Paris Peace Agreement: The Peace and Freedom in Context (Part IV)

Posted by: | Posted on: October 21, 2014

As three parts were sent out, I was called in for interview by CMN radio and an honorable invitation to participate with Paris Peace Agreement Commemoration organized by CICP in Phnom Penh.

Regarding the interview that shall be broadcasted tomorrow or after tomorrow,  I was asked to elaborate on the history of the Agreement, the validation and invalidity of the Agreement, mechanism to enforce parties to respect the Agreement in case of having violation, and the CNRP who joined the Assembly at the present.

The clip conversation between Sovanna and Phal allows us to figure out: the failed disarming policy, the bad effect of free market, and the pains that all Cambodian people can forgive but they cannot forget. This daily life politics illustration is invaluable!

Brief History

Brief History of Paris Peace Agreement. Slide courtesy of Dr. Lao Mong hay

Brief History of Paris Peace Agreement. Slide Courtesy of Dr. Lao Mong Hay

Briefing to what said during the interview, the Paris Peace Agreement was crafted by two factors: four fighting fractions of Cambodia were exhausted in killing each other, and powerful countries pressured on all parties including Asean and Vietnam to sign the Agreement. Indonesia and France were co-chair of the Agreement.


Agreement Analysis

The original agreement are filed in both Indonesia and France. There are 32 articles divided by 9 distinctive parts. Many pro-Government commentators said that the Agreement is invalid since the creation of a legal government after the election with the complete amendment of the Cambodia constitution. Of course, their claim is right referring to the Part 1, Article 1 which say:

For the purposes of this Agreement, the transitional
period shall commence with the entry into force of this
Agreement and terminate when the constituent assembly elected
through free and fair elections, organized and certified by the
United Nations, has approved the constitution and transformed
itself into a legislative assembly, and thereafter a new
government has been created.


Hence, the commentators might be missing to comprehend the term “Transitional Period” in which 5 measures were taken into action: 1. This transitional period, 2. United Nations Transitional Authority of Cambodia (UNTAC), 3. Supreme National Council (SNC), 4. Withdrawal of foreign military from Cambodia, and 5. Complete ceasefire.

In reality, the Agreement is still valid and it shall have no deadline to be implemented by the signatory parties as stated clearly in Article 18 on the “International Guarantee”.

Cambodia undertakes to maintain, preserve and defend,
and the other Signatories undertake to recognize and respect,
the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and
inviolability, neutrality and national unity of Cambodia, as
set forth in a separate Agreement.

A separate Agreement has 8 articles and the most important statement in Article 5 that I mentioned within previous articles.

Beside this valid continuity, the Part III on “Human Rights” has maintained the continuing task by sending Special Rapporteur to Cambodia by the United Nations to report on progressive commitment of the Government on respecting Human Rights of their own citizens. Latest UNs Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Cambodia is Prof. Dr. Surya Subedi, and this Rapporteur has no mandate until the Human Rights situation in Cambodia is being well off.

In Part VIII, Article 24, is ongoing to the fact that the foreign aids are still flowing into Cambodia including many other development programs aided in according to the Agreement as stated:

The Signatories urge the international community to
provide economic and financial support for the rehabilitation
and reconstruction of Cambodia, as provided in a separate

Impregnable Violations

During these 23 years, Vietnam violated the Agreement through their retaining power to force their former installed government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen to sign the Supplemental Border Treaty (SBT) ratified by the King of Cambodia on 30 November 2005. The SBT was in reverse to the Agreement to discarding all past illegal treaties during the Vietnamese occupation over Cambodia. The forced treaty was not only be able to grab the remaining land border, Vietnam can establish more enmity environment among Khmer political parties, activists and general citizens. Thailand also claimed the ownership over Preah Vihear Temple in 2008 in revenge to oppose Cambodia government to successfully listing it with the Unesco. Cambodia government used the legal provision of the Paris Peace Agreement through its instrumental organ of the ICJ to claim back from Thailand.

For Cambodia government let by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who were also party of the Agreement, at least, four violations are counted: The grenade attack on peaceful demonstrators in 1997 led by Sam Rainsy, the bloody coup in 2007 to monopolize power from Funcipec, the acceptance of bilateral supplemental border treaty with Vietnam is in gross violation to the Paris Peace Agreement that is a multilateral instrument, and continual human rights violations such as: emotion violence (impunity, extra judiciary killing, and biased court system), financial violence (corruption and forced eviction), physical violence (shooting to dead, battering and jailing), and sexual violence (allowing the existence of sex workers and brothels, and neglecting to punish those sex buyers as well as polygamy men).


CPP has been so nervous about accepting and recognizing Paris Peace Agreement once they were the party of it.  Their uncertainty and naive perspective towards Paris Peace Agreement is a setback to claim their past communist regime rather than to move forward for in-dept reform. Hence, CNRP has been vital to accept and recognize this day, and they have celebrated it annually.  The entering into the Assembly of those 55 law-makers of the CNRP is a good sign to experiment their professionalism, the work ethics, and democratic commitment. CNRP has laid down the policy of nonviolence, cooperation, dialogue, and active leadership. The partnership and engagement within the Assembly shall help Prime Minister Hun Sen to speed up his in-dept reform in all fields he has frequently promised with the Cambodian people. Although with the aids of CNRP to push for reform is not successful, or Hun Sen administration is preparing to backfire their promise, the Cambodian people will judge them in the next 2018 nationwide election.

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