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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - You can say that again!

You can say that again!


"Samdech Hun Sen fought for a Khmer court and Khmer brains." - CPP MP,

Chour Lieng Hout, describing the Khmer Rouge (KR) tribunal law's passage through

the National Assembly as a victory for Cambodian sovereignty and national pride.

"I am not 100 percent satisfied with the provisions of the law ... but we don't

want to allow the former senior Khmer Rouge and witnesses to die of natural causes

before they can face trial."- Sam Rainsy expresses resignation about the passage

of the KR tribunal law.

"The donors [and] the international community really would like to see some

more action. We would like to see rhetoric being matched by results." - An ADB

representative emphasizes the need for countries to do more than talk about their

commitment to reform at the January 29 Consultative Group donor meeting.

"If anything, conditions and standards have gotten worse since the report was

issued. The situation is really one in which we're just waiting for an accident to

happen." - An aviation safety expert comments on the State Secretariat of Civil

Aviation's ability to run domestic airline operations.

"If I were in the seat of government I'd be very worried. Over the years foreign

aid has gone down steadily and foreign investment has [also] gone down." - UN

High Commissioner for Human Rights special representative, Peter Leuprecht, comments

on the withdrawal of donor funding because of human rights abuses in Cambodia.

"We love doem Chbah the same way we love a woman we've just married. We take

care of them like we take care of our eyes because they are an important part of

our lives." - Tom Or villager Chan San protests after 25,000 resin trees are

tagged for harvest by Great Atlantic Timber.

"The victim was thought to have been a witch. It was not a political assassination."

- Kampot province court judge, Kem Ravy, denies any political motivation for the

murder of Funcinpec commune election candidate Prak Chhoeun.

"We don't want money. We want our land. We can't plant rice in the heavens.

When the money is finished we will still need land for our grandchildren." -

A Ratanakiri villager, who unknowingly sold his land for a bag of salt in 1997, protests

the March court decision offering cash compensation.

"I'm sure they don't want us - they only want our land."- Chim Ead, spokesperson

from a Cambodian village on the Vietnam border, explains why they rejected an offer

of Vietnamese citizenship and cash from the Vietnamese government.

"We believe that proper justice can be rendered to the Cambodian people only

when democracy has been established in Cambodia."- Defending his withdrawal

of support for the KR tribunal law, Sam Rainsy says the country should instead focus

on the 2002 commune elections and the 2003 national elections.

"We are small ants and the elephant can step on us at any time so we have to

agree." - Horng Sauphon, market vendor spokesperson for Phnom Penh's Thieves'

Market. The market closes in June as Governor Chea Sophara's beautification program


"I think [the UN] shouldn't cause any more problems. The UN cannot understand

[the KR draft law] better than Cambodians." - Om Yen Tieng, advisor to Prime

Minister Hun Sen, reiterating the PM's assertion that the law would come about faster

without "UN interference".

"Our message is that the UNHCR should think about their responsibility to Cambodian

refugees who fled to Vietnam in 1979. UNHCR has abandoned them and Vietnam has to

take care of them. We think UNHCR should think of the consequences [of involvement

in the Mondolkiri situation]." - Attaché at the Vietnamese Embassy in

Phnom Penh, Chu Dong Loc, warns the United Nations High Commission for Refugees against

establishing official refugee camps for Vietnamese Montagnards in Mondolkiri province.

"I always concentrate on driving. Sometimes I dare not breathe." - Kluot

Vanna, bus driver for the month-long bus trials in Phnom Penh.

"With the right contacts and some simple means you can resolve problems in a

way that's not easily done in countries like Thailand any more." - Country head

of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, Bengt Juhlin, warns Cambodia

is fast becoming the most attractive country in Southeast Asia for criminal organizations.

"Once again the Cambodian judicial system is in the spotlight and once again

it has failed to give a fair hearing to those on trial." - Joint press statement

by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International criticizing the trial of 32 suspected

members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters (CFF) who face charges of terrorism, conspiracy

and membership in an armed group.

"I see injustice in Cambodia. For example, the [1998] election was unjust and

the court system is unjust. Even the UN sees injustice from top to bottom. These

things made me want to join the CFF, which has ideals." - Cambodian-American

defendant Richard Kiri Kim, CFF secretary-general, on his motivations for joining

the CFF.

