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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 2007 year in quotes

2007 year in quotes

2007 year in quotes

January

"It's race against time. We need to get there first. Exclusivity is very important

to us. Can I fax you an exclusivity contract for you to get the girl to sign."

- Monica Kosicka, assistant producer for Fox Television Studios UK, tells the Post

Jan 9, regarding feral woman Rochom P'nhieng found in Rattanakiri province.

"Corruption destroys the whole system of society because it puts pressure on

civil servants to exploit those weaker than them. As a result of this the population

has come to hate civil servants, teachers, policemen, and soldiers."

- Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation.

"No one can advise him [Hun Sen] that he should stop being Prime Minister. If

he wants to stop, he will stop."

- Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information and government spokesman

"The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. If I do not farm

I will have no food to eat. I never get anything from the local authorities, [money

and other presents] just arrive at the district and communes."

- Mann Ron, 68, from Chum Kiri, Kampot.

"I understand the point of view of international judges [who may threaten to

walk]. They have their own reputations to consider. With justice you cannot compromise,

you cannot bargain: law is law, international standards are international standards.

If I was an international judge or prosecutor I would do the same. I wouldn't want

to be seen as playing a game or [participating in] a show trial."

- Kek Galabru,

president of Licadho.

"Although she doesn't talk to us, sometimes she laughs, smiles and looks outside

and talks in a language none of us understand. According to my beliefs, she is talking

to the jungle spirits."

- Sal Lou, the local policeman who claimed the feral woman as his long-lost daughter.

"I had to test her to see if she was really a human. I gave her rice which she

crouched down to eat like a monkey."

- Sal Lou.

"There is not even a semblance of rule of law in this country. It is not the

law that is king; it is the prime minister who is king in this country."

- Basil Fernando,

director of the Asian Human Rights Commission.

"The CPP control the government, the National Assembly, the Senate, 99 percent

of village chiefs, the provincial government. Their influence goes through the judiciary,

through the police. There should be a much stronger balance of power and system of

checks and balances."

-Western diplomat.

"The money that is spent on Cambodia is not free, it is taxpayers money. Every

single one of the representatives of [foreign] governments in Cambodia must be responsible

and that responsibility lies in having the courage to stand up when the poor continue

to loose their land and their livelihoods, when our forests are raped, totally raped,

when there is a court, a judiciary, [that is] nothing but a mockery..."

- Mu Sochua, secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party.

"The human rights situation in Cambodia in 2006 is better than before. We have

seen an end of the pretrial detention procedure, we have reformed our prisons, the

general economic situation is good, the media is also able to write freely."

- government spokesman.

February

"What's wrong with members of the royal family? Let me help my nation! I think

that land grabbing, corruption, illegal immigration, illegal logging and the selling

of state assets is widespread within the government, and there have been serious

effects to the living conditions of the poor... We want to stay in politics because

we love the nation, and we want to resolve all these problems for the Cambodian people."

- Prince Norodom Chakrapong, deputy president of Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) .

"The kickbacks have been an open secret for months. The problem with this type

of corruption is that it is woven into the fabric of society. The employees who are

paying the kickbacks are benefiting. No one is inclined to talk on the record and

lose their job. There is a very real fear of retaliation."

-an anonymous

source close to the KRT

"Failure now will never be forgiven by the families of the victims or by historians,

regardless of what excuses are given."

- David Scheffer, former US Ambassador for War Crimes Issues, on prospect of dissolving

the KRT. .

"So far, this year has had many, many differences from 2002; the candidates

are more professional and they understand how to do a campaign much better than in

2002. The general public knows what to expect. They are making more demands of their

candidates. It's pressure from these demands that's pushing the level of competition

higher. Even the ruling party has learned the language of democracy. They've learned

what to say to win votes."

- Ou Virak, executive secretary of the Alliance for Freedom of Expression.

March

"Typically, they ask [in debates] 'What did you have after Pol Pot? Just a few

spoons and broken plates. Now there are more roads, more infrastructure, the economy

is picking up.'"

- Jerome Cheung, country director of the National Democratic Institute, on the rhetoric

on the long-ruling CPP.

"The government knows exactly who carried them out. There is almost no chance

they don't know who is responsible, given their very extensive intelligence network."

- Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, on lingering practice in Cambodia

of politically-motivated murders.

"It is a breakthrough when Cambodians can think they themselves can push through

an agenda and not rely on a donor or the government. We want to give Cambodians the

confidence to act themselves."

- Ou Virak, general secretary of AFEC - a coalitions of 28 NGOs and labor unions

that organized the non-violent march from Phnom Penh to Angkor Thom.

April

"Civilizing is more important than democratizing. All democracy is founded on

consensus, dignity and respect. Democracy is progressing and the process was remarkable."

