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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Experts Suggest Tribunal Complete an Exit Strategy

A Tribunal spokman said the completion strategy is currently underway as a joint project between Cambodian and UN-appionted side of the hybrid court

With little indication from the Khmer Rouge tribunal that it will try more leaders beyond its initial indictments, observers say the UN-backed court should consider designing its completion strategy.

Issues remain unresolved on how the court might wrap up, how convicted suspects should be handed back to the national judiciary—or untried suspects to local courts—and how the tribunal might begin legacy and capacity building.

“It would be feasible and appropriate for the court to begin to plan how it will wind up its activities when those cases are​​​ fully dealt with in the judicial process,” Heathery Ryun, a tribunal monitor for the Open Society Justice Initiative, wrote in an e-mail.

Any completion plan should take into account “the need to complete outstanding cases in accordance with international​​​ standards; the goals of the court to support rule-of-law​​​​ development in Cambodia and a sense of meaningful justice for Cambodians; and residual issues which may arise after the court disbands, such as use of​ investigatory material, archives, and legal issues that may arise in cases following a final judgment.”

The tribunal has so far tried one suspect, the torture chief Duch, and it is preparing for the potential joint trial of four more senior leaders. But tribunal jurists have been at odds over whether to indict still more suspects.

Lat Ky, a court monitor for the rights group Adhoc, told VOA Khmer the court can begin considering what it can contribute to the national judiciary.

“It should be defined from today how long the tribunal should have to wind up and what should remain for the assistance for judicial reform in Cambodia,” he said.

He cited as an example the slow reconciliation process in Rwanda, which had war crimes courts that went on for years at great cost in time and money. Donors may learn from that, he said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a key diplomat for one of the tribunal’s donor countries said this week that some donors will be looking for a completion strategy before they discuss more funding for the court.

“We do not want to see it dragging on forever,” the diplomat said.

A tribunal spokesman said the completion strategy is currently underway as a joint project between the Cambodian and UN-appointed sides of the hybrid court.
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Nursing in Cambodia

LIVE TO TEACH: Metlifecare’s national clinical services manager Kim Brooks, left, and Bev Hopper of Silverdale will be travelling to Cambodia to share their nursing skills

A SILVERDALE woman is heading to Cambodia in October to share her nursing skills.

Bev Hopper, who works at North Shore Hospital, has been selected by the New Zealand Orthopaedic Nurses Association to travel with a team of five.

The association will pay for her flight, insurance and part of her accommodation expenses, worth more than $2000.

It's Ms Hopper's first time to the southeast Asian country but she says she is going "with an open mind" and a passion to pass on "all things orthopaedic".

"I've already got a USB pen crammed full of notes. I'm looking to passing on what I know to the nurses so the quality of care they deliver can be improved."

The association's former president Kim Brooks says Ms Hopper's "flexible and adaptable" personality made her the ideal recipient.

"We need someone who is flexible to changes, because things may not go as planned. You could come fully prepared with your teaching materials but the hospital might have different ideas," she says.

Ms Hopper will be at Sihanouk Hospital Centre of Hope, a non-profit body, in Phnom Penh.

The centre provides 24-hour free medical care for poor and disadvantaged Cambodians.

It also gives further education and clinical training to medical professionals.

Mrs Brooks, who went last year, says there is a demand for orthopaedic care in Sihanouk Hospital.

"People fall off their motorbikes and they're not properly treated for it. It then becomes a deformity," she says.

"And over there, if you're seen as less than perfect you can't get a job, you can't get married – you get nothing."

Ms Hopper says the social stigma surrounding deformities is a problem but the hospital should be able to offer patients correct initial treatment.

"The nurses at Sihanouk Hospital want to be more proficient in orthopaedic nursing skills.

"And they're so grateful for any input from developed countries."

Mrs Brooks says there will be an interpreter at the hospital, but health terminologies sometimes get lost in translation.

"It's a problem there. I remember teaching a group of second year nurses and I had completely lost them."

The team will be spending a fortnight at Sihanouk Hospital before going to Siem Reap for a week to teach basic health care in the villages and orphanages.

Mrs Brooks says the conditions in slums are tragic – "things we have no idea about".

"I met a young woman who had just given birth and she was dehydrated.

"They had no clean water, so they gave her rice wine," she says.

"It's all very easy to tell them to not do it, and say `why don't you just boil water?' but it's just not possible for them.

"Where are they to get the water from?

"If they boil it, it's in a little flimsy cooker. If that tips over, their houses go up in flames."

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High Gold Price Shakes Up an Old Stand-By

Cambodians have long had a habit of buying and stocking gold, especially as jewelry, but that habit may be changing, thanks to gold’s continual rise in value.

“No one wants to buy gold now,” said Chea Ly, a Phnom Penh resident living near Deum Kor market who has stopped stocking jewelry herself. “We would rather sell it instead, or keep the money to buy something else.”

That’s because the common trading price of gold has climbed from around $700 an ounce in 2007 to more than $1,200 an ounce this week. Investors have been flocking to gold in recent years as a hedge against uncertainty in money and other markets.

That has put a freeze on gold purchases, which Cambodians have become accustomed to after decades of currency instability, including the complete abolishment of money and banks under the Khmer Rouge.

In that way, gold acts as a savings mechanism for many, who tend to spend currency and keep gold.

“At these skyrocketing prices, there are more sellers than buyers,” said Ly Hour, owner of Ly Hour Jewelry and Exchange, a local gold and money trader. “When customers come, they say the price of gold is still high, so they would wait to buy it until the price gets lower.”

There are also signs that people here think the price will continual to rise.

Not many people are buying gold these days, said Neang Chan Nuon, who runs a gold shop near O’Russei market. But they aren’t selling it either.

“Some who bought their gold at a much lower price still keep the old precious metal in hope that the price of gold will probably get higher,” she said in an interview at her shop.

Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodian Economic Association, said no matter how high the price of gold is, Cambodians will likely continue the habit of hording it at home, because metals can come in handy under any government.

“Gold is the most trusted currency for Cambodians at all times, so it is unlikely that they may stop buying and stocking the precious metal,” he said.
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