"These are not the conditions of a public trial. The meaning of a public trial

is that anyone, including the press, can observe. The judge must assure the court

that the trial will be public." - Defense lawyer prior to the walkout and boycott

of trial proceedings by lawyers from Cambodia Defenders' Project, Cambodian Bar Association

and Legal Aid Cambodia.

Five CDP lawyers return on day three of the trial after receiving phone calls threatening

them and their families.

"We cannot have a trial without [defense] lawyers." - CFF trial judge,

Sok Sithamony, referring to the walkout of defense lawyers on day one.

"In order to avoid wasting time, we should continue the trial without [defense]

lawyers." - Prosecutor Nget Sarath referring to the walkout at the CFF trial.

"I'm afraid it could just be one of a series to follow due to the prevailing

atmosphere of impunity." - Dr Lao Mong Hay, Executive Director of the Khmer

Institute of Democracy, after the political killing of SRP candidate, Uch Horn, June


"If this country can't settle these problems-the practice of landgrabbing-there

is serious potential for social unrest, because these [landless peasants] have nothing

to lose. It's always dangerous to have people in a society who have nothing to lose."-

UNHCR Special Representative Peter Leuprecht warns against ongoing land confiscation

by military and government officials.

"Who saw me kill people? It might be difficult to prove." - Nuon Chea,

one of seven high-ranking KR leaders singled out in a report as prime candidates

for prosecution for crimes against humanity. "I admit some people were killed,

but not millions. They died from starvation and illness."- Nuon Chea, after

excerpts of the report are read out to him.

"I think that if Pol Pot was still alive, he would be the only person to stand

trial because he was the man in charge. It should not spread to us."- Ke Pauk,

one of the seven.

"The low ranks had to respect the orders. It was like under Hitler. Hitler asked

Goering to kill the Jews. If Goering did not do it, he would have been killed. Like

[former S-21 chief] Mr Duch, he was ordered to kill people and if he did not kill

them, he would have been killed." - Meas Muth, one of the seven.

"Charges will only be brought against the ten or more who were most responsible

during the DK regime. It is not necessary for you to go back to the jungle and protect

your people." - Prime Minister Hun Sen in his first speech on the topic since

the King signed the KR trial law.

"These three people fear Hun Sen as they would fear a tiger." - SRP MP

Cheam Chany, who is not convinced that the appointment of an auditor-general will

do anything to curb corruption.

"Unfortunately we have no short-term measures to reduce the dust levels, because

the repairs are necessary for development." - Director of Phnom Penh's Municipal

Health Department, Dr Veng Thai, says the city's record dust levels are due to repairs

to the city's roads and drains.

"[CPP] activists gathered local voters and offered them gifts, asking them to

swear by drinking oath water that they will adhere to the party." - Election

watchdog Comfrel reports cases of vote-buying in the provinces during voter registration

for next year's commune elections.

"If my association is wrong, I will request that the government close my orphanage.

But if the court finds that I've done the right thing then Licadho should maybe close,

and they should go to jail for a long time." - AOA director, Puth Serey, says

he welcomes an investigation into a raid on two houses resulting in 12 'orphans'

being taken in by human rights NGO Licadho.

"I have never accused Prince Ranariddh of being a playboy. It was I, during

my youth, who was the playboy. I would never be indecent enough to attribute a fault,

which is mine, to one of my sons (or someone else's)." - King Norodom Sihanouk

sets the record straight about his relationship with his son, refuting "untruths"

contained in Harish Mehta's biography on Prince Ranariddh.

"I absolutely will not allow them to run in the city. I will consider it a personal

disgrace. Those remorks should be run in Afghanistan and India, not in my city."

- Governor of Phnom Penh, Chea Sophara, issues a ban on the three wheeled motorbikes

(remorks) in the capital.

"I only confessed because the military police beat me and burned me with cigarettes."

- A defendant during the second CFF trial.

"I am not disappointed at being retired. I really want to see our country develop.

And I am tired of being a soldier."-Commander Chan Samnang, who has been a soldier

most of his life, at a demobilization ceremony in Kampong Chhnang October 18.

"We're not doing it for an illicit purpose. Taking them from an environment

of poverty to something much more stable. So, as tragic as it is for a mother to

be coaxed into giving up her child, it is not for a terrible thing." - John

Fleming, an attorney from Pennsylvania, one of seven US families who adopted children

from the Asian Orphan's Association.

