One Evening after the War

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Posted by: | Posted on: October 23, 2014

Paris Peace Agreement: The Peace and Freedom in Context (Part V – end)

សាមគ្គី សាមគ្គានំ តបោ សុខោ – ការសាមគ្គីបង្រួបបង្រួមគ្នានឹងនាំសេចក្តីសុខមកអោយ – ព្រះពុទ្ធអង្គ

Samakii Samakea Nam Tapo Sokho – Unity brings us happiness – Buddha

This above Khmer popular saying is suite well with the context and functionality of the Paris Peace Agreement. During the negotiation processes, within the successful written agreement, and post-Paris Peace Agreement implementation, we are stunned by the terms “national reconciliation”, “unity”, “solidarity”, “conflict resolution”, “comprehensive peace settlement”, and “dialogue or negotiation” etc.

Now, it is time for Cambodia politics to update itself to compete with the global change. Confrontational strategy has been changed to diplomatic policy and negotiation. The new paradigm shift has transformed itself more complex and intricate – human subconsciousness to free themselves from all sufferings.

The Paris Peace Agreement is the blueprint for Cambodian politicians to put aside egoistic behavior by embracing principles and democratic value. Each party must be able to simply distinguish between the self and the nation clearly. Under this spirit, the PPA urges every politician especially the law-maker must stop lie their own constituents.

Courtesy: Facebook

Courtesy: Facebook

I have a dream to see Khmer leaders can work together, can speak the language of nation building together with honest sub-conscience. When I was young, I cried because of hurting; but when I am grown up, I cried because I was overwhelmingly affected by bliss and joy. I remember the cry I made when watching the yellow robe army of Dhamma Yietra led Maha Ghosananda walked through the National Road No. 6. There were Japanese Mahayana monks preceded in the front with drums, gongs and strange chanting unusual to my ears. Parading after were hundred thousands of Cambodian Buddhist monks, with following white clothing nuns and laymen/laywomen. I was called to bring a bucket of water for water sprinkling on the edge of the road by the monks. Many drops of water fell unto my head with the word Peace and National Reconciliation deeply penetrated into my brain.

That memorable moment has never been disappeared from my head.

This year marks 23 years anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement, I see more commemorative organizings by the Cambodian political parties, NGOs, activists and general citizens in both inside and outside country more than any years I have been witnessing. Thousands of youths, land activists and Buddhist monks are parading around the Phnom Penh city with petitions handed over to Co-Chairmen of the PPA: Indonesia and France.

The most significant sign is the evolving of Cambodia politics into two party system: CNRP & CPP; which is a good component for the concept of Mutual Understanding, National Reconciliation, and Comprehensive National Building Endeavor. Hence, those terms and efforts should not be the propaganda. Mutual understanding and national reconciliation shall happen only through the Rule of Law and Professionalism.

For the Sake of the Nation, These Two Parties must be able to Take Turn in Serving the Nation, like many civilized countries around the World have been Experiencing.

I would like to END my writing on PPA as of today. Below is the Movie Clips of “One Evening after the War” filmed by Social Engineering Rithy Panh.

“Peouv is recalling about the her story and the Three Unfortunate Disarming Soldier.”

“Srey Poeu is saddening about the social gap and injustice in Cambodian society, and her true love with Sovanna.”

“Srey Peouv is entrapped as Sex Worker or Srey Bar in Phnom Penh after she was sold to the brothel for $1400 dollars. She cannot make a family life with Sovanna with this dept.”

At the end, Sovanna was shot by Maly, his friend, left Srey Peouv with Bophana, their daughter. Srey Peou is still a Sex Worker in Phnom Penh.”

Posted by: | Posted on: October 21, 2014

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

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.

