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Suwit set for talks with Phnom Penh

June 16, 2011 Leave a comment
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit
Khunkitti will hold an informal meeting with Cambodia tomorrow and on
Saturday to try and reach an agreement on the Preah Vihear management
plan.
Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the parties would try
to settle the dispute ahead of a 10-day World Heritage Committee (WHC)
meeting from Sunday in Paris that will consider the management plan for
the ancient temple proposed by Cambodia.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday held a meeting of the
national world heritage committee to discuss guidelines on the Preah
Vihear issue, Mr Panitan said. Mr Abhisit instructed the panel to think
of the national interest and keep the country from losing its
sovereignty and territory.
Mr Suwit yesterday said Thailand had a clear stance on the Preah
Vihear issue. It wants the WHC to postpone consideration of the
management plan for areas surrounding the World Heritage-listed site
until border demarcation work is completed.
He said he was unsure if the WHC would postpone considering
Cambodia’s insistence on its right to table the plan for the
4.6-square-kilometre disputed area around the temple.
Mr Suwit said Thailand would offer to host the next WHC meeting in Phuket.
He said claims by Cambodia that Prime Minister Abhisit had asked it
to withdraw Preah Vihear from the world heritage listing were untrue.
He said the Foreign Ministry would send a letter explaining the matter to Cambodian authorities.
The national world heritage committee will meet today to discuss prerequisites for the WHC meeting, Mr Suwit said.
He said other Unesco member countries would have a better
understanding about Thailand’s position on the plan after Thai
representatives had the opportunity to explain the matter.
Mr Abhisit also said that each side should respect the laws of the
other and avoid doing anything that could affect relations. He was
referring to reports Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened to
arrest Thai officials that encroach on its soil and charge them with
spying, as Thailand has done.
Categories: Local News, Politic

Rainsy summoned yet again

June 13, 2011 Leave a comment
Party leader Sam Rainsy. Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Embattled opposition leader Sam Rainsy has been ordered to appear at the
Phnom Penh Municipal Court on June 22 to answer allegations that his
pol-itical party did not send its 2006 annual report to the Ministry of
Interior on time, sparking the Sam Rainsy Party to threaten a
counter-suit.

The ministry filed a complaint against the SRP in
August, 2007 for the late report. According to the summons, dated June 6
and obtained by The Post yesterday, the SRP failed to file a timely
report on its activities, income and spending, bank-account balance and
party inventory.

Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of
Interior, said yesterday that the SRP submitted the report, required of
all parties, after the deadline. The ministry is demanding that the SRP
pay 3 million riel (US$734).

When asked why the complaint was
being dug up nearly four years after it was filed, Khieu Sopheak
declined to comment, referring questions to the court.

Hing Bun Chea, the deputy prosecutor at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court who signed the summons, could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, the SRP has demanded that the ministry rescind the complaint, threatening to sue for defamation.

In
a statement on Friday, the SRP said it had submitted the report by a
deadline of December 31, 2006, and that both the Ministry of Interior
and the Ministry of Economy and Finance had received it two days later,
on January 2.

“The Ministry of Interior’s intention in filing a
complaint to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court accusing the SRP of not
sending its 2006 annual report to the Ministry of Interior is to disturb
and defame the SRP,” the party said.

“The SRP would like to ask
the Ministry of Interior to withdraw the complaint … otherwise, the SRP
will sue the Interior Minister [Sar Kheng] of defaming the SRP,” the
statement said.

Khieu Sopheak said the ministry would not
withdraw its complaint, and said the SRP statement only made the
ministry more inclined to file additional complaints against the
opposition party.

“If [Sam Rainsy] dares to sue the Ministry of
Interior, we will file additional complaints,” he said. Khieu Sopheak
suggested that Sam Rainsy recognise his mistake and “implore” the
ministry to withdraw the complaint.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said
submitting a report one or two days late was “normal” and that the
complaint was a “laughable” ploy.

He countered that the
government was often late in responding to questions submitted by SRP
parliamentarians, often taking months to reply and sometimes not
responding at all.

“In the Constitution, it states that the
government must answer in seven days, but sometimes in three months the
government has not answered,” he said. “How does the Ministry of
Interior think?”

Sam Rainsy, who currently lives abroad in
self-imposed exile, would face as long as 14 years in prison from a
string of convictions if he were to return to the Kingdom.

