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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Cambodia To Pave Road To Preah Vihear Temple

PHNOM PENH, Royal Cambodian Armed Forces ( RCAF) will begin paving the 80 km dirt road from Oddar Meanchey province's Anlong Veng district to Preah Vihear temple before Nov 25, China's Xinhua news agency reported, citing officials from RCAF as saying in a local media.

"We will begin pave the road by the end of the month. The total distance is about 80 km. It may cost about US$10 million and it will be finished by June 2010," Kwann Seam, director of RCAF's engineering department, was quoted by the Cambodia Daily as saying.

He said that his team would begin surveying the road after the Water Festival in Phnom Penh is finished.

By April 2010, RCAF will begin paving another 22 km dirt road, this time to Ta Moan temple from Kork Mon commune in Oddar Meanchey province's Banteay Ampil district, he said.

Seam said that the paving of roads in the area is part of a larger project to pave all northern roads in the country.

"We hope that by 2013, all the roads in the northern area will be paved," he said.

Major General Srey Dek, commander of RCAF Division 3, said that despite ongoing tension between Cambodia and Thailand over Preah Vihear temple, tourists should not worry about safety.

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Hun Sen praises Japan's role in Cambodia ahead of regional summit+

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 3 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday praised Japan's contributions to peace in Cambodia over the years and said Tokyo is playing a key role as a development partner in the Mekong River region.
In a written interview with a group of senior editors from Kyodo News' member newspapers visiting Cambodia, Hun Sen expressed a request for Japan to upgrade infrastructure to strengthen ties in the region.

In particular, Hun Sen sought support as "a highest priority" for the Mekong River Bridge that will serve as the final gateway of the Southern Economic Corridor, and requested cooperation in world heritage protection.

Hun Sen said Japan has played a key role in seeking justice for the victims of the genocidal Pol Pot regime by contributing both spiritual and financial support for the work of the Khmer Rouge tribunal.

He said Japan has provided $56.9 million to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, nearly half of the total budget spent by both Cambodia and United Nations since it began operation from 2006.

Other than key roles played in Cambodia, Hun Sen also commended Japan's contributions to larger regional cooperation.

Hun Sen is due to visit Japan later this week to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama along with his fellow leaders from other Mekong countries -- Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam -- at the first Mekong-Japan Summit to be held in Tokyo on Friday and Saturday.

Hun Sen said he "regards Japan as a key partner in discussion over political and security issues in the region and also thanks Japan for her recent efforts in helping maintain political stability in the region such as seeking a solution over problems in Myanmar and the Korean peninsula."

In spite of receiving great assistance from Japan in many fields, Hun Sen said he desired to see more Japanese investors flocking to his country.

He said as his country is enjoying the discovery of oil and gas, and assured a warm welcome for Japanese investors.

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Tropical Storm Mirinae kills 23 people in Vietnam, 2 in Cambodia

HANOI, Vietnam - Tropical Storm Mirinae unleashed severe flooding in parts of central Vietnam, killing 23 people, leaving two missing and stranding families on rooftops, disaster officials said Tuesday.

The death toll in the hardest-hit province of Phu Yen was 15 after the storm drenched the region with heavy rain Monday, said disaster official Dang Thi Lanh.

"Many villages remain cut off by rising waters and we expect the death toll to rise," she said.

Several villages in neighbouring Binh Dinh province suffered the worst flooding in four decades after the Ha Thanh River surged over its banks, said disaster official Nguyen Van Hoa. Five people were killed by falling trees or were washed away by floods in Binh Dinh and two others were missing, Hoa said.

In Khanh Hoa province, south of Phu Yen, three people were killed, a disaster official there said, refusing to give his name, citing policy.

Vietnam's western neighbour, Cambodia, reported a 40-year-old woman and her 14-year-old daughter died Monday night when the storm toppled trees onto their house in Mondulkiri province, about 325 miles (520 kilometres) east of the capital, Phnom Penh.

Three other people from the same family were injured, said Neth Sophana, deputy chief of the disaster management committee of the Cambodian Red Cross.

In Vietnam, the military sent two helicopters to drop instant noodles to people in isolated villages and to rescue people who were still trapped on rooftops a day after the storm, which lost force as it moved inland.

"We have received many calls for help from people who are still stranded," Hoa said by telephone.

Ho Quoc Dung, vice chairman of Binh Dinh provincial People's Committee, said about 400 soldiers were mobilized to use speed boats to reach areas cut off by flooding and have ferried out more than 1,000 villagers.

Several thousand remain stranded, he said.

Mirinae hit the Philippines with typhoon strength over the weekend, killing 20 people before losing power as it moved across the South China Sea toward Vietnam.

Vietnam, the Philippines and Cambodia were still recovering from Typhoon Ketsana, which brought the Philippine capital of Manila its worst flooding in 40 years when it struck in September. Ketsana killed 160 people in Vietnam and at least 18 in Cambodia.

In the Philippines, Ketsana and two later storms killed more than 900. Some 87,000 people who fled the storms were still living in temporary shelters when Mirinae struck.

