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Archive for March 2013

ICJ defence plan to head to cabinet

The Foreign Ministry will submit the Thai position to be presented at court hearings on the Preah Vihear dispute to the cabinet on April 2.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said Thursday the ministry will ask for opinions from the cabinet before the Thai team leaves for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearings at the Hague in the Netherlands on April 15-19.

Mr Surapong said approval will be sought regarding a live translation from French to Thai at the oral hearings, which will be broadcast via internet from the court.

The hearings will be conducted in French.

He said a translated broadcast in Thai should be aired so the public can receive information directly from the court. That would avoid any misinterpretation in media reports, he said.

The ministry will also brief the public about Thailand and Cambodia’s positions at the end of each day of the hearing.

Meanwhile, Mr Surapong said Thailand is planning to develop a special economic zone (SEZ) in Poipet and Koh Kong with Cambodia, similar to the SEZ to be developed with Myanmar in Mae Sot. Under the plan, Thailand will develop transport links between the two countries and upgrade border checkpoints, he said.

Cooperation on agriculture, health, human resources and industrial development will also be part of the plan.

Mr Surapong said Thai and Cambodian officials will talk in detail before he meets his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong, in May or June to discuss the plan.

Mr Surapong said the Defence Ministry will also hold talks with Cambodian officials on illegal logging of Siamese rosewood along the border and will set up a patrol police unit to stamp out the activity.

This map was prepared by the ICJ in 2011 as a proposed demilitarized zone for Siam and Cambodian troops.

This map was prepared by the ICJ in 2011 as a proposed demilitarized zone for Siam and Cambodian troops.

 

Written by Kham

15/03/2013 at 4:58 pm

Commentary: Cambodia optimism on temple unsettles Siams

Bangkokpost 14-3-2013 by Wassana Nanuam

Siam folks unsettle over ICJ hearing on Preah Vihear temple

Siam folks unsettle over ICJ hearing on Preah Vihear temple

‘No matter how the World Court’s verdict comes out, we are neighbours and should not fight each other,” Cambodia’s defence minister and deputy premier, Gen Tea Banh said.

“We can [solve problems through] talks. We are supposed to be close friends as both of us are heading for the Asean Economic Community.”

He was urging both countries to stay calm while the Preah Vihear territory dispute unfolds.

However, the Cambodian general dodged a question about his expectations of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) verdict on the ownership of the disputed 4.6 sq km area surrounding the Preah Vihear temple. The ICJ’s ruling is expected later this year.

But the statement contained hints of optimism that Cambodia will win the dispute and will be able to claim ownership of up to 600 rai of the disputed territory.

Of particular concern to Thailand is Cambodia’s attempt to create the impression that it is the rightful owner of the disputed area. A military source mentioned a report which the Cambodian government cites to Unesco, that more ancient artefacts have been discovered around the temple ruins.

The ICJ ruled in 1962 that the temple belongs to Cambodia.

The report is seen as an attempt by Cambodia, which put up a fence and a Unesco sign around the “discovery” location, to expand the temple zone beyond the 20×100 metre plot that the Sarit Thanarat government allocated to Cambodia following the 1962 verdict.

The Thai side is also worried about the so-called “5+5” meeting point _ about 500m from the temple’s naga stairs. Each country deploys five soldiers (rangers for Thailand) to the spot every day from 8am-4pm. Despite the ongoing land dispute, Cambodia has constructed a border patrol police house for its soldiers next to the meeting point.

So at the end of the day, the Cambodian soldiers remain in the disputed area while the Thai side has to walk back to their base, giving the impression that the area belongs to Cambodia.

These rangers are more like “hostages”. If a conflict arises, the Thai rangers could easily be taken captive, as happened in February 2011 when the two sides clashed.

Moreover, all the signs placed at this meeting point read only in Khmer, despite Thai demands to have Thai-language signs erected on the Thai side of the meeting point. “We are supposed to have put up our signs but we don’t want to spoil the friendly atmosphere over such a trivial matter,” the source said.

