Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Khmer Rouge trials continue, so does land dispute and harassment.

It feels good to be back in Cambodia. It doesn't rain much at all considering it is supposed to be in the middle of the rain period now. Phnom Penh looks pretty much the same as last time as was here, 18 months ago. There are no sky scrapers yet, but we've been shown a building site where one is supposed to be built. Phnom Penh Post is still a fortnightly newspaper. The lake Boeng Kak and the people around it is still there, but according to a friend of mine who is living and working in the area, there are pumps installed to drain the lake already, and rumours say the eviction of people and the filling in of the lake is to be started after the election.

Some national news from The Cambodia Daily today, July 1:

The former Khmer Rouge Foreign minister Ieng Sary appeared on court for the first time Monday June 30. The bail hearing was however adjourned shortly after Sary had left the courtroom, complaining of dizziness. Later a doctor testified that the defendant seemed to have liquid in his lungs, and that it might affect the health to continue the proceedings. Ieng Sary's US defense lawyer Michael Karnavas said Sary insisted on his right to be present during trial.

Kheiu Samphan's Cambodian lawyer Say Bory has resigned for an unknown reasons. Samphan's French lawyer Jacques Vergès was unavailable for comment. Following an April hearing when Vergès refused to speak, Say Bory said he had not been informed by Vergès of his intention not to speak.

Oppostion parties complained Monday of campaigning irregularities and, in one case, alleged physical violence.

Chey Szena villagers in the Kampot province complained Monday that they comtinue to be harassed by soldiers, and that they are running low on food. The confrontation between soldiers and villagers began June 21 when Forestry Administration officials told the over 1000 families in Chey Szena that they had to move somewhere else. The village is supposed to turn into a tree nursery. A villager told Cambodian Daily that soldiers had removed her home Sunday and that her family now slept in a field. She also said that the land the soldiers are offering are 30 km away and already owned by other villagers.

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