Chea Mony maintains his accusation against the government

21 August 2009
Translated from Khmer by Socheata

In spite of the lawsuit threat leveled by government official against Chea Mony, President of the Free Trade Union of Workers in the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC), for his comment accusing the government of involvement in the 2004 murder of Chea Vichea, Chea Mony’s older brother, Chea Mony still maintains his stance. Speaking to The Phnom Penh Post on Thursday, Chea Mony said that what he raised was not exaggeration, it was the truth. He said: “The Cambodian government has the duty to find the killers. If the government does not look for the killers, it means that the government is truly behind this murder.” Chea Mony repeated that he does not fear the lawsuit threat against him. He said that he is already prepared to accept the responsibility and he is willing to face jail over the presumption on the murder of his brother, i.e. that the government was behind Chea Vichea’s murder.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Maritime border: Thailand’s major naval exercise that include an aircraft carrier seen as a show of force to Cambodia

21 August 2009
Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper
Translated from Khmer by Socheata

The Thai Royal Navy conducted a major naval exercise which included an aircraft carrier and several battleships near Koh Kut Island. The naval exercise was conducted as a show of force to Cambodia after the Cambodian government authorized the Total oil company to explore for oil in the nearby waters.

Chhum Socheat, spokesman for the Cambodian ministry of Defense, told Rasmei Kampuchea over the phone in the afternoon of 20 August that Thailand conducted its naval exercise in the Koh Kut region for more than one week already, starting from Sunday 09 August to 17 August. The exercise included 10 ships: standard ships, an aircraft carrier and several battleships.

Chhum Socheat indicated that, following the naval exercise, Thailand left behind 3 ships in the region. Thailand undertook the exercise after it protested Cambodia’s agreement to allow to the French Total company to explore for oil.

They couldn’t find a single killer of opposition activists, but they will surely find the distributors of leaflets scorning Hun Xen

19 August 2009
By Sok Serey
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Socheata
Click here to read the article in Khmer

Phnom Penh city police is conducting an urgent investigation on Wednesday 19 August, to search for the suspects involved in the distribution of leaflets scorning Hun Xen and his government, and they also accused 07 January as the date of Vietnamese aggression into Cambodia.

Touch Naroth, Phnom Penh police commissioner, told RFA on Wednesday 19 August that his force is currently conducting its search, but the identity of the suspects is still unknown. He added: “I am conducting the search, if I can find them, I will send them to the court for prosecution. The population can see with their own eyes, they will not believe in a group of biased people who falsify the truth in this manner.”

Touch Naroth indicated that there were several bundles of leaflets that people have found and turned them over to the police. These leaflets were discovered at 4AM in Daun Penh district. Touch Naroth also indicated that these leaflets bear a picture of Hun Xen and they labeled him as a dictatorial leader of Cambodia, as well as a bought out puppet of Vietnam.

Among the many writings in the leaflets, the following claim was also included: “I am proud to be born as a Khmer child, i.e. the descendant of the builders of Angkor. I remember Cambodia’s glorious past when she was known all over the world, but now, she has been dissolved because of the current dictatorial government. Corruption and Hanoi’s aggression on 07 January 1979 was claimed by Vietnam that it came to liberate Cambodian children and liberate the Cambodian people.”

They killed his older brother ... now they plan to sue him for speaking out the truth?

The Ministry of Interior plans to sue Chea Mony for providing false testimony to the court

21 August 2009
Kampuchea Thmei newspaper
Translated from Khmer by Socheata

The ministry of Interior (MoI) plans to sue Chea Mony, President of the Free Trade Union of Workers in the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC), for providing false testimony to the court.

Khieu Sopheak, MoI spokesman, told Kampuchea Thmei over the phone in the afternoon of 20 August 2009 that the MoI reserves the right to sue Chea Mony because he provided false testimony and he used the court hearing as a platform to spread disinformation. The event took place during Chea Mony’s presence at the court hearing held on 17 August 2009, and [his statements] could lead to confusion.

Khieu Sopheak said that: “(1) We consider that he truly provided false testimony to the court, (2) he used the court hearing platform to spread disinformation to all those present in the hearing, including national and international reporters. Therefore the MoI reserves the right to sue him in court for his action.”

Regarding this lawsuit against Chea Mony, Khieu Sopheak did not yet confirm its exact timing.