Another source said Thailand is dubious about its neighbour. When Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat travelled to the Preah Vihear temple to meet his counterpart Gen Tea Banh on Feb 26, Cambodian Deputy Defence Minister Nieng Pad was said to have wanted to welcome the Thai minister and his entourage at this 5+5 meeting point. The Thai side, however, resisted on the grounds it would give the impression that Thailand acknowledges Cambodian ownership of the overlapping area. Instead, the Thai side asked the Cambodian general to offer his welcome at the temple’s naga stairs over which Cambodia has ownership rights.

“We are keen to see that history will not repeat itself,” the source said, referring to a visit of Prince Damrong to the temple ruins in 1930.

At that time, the French resident general and Cambodian officers came to the site to welcome the Siamese prince who was then interior minister. Cambodia cited this historical incident when petitioning to the ICJ in 1962, saying it was tantamount to Siam’s acknowledgement of its ownership over the temple ruins. And the World Court ruled in Cambodia’s favour. The issue blew up again in 2008 when Cambodia registered the temple as a World Heritage site, triggering conflicts over overlapping land around the temple.

Since the Preah Vihear conflict erupted, Thai-Cambodian relations have ebbed and flowed depending on who is in power on the Thai side.

With Yingluck Shinawatra _ whose brother enjoys cordial relations with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen _ in office, relations have improved. Hun Sen has encouraged Thai and Cambodian soldiers to meet more often. The unprecedented meeting at the Preah Vihear temple between ACM Sukumpol and his counterparts was to give an impression that the bilateral relationship has improved and the ICJ’s eventual ruling will not lead to war.

Cambodia is confident, however, that the Yingluck government will be able to control its army should the ICJ rule that Thailand must give up the territory.

But this is pure speculation. We don’t know what the court will decide and whether the army, not to mention nationalistic groups such as the People’s Alliance for Democracy, will agree to act peacefully if the verdict is not favourable to Thailand.

Cambodian radio station owner to be freed this week

Mam Sonando, owner of the Beehive Radio and president of the Association of Democrats, waves to his supporters at Cambodia's Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 14, 2013. Cambodia's Court of Appeal on Thursday reduced jail term for Mam Sonando, owner of the Beehive Radio and president of the Association of Democrats, to five years with remaining jail term being suspended, according to a verdict announced by presiding judge Khun Leang Meng. (Xinhua/Phearum)

Mam Sonando, owner of the Beehive Radio and president of the Association of Democrats, waves to his supporters at Cambodia’s Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 14, 2013. Cambodia’s Court of Appeal on Thursday reduced jail term for Mam Sonando, owner of the Beehive Radio and president of the Association of Democrats, to five years with remaining jail term being suspended, according to a verdict announced by presiding judge Khun Leang Meng. (Xinhua/Phearum)

PHNOM PENH, March 14 (Xinhua) — Cambodia’s Court of Appeal on Thursday reduced jail term for Mam Sonando, owner of the Beehive Radio and president of the Association of Democrats, to five years with remaining jail term being suspended, according to a verdict announced by presiding judge Khun Leang Meng.

The court found Sonando, 72, guilty of obstruction of public officials, interference in the discharge of public duties, and illegal logging, he said.

Sonando, who was arrested on July 15, 2012 at his house in Phnom Penh, will be released on Saturday after he has served eight months in jail, the judge said.

“I support the court for giving a suspended jail term to my client,” Sonando’s defense lawyer Sar Sovan told reporters.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Oct. 1 last year convicted Sonando of masterminding a “secessionist” plot and sentenced him to 20 years in jail.

The court found that Sonando masterminded a plot to establish an autonomous region in eastern Kratie province in May last year. At that time, there was a violent clash between the government forces and illegal land holders. As a result, a 14-year-old girl was shot dead by government forces.

Some western countries see the conviction of Sonando as a political motivated move to stifle a popular government critic.

In November last year, while attending ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, U.S. President Barack Obama urged Cambodia to release political prisoners during a bilateral meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Obama highlighted the case of Sonando for instance.

