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Cablegate: Cambodia: Tip Action Plan Delivered

VZCZCXRO3166
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0637/01 2400647
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 280647Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1124
INFO RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK IMMEDIATE 2767
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000637

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, D, G/TIP
BANGKOK FOR ADAM ZERBINOPOULOUS PLEASE PASS TO G/TIP
AMBASSADOR CDEBACA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KTIP KWMN CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA: TIP ACTION PLAN DELIVERED

REF: STATE 87525

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Laying the groundwork for G/TIP Ambassador
Luis CdeBaca's upcoming visit, Pol/Econ Chief delivered the
2009 TIP Action Plan for Cambodia to the Ministry of Justice
(MOJ) and Ministry of Interior (MOI) on August 25 and 26.
Contacts welcomed the information and shared recent steps
taken in their respective Ministries to improve
anti-trafficking policy and enforcement. Present at the
meeting with MOI was Lieutenant General Kang Sokhorn, the new
Deputy Commissioner General of the National Police, who is in
charge of the police response to trafficking and who reported
that police had made 100 TIP arrests in the first six months
of 2009. END SUMMARY.

Ministry of Justice
-------------------

2. (SBU) Pol/Econ Chief met Ministry of Justice Secretary of
State Chan Sotheavy on August 25 to discuss the 2009 TIP
Action Plan for Cambodia. Chan stated her understanding of
the emphasis on obtaining more prosecutions and convictions
of trafficking offenders. She described MOJ's concentration
on obtaining from each province accurate numbers of
trafficking cases, and how many of those cases resulted in
convictions. Chan said the Minister of Justice had advised
MOJ's criminal department to examine carefully whether the
number of cases received from police is increasing, and how
courts are responding to the potentially increased workload.
She also said that the Minister of Justice is a member of the
Supreme Council of the Magistracy (SCM), and will pass the
recommendations in the Action Plan to the SCM. (NOTE: The
nine-member Council chaired by the King has administrative
authority over the courts. END NOTE.)

3. (SBU) Pol/Econ Chief stressed that it's not enough to
focus only on statistics, but that decisive action on the
recommendations will be needed for Cambodia to receive a
positive interim assessment. He also told Chan that
Ambassador CdeBaca will be particularly interested in the
Minister's role on the SCM, and what the SCM is doing to help
implement the Action Plan, particularly the first point on
increasing the number of prosecutions and convictions.

Ministry of Interior
--------------------

4. (SBU) The following day, Pol/Econ Chief met Ministry of
Interior Secretary of State Chou Bun Eng and Deputy
Commissioner General of the National Police Kang Sokhorn.
Chou has high-level authority for anti-trafficking policy in
Cambodia, as a direct appointee of Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng (DPM), and as the Chair of the
Secretariat for the High-Level Working Group to combat
trafficking. Chou welcome the Action Plan, stating it was
very helpful to know exactly what the U.S. goals are for
Cambodia. While pressing the USG to clarify further the
G/TIP criteria as they apply to Cambodia, she noted that it
was already five months into the reporting period.

5. (SBU) Chou acknowledged the Tier 2 Watchlist rating for
Cambodia, and stated her belief that it was in part due to
the Government's failure to report accurately on the work
being done. She described a joint initiative by the DPM and
Minister of Justice to review arrest and prosecution reports
from 19 provinces, and their decision to continue that effort
after finding several gaps in the reports. She stated that
an inter-ministerial working group has been formed to
synchronize and improve the efforts of the MOI and MOJ in
working together, and this working group is expected to meet
again in December 2009 to review the progress of TIP cases
from arrest, to prosecution, to conviction in each of the 19
provinces. (NOTE: According to MOI, there are five
provinces that reported no TIP arrests in 2008 or yet in
2009, which is why the effort does not include all 24
Cambodian provinces. END NOTE.)

6. (SBU) The Deputy Commissioner General of the National
Police, Lieutenant General Kang Sokhorn told Pol/Econ Chief
that the National Police has begun a pilot effort to place a
Ministry-level police officer from Phnom Penh with the
provincial (or municipal) police in three high-focus areas:
Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, and Phnom Penh City. They expect
that the presence of an officer from the national level will
assist those offices in coordinating rescue operations with

PHNOM PENH 00000637 002 OF 002


the National Anti-Human Trafficking police, and at the
Ministry level. Lt. General Kang added that the Cambodian
police have made 300 TIP-related arrests in the first six
months of 2009. Of those, 100 are considered TIP-exclusive
arrests - arrests made under the 12 Articles of the 2008
anti-TIP law that G/TIP acknowledges as TIP. Of the 100
arrests, one case has been fully prosecuted, resulting in a
conviction. The remaining cases are still in the
investigation stage at the courts.

COMMENT
-------

7. (SBU) Our working level contacts seemed receptive to the
information in the Action Plan, though they regretted it has
come so late into the reporting period. MOI Secretary of
State Chou was the most realistic is her assessment, stating
that although a lot of time has already passed, they
understood the importance of the recommendations and will
continue to focus strongly on implementation of them. The
visit of Ambassador CdeBaca next week will be a perfect
opportunity to underscore the Action Plan message to
high-level interlocutors at the MOI, MOJ, and the Ministry of
Social Affairs.
RODLEY

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