Chea Mony is the president of the FTUWKC and the younger brother of Chea Vichea who was murdered in 2004. Kampuchea Thmei could not yet reach him over the phone in the afternoon of 20 August to obtain his comment.

On 17 August 2009, the Appeal court held a hearing on the murder case of Chea Vichea, the former FTUWKC president who was murdered near Wat Langka Pagoda in 2004. During the hearing, Chea Mony publicly declared to the court, as the suing party, that the government was behind the murder of his brother.

His declaration was met by a strong reaction from the judge and the prosecutor, and Chea Mony’s words were recorded in the court proceedings.

Following the murder of Chea Vichea, two men were arrested and accused of involvement in the murder. However, recently, the Supreme court decided to released the alleged killers on bail because of insufficient evidence. On 17 August, the two accused men were granted full freedom and the Appeal court also ordered a new investigation into this murder case.

After the Appeal court’s order to re-investigate the case, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR) in Cambodia and ILO issued a joint statement welcoming the re-investigation order for the murder.

Thai military leaders to address border dispute?

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
21 August 2009

High-ranking Thai military commanders are slated to meet their Cambodian counterparts later this month, in an effort to address the longstanding border dispute near Preah Vihear temple and an emerging maritime dispute, officials said Friday.

Already high military tensions escalated this week, when Thailand protested Cambodia’s push for further oil exploration in the Gulf of Thailand, especially near Kuth island. Thailand said this was an encroachment of its maritime borders, a claim Cambodia denies. Both sides have had soldiers entrenched near the Preah Vihear border for more than a year.

Gen. Songkitti Jaggabatra, supreme commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, and his deputies, Adm. Apichart Pengsritong and Air Chief Marshal Bureerat Ratanavanich, will be accompanied by some 87 Thai military officials to visit Cambodia Aug. 24.

MP files complaint over pardon petition

By The Nation
Published on August 14, 2009

A Democrat MP filed a complaint with police yesterday accusing three leading red shirts of contempt of court over their campaign to seek a royal pardon for fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Watchara Phetthong named Veera Musigapong, Jatuporn Prompan and Natthawut Saikua in his complaint lodged at Dusit police station.

He cited Articles 189 and 198 of the Criminal Code as the basis to launch a police investigation.

By organising the signature campaign to seek a royal pardon, the three suspects acted in contempt of the judicial conviction of Thaksin, he said.

The three claimed to have gathered signatures from five million people in support of a royal pardon regardless of the offence it may cause to the monarchy and that it violated procedures for pardons, the MP said.

"If Thaksin sees himself as a truly innocent man, then why did he flee the courts?" he asked.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai MP Pracha Prasopdee claimed that Thaksin would come back after political upheaval within three months.

"Today his [Thaksin's] shoes and clothes are already packed and his return may be facilitated by a pardon or an amnesty; the slate must be wiped clean, just you watch the next three months," he said.

Pracha speculated that there would either be riots involving the "grassroots" or a coup.

Riots were expected around November and would force the government to dissolve the House and organise an election in December, he said. Thaksin was expected to return after a snap poll regardless of its outcome.

Chief coalition whip Chinnaworn Boonyakiart reminded the government to take pre-emptive measures for a political storm that may erupt on Monday.

"The government should remain vigilant because the red shirts will submit the pardon petition on the same day as the judicial verdict on the rubber sapling case," he said.

Chinnaworn said the red shirts may want to stir up an opposition mob by timing their rally to coincide with the verdict.

Supporters of Newin Chidchob are expected to turn out in force to give him moral support during the verdict session at the Supreme Court opposite Sanam Luang, where the red-shirt rally is due to take place.

Red-shirt leader Veera Musigapong said organisers of the signature campaign would submit the petition to the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary on Monday.

"The appointment has been made and there will be no changes," he said.

Veera said the red shirts would set up a stage at Sanam Luang to explain about their petition for an amnesty for Thaksin. About 2,000 red shirts would gather outside the Grand Palace and their eight leaders would lodge the petition with the Office, which is located inside the compound.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Petition countdown begins

By Tulsathit Taptim
The Nation
Published on August 14, 2009

The red shirts plan to submit their "pardon Thaksin Shinawatra" petition to royal authorities on Monday, but the hot potato will first plop down at the Justice Ministry.
After all, who wants to verify 5 million signatures? What mechanism does it have to accomplish that job in a short period of time?