However, Hun Sen said, “In Cambodia, there is no political prisoner, but politicians abused the law, so they must be punished in accordance with the law.”

For Cambodia, worries that death may beat justice

14-3-2013 PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Decades after Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge movement oversaw the deaths of 1.7 million people by starvation, overwork and execution, the regime’s imprisoned top leaders are escaping justice one by one. How? Old age.

Thursday’s death of 87-year-old Ieng Sary, foreign minister under the Khmer Rouge, is fueling urgent calls among survivors and rights groups for the country’s U.N.-backed tribunal to expedite proceedings against the increasingly frail and aging leaders of the radical communist group, which ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.

Ieng Sary’s wife, former Social Affairs Minister Ieng Thirith, was ruled unfit to stand trial last year because she suffered from a degenerative mental illness consistent with Alzheimer’s disease. Now, only two people — ex-head of state Khieu Samphan, who is 81, and the movement’s former chief ideologist, Nuon Chea, who is 86 — remain on trial for their alleged roles in some of the 20th century’s most horrific crimes.

There are growing fears that both men could die before a verdict is rendered. Both are frail with high blood pressure, and have suffered strokes.

“The defendants are getting old, and the survivors are getting old,” said Bou Meng, one of the few Cambodians to survive Tuol Sleng prison, known as S-21, where up to 16,000 people were tortured and killed during the Khmer Rouge era. “The court needs to speed up its work.”

“I have been waiting for justice for nearly 40 years,” Bou Meng, 70, told The Associated Press. “I never thought it would take so long.”

When the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh in April 1975, they began moving an estimated 1 million people — even hospital patients — from the capital into the countryside in an effort to create a communist agrarian utopia.

By the time the bizarre experiment ended in 1979 with an invasion by advancing Vietnamese troops, an estimated 1.7 million people had died in Cambodia, which had only about 7 million people at the time. Most of the dead were victims of starvation, medical neglect, slave-like working conditions and execution under the Maoist regime. Their bodies were dumped in shallow mass graves that still dot the countryside.

The tribunal, officially known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, was tasked with seeking justice for crimes committed during that era.

The court, which was 10 years in the making, began operations in 2006. But despite some $150 million in funding, it has so far convicted only one defendant: Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, the commandant of S-21 prison.

Duch was sentenced in 2010 to 35 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The sentence was reduced to a 19-year term because of time previously served and other technicalities, a move that sparked angry criticism from victims who said it was too lenient. Cambodia has no death penalty.

Several other major Khmer Rouge figures died before the court even existed, including supreme leader Pol Pot in 1998.

Ieng Sary’s death was no surprise given his age and ailing health, said Ou Virak, who heads the Cambodian Center for Human Rights. But “given the fact that the other two defendants are also in their 80s, it should act as a wake-up call to all concerned — the Cambodian government, the U.N., the international donors and the tribunal itself — that these cases need to be expedited urgently so that justice can be served.”

“The whole future of the tribunal is currently in limbo, and the possibility that hundreds of millions of dollars will have been wasted is now a very real threat,” Ou Virak said. “Most importantly, though, if all three die before their guilt or innocence can be determined, then the Cambodian people will quite understandably feel robbed of justice.”

The court has been criticized before for the sluggish pace of proceedings. But William Smith, one of the court’s prosecutors, said the trial has taken time because the indictments themselves have been lengthy, and the list of alleged crimes to be proven long.

The tribunal has been dogged by other problems, including funding shortages from international donors. Earlier this month, Cambodian translators angry that they had gone without pay for three months went on strike just before the court was to hear testimony from two foreign experts.

Tribunal spokesman Neth Pheaktra said Thursday that the interpreters would all return to work this week after the court administrator promised that they would get paid. But he added that the translators have threatened to strike again if they are not paid by month’s end.

In recent years, the tribunal has also been hit by infighting and angry resignations by foreign judges over whether to try more Khmer Rouge defendants on war crimes charges. Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia since 1985, has warned that no more trials will be allowed. Many former members of the Khmer Rouge, including Hun Sen himself, hold important positions in the current government.

