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Cablegate: Cambodia Tip Action Plan Received with Interest,

VZCZCXRO1609
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #1308/01 2900947
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 170947Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY PRIORITY 0019
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PHNOM PENH 001308

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP, EAP/MLS AND EAP/RSP
PORT MORESBY FOR EDWARD FAJARDO -- PLEASE PASS TO G/TIP
VISITOR SALLY NEUMANN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KWMN CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA TIP ACTION PLAN RECEIVED WITH INTEREST,
INTENT, DOUBTS

REF: A. PHNOM PENH 1307
B. NEUMANN-DORSEY-DEUTSCH EMAIL 8/13/07

PHNOM PENH 00001308 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) Summary. Royal Government of Cambodia anti-TIP
contacts eagerly received the Cambodia Tier 2 Watch List
Action Plan and stated their intent to work towards the goals
of the plan's high-priority action items. MOJ Secretary of
State Chan Sotheavy was not confident that anti-TIP court
activity will increase during this interim reporting period.
While the Minister of Justice ordered provincial courts to
focus on TIP cases, doubts remain whether courts will show
they can follow through. RGC efforts to strengthen and
coordinate anti-TIP institutions are going well, and we heard
reference to a few successful cases of complicit police
officials transferred out of their positions. The suggestion
to focus on non-Western sex tourists was mostly avoided, and
ministry officials consider the draft anti-TIP law a done
deal, even though it looks like the law will not be passed
before the end of the interim reporting period.

ACTION PLAN WELL-RECEIVED
-------------------------

2. (SBU) Post delivered English- and Khmer-language versions
of the Cambodia Tier 2 Watch List Action Plan to Royal
Government of Cambodia (RGC) anti-trafficking in persons
(TIP) leaders Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
Sar Kheng, Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana, Minister of
Women's Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi, and National Task Force
(NTF) Chair and Ministry of Women's Affairs Secretary of
State You Ay. Comments on the action plan were solicited
through discussions with ministry interlocutors who generally
received the plan with interest and intent to work towards
the goals of the high-priority action items by the November
17 interim report deadline.

COURT GOALS AMBITIOUS
---------------------

3. (SBU) Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Secretary of State Chan
Sotheavy was not confident that action plan high-priority
item two -- suggesting the RGC significantly increase the
number of criminal prosecutions and convictions of
traffickers -- will be achieved. (Note: An increase of 25 to
50 percent over the 2007 TIP Report would be 18 to 21
convictions per quarter. End note.) She said the Minister
of Justice recently issued an order to provincial courts to
prioritize TIP cases and to punish TIP offenders with maximum
sentences. She stated she has "always" tried to get court
staff to report TIP activity to her and will respond to
Embassy requests for information on TIP court cases. Chan
Sotheavy stated that courts lack computers and communications
systems to share information about their TIP cases.

4. (SBU) She furnished what she said were the MOJ's most
up-to-date TIP court case statistics. The stats showed two
Phnom Penh Municipal Court TIP cases decided in 2007 out of 4
cases that have been sent to the Phnom Penh Court this year.
In 2006, 59 TIP cases were sent to the nation's courts, of
which less than half have been decided -- 26 at the Phnom
Penh Municipal Court, and two at the Siem Reap Court. These
numbers differ from those the Embassy has compiled from the
Phnom Penh Court and NGO contacts for 2007 quarterly TIP
reports which show, in the first six months of 2007 alone,
the Phnom Penh Court tried 13 TIP cases. There were an
additional six TIP cases convicting 12 offenders tried at the
Appeals Court, Sihanoukville and Svay Rieng provincial courts.

5. (SBU) National Task Force (NTF) Chair and Ministry of
Women's Affairs (MOWA) Secretary of State You Ay was
noncommittal about the RGC's ability to meet court goals and
stated that the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) could use help
boosting the capacity of its courts including court
prosecutors and judges. She asked if the Embassy had
informed DPM Sar Kheng about the suggestion to increase court
activity. (Comment: Sar Kheng is one of the RGC's most active
high-level anti-TIP players and is aware of the role the
courts will have to play to meet the action plan suggestions.
End comment.)