- US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli, April 2, regarding the 2007 commune council elections,

which drew allegations of voter fraud and registration problems.

"The story of this election is that in spite of manipulation of voter lists,

in spite of countless flaws and sophisticated tactics, the SRP has emerged as the

only credible opposition or alternative to the CPP."

- Sam Rainsy, April 5, on the 2007 commune elections.

"There is a common pattern [of development] in oil rich countries. You see weak

government capacity to manage and allocate the windfall, a concentration of resources

at the center, an absence of counter pressures such as an independent judiciary or

a free press, an increase in military spending, a greater disconnect between government

and citizens. Ultimately, this creates the conditions for civil war."

- Ian Gary, policy advisor for extractive industries at Oxfam America, April 11.

"The bar fees limit the freedom of choice for people to be represented as they

see fit. Though the fees seem small, they are at least ten times higher than any

other international tribunal has charged. So the pool of lawyers willing to work

at the trial will get smaller and smaller."

- Peter Foster, spokesman for the international side of the ECCC.

May

"Ï think that freedom of expression in Cambodia now is worse than before

2003. We didn't celebrate May 1 [International Workers' Day] this year because we

didn't want our workers to receive injuries or death when government authorities

disperse them."

- Chea Mony, chairman of Free Trade Union.

"He's a dreamer, a thinker. He's deeply lost in his thoughts trying to find

solutions."

- SRP parliamentarian Tioulong Saumura, on her husband Sam Rainsy, May 11.

"They don't want to look at the reality of the situation as this would challenge

the assumptions on which the entire court is based. The issue is not whether they

know there is a problem or not, it is whether they want to face up to that problem

or not."

- Helen Jarvis, head of the ECCC press office.

"We confiscated five illegal swords (...) They confessed that the swords were

meant to be used for revenge on another group of gangsters."

- Huy Song, deputy police chief of 7 Makara district, regarding the May 28 arrest

of Prince Norodom Chakrapong and 9 other youths following a raid on a rented flat

occupied by the suspects.

June

"There is much expectation that the co-prosecutors will define what 'senior

leaders' or 'those most responsible' really means."

Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM), on the expectations

of KR victims.

"We cannot stop the outbreak, because it is already here."

- To Setha, head of the dengue control and research center of the National Center

of Malaria (NCM), regarding the explosion of dengue fever.

"The national and international public have witnessed the fact that when the

CPP is in control everyone enjoys living in peace."

-CPP Party President Chea Sim, Jun 28 speech at party headquarters.

"In our Constitution peaceful protests are a citizen's right. And in the Constitution,

monks are citizens, so they have the same rights as other citizens - they cannot

be prohibited from demonstrations."

- Son Soubert, member of the Constitutional Council and son of former PM Son San.

July

"Our project is first about rendering justice for crimes, providing that these

crimes happened and that certain individuals are responsible. It's not about writing

a history book."

-ECCC prosecutor Robert Petit, July 3.

"I have completely lost hope with the ECCC because it's been 30 years. Many

people who survived and waited to see justice are rapidly dying. It is better not

to wait any more, the problems [at the court] are happening again and again. I don't

think the court will provide justice."

- Acclaimed artist and KR survivor Vann Nath, speaking at the opening of an exhibition

of his painting.

"There needs to be a lot of work done over the next year to explain the rights

of the defense. The defense is not a role people have seen in the domestic judicial

process, so to see it in this context, when people have committed the word of all

crimes, will be hard to understand. Everyone thinks, 'they are guilty - why not just

list their crimes and be done with it.'"

- Anne Heindel, legal advisor at DC-CAM, on managing the KRT-related expectations

of a public of whom nearly everyone was victim of, and witness to, the brutal leadership

of the KR regime.

August

"Now [that] we have the Khmer Rouge trial we can look at the fruit but nobody

has the right to look at the tree, at the root, at the soil. Nobody looks at why

this grew, how the Khmer Rouge started - only if you look at everything can you prevent

this from happening again."

- Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith remains skeptical as to whether Duch's

testimony would allow the tribunal, with its highly limited mandate, to fill the

"blank page" of Cambodia's history.

"We break religious strongholds over this city so that the multitudes will come

into a deep personal relationship with God. Let's rejoice - we have the victory."

- TV evangelist Joyce Meyers at a Christian rally outside Chenla Theatre Aug 10.

"The military police were very cruel. They destroyed everything that we needed

right in front of us - our mattresses, our clothes, shoes and cooking gear. They

hit three or four people."

- Long Srey Lek, a 38-year old mother of two girls, who rents a home in the Drey

Krahorm community, following several days of eviction protests beginning Aug 29.

September

"He is the Father of the Nation. Even though he is retired, he retains the status

of Head of State and so the King Father is not obliged to testify at the court unless

he decides to from his own will."

