I am a Vietnamese. I'm proud of that.

Learn more about Sok Kong via Cambodian Information Center - Search


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Thursday, March 20, 2008

US State Department Examines Cambodian Rights Record


Looking back over the past year the US State Department has found repeated instances of intimidation and violence against Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks and citizens. The report goes on to show the lack of rights in both Cambodia and Vietnam, with religious rights bearing the brunt of abuses reported.

Below is an excerpt from the US State Department Human Rights Report for Cambodia in 2007:

Political activists continued to be the victims of killings. On February 27 [2007], Eang Sok Thoeurn, a Khmer Kampuchea Krom monk, was found dead […] in the Tronum Chhroeung Monastery in Kandal Province. The deceased monk was discovered the morning after he participated in a demonstration in front of the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh for the rights of Khmer Kampuchea Krom persons living in Vietnam. Police quickly declared the death a suicide and disposed of the body without further investigation. NGOs and Khmer Kampuchea Krom groups suspected the killing was politically motivated.


On June 30 [2007], Khmer Kampuchea Krom monk Tim Sakhorn, head of a pagoda in the Kirivong District of Takeo Province for more than 10 years, disappeared. Previously, on orders of the country's top Buddhist leader, Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong, monks from Phnom Penh had defrocked Tim Sakhorn, after which unidentified persons believed to be attached to the MOI [Ministry of Interior] pushed him into a vehicle and drove away. The defrocking order stated Tim Sakhorn "broke the solidarity" between Cambodia and Vietnam by using pagodas to spread propaganda that affects the dignity of Buddhism. The monk was known locally for providing food and shelter to Khmer Kampuchea Krom coming from Vietnam. The MOI stated that Tim Sakhorn volunteered to go to Vietnam after he was defrocked, and ministry officials produced a document stating this intent. While signed by Tim Sakhorn, the handwritten document appeared not to be in his writing. On August 2 [2007], Tim Sakhorn reappeared in court custody in Vietnam, held on charges of destroying political solidarity. In September [2007] the Information Ministry stated that the Cambodian consulate in Ho Chi Minh City was investigating Tim Sakhorn's condition in detention. On November 8 [2007], a Vietnamese newspaper reported that a court in Vietnam convicted Tim Sakhorn of undermining solidarity between Cambodia and Vietnam and sentenced him to one year in prison.


On February 27 [2007], police and military police dispersed 60 Khmer Kampuchea Krom Buddhist monks demonstrating at the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh during a state visit by the Vietnamese president. Demonstrators assembled to support Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks in Vietnam who had been defrocked and arrested, urging their release and reinstatement as monks. The next morning one monk protester was found dead […] On March 16, police and local authorities in Kandal Province prevented the deceased monk's Khmer Kampuchea Krom community members and monks from holding his funeral.


On April 20 [2007], police and municipal authorities dispersed 80 Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks assembled at the Vietnamese embassy trying to deliver a petition in protest of alleged Vietnamese government rights abuses of Khmer Kampuchea Krom living in Vietnam. The protesters decided to go to another embassy to present the petition. On the way a group of unidentified, non-Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks and laypersons aggressively intercepted the demonstrators and attempted to disperse them. In the ensuing scuffle, one of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks was injured. Authorities did not intervene in the confrontation and did not conduct an investigation. On December 17 [2007], 40 monks sought again to deliver a petition to Vietnamese embassy officials for the release of Tim Sakhorn and other Khmer Kampuchea Krom monks imprisoned in Vietnam, and also for the return of land that they claimed the Vietnamese government seized from Khmer Kampuchea Krom persons in southern Vietnam. Police attempted to disperse the crowd, but the monks refused to disband, and violence broke out […] A local NGO reported that six monks were injured; police stated that some of the police sustained minor injuries.



Please use the link below to access the full report:
US State Department Human Rights Report for Cambodia (2007)

US State Department

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for human rights in Cambodia, Yash Ghai

Excerpt from Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for human rights in Cambodia, Yash Ghai


99. Year after year, the Special Representative’s predecessors and others have addressed the problems of the legal and judicial system in Cambodia and made numerous recommendations, to no avail. The Government has no incentives for reform, as the international community continues to make large financial contributions regardless of widespread violations of human rights.