One thing is certain: there will be no millions of phone calls by the government asking people if they did sign the petition or visits by state officials to the households said to have supported a royal pardon for Thaksin.

The Justice Ministry will have two choices: declare the petition good for royal submission or kill it right there.

To declare the petition null and void is technically easy. Thaksin Shinawatra has never served a day of his sentence (although the petition alludes to "dictatorial" ways of convicting him), and this can always be used to reject the petition. Moreover, if no close relatives of Thaksin have signed it, the petition could also become invalid.

Politically, throwing away a petition endorsed by millions, no matter how many questionable signatures there are, is extremely provocative. And the best way to deal politically with the petition would be to let it pass the scrutinising process.

The red-shirt movement has fervently declared it will absolutely respect His Majesty the King's judgement, so letting the petition pass would in fact put pressure on the Thaksin supporters to own up to that promise.

There will be a big gathering on Monday. The government's accusations that some signatures were not genuine or given with consent have played into the hands of those who don't want the petition submission to be a solemn and low-key event.

Now, a perfect excuse for as many signatories as possible to show up has been found.

Meanwhile, the anti-petition movement has cited several reasons why the red-shirt campaign should be rejected. However, apart from saying the petition would inflame national divisions and put the His Majesty under pressure, the movement seems to be arguing against a pardon rather than the red shirts' right to submit a petition.

Saying Thaksin has shown no remorse and hurt his own country is one thing; telling millions they have no right to seek his pardon is another.

In the end, it's the sincerity of the red shirts that should determine the petition's fate. There will be two contrasting highlights on the big day: they will end by singing the royal anthem; but during the day, they will parade 75 big national flags to symbolise the year when absolute monarchy turned into constitutional monarchy (BE 2475).

New chief picked next week : PM

By Piyanart Srivalo
Khwanhathai Malakarn
The Nation
Published on August 14, 2009

Structural revamp postponed; Patcharawat off to Europe shortly
chief was likely to be appointed at the National Police Policy Commission meeting next week, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.

As ex-officio chairman of the commission, the PM will chair the meeting, and selection of a new police chief was likely to be on the agenda. The date of the meeting is not known yet.

Current police chief General Patcharawat Wongsuwan is due to retire at the end of next month, when he turns 60. A caretaker commander was appointed when he was on leave in China recently, and the caretaker re-appointed after Patcharawat returned early to reclaim his seat.

Patcharawat has now been assigned to the deep South and was expected to take further leave - a trip to Europe - until the end of August, a source said.

While he is away, caretaker police chief General Vichien Potphosri is expected to oversee preparations for the transfer of senior police under the rank of general, the source added.

Meanwhile, the Police Commission convened yesterday and resolved to postpone the introduction of a new police structure from August 16 till September 7, spokesman General Watcharaphol Prasarnratchakit said.

The meeting, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, lasted for more than an hour.

Vichien told the meeting more time was needed to fully examine the qualifications of many senior police from across the country whose names were put up for transfers as part of structural changes to the force, the spokesman said.

Careful examination of the transfer lists was needed to ensure transparency, especially due to allegations of bribes being paid for certain positions, Watcharaphol said.

Patcharawat flew to the far South yesterday to follow up on the progress of inquiries into cases linked to the insurgency.

Before leaving Bangkok, he said he was given the task of speeding up the inquiry into a massacre at a mosque in Narathiwat in June. He would also assess security for the Asean meeting in Phuket next month.

Patcharawat is believed to have been sent to the South to leave others free to look into the bid to kill media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul, a core leader of the anti-Thaksin yellow-shirt movement.

Dead' baby sparks legal row

A CLINIC has been accused of attempted infanticide after medical staff mistakenly declared - on two separate occasions - that a premature baby had died.

The error was discovered by the newborn's father and grandmother, who went to check on the "body" only to discover, each time, that the child was still breathing.

Speaking to the Post on Wednesday, the boy's father said he took his wife, who was six months pregnant, to Soriya Clinic in Phnom Penh's Phsar Thmei 1 commune on Monday when she complained of abdominal pains.

Im Vannarith, from Mitthapheap commune in Prampi Makara district, said his wife - whose name he did not want to give - gave birth to a son about two hours after arriving at the clinic. "About 30 minutes later, the owner of the clinic, Dr Hy Soryaphea, told my mother that my baby was dead," he said. "We were devastated."