The trial against Ieng Sary, his wife and the last two accused senior Khmer Rouge leaders alive began jointly in 2011. All have denied guilt for their roles during the radical communist movement’s rule.

Lars Olsen, another tribunal spokesman, said Thursday that “we understand that many probably are disappointed with the fact that we cannot complete the proceedings against Ieng Sary, and therefore we cannot determine” whether he is guilty or innocent of the charges against him.

But it’s important to remember, he said, that the case against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan “is not over.” He said it would not be affected by Ieng Sary’s death and proceedings will continue on schedule.

Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, an independent group gathering evidence of the Khmer Rouge crimes for the tribunal, said Ieng Sary’s death “carries little value for the regime’s victims, who patiently wait to see justice done.”

Ieng Sary died early Thursday under the care of doctors at a Phnom Penh hospital, where he was admitted earlier this month suffering from weakness and fatigue. He suffered fatal cardiac failure, said one of the prosecutors in his case, Chea Leang, who added that under Cambodian law, all charges against him will now officially be dropped.

Yim Sopheak, a 47-year-old street vendor who said the Khmer Rouge regime had executed her parents, said Ieng Sary “deserved to die in prison, not in a hospital. He should have died in the same way as he executed my parents and other people.”

Yi Chea, a 72-year-old flower seller who says her husband and other relatives were also killed during Khmer Rouge rule, said she was happy Ieng Sary was gone. But, she added that “he did not deserve to die naturally like this.”

Tribunal hearings resume on March 25, said Neth Pheaktra. Foreign medical experts are due to testify on the health status of Nuon Chea, to determine whether the ailing ex-leader is still fit to continue to stand trial.

 

China’s Xi caps rise to take on myriad challenges…Xi,China’s New Emperor

Associated Press/Ng Han Guan - Outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao, center, poses with his successor Xi Jinping, right, after Xi was elected at a plenary session of the National People's Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday, March 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Associated Press/Ng Han Guan – Outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao, center, poses with his successor Xi Jinping, right, after Xi was elected at a plenary session of the National People’s Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday, March 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

14-3-2013 BEIJING (AP) — Xi Jinping caps his rise to the helm of China at a time when calls are mounting for bold leadership to tackle faltering economic growth, unbridled corruption and a severely befouled environment that endanger his Communist Party’s legitimacy.

Xi was elevated to the presidency Thursday by the rubber-stamp national legislature, giving him the last of the three titles held by his predecessor, Hu Jintao. Xi already was China’s pre-eminent leader after being appointed head of the Communist Party and chairman of the military last November in a once-a-decade handover to a new group of leaders.

The final steps in the transition unfold over the next two days with the expected anointing of Li Keqiang, the party’s No. 2, as premier on Friday. The central bank governor and finance and other ministers will be appointed Saturday.

Xi and his team now steer a rising global power beset with many domestic challenges that will test their leadership. Chief among them are a sputtering economy that’s overly dominated by powerful state industries and mounting public anger over widespread corruption, a burgeoning income gap and social inequality.

An increasingly vocal Chinese public is expressing impatience with the government’s unfulfilled promises to curb abuses of power by local officials, better police the food supply and clean up the country’s polluted rivers, air and soil.

“What do ordinary people care about? Food safety, and smog if you are in a big city, and official corruption,” said the prominent Chinese author and social commentator Murong Xuecun, the pen name of author Hao Qun. “They just want to have a peaceful, stable and safe life. To have money and food, and live without worry of being tortured, or having their homes forcefully demolished.”

“The entire country is watching for Xi’s next step,” the writer said.

That sentiment was echoed by at least one National People’s Congress delegate as he filed out from the huge, red-carpeted cavern of Beijing’s Great Hall of the People after Thursday’s vote. Li Qinghe veered slightly from the ingratiating remarks that have come to be expected of deputies, saying that while he “resolutely endorsed” Xi’s selection as president, the position was vested with high expectations.

