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Monday, September 07, 2009

Cambodian PM: KRouge trials may ignite war

Cambodian premier Hun Sen on Monday renewed strong warnings his country could be plunged back into civil war if the UN-backed Khmer Rouge court tried more suspects from the late 1970s movement.

Hun Sen, himself a former low level commander in the communist regime, made his speech less than a week after the court said it could open investigations against more members of the government which killed up to two million people.

"If you tried (more suspects) without taking national unification and peace into consideration and if war re-occurred, killing between 200 000 and 300 000 people more, who would be responsible for it?" the premier told a ceremony.

"I have achieved this work (peace), I will not allow anybody to destroy it.... The value of peace here is very big," Hun Sen said, lamenting that Cambodia had already been drenched "by blood and tears".

"So anybody, please don't cause more trouble," he added.

The prime minister in a speech in March made similar assertions that further prosecutions at the Khmer Rouge court could destabilise Cambodia, saying that he would prefer the court failed than indict more suspects.

But critics have said there is no risk of renewed fighting since the country's civil war ended in 1998, and have accused the administration of trying to protect former regime members now in government.

A lead administrator at the Khmer Rouge court said Monday that he expected tribunal investigators would not be influenced by Hun Sen's statements.

"It is a clearly established international standard that courts do not seek approval or advice on their work from the executive branch," UN coordinator of the court Knut Rosandhaug told AFP.

"I expect that the (court) will comply with this internationally recognised standard and make its decisions independently," he added.

The tribunal was created in 2006 to try leading members of the 1975-1979 regime and five former leaders are currently being held on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The court's long-awaited first trial of Kaing Guek Eav, better known by the alias Duch, is under way and he has accepted responsibility for overseeing the execution of more than 15,000 people at the regime's main prison.

After Duch's trial, the court plans to prosecute former Khmer Rouge ideologue Nuon Chea, head of state Khieu Samphan, foreign minister Ieng Sary and his wife, minister of social affairs Ieng Thirith.

Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge emptied Cambodia's cities in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia, resulting in the deaths of up to two million people from starvation, overwork and torture. - AFP
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Cambodian PM asks U.S. to cancel Cambodian debts

PHNOM PENH, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday asked the United States to remit Cambodia's debts which the country has owed since 1970s by Lon Nol's regime.

"The U.S. should cancel the debts for Cambodia because the U.S. dropped large amount of bombs on Cambodia and many people suffered from it," he said at a ceremony of releasing final result of 2008 Population census at Chuktumok Theater Hall in Phnom Penh.

Hun Sen put forwards the requirement directly to Carol A. Rodley, U.S. ambassador to Cambodia who also attended the ceremony.

"The U.S. should pay compensation for Cambodians but the U.S. side has always asked us to pay debt back," he said.

Cheam Yeap, a lawmaker and chairman of the committee of finance, banking, economy and audition of Cambodian National Assembly, said that "we have been urging U.S. side to cancel debts for several times but they said they need decision from top level."

He added that Cambodia has owed the United State in a total of over 300 million U.S. dollars by Lon Nol regime.
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New Season, Further Sales for A World of Wonders

By Kristin Brzoznowski

OTTAWA: A third season is slated for Genuine Pictures' children's series A World of Wonders, which has notched up a slew of new international sales.

The show has now been sold to National Geographic in Turkey, Kuwait TV, TVB in Hong Kong and on Al Jazeera in Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen. A third season launches today on TVO Kids.

The live-action series takes young viewers on a trip across the globe. The new season will feature locations such as the Galapagos Islands, Cambodia, Jordan, Japan and Vietnam. “We took the series to a whole new level this year with the use of smaller format HD cameras,” said executive producer Donna Leon. “That gave us more flexibility, and season three is packed with lots of wonderful content.”

“A World of Wonders continues to perform well for the factual channels overseas and while educational it doesn’t fall short on entertainment," said Diane Tripp, the VP of international sales for The Fremantle Corporation. "The episodes are self-contained and accommodate a multi-media platform strategy quite well—a task most broadcasters aim to achieve." Read more!