Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New conditions for the approaching poll?

Asia Times reports that the medium- and smallsized opposition parties in Cambodia might form a coalition to compete with the ruling Cambodian People's Party, CPP, in July's election. The three main opposition parties taking part in the discussion on forming a coalition are the Sam Rainsy Party, SRP, the Human Rights Party, HRP, and the Norodom Ranariddh Party, NRP.

The major oppostion party, SRP, has been in the opposition for over ten years. According to Asia Times, it still does not represent a real democratic challenge to the CPP. It has also had problems with internal discord in recent years.

The HRP was formed in July last year by the founder of Cambodian Center for Human Rights, CCHR, Kem Sokha. Several well known political figures have since joined the party. Sokha has been imprisoned for criticizing Prime Minister Huns Sen's policies in public, and has a reputation for fighting corruption and human rights abuses.

The NRP was formed in 2006 by Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the leading party founder of the royalist Funcinpec party. Prince Ranariddh left the Funcinpec party, who is currently in coalition with the CPP, and formed the NRP after some time of internal conflicts that undermined the formerly very strong Funcinpec. In the 1993 election Funcinpec was the top vote recipient. From 1993 until the CPP coup in 1997 Cambodia had two Prime Ministers: First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Second Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Hun Sen's party, the CPP has been accused of harrassing and threatening opposition party members reports Asia Times. The president of CCHR, Ou Virak, sais that even if the upcoming election will have a better environment than previous, it will still not be free and fair by international standards. He tells Asia Times that opposition acitivists have recieved threats in recent months, and that a few have even been killed under mysterious circumstances.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

ECCC out of money

According to The Earth Times, the ECCC have anounced that it needs at least 117 million dollars more to continue past September. The tribunal was originally budgeted at 56 million dollars according to The Earth Times.

According to The Manila Times, ECCC officials said they were confident the court would be able to gather enough funds to stay on schedule.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Devil's advocate postpones hearing

Wednesday, April 23rd, the hearing on Khieu Samphan's appeal was abruptly adjourned, according to the Boston Globe, when Samphan's French lawyer Jacques Vergès refused to continue. He claimed that the court documents had not been translated into French, and that he because of that where unable to know what his client was accused of. The tribunal's judges warned Vergès later for his behaviour that caused the hearing's postponement. On Thursday 24th, Khieu Samphan's Cambodian lawyer Say Bory, asked Vergès to tone down his aggressive style.

83-year-old Jacques Vergès has been called "the Devil's advocate" because of his controversial clients. Among others he has been defending Klaus Barbie, Carlos the Jackal and Slobodan Milosevic. Last year he was the subject for the feature-length documentary film "Terror's Advocate" by Barbet Schroeder.

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Scientists will examine Tonle Sap

Cambodia's - and South East Asia's - largest lake Tonle Sap will be examined by a coalition of Thai and Finnish scientist according to ScandAsia.com. The scientists aim to find the potential climate-change impacts that the people living around the lake might experience during the next 50 years.

Tonle Sap is the source of protein-rich food for Cambodia's population, but global warming and economic exploitation are destabilising the ecosystem. Locals are finding it more difficult to survive. The government has aggressively exploit the lake's fisheries with the watchword of poverty reduction, but ScandAsia.com reports that sociologist Mak Sithirith of the Fisheries Action Coalition Team said it is not the poor who are benefiting. And climate change is adding more anxiety to the communities around the lake.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Phnom Penh Post goes daily!

The new Australian owners of Phnom Penh Post have decided to turn the old fortnightly newspaper into a daily one according to Thomas Crampton.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cambodia and Thailand willing to share oil and gas resources

According to Radio Australia negotiations between Cambodia and Thailand opened in 1995 on how to divide the sea border. Both countries have been unable to start exploit oil and natural gas resources because of their clashing claims of the. The last round of talks were held in 2006 without getting any closer to an agreement. Radio Australia reports thats the director-general of Cambodia's National Petroleum Authority, Te Duong Tara says talks might resume as early as this April.

Radio Australia says Cambodia is planning to begin oil production in 2011.

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