“I hope that he will pay more attention to problems affecting the people’s lives,” said Li, a petrochemical plant worker and delegate from the northeastern province of Heilongjiang. He cited as his concerns jobs for rural migrants, schools for their children and affordable medical care.

Xi’s accession marks only the second orderly transfer of power in more than six decades of Communist Party rule. He was the only candidate for president in Thursday’s ballot and won 2,952-1, with three abstaining in the tightly choreographed ritual the party calls an election.

After the result was announced, the 59-year-old Xi bowed to delegates and turned to his predecessor, Hu, seated on his right. The two shook hands and posed for photos.

A liberal-minded reformer and a close ally of Hu, Li Yuanchao, was named vice president in a break with the practice of recent years because he is not in the party’s seven-member ruling inner sanctum. The appointment to what has previously been a wholly ceremonial role is seen as a concession to Hu’s lingering influence. Li is known as a progressive, capable official, but in charge of personnel matters the past five years, he angered some party power-brokers by favoring officials in Hu’s camp.

Ahead of the votes on the government’s top slots, legislators approved a government restructuring plan that abolishes the Railways Ministry and combines two agencies that regulate newspapers and broadcasters into a super media regulator. It also merges the Health Ministry with the commission that oversees the much-disliked rules that limit many families to one child.

Early indications of Xi’s priorities came in a government policy program delivered during last week’s opening of the legislative session. It pledged to clean up the country’s environment, fight pervasive graft and official extravagance and improve welfare benefits for the poor.

The report, delivered by Premier Wen Jiaobao in his last speech before stepping down, promised to give private companies a fairer chance to compete, but did not say how Beijing would deal with big state companies controlling most of China’s industries that economists have warned need to be curbed in order to preserve future growth. Many experts fear the government will be too hamstrung by powerful interest groups, linked to state industries, to be able to make these changes. But few doubt the urgency of the reform that’s needed.

“Now most Chinese can still afford to keep their stomach full, so there isn’t any intense resistance,” said Murong Xuecun, the writer. “But if the economy enters a depression, it will be hard to say.”

Currently, both the Communist Party and the government enjoy little credibility with the public, said Zhang Ming, a China politics expert at prestigious Renmin University in Beijing.

“The way to regain credibility is to at least show some results, but at this point that can’t be seen, and I predict there won’t be any real results later,” Zhang said.

The son of a revolutionary veteran, Xi cuts an authoritative figure with a confidence and congeniality that was lacking in his predecessor, the aloof and stiff Hu. He quickly moved to court the military after taking over from Hu as head of the party’s Central Military Commission, making high-profile visits to naval, air force and infantry bases and meeting with nuclear missile commanders.

Xi has also sought to court other constituencies. He made a trip to the south to show he’s interested in economic reforms, repeatedly stated his staunch belief in party power to appeal to hard-liners, visited the poor to burnish his common-man credentials and espoused the “Chinese Dream” to tap into middle class aspirations.

But for Xi to consolidate his power within the party, he will come up against various interest groups, such as the sons and daughters of communist China’s founding fathers who want to keep benefiting from their connections, or those with links to banks and state industries who don’t want their privileged positions threatened.

Ideologically, there are those who believe China needs an even stronger, more authoritarian government that promotes more egalitarian economic and social policies, while others want a transition to a more democratic government.

Khmer Rouge’s Ieng Sary dies amid genocide trial…how CPP planned it to happen!

14-3-2013

Associated Press/Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Mark Peters, File - FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2011 file photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Ieng Sary, former minister of Foreign Affairs, waits to be questioned at the court hall of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Ieng Sary, who co-founded Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge movement in 1970s, served as its public face abroad and decades later became one of its few leaders to face justice for the deaths of well over a million people, died Thursday morning, March 14, 2013. He was 87. (AP Photo/Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Mark Peters, File)

Associated Press/Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Mark Peters, File – FILE – In this Dec. 5, 2011 file photo released by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Ieng Sary, former minister of Foreign Affairs, waits to be questioned at the court hall of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Ieng Sary, who co-founded Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge movement in 1970s, served as its public face abroad and decades later became one of its few leaders to face justice for the deaths of well over a million people, died Thursday morning, March 14, 2013. He was 87. (AP Photo/Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Mark Peters, File)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Ieng Sary, who co-founded the communist Khmer Rouge regime responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians in the 1970s, and who decades later became one of its few leaders to be put on trial, died Thursday morning before his case could be finished. He was 87.

