Friday, June 4, 2010

As Was Expected

The past couple of weeks have seen some decisive events in the course of political life in Cambodia.

First Sam Rainsy lost on appeal in Hor Nam Hong’s defamation suit against him in France. Now, in this case nobody can claim that the courts were bought or biased towards any party. They strictly rule on the basis of evidence and that evidence did show that Sam Rainsy was wrong in his accusation that Hor Nam Hong was part of the Khmer Rouge at the Boeung Trabek work camp.

Sam Rainsy claimed his witnesses were too intimidated to come forward, and Hor Nam Hong’s witnesses were bought. He didn’t say this outright but in essence that was what he meant.

The outcome of the case doesn’t really prove either side right, only that Hor Nam Hong’s evidence was preponderant. But finally, this case is over for good, and it is time for Sam Rainsy to move on.

And moving he is. According to news reports, he is traveling the U. S. and Canada to drum up support for his case on alleged border encroachments by the Vietnamese. I am sure he will find open ears at his North American audiences, because nobody is farther from Cambodian reality than those folks. One Sean Pengse, by all accounts another reactionary with claims to historical knowledge and a right to judge, accompanies him. The French-based Border Committee is a paper tiger, but they just don’t want to believe it. They spend other people’s money pursuing a lost cause. They might as well throw it right out the window. Regardless of the merits of their findings and presentations, the unalterable fact remains that a legal Cambodian government and parliament, and that’s what they are notwithstanding counterclaims by the opposition and various other factions, are the only bodies that determine what happens in terms of border demarcation through bi- or multilateral treaties. Period.

Meanwhile, the other prominent SRP-member, Ms. Mu Sochua, lost her appeal in Hun Sen’s defamation lawsuit against her. I myself do believe that this is an aberration of the judicial process, but the outcome was to be expected, wasn’t it?

Here is a comment by an obviously Khmer anonymous writer on KI-Media on her case that sums it up nicely.

Mu Mu deserves it. She brought this case upon herself. If she doesn't believe the court can provide her with justice, why bring this case to court and try to sue Hun Sen in the first place. Now since HS sue her back and won, she cry the court unfair. The same as Sam Rainsy losing the case to Hor Nam Hong again and again in France and still cannot accept that he lose the case.

Who said the word strong leg is a bad word! The word Jeung Klang is a complimentary. Meaning a strong person, strong mind, a fighter

And then came the stunning news. Cambodia’s donors pledged $1.1billion in aid to the country. Numerous NGOs had called upon the donor nations to use their aid prudently in the context of human rights, judicial reform, and socially beneficial use of resources. The government will no doubt use this record amount as an indication that their policies are in line with the international community. The Prime Minister vowed to combat corruption with all might. Needless to say, various know-it-alls in different corners of the overseas Khmer community as well as some expat leeches within the country – those that are most strident in their comments and criticism and are here for no other purpose than to lead an easy life on the cheap, ridiculed him for this.

One really needs to see the environment in which this happened. Sam Rainsy was stripped of his immunity and is in exile, Mu Sochua lost her case at the Supreme Court and is bound to go to prison if she doesn’t pay her fine; questions of accountability and transparency were raised resonantly throughout the press and some serious NGOs. International watchdogs, e. g. Global Witness, vociferously warned donor nations, the U. S. government had sharply criticized the extradition of the Uyghur asylum seekers, U. S. congressional representatives introduced legislation to punish Cambodia; all to no avail. The donor nations saw progress and dished out the cash, so to speak. Make no mistake, however. This two-day conference was just to finalize the process. They had all come with their minds made up and their budgets ready; they had all done their due diligence back home already. The Cambodian government might be smirking at their opponents now, while the opposition appears rather hapless. Perhaps it is time to change strategy and come up with an alternative game plan? Border issues just don’t cut it with the population at large, and the opposition seems to have lost their credibility abroad.

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