While his wife was in recovery in a separate room at the clinic, Im Vannarith went to see his son, Im Samnang, and was shocked to see that the child's chest was still moving. "I saw my baby was still breathing, so I asked the doctor to send him to hospital," he said.

The boy was then placed in a car along with his father, grandmother and a nurse, who had been instructed by the doctor to take the child to Kantha Bopha Hospital, Im Vannarith said. Halfway to the hospital, however, the nurse instructed the car to turn around and return to the clinic, insisting the boy was dead.

"Back at the clinic, they put a terrycloth towel around my son and laid him out on a table in the operating room," Im Vannarith told the Post. "There was a black plastic bag right next to him, and I was afraid that was what they were going to put his body in." Shortly afterwards, the child's grandmother went to check on the body of her grandson - and found the boy was breathing again.

"I demanded again that he be taken to hospital," Im Vannarith said, "but the doctor told me again that my baby was dying and would be dead any minute. I was furious that she showed so little respect for his life." The doctor then agreed to send Im Samnang to the hospital, where the delay in admitting him had aggravated his condition, staff said.

Dr Beat Richner, director of Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital, where Im Samnang is still in intensive care, told the Post that the infant remains in a critical condition. "He only weighs 0.9 kilograms," he said. "It is possible to save a baby this small, but those first few hours were crucial. The child arrived at our hospital very late." Although Im Samnang is now receiving all treatment possible, he said, all they can do is hope.

Im Vannarith, who hasn't told his wife about the incident for fear of jeopardising her recovery, is now threatening legal action against the clinic. "I have taken my wife out of the clinic because I have lost all confidence in it," he said.

His lawyer, Kav Soupha, confirmed to the Post on Wednesday that he is preparing a case.

The clinic has denied any wrongdoing. Dr Hy Soryaphea was unavailable for comment, but Hy Nary, one of her assistants, confirmed that Im Samnang was born at the clinic. "We saw him stop breathing after he was born," she told the Post. "We tried to help him."

New tribunal 'counsellor' to field corruption complaints

THE government and the UN announced on Wednesday an agreement to appoint an independent official to field corruption complaints at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, although a government spokesman said he could not provide details on how the so-called "independent counsellor" might go about resolving them.

A joint statement dated Tuesday said Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and Peter Taksoe-Jensen, the UN's assistant secretary general for legal affairs, reached the agreement after "detailed consultations" with donors.

The role of independent counsellor will be filled by Uth Chhorn, the current chairman of the National Audit Authority. Uth Chhorn declined to comment Wednesday evening, saying he would be in Thailand until early next week.

According to the joint statement, the agreement "represents a further step to help strengthen the human resources management in the entire [tribunal] administration, including anti-corruption measures, to ensure the requirements of due process of law".

The agreement comes more than two years after allegations first surfaced that court staffers had to kick back a percentage of their salaries to top tribunal officials. A fresh round of allegations in July prompted the UN to launch a graft review, the results of which have not been released.

Talks in April between UN and government officials failed to resolve the issue in part because the UN wanted Cambodian staffers to be able to approach international ethics monitors to report corruption complaints.

Donors have frozen funding to the Cambodian side of the court in response to the allegations, pushing it to near bankruptcy. A UN Development Programme spokesman said there had been no decision to unfreeze funds as of Wednesday.

The establishment of an independent counsellor was designed to ensure "full protection of staff on both sides of the [tribunal] against any possible retaliation for good-faith reporting of wrongdoing", according to the joint statement.

"In this context, the Independent Counsellor will be available to all staff to bring forward any concerns confidentially, and will be empowered to address such concerns," the statement reads.

At a press conference on Wednesday, however, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said he could not comment on how Uth Chhorn would be "empowered" to resolve any complaints.

He told the Post Wednesday evening that he did not know whether Uth Chhorn would be able to deal with past complaints, or whether his mandate would only cover complaints going forward.

Phay Siphan also said he did not know when Uth Chhorn would begin work in his new role.

Court spokesperson Reach Sambath said Wednesday that tribunal officials would be "ready to welcome the independent counsellor at any time", adding that they believe the position will provide an effective mechanism for resolving corruption allegations.





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