The brother-in-law of late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, Ieng Sary died before any verdict was reached in the trial, which began in late 2011 with four defendants and now has only two.

His death dashed hopes among survivors and prosecutors that he would be punished for his alleged crimes against humanity during the darkest chapter in his country’s history.

Lars Olsen, a spokesman for the joint Cambodian-international tribunal where Ieng Sary had been on trial, confirmed his death. Chea Leang, a co-prosecutor for the tribunal, told the press that he died of “irreversible cardiac failure.”

Ieng Sary had suffered from high blood pressure and heart problems and been admitted to a Phnom Penh hospital March 4 with weakness and severe fatigue. His body was being taken Thursday by ambulance from the hospital to Malai in western Cambodia, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold where his family lives, for his funeral.

Ieng Sary was being tried along with two other former Khmer Rouge leaders, both in their 80s, and there are fears that they, too, could also die before justice is served. Ieng Sary’s wife, former Social Affairs Minister Ieng Thirith, had also been charged but was ruled unfit to stand trial last year because she suffered from a degenerative mental illness, probably Alzheimer’s disease.

“We are disappointed that we could not complete the proceeding against Ieng Sary,” Olsen said, adding that the case against his colleagues Nuon Chea, the Khmer Rouge’s chief ideologist, and Khieu Samphan, an ex-head of state, will continue and will not be affected.

Ieng Sary founded the Khmer Rouge with leader Pol Pot. The communist regime, which ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, claimed it was building a pure socialist society by evicting people from cities to work in labor camps in the countryside. Its radical policies led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.

Ieng Sary was foreign minister in the regime, and as its top diplomat became a much more recognizable figure internationally than his secretive colleagues.

The Khmer Rouge came to power through a civil war that toppled a U.S.-backed regime. Ieng Sary then helped persuade hundreds of Cambodian intellectuals to return home from overseas, often to their deaths.

The returnees were arrested and put in “re-education camps,” and most were later executed, said Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, an independent group gathering evidence of the Khmer Rouge crimes for the tribunal.

As a member of the Khmer Rouge’s central and standing committee, Ieng Sary “repeatedly and publicly encouraged, and also facilitated, arrests and executions within his Foreign Ministry and throughout Cambodia,” Steve Heder said in his co-authored book “Seven Candidates for Prosecution: Accountability for the Crimes of the Khmer Rouge.” Heder is a Cambodia scholar who later worked with the U.N.-backed tribunal.

Known by his revolutionary alias as “Comrade Van,” Ieng Sary was a recipient of many internal Khmer Rouge documents detailing torture and mass execution of suspected internal enemies, according to the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

“We are continuing to wipe out remaining (internal enemies) gradually, no matter if they are opposed to our revolution overtly or covertly,” read a cable sent to Ieng Sary in 1978. It was reprinted in an issue of the center’s magazine in 2000, apparently proving he had full knowledge of bloody purges.

“It’s clear that he was one of the leaders that was a recipient of information all the way down to the village level,” Youk Chhang said.

In 1996, years after the overthrown Khmer Rouge retreated to the jungle, Ieng Sary became the first member of its inner circle to defect, bringing thousands of foot soldiers with him and hastening the movement’s final disintegration.

The move secured him a limited amnesty, temporary credibility as a peacemaker and years of comfortable living in Cambodia, but that vanished as the U.N.-backed tribunal built its case against him.

Ieng Sary was arrested in 2007, and the trial against him started in late 2011. He faced charges that included crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

He denied any hand in the atrocities. At a press conference following his defection, he said Pol Pot “was the sole and supreme architect of the party’s line, strategy and tactics.”