"Right now I don't even have the money to get home. I felt dizzy when I learned

that in two days my place will close. I don't know what I will do to earn money."

- Sok Ny, singer at a karaoke club, after Prime Minister Hun Sen closes down karaoke


"How could he afford to buy gas? None of us can afford gas; we all use charcoal."

- A neighbor refutes the police explanation that an exploding gas bottle started

the second slum fire in Phnom Penh November 28.

"The killers of Funcinpec candidate Thon Phally first asked him if he belonged

to the SRP. When he told them he was from Funcinpec, they killed him saying even

those from the royalist party were the same. That clearly shows the intention of

the killers." - SRP cabinet chief, Phi Thach, claiming the killings are a clear

case of systematic elimination of the opposition.

"If it was a case of robbery then why did they leave Sophear's motorbike behind

and flee?" - Cheam Chany, SRP MP for Battambang, who is certain the killing

of commune council candidate Sam Sophear was politically motivated.


Kampong Cham municipal court judge, Tith Sothy, imposes December 27 a two year

suspended sentence for assault and battery on Minh Rinath for her 1999 acid attack

on Som Rasmey. Rasmey was permanently disfigured by the attack, but Sothy says Rinath

had only meant to damage Rasmey's beauty and not to kill her. Minister of Women's

and Veteran's affairs, Mu Sochua, calls for an appeal.

Millions of Cambodians enter the year fearing food shortages and malaria outbreaks

after the devastating floods of 2000. To add insult to injury, rice seedlings given

to hundreds of thousands of farmers in a government relief effort are deemed useless

due to their low germination rate.

More than 5,000 residents of floating villages in Kampong Chhnang face eviction.

Governor So Phirin says human and industrial waste from the villages affects water

quality and fisheries in the Tonle Sap.

Six days after Minh Rinath's lenient sentence, Kandal court judge, Kong Kouy, sentences

Tha Sokha, 19, to six months in jail for indecent assault because his rape of a six-year-old

girl "was not deep".

After almost two years of wrangling with the UN over a mixed international tribunal

of former Khmer Rouge (KR) leaders, the National Assembly unanimously approves the

KR Tribunal Law January 2.

A letter from the UN January 9 questions five aspects of the tribunal law. In particular,

clarification of the defendants' right to counsel and assurances that those already

granted amnesty, such as KR deputy premier Ieng Sary, could be prosecuted. The letter

asks Minister for the Council of Ministers, Sok An, to inform the Senate of the law's

loopholes. Sok An says no.

The Senate approves January 15 the KR Tribunal Law and passes it to the Constitutional

Council for final consideration. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hun Sen says trying Ieng

Sary would result in war.

China-based logging concession company Everbright files a criminal trespass complaint

against the Department of Forestry and Wildlife and the environmental monitoring

NGO Global Witness January 15 after it is investigated for illegal logging. Global

Witness later questions the lack of action over Everbright's logging activities.

Cambodia's three election monitoring organizations (EMOs) threaten to boycott commune

election preparation saying the National Election Committee (NEC) is politically

biased and ignores their input.

A study by Japan's Ehime University study shows Phnom Penh's Stung Meanchey dump

is highly contaminated with dioxins and heavy metals, creating major health concerns.

The Ministry of Environment says the findings, which contradict an MOE-sponsored

study, are seriously flawed.

Conditionality clauses are introduced to assistance packages for Cambodia at a Consultative

Group donor meeting in Phnom Penh January 29. The ADB says aid recipients must meet

twelve key performance indicators to justify aid contributions.

Many of the 70,000 teachers expected to strike January 29 turn up to teach instead.

Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (CITA) president, Rong Chhun, blames police

intimidation for the disappointing strike action.

Prime Minster Hun Sen threatens to expel Global Witness (GW) January 31 after interpreting

its report on illegal logging as a political attack. A GW spokesperson says the group

recognizes Hun Sen's dedication to preserving Cambodia's forests and is not motivated

by a political agenda. The government later backs down.


Air transport safety fears arise February 2 when an International Civil Aviation

Organization report, suppressed by the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, calls

the SSCA chronically under-funded, under-staffed, under-skilled and incapable of

ensuring the air-worthiness of domestic airline operations.

Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO alliance (Khana) estimates there are 30,000 AIDS orphans in Cambodia,

and calculates an increase of 100,000 over the next four years.

Private demining companies prepare to enter the country's demining industry, previously

monopolized by NGOs and the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC). The newly created

Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) will monitor the private companies.

French airline manufacturer ATR initiates a $25 million lawsuit against Royal Air

Cambodge for neglecting leased aircraft and reneging on lease payments. The lawsuit

is a blow to RAC, which has been in crisis since August 2000. RAC collapses later

in the year.

The KR tribunal law is approved by the Constitutional Council February 12, with the

proviso that articles referring to the death penalty are removed. The tribunal law

makes reference to the 1956 penal code, which decrees the death penalty for murder

and torture, outlawed under the Constitution.

Organized groups are cheating Cambodians applying for US visas out of thousands of

dollars, says US ambassador Kent Wiedemann February 13.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights special representative, Peter Leuprecht, says

Cambodia risks losing donor funding if "enormous" human rights problems

are not addressed by the government.

Phnom Penh's beautification process leaves many squatters under the Monivong Bridge

homeless February 23 after municipal police demolish the area's structures. Governor

Chea Sophara says evictions will continue until the Bassac riverside between Hun

Sen Park and Monivong Bridge is cleared.


A Post report on Phnom Penh's traffic woes divulges alarming road toll statistics:

more than twice as many people die on city streets as in land mine blasts nationwide.

Cambodia's health system is in a bad way, says the Demographic and Health Survey

2000. Despite $6 million a year in donor funding, citizens' health is as bad or worse

than in the late 1980s.

Confusion March 6 when Sam Rainsy, who voted in favor of the KR tribunal law January

2, asks the US to refuse funding for a tribunal. The turnaround surprises SRP members

who attribute the communication breakdown to Rainsy's busy schedule.

Around 800 resin farming families from three provinces submit a formal complaint

to the National Assembly and Senate March 6 alleging illegal cutting of resin trees

by forest companies.

Oxfam UK links landlessness with Cambodia's weak public health system. Approximately

60 percent of 250 families interviewed said medical costs were the sole reason for

selling their land.

A representative from the Thai Senate offers a contrite hand of friendship to Cambodia,

saying Thailand should apologize for hosting the US airforce while it carried out

massive air strikes against Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Four men are convicted in Kampot's provincial court March 15 for the June 3, 2000

killing of Funcinpec commune election candidate Prak Chhoeun and his wife Doung Meas.

Sentencing the men to between twelve and 17 years in jail, Judge Kem Ravy denies

the attacks were politically motivated, drawing criticism from human rights observers.

More than 900 indigenous minority people from three Ratanakiri villages face the

threat of eviction from their ancestral land after a Ratanakiri court ruling March

23 awards them cash payouts in lieu of the 1,200 hectares of land they were tricked

into selling in 1997.

Thirty-eight villagers in the Svay Rieng village of Dai Svay, along the Cambodia-Vietnam

border, are offered Vietnamese citizenship, houses and money to relocate into Vietnam

or move further into Cambodia. They reject the offer, alleging that Vietnamese "coercion"

has resulted in a marked adjustment to the border line in Vietnam's favor.

More than 60 Cambodian nationals are reported detained incommunicado in Indonesia

for nine months. The men were used as virtual fishing slaves in Indonesian waters

until an Indonesian naval vessel picked them up July 2000.


The good news: In a survey of 1,000 people across the country, 72 percent say

the country is heading in the right direction; 78 percent are "confident and

happy" about Cambodia's future.

The bad news: The same survey finds 40 percent do not know commune elections are

coming up; 70 percent are unaware they need to register; 92 percent say they need

more information.

NEC vice-chairman, Kassie Neou, faces dismissal for being too independent in the

run-up to the commune elections. Widely regarded as the least biased member of the

NEC, EMOs say his prospective dismissal would be a blow to the NEC's credibility.

Neou is later reprieved, reportedly by the prime minister.

As the number of tourists renting motorbikes to visit isolated parts of Cambodia

increases, demining experts express concern that travelers are not fully aware of

landmine dangers. Motorbike rental companies are partly to blame, they say.

A world class cardiology hospital, the Centre de Cardiologie de Phnom Penh, opens

April 23. Between 10,000 and 50,000 children experience heart problems in Cambodia.