6. (SBU) Deputy Commissioner General of the National Police
and Leading Task Force (LTF) Secretariat Chair General Neth
Savoeun said LTF activity is in line with the action plan
suggestions. However, Neth Savoeun expects technical
problems collecting information to show increases in both
court and law enforcement activity, repeatedly expressing a

PHNOM PENH 00001308 002.2 OF 003


desire for a national data collection system. (Note: The NTF
structure includes a cluster group working-level body charged
with research and data collection. The cluster group
recently did a study of data collection methods in Cambodia
and plans to use the research to develop best practices and
data collection standards. End note.) The LTF is aware that
the MOJ asked provincial judges to prioritize TIP court cases
and the LTF Secretariat will also attempt to follow up with
the courts. He said a lack of judges is part of the problem
in getting the TIP cases to trial. He also stated there has
been a lack of cooperation between police officials and the
courts. Sometimes when court officials do not have enough
information on TIP cases they hold up the cases for lack of
evidence rather than contacting the police for more
information. In line with statistics from Chan Sotheavy,
Neth Savoeun stated that there are many TIP cases pending
that have not yet gone to trial.

POSITIVE REACTIONS TO OTHER ACTION ITEMS
----------------------------------------

7. (SBU) You Ay and Neth Saveoun stated that the
strengthening of the RGC's anti-TIP institutions through the
National Task Force, now led by the Leading Task Force, are
signs of government commitment to combating TIP. Neth
Saveoun described recently established anti-TIP working
groups in the 26 provinces and municipalities. As described
in ref A, 20 of the working groups are up and running, six of
which are already active. The LTF Secretariat Chair expected
to be able to report provincial- and municipal-level
activities to LTF Chair Sar Kheng once per month.

8. (SBU) MOI General Commissariat of National Police
Department of Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection
Director Police Major General Bith Kimhong reacted positively
to action plan point three suggesting an increase in criminal
investigations, prosecutions, convictions and sentencing of
government officials. He said he is generally trying to
strengthen the integrity of his officers but has had limited
success. He said he transferred one lax unit office chief to
an inactive post in the police personnel department. He is
trying to go after another anti-TIP police official by asking
DPM Sar Kheng to remove the officer. He said both of these
unnamed, unidentified officials were once convicted by the
Phnom Penh Court but both appealed and their court cases have
not moved since. He said by law the police have no authority
to arrest the individuals while they wait appeal so he has
sought their removal from their positions. Bith Kimhong was
named to replace Un Sokunthea as Anti-Human Trafficking and
Juvenile Protection Director in July.

9. (SBU) LTF Secretariat Chair Neth Saveoun told Poloff that
the RGC is not yet finished investigating government
officials who were involved with the Chhay Hour II corruption
case resulting in the release of trafficking in persons
perpetrators (ref B). Neth Saveoun said that the RGC is
pursuing sufficient evidence to take to trial former Appeals
Court Judge Ly Vouch Leng, who was removed for her
involvement with bribes for acquittals in the Chhay Hour II
trafficking case. Ly Vouch Leng was transferred to an
inactive position in the MOJ.

LESS CONCERN OVER EFFORTS AGAINST NON-WESTERN SEX TOURISTS
--------------------------------------------- -------------

10. (SBU) On high-priority action item four, RGC anti-TIP
contacts generally stated that expanded law enforcement and
other anti-TIP activity would impact Asian and other
non-Western child sex tourists. NTF Chair You Ay
brainstormed the idea of creating a blacklist of foreign
child sex tourist offenders. LTF Secretariat Chair Neth
Saveoun described LTF hopes to combat the child sex tourism
problem through prevention efforts.

DRAFT ANTI-TIP LAW
------------------

11. (SBU) Ministry contacts considered their role with the
draft anti-TIP law to be completed. The draft was passed by
the Council of Ministers on August 24 but, according to CPP
Parliamentarian Khoun Sodary, a member of the National
Assembly Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and
Reception of Complaints, the draft law has not yet arrived at
the National Assembly for passage. While NTF Chair You Ay
had previously told Emboffs that the draft law could be
passed by the end of 2007, Khoun Sodary described a National

PHNOM PENH 00001308 003.2 OF 003


Assembly process that includes a public discussion phase and
that would likely lead to passage no earlier than the spring
2008 session. The current National Assembly agenda -- which
is updated every few weeks -- does not include the draft TIP
law.

COMMENT
-------

12. (SBU) The dedicated RGC anti-TIP cadre appears motivated
and understanding of the issues at hand. They accepted USG
suggestions for improvement but also have been proactive to
create the Leading Task Force. The LTF initiated the idea of
provincial working groups and their oversight structure on
its own. The LTF needs to build its TIP-combatting track
record over the coming months. As it does, and as it fully
embraces the final goal to eliminate trafficking in persons
in Cambodia, the LTF may follow a different, but potentially
more sustainable set of law enforcement measures than found
in the action plan.

13. (SBU) Cambodia lacks resources and capacity in the areas
of law enforcement, judicial expertise, and data collection.
Corruption, particularly among court officials, is known to
be rampant. The RGC will be challenged to show a significant
increase in the number of criminal prosecutions and
convictions of traffickers by the November 17 deadline.
MUSSOMELI

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