“Nuon Chea implemented all Pol Pot’s decisions to torture and execute those who expressed opposite opinions and those they hated, like intellectuals,” Ieng Sary said. He claimed that he was a secondary figure excluded from Pol Pot’s secret security committee, which decided policy and who would be executed.

“Do I have remorse? No,” he said in 1996. “I have no regrets because this was not my responsibility.”

Only one former Khmer Rouge official has been tried and convicted: former prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, who was sentenced to life in prison.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has openly opposed additional indictments of former Khmer Rouge figures, some of whom have become his political allies.

Pol Pot himself died in 1998 in Cambodia’s jungles while a prisoner of his own comrades.

Ieng Sary declined to participate in his trial, demanding that the tribunal consider the pardon he received from Cambodia’s king when he defected in 1996. The tribunal, formally known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, previously ruled that the pardon does not cover its indictment against him.

Ieng Sary was born Kim Trang on Oct. 24, 1925, in southern Vietnam. In the early 1950s, he was among many Cambodian students who received government scholarships to study in France, where he also took part in a Marxist circle.

After returning to Cambodia in 1957, he taught history at an elite high school in the capital, Phnom Penh, while engaging in clandestine communist activities.

He, Ieng Thirith, Pol Pot and Pol Pot’s wife eventually formed the core of the Khmer Rouge movement. Pol Pot’s wife, Khieu Ponnary, also was Ieng Thirith’s sister; she died in 2003.

Pol Pot was known as “Brother No. 1”, Nuon Chea as “Brother No. 2” and Ieng Sary was “Brother No. 3.”

In August 1979, eight months after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge by a Vietnam-led resistance, Ieng Sary was sentenced in absentia to death by the court of a Hanoi-installed government that was made up of former Khmer Rouge defectors like Hun Sen, the current prime minister. The show trial also condemned Pol Pot.

Since he was in charge of the Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement’s finances, Ieng Sary was believed to have used his position to amass personal wealth.

On Aug. 8, 1996, a Khmer Rouge rebel radio broadcast announced a death sentence against him for embezzling millions of dollars that reportedly came from the group’s logging and gem business along the border with Thailand. But the charge appeared to be politically inspired, recognition that he was becoming estranged from his comrades-in-arms.

He struck a peace deal with Hun Sen and days later led a mutiny of thousands of Khmer Rouge fighters to join the government, which was a prelude to the movement’s total collapse in 1999.

As a reward, Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia almost unchallenged for the last two decades, secured a royal amnesty for Ieng Sary from then-King Norodom Sihanouk, who himself had been a virtual prisoner of the Khmer Rouge and lost more than a dozen children and relatives during its reign of terror. The government also awarded Ieng Sary a diplomatic passport for travel.

Between his defection and arrest, Ieng Sary lived a comfortable life, dividing time between his opulent villa in Phnom Penh and his home in Pailin, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in northwestern Cambodia.

He and some of his former aides in the Khmer Rouge, intellectuals who were in a second generation of the group’s leadership, made a short-lived attempt at forming a legal political movement.

 

Hun Sen Requests All Political Parties to Consider Including Women on Party Candidate Lists

AKP Phnom Penh, March 09, 2013 –

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has called on all political parties to consider including women on the top party candidate lists for the forthcoming general election.

“Cambodia is going to hold the 5th general election on July 28, 2013. So, I would like to appeal to all political parties to consider placing women’s candidacies on the top candidate lists,” said Samdech Techo Hun Sen while presiding over the celebration of the 102nd Anniversary of the International Women’s Day held here at the Peace Palace on Mar. 8 under the theme of “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity for Progress”.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen also took the opportunity to call on the eligible voters, especially women, to go to vote in July.

In addition, the Cambodian premier also highlighted the Royal Government of Cambodia’s attention on women by promoting the respect of their rights, building their capacity and enhancing their roles in society.

“The Cambodian people always recognize and see women as the mother of the world and the backbone of social and economic development,” Samdech Techo Hun Sen stressed.