Phnom Penh Post has made a review of the year 2007.
They report, among other things that Sihanoukville Airport was reopened in January, and that the Governor of Phnom Penh signed a lease for an 133 hectare area around and including the lake Boueng Kak (which could lead to eviction for thousands of residents) in February. In the same month the World Bank said in a report that the Cambodian Government has to do more to help working children in the country, the Council of Ministers approved a draft law which meant a first step towards a stock market and the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers Hy Vuthy was murdered.
In March the president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Kem Sokha, announced that he will form a new political party (four months later the Human Rights Party was launched) and 300 people marched the 315 kilometres from Phnom Penh to Bayon Temple where they performed a ceremony for non-violence, political tolerance and freedom of expression.
On April 1 commune elections were held. The ruling Cambodian People's Party, CPP, finished with control of 98.2 percent of the commune councils. Later that month the Appeals Court upheld the prison sentences of two men accused of the murder of the former leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers Chea Vichea (january 2004). This decision was condemned by international and local rights groups which considered the criminal investigation and trial flawed.
In May UN human rights envoy Yash Gai visited Cambodia without succiding in his efforts to have a meeting with prime minister Hun Sen and the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development announced that it will support a $11.5 million development project to help poor people in rural areas.
June kicked off with the release of a report by NGO Global Witness about extensive involvement by government officials in illegal logging. A week later the National Assembly approved Cambodia's new Criminal Procedural Code. June 12th Yash Ghai released a "damning assessment" (Phnom Penh Post) of the human rights situation in Cambodia. Later that month the government declared that it was illegal for Buddhist monks to participate in demonstrations and a decade-old Russian made plane crashed in of Kampot province.
In July General Electric launched its Phnom Penh branch, one of many signs of a growing international business in Cambodian markets. The next day Bobby Charlton and Tony Hawk visited Cambodia and the Spirit of Soccer program which educates children about the dangers of landmines. Kaing Khek Iev, aka Duch, were charged with crimes against humanity by the ECCC.
An August 20th International Monetary Fund study estimated Cambodia's possibilities to benefit from oil production. According to the IMF study, Cambodia could earn $174 million in 2011, rising to $1.7 billion after 10 years. During the last days of the month the first ever "Clogger Summit" was held. Khmer bloggers discussed blogging issues such as limited access to internet and the tendency to write in English among Khmer bloggers.
In September, Nuon Chea, brother number two, was arrested. But a drawback for the tribunal were the several audit reports that stated that the Cambodian side of the tribunal was an administrative failure, and in early
...October, an UNDP audit report found that some Cambodians working at the tribunal were being paid several thousand dollars.* For the sake of national security Cambodia officially established an Intelligence Department in October to collect information from abroad. The same month Prince Norodom Ranariddh's Municipal Court Conviction for breach of trust was upheld by the Appeals Court. Norodom Ranariddh is the former president of the royalist party Funcinpec and also former president of the National Assembly. A second decade-old Russian made plane crashed. This time in Kandal province. The rest of Cambodias old Russian-made planes were grounded pending reults from the investigations into both crashes. In the end of the month three voter watchdog groups complained that there had been problems with the voter registration list, but the National Election Committee said it were not going to extend the voter registration period.
November 1th Cambodia got a visit from North korean PM Kim Yung Il (not to confuse with Kim Jung Il). Trade agreements were being signed. Later that month Ieng Sary, brother number three, and his wife Ieng Thirith, the highest ranking woman in the Khmer Rouge leadership, were arrested. A few days later Khieu Samphan, the official head of State during the Khmer Rouge regime, allegedly suffered a stroke and was brought by helicopter to Phnom Penh. Yet a few days later Khieu Samphan was arrested. With him the five highest-ranking Khmer Rouge leaders still alive are imprisoned. November 20th the ECCC held the first open hearing. It was Kaing Khek Iev who was the first to sit in the dock.
In December Transparency International released the result of its 2007 Global Corruption Barometer survey. Cambodia ended up second-to-last out of 60 countries.
* To compare with the $25 salary of a government employee.
Other blogposts about: Cambodia, Kambodja