Categories: Local News, Politic

Opposition Still Hopeful After Hun Sen Speech

June 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Prime Minister Hun Sen. Photo: AP
An official for the Sam Rainsy Party says that recent rhetoric about the opposition in a speech by Prime Minister Hun Sen may signal a willingness to find a political solution to the exile of the country’s main opposition leader.
Cambodia is gearing up for local elections in 2012 and parliamentary elections the year after, but the Sam Rainsy Party has been operating with its leader abroad and facing criminal charges he says are political.
Hun Sen has previously said he will not broker a compromise to bring Sam Rainsy back, but Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the Sam Rainsy Party, said Thursday that a speech the premier gave earlier this week may signal a shift in that position.
He noted that Hun Sen had told students at a graduation ceremony on Monday that Cambodians must solve their problems peacefully, among Cambodians.
“We must talk mutually,” he said, “which is better than chopping and stabbing.”
“Each country must have democracy, pluralism, and allow the establishment of parties, give the to set up NGOs and to have press freedom,” he said.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy remains in self-imposed exile and is facing 12 years in prison on charges he says are political if he returns.
Cheam Yiep, a lawmaker for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said Sam Rainsy’s return ahead of elections could be possible.
“So far there has been tolerance and forgiveness from [Prime Minister] Hun Sen, who has been sympathetic,” he said.
However, he noted, Sam Rainsy is now engaged in a campaign to file charges against Hun Sen in international courts.
Sam Rainsy has said he considers military campaigns led by Hun Sen in the 1980s led to unnecessary deaths of civilians near the Thai border, as government troops fought the Khmer Rouge.
Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said he hoped Sam Rainsy will be allowed to return, which would signal a type of “maturity” in Cambodia’s democratic system.
“This is the process of a good culture, or good behavior, for politicians to compromise and mutually and politically forgive each other,” he said.
He added that the charges against Sam Rainsy—linked to his uprooting of border markers near Vietnam in 2009—are not serious and can likely be ironed out.
VOA News
Categories: Local News, Politic

Opposition Leader Prepares Suits Against Hun Sen

June 8, 2011 Leave a comment
Cambodian opposition party leader Sam Rainsy
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy says he is preparing to file more
complaints against Prime Minister Hun Sen, similar to allegations he has
already made in a New York court.
“I have met my lawyer to prepare lawsuits against Hun Sen for killing
many people on several occasions,” Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer in an
interview last week, without elaborating. “He was involved in these
crimes, including crimes against humanity.”
Sam Rainsy alleges Hun Sen was responsible for the deaths of people
sent to clear forests along the Thai border in the 1980s, where they met
with malaria and other diseases and land mines.
“I would like to appeal to all people in Cambodia or overseas who
lived through K5, who witnessed the events, or who fell victims
themselves, to come together now,” he said.
There are no official figures on how many people died curing the K5
campaign. Sam Rainsy’s complaints follow victory for him in a French
court in a defamation case brought by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, who
had alleged Sam Rainsy had unfairly claimed he had led a Khmer Rouge
camp.
Sam Rainsy said his victory in that case “opens the way for me to
file more complaints. This time not against Hor Namhong, but Hun Sen.”
Sam Rainsy said he plans to file his first complaint in a court in Geneva later this month.
The opposition leader remains in self-imposed exile and faces a raft
of criminal prison sentences related to demonstrations on the Vietnamese
border in 2009. With elections approaching in 2012 and 2013, Hun Sen
has said there will be no political settlement of those cases.
Sam Rainsy said “modern technology” allows him to maintain daily
contact with his supporters. But he added that his party was working to
pressure the current government to secure his return ahead of elections.
Observers have noted that without the presence of the main opposition
leader, the upcoming elections may not be perceived as free or fair.
Categories: Local News, Politic, Sam Rainsy

Hun Sen warns SRP over potential leaks

June 8, 2011 Leave a comment
Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned the leader of the Sam Rainsy Party
that documents relating to secret talks held between the premier and its
leader after 2003 are in existence.

The disclosure, made at a
graduation ceremony at the Royal School of Administration in Phnom Penh
yesterday, follows a leak of a recording late last month of a 2007
discussion involving Human Rights Party. On the recording, its president
Ken Sokha can be heard asking Hun Sen for assistance in securing use of
the Olympic Stadium for a party conference.

The SRP, the
Kingdom’s largest opposition party, seized on the recording as evidence
of alleged collusion between the two parties and said that flagging
negotiations on an SRP-HRP merger would be halted as a result.

Yesterday, Hun Sen insinuated that evidence of a three-hour talk conducted after 2003 with Sam Rainsy was also in existence.


Sam Rainsy – don’t forget what you have talked with me [about]


Hun Sen said Sam Rainsy met him at his Takhmao home, in Kandal province, to talk over a potential amendment to the constitution.