In a separate incident in northern Vietnam on Monday, one woman drowned and five others were missing after a whirlwind toppled two boats in Quang Ninh province, disaster official Le Thanh Nam said.

Sixteen other passengers managed to swim to safety after the boats sank, Nam said.

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Outside influence allegations dog Khmer Rouge trials

The beleaguered Khmer Rouge trials in Cambodia have hit another obstacle. In a motion filed last week, two pre-trial judges, Australian Rowan Downing QC, and a Dutch national, have been accused of taking instruction from their respective governments.

The Khmer Rouge tribunal has endured considerable controversy in its four years of existence, and the latest scandal is yet another setback to expedient justice for victims.

Presenter: David Boyle
Speakers: Michael Karnavas, defence lawyer; Yuko Maeda, spokeswoman, ECCC; Heather Ryan, court monitor, Open Society Justice Initiative

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BOYLE: The Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia were created to try the leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, which is accused of killing more than two million people in the 1970s.

But instead of bringing justice to a generation, many believe its become entrenched in its own politics.

The lawyers of accused war criminal, Ieng Sary, have filed a motion requesting that two pre trial judges, including Australian Rowan Downing, be removed from the court due to a public perception of bias.

Radio Australia has obtained a copy of the motion that seizes on comments recently made by the Cambodian Prime Minister.

He's alleged the two judges have been acting on the orders of their respective foreign governments.

Michael Karnavas is one of the co-defence lawyers who filed the motion.

KARNAVAS: "What we're saying is we're caught in the middle of all of this, we're entitled to a fair trial. The average person in Cambodia believes their Prime Minister, the United Nations hasn't stepped up to the plate, to either defend these judges or to show that they've taken any action to look into these allegations. The judges haven't spoken up I expect because of their position, but we want this matter cleared."

BOYLE: The two pre-trial judges, Mr Downing and Dutch national Katinka Lahuis are unable to comment on either Hun Sen's comments or the motion being filed against them.

But a spokeswoman for the court, Yuko Maeda, says the court believes all their court officials are behaving appropriately.

MAEDA: "We believe all the judicial officials who work at the ECCC are performing accordingly, independently from any of the executive bodies. This is the international standard, ECCC is following the international standard. We believe that none of the judicial officials who are working at the ECCC is influenced by any executive body."

BOYLE: Heather Ryan is a court monitor with the Open Society Justice Initiative.

She's seen no evidence to confirm the allegations, but says they should be publicly addressed to protect the credibility of the court.

RYAN: "Many of the international players and the judges are in my view, unfortunately reluctant to speak publicly when statements like this that impact the credibility of the court are made and I think it's part of that sort of general reluctance of commentators and officials of the courts to speak about what's going on in the court publicly. There's kind of a conspiracy of silence."

BOYLE: An early report into the court's activities prepared for the U.S. Agency for International Development concluded corruption was "pandemic" within the administration of local officials with bribery a widely accepted practice.

A subsequent report produced by the court, which was initially suppressed, revealed similar findings.

But there is no suggestion that these allegations relate to the judges of the court.

And lawyer Michael Karnavas dismisses any suggestion that his motion is designed to further erode the tribunal's reputation, arguing it upholds expectations of transparency and due diligence.

KARNAVAS:"I haven't made these allegations, somebody else has. I'm not the one getting kick backs from the national staff. I'm not the one who is hiding the UN report, others are doing that. So you can't blame the defence for trying to shed light and trying to make this process as transparent as possible."

BOYLE: Ms Ryan -- of the Open Society Justice Initiatives -- says the court should be concerned about mounting public scepticism over its transparency and capacity to deliver swift and effective justice.

RYAN: "The court has an obligation now, if its to preserve its obligation to the people of Cambodia to go out of its way and take additional steps to be transparent, to scrupulously deal with any allegations of misconduct or wrong doing and to ensure that people can see that they actually are serving the interests of justice. Right now when everything is done behind closed doors people don't see that and so when statements like the one that is alleged by Ieng Sary's lawyers are made, it feeds on a kind of inherent suspicion."
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Humanitarian emergency aid for typhoon victims in Cambodia

1. With regard to enormous loss of human lives and property in Cambodia caused by typhoon "Ketsana" on October 1-2, the Government of the Republic of Korea has decided to provide emergency relief supplies worth 200,000 dollars to support recovery efforts in Cambodia and join the international community in its humanitarian assistance activities.

Typhoon "Ketsana" that hit northwestern Cambodia on October 1-2 has left 43 people dead, 67 injured, about 6,000 families homeless, and around 48,000 families short of food. The typhoon also caused property and infrastructure damage, washing away or damaging about 1,000 houses, sweeping away 57,000 hectares of farmland and livestock, and destroying roads.

2. During the summit between President Lee Myung-bak and Prime Minister Hun Sen on October 22, President Lee expressed his intention to provide cooperation through the Foreign Ministry in response to a request from the Cambodian side to support typhoon recovery operations. The Korean government will provide relief food and daily necessities that the Cambodian government has asked for.

Spokesperson and Deputy Minister for Public Relations of MOFAT

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