- Son Soubert, King Norodom Sihamoni's appointee at the Constitutional Council, regarding

whether King Father Norodom Sihanouk could be called to testify at the ECCC.

"My 'oath'... I have taken already, today, in front of five superior Buddhist

Monks and especially in front of statues and statuettes of Buddha. I do not have

to swear an oath after [the one I swore] with Buddha, to debase myself to take an

oat in front of the ECCC."

- King Father Norodom Sihanouk, in a Sep 5 statement.

"The tribunal is in serious trouble, and to think otherwise would be delusional.

But the problems are not necessarily fatal so long as addressed aggressively, honestly

and decisively. The tribunal needs aggressive life-saving surgery, not merely a band-aid.

But the Cambodians are not solely to blame for what has unfolded. The diplomatic

community and the U.N. have turned a blind eye to the all-too-obvious corruption

and managerial catastrophe at the tribunal (...) It is time for the international

community to show determination and integrity rather than political expediency."

- John Hall, Chapman University School of Law associate professor, in a Sep 21 editorial

in the Wall Street Journal, which prompted the public release of the ECCC audits.

"Although it is a risk to wash one's dirty linen in public, in the long run,

we think it will be better for the court."

- Helen Jarvis, head of the press office of the ECCC.

October

"I did not think that regime was so cruel. I was very shocked and cried when

I saw the torture materials and the pictures of the people who were tortured. Cambodian

people died without doing anything wrong. They were tortured without investigation."

- former KR soldier Yiv Sameth, 50, referring to his visit to Tuol Sleng and Cheung

Ek genocide museums, Oct 5.

"We cannot compare the Cambodian investment with Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand.

It looks like the cow and the elephant."

- Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, on Cambodia's continuing inability to attract

big investment in lucrative industries like electronics, while addressing a UN Conference

on Trade and Development Oct 17.

"A crowd of villagers went to the plane (...) Many villagers had picked up boxes

and shirts [the plane's cargo]. Some took so much they couldn't carry it all so they

dropped it on the way and I picked up about 5 shirts. About an hour later the police

arrived. The plane had broken into 200 pieces (...) You can see many villagers from

the district flocking to the area to get a piece of the plane.

- Chan Chhock, 19, says Oct 18, the day after an Antonov cargo plane crashed near

his village, Tukuch, in Kandal province.

"Our party representative found that some of the commune councils did not respect

and implement the guidelines of the NEC and deleted the voter names without relevant

documents and evidence to prove lost voting rights."

- Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, in an Oct 23 latter to the National Election Committee.

"Sometimes, she took a girl home to sleep at home. If sometime she brings a

grenade or poison, we could be dead."

- PM Hun Sen says Oct 30 about his lesbian daughter during a speech for graduating

students.

"Now they are elected, but where is the promise? We are still living in temporary

shelters and now they come to evict us again."

- Kunthea, a member of the some 120 families waiting for new apartments in the Borei

Keila development who are accusing their district chiefs of failing to live up to

their elections' promises.

November

"I will immediately remove the rank of those officials if they use their role

to intimidate the local authorities in order to rescue their children from the police

stations when those children get arrested. I will resign if I cannot remove their

rank."

- PM Hun Sen, speaking Nov 7 at closing of the 2006-2007 Education Conference.

"You [Kep Chuktema] are not needed as Phnom Penh Municipal governor if you cannot

crack down on those children who are racing cars and motorbikes."

- PM Hun Sen, speaking Nov 7 at closing of the 2006-2007 Education Conference.

"I recognized that only 2 or 3 percent of them did that, but with minor crimes,

not serious crimes."

- Phnom Penh Municipal Court Chief Chev Keng, Nov 12, on local police who accept

bribes from criminal suspects in exchange for not carrying arrest warrants.

"This is the first time I saw his face, as even though I was jailed at S-21

for more than three months I never dared to look at his face then."

- Chum Mey, 77, one of only several S-21 survivors, who came to watch Duch's hearing

Nov 20, the first open hearing the court has held.

explain the rights of the defense. The defense is not a role people have seen in

the domestic judicial process, so to see it in this context, when people have committed

the word of all crimes, will be hard to understand. Everyone thinks, 'they are guilty

- why not just list their crimes and be done with it.'"

- Anne Heindel, legal advisor at DC-CAM, on managing the KRT-related expectations

of a public of whom nearly everyone was victim of, and witness to, the brutal leadership

of the KR regime.

August

"Now [that] we have the Khmer Rouge trial we can look at the fruit but nobody

has the right to look at the tree, at the root, at the soil. Nobody looks at why

this grew, how the Khmer Rouge started - only if you look at everything can you prevent

this from happening again."

- Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith remains skeptical as to whether Duch's

testimony would allow the tribunal, with its highly limited mandate, to fill the

"blank page" of Cambodia's history.

"We break religious strongholds over this city so that the multitudes will come

into a deep personal relationship with God. Let's rejoice - we have the victory."

- TV evangelist Joyce Meyers at a Christian rally outside Chenla Theatre Aug 10.

"The military police were very cruel. They destroyed everything that we needed

right in front of us - our mattresses, our clothes, shoes and cooking gear. They

hit three or four people."

- Long Srey Lek, a 38-year old mother of two girls, who rents a home in the Drey

Krahorm community, following several days of eviction protests beginning Aug 29.

September

"He is the Father of the Nation. Even though he is retired, he retains the status

of Head of State and so the King Father is not obliged to testify at the court unless

he decides to from his own will."

- Son Soubert, King Norodom Sihamoni's appointee at the Constitutional Council, regarding

whether King Father Norodom Sihanouk could be called to testify at the ECCC.

"My 'oath'... I have taken already, today, in front of five superior Buddhist

Monks and especially in front of statues and statuettes of Buddha. I do not have

to swear an oath after [the one I swore] with Buddha, to debase myself to take an

oat in front of the ECCC."

- King Father Norodom Sihanouk, in a Sep 5 statement.

"The tribunal is in serious trouble, and to think otherwise would be delusional.

But the problems are not necessarily fatal so long as addressed aggressively, honestly

and decisively. The tribunal needs aggressive life-saving surgery, not merely a band-aid.

But the Cambodians are not solely to blame for what has unfolded. The diplomatic

community and the U.N. have turned a blind eye to the all-too-obvious corruption

and managerial catastrophe at the tribunal (...) It is time for the international

community to show determination and integrity rather than political expediency."

- John Hall, Chapman University School of Law associate professor, in a Sep 21 editorial

in the Wall Street Journal, which prompted the public release of the ECCC audits.

"Although it is a risk to wash one's dirty linen in public, in the long run,

we think it will be better for the court."

- Helen Jarvis, head of the press office of the ECCC.

October

"I did not think that regime was so cruel. I was very shocked and cried when

I saw the torture materials and the pictures of the people who were tortured. Cambodian

people died without doing anything wrong. They were tortured without investigation."

- former KR soldier Yiv Sameth, 50, referring to his visit to Tuol Sleng and Cheung

Ek genocide museums, Oct 5.

"We cannot compare the Cambodian investment with Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand.

It looks like the cow and the elephant."

- Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh, on Cambodia's continuing inability to attract

big

investment in lucrative indu tries

like electronics, while addressing a

UN Conference on Trade and Development Oct 17.

"A crowd of villagers went to the plane (...) Many villagers had picked up boxes

and shirts [the plane's cargo]. Some took so much they couldn't carry it all so they

dropped it on the way and I picked up about 5 shirts. About an hour later the police

arrived. The plane had broken into 200 pieces (...) You can see many villagers from

the district flocking to the area to get a piece of the plane.

- Chan Chhock, 19, says Oct 18, the day after an Antonov cargo plane crashed near

his village, Tukuch, in Kandal province.

"Our party representative found that some of the commune councils did not respect

and implement the guidelines of the NEC and deleted the voter names without relevant

documents and evidence to prove lost voting rights."

- Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, in an Oct 23 latter to the National Election Committee.

"Sometimes, she took a girl home to sleep at home. If sometime she brings a

grenade or poison, we could be dead."

- PM Hun Sen says Oct 30 about his lesbian daughter during a speech for graduating

students.

"Now they are elected, but where is the promise? We are still living in temporary

shelters and now they come to evict us again."

- Kunthea, a member of the some 120 families waiting for new apartments in the Borei

Keila development who are accusing their district chiefs of failing to live up to

their elections' promises.

November

"I will immediately remove the rank of those officials if they use their role

to intimidate the local authorities in order to rescue their children from the police

stations when those children get arrested. I will resign if I cannot remove their

rank."

- PM Hun Sen, speaking Nov 7 at closing of the 2006-2007 Education Conference.

"You [Kep Chuktema] are not needed as Phnom Penh Municipal governor if you cannot

crack down on those children who are racing cars and motorbikes."

- PM Hun Sen, speaking Nov 7 at closing of the 2006-2007 Education Conference.

"I recognized that only 2 or 3 percent of them did that, but with minor crimes,

not serious crimes."

- Phnom Penh Municipal Court Chief Chev Keng, Nov 12, on local police who accept

bribes from criminal suspects in exchange for not carrying arrest warrants.

"This is the first time I saw his face, as even though I was jailed at S-21

for more than three months I never dared to look at his face then."

- Chum Mey, 77, one of only several S-21 survivors, who came to watch Duch's hearing

Nov 20, the first open hearing the court has held.

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