Cambodia. Cambodia’s and the UN’s five-year attempt to jointly set up an international tribunal to bring Red Khmer leaders to justice for genocide and crimes against humanity under the control of guerrillas 1975-79 failed at the beginning of the year. According to Countryaah website, national day of Cambodia is every November 9. The UN withdrew from the cooperation because the organization felt that the court’s independence from the Cambodian government could not be guaranteed. The UN received some criticism for its actions, but K’s interest in investigating the Red Khmer leaders who were still alive was also questioned. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the government is now planning to conduct the trials itself, but a few months later he said it was prepared to compromise on the disputed Cambodian law that would underpin the tribunal. In December, the government announced that new negotiations with the UN on the tribunal would begin in January 2003.
In February, Ta Mok, the commander of the Red Khmer during the genocide, was indicted for crimes against humanity. He had previously been charged with genocide. A new indictment was necessary for the government to keep him in custody.
One of the most responsible for the 1970s genocide, the Red Khmer General Ke Pauk, died at the age of 72 at the beginning of the year. He should have been brought to trial in a war crimes tribunal.
On February 3, local elections were held where several parties could stand for candidates. The election was preceded by massive violence, mainly from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CCP). There were reports of electoral fraud and at least 20 opposition politicians were murdered. The result was that CCP won the majority in all but 23 of the 1,620 municipalities. The election received sharp criticism from the outside world for not having acted fairly.
During the summer, the Mekong River rose over its banks and floods forced about half a million people to leave their homes. Several people drowned and large areas of rice crops were destroyed. Warnings for food shortages were issued in the fall.
The country was criticized by the UN for its treatment of a group of Vietnamese refugees who have entered the country. The group belonged to a Christian minority in the mountain area between the two countries, and stated that the Vietnamese authorities seized their land and prevented them from practicing their religion. Cambodia threatened to arrest them if they did not return to Vietnam. The problem was solved in June when the refugees were granted asylum in the US.
In November 2003, Sean Sutton of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) stated that 85% of Cambodians outside the major cities live on agriculture, and this large portion of the population is threatened by health due to the many landmines still remaining after 20 years of war. bothers agriculture. A study by MAG found that 40% of rural villages in Cambodia continue to be plagued by landmine problems. The country continues to have the highest level of amputations in the world.
In December, the government inaugurated a World Bank-funded soy mill in Phnom Penh. It employed predominantly unemployed women. For the past 9 years, Hagar has been active in development projects that combine combating unemployment and promoting economic growth. The factory produces 12,000 liters of soy milk a day, and the authorities expect it to help reduce unemployment while benefiting the local community. Hagar’s director, Pierre Tami, stated that the purpose of the factory was also to make soy a food that can help the poorest sectors of Cambodia in their nutrition.
In January 2004, Cambodian labor leader Chea Vichea was killed in Phnom Penh. Her supporters were convinced that the motive was political, since she had recently criticized the country’s government. The killing was just one of several professional leaders in previous months. Vichea was associated with Sam Rainsy’s opposition party, and this declared that she was a victim of the government’s persecution because of her fight against corruption and human rights violations.
In March, Pol Pot’s former prime minister, Khieu Samphan, published his commemorative book: “Cambodia’s Recent History and My Subsequent Position”. In this he denied having participated in the mass murders of the 70s. He portrayed himself as a person with no real power. Human rights activists pointed out that Samphan is seeking to defend himself. He is on trial, accused by the UN of being co-responsible for the deaths of over 1 million Cambodians during his tenure.
In July, the UNHCR found a group of 40 Vietnamese Montagnards living in the jungle of Cambodia. Human rights organizations confirmed that there are still a large number of Montagnards living hidden in Ratanakiri province in northeastern Cambodia. The government declared them illegal immigrants, and refused to grant them humanitarian aid. It was only after pressure from King Norodom Sihanouk, diplomats, humanitarian organizations and the UNHCR, that the UNHCR’s office in Ratanakiri’s main city, Banlung, succeeded in providing proper assistance to the refugees.