In an Indo-China roiled by post-colonial disputes and the shoving of the great powers, he wanted a dignified neutrality, and spent his career struggling to achieve it.
Timor-Leste's first big land law, promulgated in 2003, passed ownership of property previously controlled by the Portuguese and the Indonesians to the new state. But exactly which tracts of land this law applied to remains an unsettlingly open question.
Vann Nath, a Cambodian who painted to stay alive, died on September 5th, aged 65.
The old and withered man, adorned in what looked like an oversize tea-cosy and sunglasses, seemed an unlikely mass-murderer when he appeared in court for the first time on June 27th. That is often the way with people brought to justice long after their alleged crimes were committed.
The Cambodian government announced last month that foreign men who are older than 50 or who earn less than $2,550 per month are henceforth to be banned from marrying Cambodian women. Rights groups say the rule is an ineffective, and potentially illegal, solution to ongoing concerns about the welfare of Cambodian women.
Happiness is so central to the Bhutanese government’s ruling philosophy that it measures its progress in terms of “gross national happiness”—a spiritual barometer of sorts—rather than by GDP. Such metrics, however, tend to skip over the Bhutanese nationals now stuck in eastern Nepal.
Thailand's foreign ministry says Burmese asylum seekers will not be returned until “the situation in their country becomes conducive.” But Thai authorities have shown an inclination in recent years to carry out deportations even in the face of strong opposition from rights groups and foreign powers.
The term genocide has been used freely by Cambodians and foreign observers alike in reference to the atrocities committed during the Khmers Rouges’ ultra-Maoist revolution. But the tribunal, started in 2007, only introduced this monumental charge at the end of last year.
On July 26th the ex-teacher, Kaing Guek Eav, became the first Khmer Rouge official to pay for his part in the genocide of 1975-79, when some 2m people died: a UN-backed tribunal convicted him of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and jailed him for 35 years.
The tribunal has suffered from delays, weary donors, and claims of grave corruption and political meddling. But human-rights groups say Duch’s sentence represents a measure of hope: he is the first, but hopefully not the last, to be punished for the genocide.