Posted by: | Posted on: October 19, 2014

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

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” – Jim Morrison


Clip above critically talked many things happening in Khmer society after disarming and resettling in Phnom Penh of those soldier. Sovanna is truly recalling pains and traumatic memories during his warfare in the jungle. His revelation shows PTSD syndromes like many other military around the world after returning back home, with complete survival or disability. Sovanna is not different from many Vietnamese soldier who battled in Cambodia during 1979 to 1990. One of them who left their painful memos is Nguyen Thanh Nhan. His book titled “Away From Home Season” described many things that Cambodian people and the world should grasp their sorrow and regrets in waging war within Cambodia soil. In the news reported by BBC, Nhan said:

“American soldiers thought they helped Vietnam. Then their illusion was broken” , “We were the same in Cambodia.”

Sovanna is ashamed as he is still alive while many friends of his were dead; and he is absolutely ashamed by the new situation he has been experiencing in Phnom Penh.

Sovanna is from a farmer family and his friend Maly and Phal are also from farmer family. Nhan is also from a farmer family. He crooned a children song reflecting his life “My dad goes to plough in early morning. My mom goes to plough in early morning. My dad is a peasant. My mom is a peasant…” [chapter 10, page 89]

Three disarmed soldier, Sovanna is considered luckier while Maly has been overwhelmingly traumatized after his wife sold out all land to feed children and married a new husband, Phal has become disable person with one limp lost by mine. Maly has taken advantaged from the current social corruption by allowing himself to flow along the stream. He can do everything to get money, fearful social status and power. Sovanna, by good companion of his Uncle, he has worked hard to strive against the social stream. He tried to seek family happiness with his beloved girl friend, Srey Peouv, and to remain in moral conduct and ethical behavior. But social compelling and its surrounding pressure destroyed all his efforts. Finally, Sovanna was shot to dead by his friend, Maly. His beloved girl friend, Peouv, remained the job as Srey Bar or Sex Worker woman. Maly bought his Police Commander in Chief position in which it is powerful, admirable and fearful status in the society after Sovanna died.

Freedom that is rightly articulated by Sovanna’s Uncle, it requires sacrificing…it is like a man is running through the minefield…the persons who are fighting for freedom is like a child who is already severely battered. Or freedom like a birth in a cage, or frog in the well. Cambodian feet are soaking in the mud…every step is a mud step!

Paris Peace Agreement (PPA) is a new hope to get away from that mud step. The effort of the international communities is the huge external help for FREEDOM. Each state and country has their own problems. Our problems and freedom are our own feet. PPA is an instrumental tool for us to raise up ourselves high, higher than the dream we all have dreamed for, for not such existing “Peace and Freedom”. Jim Morrison already reminded us (with above saying) that Peace and Freedom demands our collective effort, individual participation, and subconsciousness.

After the first article was sent, I got many emails back. Among those, I would like to select wisdom sharing from Dr. Long Mong Hay and questions from So Munin of Campro.

This slide pictograph is clear enough for the failure to comply by as well as to implement the Paris Peace Agreement. Courtesy of Dr. Lao Mong Hay

This slide pictograph is clear enough for the failure to comply by as well as to implement the Paris Peace Agreement. Courtesy of Dr. Lao Mong Hay

I am going to try to answer So Munin questions one by one, but be assured that this is my personal view from my own researches into the matter.

1. Who are the parties to the Accord? What are their respective obligation?

Those 19 countries are the parties namely “the Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, People’s  Republic of China, the French Republic, the Republic of India, Republic of Indonesia, the Japan, the Republic Lao, Malaysia, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.”

The obligations to the treaty as assigned within the agreement in article 4 as stated “The Parties to this agreement ask all other States to recognize and respect in all respects the sovereignty, independence, integrity and territorial inviolability, neutrality and national unity of Cambodia and to refrain from any action incompatible with these principles or with other provisions of this agreement.”

2. What is the validity period of the Accord?

It shall be lasted forever until some unpredictable circumstance(s) occurred. I am saying this, previous accords such as Independence Day of Cambodia (9 November 1954) or Geneva Agreement on Cambodia at the same year resulted different outcomes. While French didn’t violate the Independence Day, but Vietnam violated the Geneva Agreement not to interfere internal Cambodia or invade Cambodia etc.

It might be because of the world changing or powerful bloc had taken sides etc.

But up to today, the PPA is very essential and it is a task in the action.