The
amendment to reduce the required parliamentary majority needed to
govern outright from two thirds to 50 percent plus one was passed in
2006 – effectively reducing the CPP’s need for a coalition partner.

“With
Sam Rainsy [there are] plenty [of documents]. If they were leaked,
there would be a bunch,” Hun Sen said yesterday, adding he had held many
“secret conversations” with Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha in the past.

“Sam Rainsy – don’t forget what you have talked with me [about],” he said.

SRP
spokesman Yim Sovann yesterday dismissed any talk of “secret deals”
between the SRP and the CPP stating that he was “not interested” in the
Prime Minister’s statement.

He claimed that the premier was
attempting to create an atmosphere of suspicion around the SRP, but
party supporters would see through it.

Ou Virak, president of the
Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said the comments seemed to be a
political ‘‘game’’ that would “not make [for] strong development of the
nation”.

 

Man Arrested in Connection to SRP Killing

June 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Photo: AP

Kandal provincial police have arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of killing a popular opposition activist earlier this week.
Police say they arrested Lim Veasna, a father of two in Kien Svay district, Thursday evening with traces of blood on his clothes, and said they had suspected him because he belongs to a group of drug users.
They are still looking for two more suspects and are assuming a motive of robbery in the Wednesday killing of Ouk Chhan, 64, a Sam Rainsy Party activist and likely candidate commune council in 2012.
But Sam Rainsy Party officials said Friday they believe the true killer or killers remain at large.
“It was politically motivated, and the Sam Rainsy Party will follow up closely and request that the authorities find the real murderers,” said Chan Cheng, an opposition lawmaker for Kandal province.
Eav Sam Roeun, chief of Kandal police, said an investigation was ongoing. “We are searching for two more, to show and reply to the political allegations”, he said.
Am Sam Ath, lead investigator for the rights group Licadho, said the murder could have been a coincidence and a robbery. “We will continue to investigate and to verify,” he said.
The murder occurred during a fact-finding visit by the UN’s rights envoy to Cambodia, Suriya Subedi, who declined to comment on the killing without further investigation.
Categories: Local News, Politic

SRP claims ‘political’ murder

June 3, 2011 Leave a comment
One man was arrested yesterday following the beating death of a Sam
Rainsy Party commune official in Kandal province, amid competing claims
from police and the opposition party over whether the killing was
politically motivated.
The son of murdered SRP commune official Ouk Chhanteak places lighted
incense sticks next to his father’s body yesterday in Kandal province.
Photo by: Pha Lina
The 64-year-old Ouk Chhanteak, second
commune councillor in Kien Svay district’s Chhoeu Teal commune, was
bludgeoned to death at around 10pm on Wednesday evening as he returned
home from patrolling the area, SRP officials said. His body was
reportedly dumped roughly one kilometre from the site where he was
attacked, with his motorbike, camera and telephone having been stolen.

Kien
Svay district police chief Pa Sam Eth said yesterday that one of three
suspects in the case had been arrested yesterday afternoon, adding that
police believe the incident was a robbery that was unrelated to
politics.

“The suspect we arrested already admitted in front of
us that he and another two men really robbed the victim for his
motorbike,” Pa Sam Eth said. “Now we know the identities of the other
two and we are investigating to arrest them.”

The SRP alleged,
however, that the murder was connected to Ouk Chhanteak’s work on behalf
of the opposition. “The murder was related to [a] political case
because Mr Ouk Chhantak was the most popular SRP second commune
councillor in his commune and would become a commune chief in [the]
upcoming commune election [in] 2012,” the SRP cabinet said in a
statement yesterday.

“The Sam Rainsy Party would like to appeal to the authorities at all levels to take action to arrest the murderers.”

Chan
Cheng, an SRP lawmaker representing Kandal, said Ouk Chhanteak had
always “worked to serve the people without taking money”.

“Three
days before his murder, he said the SRP was not worried about the
upcoming election because he will be elected commune chief,” Chan Cheng
said. “He is very popular in Chhoeu Teal commune.”

Chan Cheng
added that Ouk Chhanteak’s killers had not removed a pair of rings from
his fingers, expressing doubt that the case was a simply a violent
theft. But Pa Sam Eth said the missing motorbike was clear evidence of a
robbery, dismissing Chan Cheng’s allegations.

“It is his right
to say that, but based on our assessment, we see that this case is a
robbery,” Pa Sam Eth said. “We are not indifferent and we are going to
find the murderers.”

Men Makara, an investigator based in Kandal
for the local rights group Adhoc, said an investigation is required
before a determination is made on whether or not the killing was
politically motivated.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SAM RITH

Phnom Penh Post
Categories: Local News, Politic, Sam Rainsy
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