Archive for July, 2008

Judges preparing for first trial on genocide in Cambodia

The Associated Press – July 31, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Cambodian and international judges are making final preparations to begin the trial of the former commander of a Khmer Rouge torture center who is charged with crimes against humanity, a tribunal official said Thursday.

The trial of Kaing Guek Eav, 65, alias Duch, who headed the notorious S-21 prison and torture center, is scheduled for late September, said Helen Jarvis, a spokeswoman for the United Nations-assisted tribunal.

The trial is a key step in Cambodia’s long wait for justice for atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge rule in the late 1970s. Some 1.7 million people perished.

“To have the director of that institution on trial for crimes committed will be of enormous importance in understanding the Democratic Kampuchea regime,” Jarvis said, referring to the Khmer Rouge’s official name at the time.

The prison in Phnom Penh was the Khmer Rouge’s largest torture facility, and has now become the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.

About 16,000 men, women and children are believed to have been held there. Only 14 are thought to have survived.

The tribunal has been set up under Cambodia’s court system, which follows the French model in which case files are handled by investigating judges before being handed to other judges for the actual trial.

The five judges who will try Duch’s case include three Cambodians and one Frenchman, Jean-Marc Lavergne, who took up their positions in July. A fifth judge from New Zealand, Silvia Cartwright, is to arrive in Cambodia later this week, Jarvis said.

Duch is one of five suspects being held for trial. The others are former top lieutenants of late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who died in 1998.

They are former head of state Khieu Samphan, former chief ideologist Nuon Chea, ex-Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, and his wife Ieng Thirith, who served as the Khmer Rouge social affairs minister.

They face charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

July 31, 2008 at 7:33 am Leave a comment

Cambodian opposition parties complain to king over election

July 31, 2008

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodian opposition parties have filed a complaint to King Norodom Sihamoni against election officials for allegedly preventing one million people from voting in last weekend’s poll.

Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party, Human Rights Party, and Norodom Ranariddh Party told the king that one million registered voters were cut from the rolls by National Election Committee (NEC) officials.

“This act is an intentional mistake which is committed by election officials,” the parties said in the joint letter, relased late Wednesday.

“This is a serious mistake committed by NEC officials at all levels which prevented at least one million people from voting,” the letter said, asking the king to find a way for them to cast ballots before the announcement of official election results.

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party has claimed a landslide victory in Sunday’s election, saying it captured at least 90 of the 123 seats in parliament. Final results of the poll are expected in September.

More than six million out of 8.1 million eligible voters cast ballots in the poll.

European Union election observers have said only about 50,000 could not find their names registered when they attempted to vote.

The NEC has denied opposition allegations that voters were left off the rolls on purpose.

International monitors said earlier this week that the election was flawed and did not meet key standards, despite a more peaceful campaign and improvements in the electoral process.

The opposition parties have rejected the results of the election and demanded a re-run of the poll.

Click on each page of the letter in Khmer to zoom in

July 31, 2008 at 7:25 am Leave a comment

Cambodian election turnout 75%

The Manila Times – July 31, 2008

PHNOM PENH: Turnout in Cambodia’s weekend election was a “good figure” at 75 percent, the country’s election committee said Wednesday, amid opposition rejections of the results and demands for a re-vote.

More than 6 million out of 8.1 million eligible voters cast ballots in Sunday’s election.

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party has claimed a landslide victory, saying it captured at least 90 of the 123 seats in parliament.

Although turnout fell from the 83 percent who voted in the country’s previous poll in 2003, Tep Nytha, secretary-general of the National Election Committee (NEC), said there was still good voter participation.

“Generally, when the number of voters casting ballots is 70-percent up, it is a good figure. In some countries, the percentage of voters is only around 60 percent,” he said.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has estimated that one million of the registered voters were cut from the rolls and has demanded a re-vote.

But European Union election observers have said only about 50,000 could not find their names registered when they attempted to vote.

The NEC has denied opposition allegations that voters were left off the rolls on purpose.

International monitors said Tuesday that the election was flawed and did not meet key standards, despite a more peaceful campaign and improvements in the electoral process.

July 31, 2008 at 7:10 am Leave a comment

Biography of Kuwait’s Prime Minister

HH Prince Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of State of Kuwait

HH Sheikh Nasser was born in 1940 and received his primary and elementary education at Kuwait School followed by the General Certificate of Education in the United Kingdom as well as a Higher Diploma in French Language studies. In 1964 he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. HH Sheikh Nasser is fluent in Arabic, French, English and Persian languages.