Phnom Penh municipal court officials announce April 24 that 28 of the 54 Cambodian

Freedom Fighter (CFF) suspects arrested after November 2000 street fighting in Phnom

Penh will be sent to trial. Meanwhile, human rights workers express concern over

the lack of access for CFF suspects to lawyers.

A report from human rights group LICADHO claims the incidence of rape is increasing

and the age of victims getting lower. Despite the worsening situation, LICADHO reports

counseling services for rape victims are virtually non-existent.

The Ministry of Interior announces April 30 an increase in communes in Cambodia from

1,606 to 1,621. These communes will elect 11,257 councilors February 2002.


Empowerment of Women in Politics, a program devoted to drawing women into the

political fray in time for the 2002 commune elections, is launched May 1.

Vietnam warns the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) not to establish

official refugee camps in Cambodia for the Montagnards fleeing the central highlands

of Vietnam.

Spokesperson Chu Dong Loc says UNHCR should consider the well-being of the "tens

of thousands" of Cambodian refugees who fled to Vietnam in 1979 and are still


Chinese National Assembly leader Li Peng is greeted by several hundred well-wishers

when he arrives for a three day visit May 18. There is speculation Peng will attempt

to block the KR tribunal law because of China's support for that regime. Prime Minister

Hun Sen denies any pressure from Peng on the subject.

A deal struck in Hanoi between Cambodia and Vietnam May 22 allows Vietnamese troops

to return to Cambodian soil and search for remains of Vietnamese MIAs.

Studies by a Japanese testing center show that dust levels in Phnom Penh are the

highest in Southeast Asia. The amount of suspended particulate in some areas of the

city is more than ten times the level recommended by the Ministry of Environment.

A fire tears through a squatter community along Sothearos Boulevard May 25. The 2,700

homeless residents are relocated to an area 20 kilometers outside Phnom Penh. The

burnt-out area becomes a public park.

Minister of Women's affairs Mu Sochua expresses concern over the secret release of

American pedophile suspect James Curtis Parks. Parks and his supporters say he was

set up by corrupt police and released due to lack of evidence. Sochua says Parks

could be the latest in a string of foreign child sex suspects who bribe their way

out of jail.

Thirty four Kampong Thom villagers face prosecution for illegal fishing. The area

they were in was designated for public use by Prime Minister Hun Sen in January,

but Kampong Thom court prosecutor, Huot Hy, accuses them of "acting too quickly".

A May 30 National Assembly vote draws fire from EMOs when it blocks a Sam Rainsy

Party (SRP) candidate from joining the NEC. The EMOs threaten to ask donors to block

funds for the commune elections.


Investigating police and child protection groups are angered by French Embassy

attempts to secure the release of Pierre Guynot, arrested on charges of sexual abuse

and exploitation of boys working for him in Sihanoukville.

Excitement in north-east Mondolkiri after wild Asian buffalo are photographed in

camera traps set by rangers. Considered highly endangered, this species was previously

known to exist only in parts of India and along the Thai-Burmese border.

Tong Siv Eng, the first female member of the National Assembly and one of Cambodia's

most prominent female politicians, dies June 12 in a Bangkok hospital. An outspoken

advocate of women's rights, she also starred in a 1963 movie filmed at Angkor Wat,

"Cast the Same Shadow".

Three park rangers in Bokor National Park are seriously injured in a grenade attack

June 13, allegedly by a group of illegal loggers whose chainsaws they confiscated.

The US announces June 13 it will resume direct aid to the government for the first

time since the 1997 coup at a Consultative Group donors' meeting in Tokyo. The money

is to be funneled into HIV/AIDS control efforts. There are hints US aid restrictions

could be further relaxed, depending on progress made in setting up the KR tribunal,

and providing February 2002 commune elections are "free and fair". At the

meeting donors pledge $560 million, $12 million more than 2000. Prime Minister Hun

Sen tells reporters a tribunal for former KR leaders could start as early as December


The terrorism trial of 32 suspected CFF members begins June 11. Trial and pre-trial

procedures are criticized by human rights groups as illegal and unfair. Thirty defendants

are convicted June 22 in connection to the alleged coup attempt November 2000. Five

receive life sentences; 25 others are locked up for between three and 20 years. Two

are acquitted due to lack of evidence.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan 'clarifies' June 27 that the formation of a tribunal

to try former KR leaders is dependent on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding

between the UN and Cambodia and the successful ratification of the MOU by the National


Prime Minister Hun Sen blasts what he terms UN "interference" in the KR

tribunal process June 29 and threatens Cambodia will go it alone with its own tribunal

if the UN does not cooperate.

A Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) commune council candidate for Kampong Speu, Uch Horn, is

murdered June 30, sparking fears of escalating political violence ahead of next year's

commune elections. Horn had complained he had received death threats since joining

the SRP April 2000. Two weeks later, a Human Rights Action Committee report rules

the killing "a political act".

Phnom Penh trials a bus service for the month of June involving two main routes.

The air-con buses initially carry more than 5,000 people a day, which tapers off

to around half that number as the novelty wears off. The experiment is later scrapped

due to lack of funding.


Bomb blasts rock two Phnom Penh hotels July 4, killing three, injuring eight and

spreading rubble and glass across a large section of the city's main road, Monivong

Boulevard. The explosions occur one hour apart and are preceded by demands for money.

Five men are later arrested.

Seven former high-ranking KR officials are singled out in a new international report

as prime candidates for prosecution for crimes against humanity. Two of the seven

currently hold high-ranking military positions. All seven deny the report's findings.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) gets tough on restaurant

patrons dining on Cambodia's protected wildlife species, and warns that violators

could end up in jail. The crackdown comes in response to a booming market for exotic

cuisine that sees protected species like iguana, turtle, python and bear turned into

specialty dishes.

Police in Sihanoukville arrest 255 suspected illegal immigrants July 8 believed to

be transiting through Cambodia en route to Australia and New Zealand. Four Indonesians

and one Pakistani national are arrested on charges of human trafficking.

Sam Rainsy's first Khmer-language book "Light of Justice" hits bookstores

July 9. It is later banned by the government.

Cambodia's director-general at the Ministry of Tourism, So Mara, is axed July 16

after making a deal with Thailand giving it partial management of the 10th century

Preah Vihear temples on Cambodia's northern border. Although the temples belong to

Cambodia they are accessible only through Thailand, are visited mainly by Thai tourists,

and are patrolled by unarmed Thai Army Rangers.

Funcinpec commune council candidate Meas Soy is shot dead July 17 by two unidentified

people as he enters his house in Trapeang Ma'teh village in Kampong Chhnang.

Voter registration opens July 21 for next year's commune election. The process is

marked by stories of confusion and irregularities, including potential voters unfairly

turned away.

The Senate approves a change to KR tribunal law July 23 that eliminates the death

penalty as punishment.

The National Assembly approves the appointment July 27 of Cambodia's first auditor-general,

the CPP's Uth Chheurn. The National Audit Authority has the task of overseeing the

Kingdom's notoriously corrupt public finances. The appointment comes after the NA

rejected two previous appointments after the audit law was passed.


King Norodom Sihanouk signs the KR tribunal law opening the way for the trial

of those allegedly responsible for torture and killings committed during the 1975-79

Democratic Kampuchea regime. Prime Minister Hun Sen emphasizes the limited nature

of the prosecutions and says former KR commanders have nothing to fear.

Voter registration for the commune elections closes August 19. The NEC later announces

that 83 percent of voters registered.

A report by Canadian NGO Future Group claims Cambodia has between 80,000 and 100,000

sex slaves and prostitutes, with 15,000 in Phnom Penh and a third of those less than

ten years old. It blames the UN for helping create today's sex industry, saying that

UNTAC turned prostitution from a cottage industry into a fully fledged sex trade.

A second SRP candidate for the commune elections is murdered, gunned down at his

home in Siem Reap's Ta Peam village August 23. It is the third politically-related

killing in two months. A monitoring report by the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee

(CHRAC), dated August 29, states that in addition to that killing there have been

at least 82 cases of political threats and intimidation since the beginning of the


The Royal Palace ends a grand old tradition of petitioning the King in times of trouble,

by forbidding citizens from coming to Phnom Penh to see him. Stay home and we will

visit you, they are told. Petitioning the King allowed people to live in the park

opposite the National Assembly while their requests were considered. Armed police

evict 800 petitioners from the park August 29.

Floods kill at least 46 people, mostly children, and force 150,000 people to leave

their homes. The call goes out for 2,000 tons of rice to feed victims. Towns on the

upper reaches of the Mekong are worst hit.

