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Cablegate: Planned Deportation of Belgian Pedophile Showcases

VZCZCXRO7886
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0706 2601046
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 171046Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1193
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS PHNOM PENH 000706

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, P, D, DRL, G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KTIP CB
SUBJECT: PLANNED DEPORTATION OF BELGIAN PEDOPHILE SHOWCASES
RGC/NGO COOPERATION

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC)
agreed on September 16 to deport a convicted Belgian
pedophile who NGOs claim presents a high risk of recidivism.
The agreement illustrates the RGC's political will to fight
child sex tourism (CST) and the ability of the RGC to
cooperate with NGOs to find a satisfactory solution to the
problem. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) Cambodian courts convicted Belgian pedophile
Philippe Dessart in 2006 for debauchery of a 13-year old boy
and sentenced him to 18 years in prison. Dessart appealed,
and in 2008 the Appeals Court upheld the guilty verdict but
reduced the sentence to three years under the Law on the
Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.
The Supreme Court upheld the changes made by the Appeals
Court in March 2009, and Dessart was released in April 2009
after serving the three years in prison. (NOTE: In 1991,
Dessart also served prison time in Belgium after being
convicted of child rape and torture in that country. END
NOTE) Following his release in Cambodia, Dessart moved back
into the home of his victim (now 16), claiming an intent to
marry his victim's mother and live with them in Banteay
Meanchey Province.

3. (SBU) On August 6, a number of NGOs that work to combat
child sex tourism and trafficking sent a petition to the
Immigration Department at the Ministry of Interior requesting
Dessart's expulsion from Cambodia. The petition argued that
Dessart presented a high risk of re-offending, remained a
danger to children in Cambodia, and as a convicted felon was
eligible to be deported from Cambodia under existing
immigration law. General Sok Phal, Deputy Commissioner
General of the Cambodian National Police (CNP), thereafter
informed the NGOs that immigration police detained Dessart in
Banteay Meanchey Province on September 16, and intended to
deport Dessart after revoking his Cambodian visa. Sok Phal
told NGO contacts that CNP Commissioner General Neth Savoeun
and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng
both reviewed the NGO petition, and agreed that deporting
Dessart was "the right thing to do" given the risk he
presents to the safety of Cambodian children. The decision
is not yet public, but because both the case and the petition
have had an extremely high profile in Cambodia, the news is
expected to become public shortly.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: This decision by senior law enforcement
leadership demonstrates the political will at the highest
levels of the MOI to combat CST. And because CST creates
potential for trafficking when middle-men find and sell
victims to pedophiles, the decision also has positive
implications for the RGC's anti-trafficking efforts. Even
more encouraging is the evidence of cooperation between the
RGC and NGOs. The NGOs presented a well-reasoned petition to
the Ministry of Interior (MOI) that argued for Dessart's
expulsion under Cambodian law. The fact that the most senior
leaders of the police and MOI accepted the petition, gave it
fair consideration in a relatively quick timeframe, and
concurred with its recommendation showcases the increasingly
positive relationship between the RGC and NGOs on
anti-trafficking issues. END COMMENT.
RODLEY

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