100. A distinguished Cambodian legal scholar recently commented that “the Government is the least serious about the legal and judicial programme”. The World Bank shelved a project because of “a lack of senior-level commitment to the implementation of a concerted legal and judicial reform agenda within the Executive and Judicial branches of the Government”. Another donor has said that numerous plans and councils on good governance are “little more than a studied attempt to tell donors what they want to hear”.

Recommendations to the Government

101. The Government has primary responsibility for the rule of law. The Special Representative would stress the following recommendations, many of which were made previously:

  • The Government must respect the independence of all prosecutors and judges, including those (and defenders and administrative staff) within ECCC.

  • The Government must devote more resources to the justice sector. Efforts to train lawyers and to recruit prosecutors and judges should continue and the aim should be for everyone to be within easy reach of a court and for delays in proceedings to be minimized.

  • The Government should appoint a committee drawn from Government, the BAKC, human rights NGOs and local and foreign experts, to advise on the organization of legal aid. Its recommendations should be implemented speedily.

  • The Government must promote respect for the rule of law within the State and society. It must set the example, as guardian of the Constitution and the law. Laws must be implemented fairly and fully and effective remedies for the violation of rights ensured, if people are to trust the notion of rule of law.

  • The Government must urgently enact laws on demonstrations and anti-corruption, ensuring that they comply with the Constitution and human rights standards.

  • The Government must protect the rights of indigenous persons and others who, due to illiteracy, customary practices and expectations, communal forms of organizations etc., are not familiar with the law or its procedures, the rules for making of economic transactions or with the market economy. Steps must be taken to ensure that State authorities, including communes, are no longer involved in transactions of dubious morality or law that undermine the rights of these communities and individuals.

  • The Government must do all it can to stop forced evictions. It must never be complicit in unlawful evictions. Internationally accepted guidelines must be observed, including the principles that nobody should be made homeless as a result of development-based evictions, the full and informed consent of those targeted for eviction. Evictions should be carried out only in exceptional circumstances, and solely for the purpose of promoting the general welfare in a democratic society. The use of force should be prohibited. No one should be imprisoned in relation to protecting their rights to land and housing and anyone detained in this context should be released. A moratorium on forced evictions should be declared, to allow the determination of the legality of land claims to be made in an objective and fair manner.

  • The Government must establish an independent authority to receive complaints about maladministration by the State (including institutions of justice). A Human Rights Commission fully established on the Paris Principles could be given this task.

  • The Government must respect the duty and right of civil society to promote and protect human rights and observe United Nations resolutions on the rights of human rights defenders. No restrictions should be placed on reasonable activities of local communities and non-governmental associations.

  • The Government must deal fairly with specific cases brought to its attention in recent reports of the Special Representatives and human rights organizations, including the circumstances in which the Venerable Tim Sakhorn disappeared. These steps should include justice for the alleged killers of union leader Chea Vichea and bringing to justice his real killers.

Recommendations to civil society actors

102. The Special Representative stresses the important contribution of civil society (including non-governmental organizations, lawyers, universities, think tanks and other educational and research institutions) to the common effort to establish the rule of the law. He encourages them to pursue their efforts, with determination, patience and courage, in a spirit of openness, dialogue and cooperation with the government authorities. They should continue to provide people with information about human rights, institutions and remedies, and with a voice when the administration, lawmakers and the judiciary do not listen. Discussion with the people about the Special Representative’s reports and feedback should be encouraged.

103. Educational institutions and NGOs should engage the public, through seminars, media and publications, on the procedures and practices as well as the rulings and judgements of ECCC, to create awareness of the meaning and importance of the rule of law.

Recommendations to the international community, including United Nations institutions

104. To be seriously considered and implemented by the Government, the recommendations of the successive Special Representatives need to be endorsed and supported by foreign Governments and international agencies.

  • The international community should set up or facilitate the setting up of an independent expert commission to review the working of the legal and judicial system, to make recommendations, and to report annually to the international community and the Royal Government of Cambodia, one month ahead of the consultations between the Government and the donors and lenders. The commission should develop effective and realistic criteria to assess progress, paying particular attention to the enforcement of the law and the independence of the prosecution and judges. The report should form the basis of consultations.