An unsigned government letter is sent to all foreign embassies advising them to stay

out of Cambodia's internal affairs. The letter follows comments at an anti-corruption

conference by US Ambassador Kent Wiedemann, who tells the press: "In other countries,

if leaders are found to be corrupt they are thrown out."


Two houses linked to the Asian Orphans Association (AOA), and purporting to be

health clinics, are raided in Tuol Kork September 3. Human rights NGO Licadho takes

in 12 'orphans' (2 children and 10 babies) found on the properties. Four people suspected

of baby trafficking are arrested but then subsequently released.

A survey reveals citizens rate public sector corruption as the Kingdom's leading

problem. No surprise, say observers.

Unesco reveals that looters have nearly stripped bare one of Cambodia's most important

ancient burial sites at Phum Snay village in the country's north-west. The cemetery

dates from 300-500 AD and was discovered May 2001 when an NGO that was constructing

a road uncovered human bones, ceramic pottery, and gold and bronze jewelry.

Around 100 villagers from Ansa Chumbok commune in Pursat seize 444 illegally logged

young trees September 22 and 23 to send a message that the forest should be protected.

An EMO alleges CPP village chiefs and commune authorities are putting the squeeze

on voters by noting down their voter registration numbers and in some cases seizing

their voter registration cards.

Cambodia's ambassador in Washington denies rumors that 20 Cambodians, including one

of the nation's most famous singers Touch Sunnich, died in the September 11 terrorist

attacks on the US.


Around 400 soldiers leave the army October 18 in Kampong Chhnang province; more

than 800 are retired in Kampong Cham and Kampong Speu. They are the first of an estimated

15,000 who will leave RCAF 2001. It marks the beginning of a renewed, and controversial,

demobilization effort that will see numbers cut by 30,000 by early 2002.

A second terrorism trial starts October 15 connected to the November 2000 alleged

coup attempt by the CFF. One defendant claims he is a government agent, another alleges

an amnesty agreement has been ignored. Others say they were duped into fighting and

some charge police brutality. Twenty-six defendants receive jail terms of between

three and 15 years; two are acquitted for lack of evidence after eleven months in


US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) arrives in Phnom Penh October 15

to examine allegations involving Cambodia's flawed adoption process. An investigation

casts doubt on whether some children are legitimate orphans, leading the US Embassy

to refuse visas for 13 children adopted by US nationals.

A controversial government order issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen October 25 forbids

officials from disagreeing with government policy. It covers participation in conferences,

workshops and consultations organized by NGOs.


Another SRP candidate for the commune elections is murdered November 5. Sam Sophear

is ambushed and badly beaten by five men in Battambang. Police say the killing was

motivated by robbery and it is pure coincidence that he was an election candidate.

Hundreds of people are caught out after paying a $500 deposit to private company,

Cambodia Consultant Associates, to secure work on construction projects for the 2004

Olympic Games in Athens. They protest outside the Ministry of Social Affairs demanding

their deposits back when jobs fail to materialize.

An SRP member and a Funcinpec commune council candidate are killed by unidentified

gunmen within an hour of each other November 14 in separate villages in Srolop commune

in Kampong Cham. This brings the death toll to seven in the run-up to the commune

elections, the majority from the opposition SRP.

Prime Minister Hun Sen makes international headlines by closing down all karaoke

parlors, bars, nightclubs and discotheques November 23. Officially it is to protect

people from criminal activities associated with such establishments. Some commentators

suggest it has more to do with his unruly nephews. Up to 40,000 jobs are on the line.

Phnom Penh experiences its worst slum fires November 26 - 28 when 16,500 people are

made homeless in two separate blazes. Police insist the fires are accidental but

an eyewitness to the second claims men shot "flaming torches" from a boat.


Accused child pornographer and alleged pedophile Pierre Guynot is released on

bail December 1 after a judge finds no strong evidence to hold him, despite the testimony

of six victims and photos found in Guynot's computer.

Two women are reunited with their babies December 4, six months after surrendering

them to what they were told was "an organization for widows and orphans."

Three staff members of the Khmer American Orphan's Association (KAOA) are charged

with child trafficking.

MAFF sets up a hotline for people to inform on restaurants selling wildlife meat

or any person dealing in wildlife products. Enforcement officers are ready to act.



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