3. When one or some of the parties breach its/their obligation under the Accord, what can other parties do? What roles would/could UN do when the Accord is violated?

I think it is already clearly stated in article 5 with three bullets:

1. In the case of violation or threat of violation of sovereignty,
independence, integrity and territorial inviolability, neutrality and unity
of Cambodia or one any commitments made under this agreement, the Parties to this agreement undertake to immediately conduct consultations to take all appropriate steps to ensure compliance with such commitments and address these cases of violation by peaceful means.

2. These provisions may include, among other things, the referral to the UN Security Council or the use of the means of peaceful settlement of disputes referred to in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations .

3. Parties to this agreement may also request the assistance of the co-Chairmen of the Paris Conference on Cambodia.

4. In the event of serious violations of the Human rights in Cambodia, they will ask the competent organs of the Organization of the United Nations to take any other appropriate measures to prevent and put an end to these violations in accordance with the relevant international instruments.

Thank you very much,

Posted by: | Posted on: October 18, 2014

Paris Peace Agreement: the peace and freedom in the context (part I)


Today is 18  October 2014 and it is on Sunday. I would like to dedicate this weekend holiday to reflect and perplex the 23rd Anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement that was signed in Paris on 23 October 1991.

For the world, the Paris Peace Agreement on Cambodia is one of their products to avoid further sever consequences from the World War I & World War II. Political scientists called its “Post Cold-War” movement in which major powerful countries such as USA, Russia, China and others were making their way from bloody confrontation towards diplomatic negotiations. But as this severity is too overwhelming, its effects are still fragile in many countries especially in Cambodia. Many Cambodian fractions were still waging war under the supports of China, Russia and USA etc. The outcomes from fighting caused deaths, famines, conflict, and human rights violation towards Cambodian citizens that is in contrast to the new world order effort of peace crafting. The calling for peace and democracy of Cambodian people were in coincidence with the pressure from all major powerful players towards all Khmer conflict fractions, the crafting of Paris Peace Agreement were made in order to conflict resolution, peace settlement,  and vibrant political framework allowing the United Nations to exercise full authority to supervise ceasefire, to repatriate the displaced Khmers along the Thailand border, to disarm and demilitarize all factional armies, to prepare the country for free and fair elections, to comply by the international laws and UNs’ mission to protect human rights, to develop democracy and inclusive economy.

Cambodian government in post-conflict management by the United Nations must comply by the agreement they have signed within those 8 chapters as stated within chapter 5 that:

  1. In the case of violation or threat of violation of sovereignty, independence, integrity and territorial inviolability, neutrality and unity of Cambodia or one any commitments made under this agreement, the Parties to this agreement undertake to immediately conduct consultations to take all appropriate steps to ensure compliance with such commitments and address these cases of violation by peaceful means.
  2. These provisions may include, among other things, the referral to the UN Security Council or the use of the means of peaceful settlement of disputes referred to in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations .
  3. Parties to this agreement may also request the assistance of the co-Chairmen of the Paris Conference on Cambodia.
  4. In the event of serious violations of the Human rights in Cambodia, they will ask the competent organs of the Organization of the United Nations to take any other appropriate measures to prevent and put an end to these violations in accordance with the relevant international instruments.


It marked the first time that Cambodian people have discussed about “Peace”. Many disarmed solider returned back home with limbs lost, moral lost, and PTSD syndromes etc. Many of them are happy to see the new sign of UNs’ peace keeping effort but they were hijacked by new arriving social corruption.

I could not abstain myself from introducing you to Rithy Panh whose works on films about Cambodia has been very realistic and persuasive. He could be considered modern social engineering of Cambodia. He brings real life into the screen for many Cambodian generations to view it, to reflect it, and to comprehend its truth.

This first clip is the description of a social victim Srey Peaov on her role as the key Actress of the film about the returning back of Prince Norodom Sihanouk and the processes to reconstruct this country. Like the picture speaks itself, his movie filmed in 1998 titled ” One Night after the War” will entertain you with tears, sadness, truth absorption, and light for the future.