The 65-year-old HH Sheikh Nasser is also a former diplomat who speaks several languages and, most recently held a high profile job as the minister in charge of Amiri diwan affairs, serving the late Amir HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

His appointment as the Third Secretary at Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August 1964 was the initiation of his political career. In October of the same year, he was transferred from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Permanent Mission of Kuwait to the United Nations in New York, USA; and then to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in June 1965. In December 1965, his career saw two rapid changes:

First as the Minister Extraordinary Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then as the Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait to the European Office of the United Nations at Geneva, Switzerland. He inaugurated the first office of the Kuwait Permanent Mission in Geneva in 1966 and also became the First Consul General of Kuwait to the Swiss Confederation in Geneva in the same year.

In October 1968, HH Sheikh Nasser became the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Iran and in 1971 was appointed by an Amiri Decree as a Non-Resident Ambassador. Between 1975-1979, he served as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Iran — the youngest ever to hold this position in the world.

In May 1979, he was recalled to Kuwait to serve in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and between 1979- 1985 as the Under Secretary the Ministry of Information and then between 1985-1988 as the Minister for Information. He served the Minister for Soctr Affairs and Labour between 1988-990, and as Minister State for Foreign Affairs in1990-91. On November 16, 2005, he was appointed by an Amiri Decree as the Minister for Al-Diwan Al- Amiri Affairs (Royal Court), a post he held prior to being appointed the Prime Minister.

HH Sheikh Nasser has served his country with distinction and has been decorated on several occasions.He received the First Persian Imperial Order Decoration from the Shah of Iran; a Decoration from the Mayor of Paris Jacques Chirac; the First Degree National Decoration of the Republic Argentina from His Excellency the Argentinean President Carlos Menem; the Highest Decoration Ordre du Grand Officier de l’Ordre National Du Lion, of the Republic of Senegal, from His Excellency the Senegalese President Abdou Diof; a Certificate of Excellence from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference as well as The Greater Order of Finland from the President of Finland His Excellency Marti Ahtisaari.

Apart from this, his was the first Kuwaiti voice be heard from Kuwait Radio during the Iraqi aggression, saying “This Is Kuwait”. He was the Representative of HH the Amir in the celebration of the Enthronement of the Emperor of Japan.

 Source: http://www.kuwait-info.com/sidepages/state_primeminister.asp

July 31, 2008 at 4:26 am 1 comment

Press Release

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – July 30, 2008

Prince Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of State of Kuwait

At the invitation of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Prince Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of State of Kuwait will pay a state visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia from 03 to 05 August 2008. 

During his visit, Prince Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will receive courtesy calls by Samdech Akka Thoma Pothisal Chea Sim, Acting Head of State and President of Senate and will have official talks with Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

July 31, 2008 at 4:15 am Leave a comment

Thailand, Cambodia to follow up ‘success’

NSC asked to support border agreement

Bangkok Post – July 31, 2008

THANIDA TANSUBHAPOL & WASSANA NANUAM

The National Security Council (NSC) is to meet with other agencies to follow up on agreements made at the assembly in Siem Reap on the border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia. 

But no date for the talks has yet been set, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat. 

The Foreign Ministry yesterday invited 11 Bangkok-based diplomats whose countries are members of the United Nations Security Council and envoys of nine members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to a briefing on the outcome of the Siem Reap meeting last Monday between Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag and Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong. 

Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ung Sean reported the meeting’s outcomes to other envoys. 

The briefing was aimed at convincing Security Council members to back efforts by the two countries to resolve the border row over 4.6 sq km of overlapping territory between Kantharalak district in Si Sa Ket province and the Cambodian province of Preah Vihear. 

Thailand and Cambodia agreed to reduce the number of troops in the area as a step towards a military withdrawal, to hold a meeting of the Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) to demarcate the border line, to clear landmines around Preah Vihear temple and to seek to avoid armed confrontation. 

Thailand’s deputy foreign minister co-chairs the JBC, together with Cambodia’s Senior Minister Var Kim Hong, who is in charge of border affairs. 

But there is no deputy foreign minister, and that could delay the meeting. 

”There might be a problem in Thailand resuming JBC talks, as it does not have a deputy foreign minister to lead the meeting,” Mr Tharit admitted. 

Supreme commander Gen Boonsrang Niempradit said the Foreign Ministry was the key agency in solving the problem with Cambodia and the armed forces would support its efforts. 

With the proclaimed success of the talks in Siem Reap, Gen Boonsrang indicated that there was no need for another meeting of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee, which is chaired by the respective defence ministers, in the near future.

July 31, 2008 at 3:31 am Leave a comment

Opposition rejects results of Cambodian election

Radio Australia, Australia – July 31, 2008

In Cambodia, several opposition parties have rejected the results of last weekend’s elections, saying the vote was rigged in favour of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

However, a protest rally held by the opposition failed to gather many supporters… and international monitors say while there were serious problems with the conduct of the election, there was not enough evidence to discredit the CPP’s landslide victory.

July 31, 2008 at 3:28 am Leave a comment

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