  • Foreign Governments or agencies providing assistance in drafting laws must ensure that the law they are proposing is consistent with human rights. This raises no difficulties in respect of Cambodia’s sovereignty. This is also an international obligation of each and every Member State of the United Nations, under the Charter and under the treaties they have ratified.

  • Foreign embassies, collectively or bilaterally, should engage the Government in dialogues on human rights and urge the Government to stop the most egregious violations. They should emphasize that respect for human rights is an essential basis of the partnership between them and the Cambodian State and people, and for the pursuance of a development process that places human beings and environment at its heart, rather than unlimited profit and greed, at its heart.

  • Since the Constitutional Council has stated that human rights treaties are binding, it is necessary that the decisions of the treaty bodies and of international and foreign courts and tribunals should be taken into account when applying the law. This approach would reinforce the impact that ECCC is expected to have on improvements in the Cambodian legal and judicial system. OHCHR should translate and disseminate major interpretations and conclusions of the treaty bodies.

Note: The chief monk of Phnom Denh pagoda in Takeo Province and an ethnic Khmer from Southern Viet Nam was defrocked on the order of the Chief Patriarch on grounds that his activities in providing shelter to monks from the Khmer Krom minority in Viet Nam fleeing alleged religious persecution had undermined good relations between Cambodia and Viet Nam. He was then driven away by unidentified persons and his whereabouts were unknown until August when he appeared in custody in Viet Nam.

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Media Environment Tipping: Groups

By Chiep Mony, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
18 March 2008

The loss of an opposition newspaper has further tilted Cambodia's media environment in favor of the ruling party, damaging the free-and-fair potential of this year's national election, rights groups and opposition officials said Tuesday.

Publisher Thach Keth, who had made Sralanh Khmer, or Love Khmer, an opposition paper, announced Monday he was throwing his support behind the ruling Cambodian People's Party, effectively eliminating the paper from the dwindling opposition voice.

That left two newspapers and one local radio station as tacit supporters of the Sam Rainsy Party, further tipping media bias toward the CPP, officials said.

Boay Roeuy, editor-in-chief of Sralanh Khmer and a member of the Sam Rainsy Party, said Tuesday that currently there remain only two local newspapers and local radio station that support the Sam Rainsy Party: papers Moneaksakar Khmer, or Khmer Conscience, and Khmer Mchas Srok, or Khmer Homeland Owner; and radio FM 93.5.

The Sam Rainsy Party also rents time on Beehive Radio to air its one-hour, daily Voice of Candlelight program, he said.

He was not worried that even though the Sam Rainsy Party will have less newspapers now, he said, citing the 2003 national election, when the Sam Rainsy Party had less newspapers than the competition, CPP and Funcinpec, but still earned enough votes for 24 parliamentary seats.

Hang Chakra, publisher of Khmer Mchas Srok, who is not overtly politically affiliated, said his newspaper has been suspended for two weeks while he was busy abroad, but he expected it to start publishing again on Thursday.

The next issues will support the Sam Rainsy Party more vigorously than before, he said, adding that he was still satisfied with Sam Rainsy's leadership and was confident the party would not collapse due to recent defections.

Sok Sovann, president of the Khmer Journalist Democracy Association, which formed in 2002, said that publishers have a right to politicize newspapers, just as voters have a right to cast ballots.

All of TV, and most of radio and newspapers are biased toward the CPP, putting the system out of balance, Ouk Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said Tuesday.

Local radio is barely independent, including Beehive Radio and FM 95.5, a radio station based in Siem Reap, he said.

"When we don't have independent media, we see the result of democracy is not good, because the people cannot receive all kinds of information," he said.

A biased media system is unfair for national elections, as political parties are not granted access to the media, he said.

Eng Chhay Eang, secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party, said Tuesday that if the media system is biased to one party, elections cannot be free and fair, because the media is an important part of the election process.

"We appeal to the donor countries to put pressure on the government because we don't want the government to do as it will," he said. "Unless the media is balanced, the election can't be free and fair."


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