- People's Republic of Kampuchea
Infobox Former Country
conventional_long_name = សាធារណរដ្ឋប្រជាមានិតកម្ពុជា
Cộng hòa nhân dân Kampuchea
People's Republic of Kampuchea
|common_name=Cambodia|region= Southeast Asia|continent=moved from Category:Asia to Southeast Asia
era = Cold War
government_type = Socialist republic
date_start = January 10
year_start = 1979
event_end = Election
date_end = May 28
year_end = 1993
event1 = Withdrawal of Vietnamese troops
date_event1 = 1990
event_post = Monarchy restored
date_post = September 24, 1993
p1 = Democratic Kampuchea
flag_p1 = Flag_of_Democratic_Kampuchea.svg
s1 = Cambodia
flag_s1 = Flag of Cambodia.svg
capital = Phnom Penh
currency = Cambodian riel
leader1 = Heng Samrin
title_leader = Chairman¹
common_languages = Khmer, Vietnamese
footnotes = ¹ Chairman of the Council of State
The PRK was established in January 1979 in line with the broad revolutionary program set forth by the
Kampuchean(or Khmer) National United Front for National Salvation which was formed on December 2, 1978, in a zone liberated from the Khmer Rouge. Of the front's fourteen central committee members, the top two leaders--Heng Samrin, president, and Chea Sim, vice president--were identified as "former" KCP officials. Ros Samay, secretary general of the KNUFNS, was a former KCP "staff assistant" in a military unit. The government of Democratic Kampuchea denounced the KNUFNS, as "a Vietnamesepolitical organization with a Khmer name," because several of its key members had been affiliated with the KCP.
The initial objectives of the KNUFNS were to rally the people under its banner, to topple the regime of
Pol Pot, to adopt a new constitution for a "democratic state advancing toward socialism," to build mass organizations, and to develop a revolutionary army. Its foreign policy objectives included pursuing nonalignment, settling disputes with neighbors through negotiations, putting an end to "the border war with Vietnam" provoked by the Pol Pot regime, and opposing foreign military bases on Cambodian soil. On December 26, 1978, the day after the Vietnamese invasion, the KNUFNS reiterated its opposition to foreign military bases.
On January 1, 1979, the front's central committee proclaimed a set of "immediate policies" to be applied in the "
liberatedareas." One of these policies was to establish "people's self-management committees" in all localities. These committees would form the basic administrative structure for the Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Council (KPRC), decreed on January 8, 1979, as the central administrative body for the PRK. The KPRC served as the ruling body of the Heng Samrin regime until June 27, 1981, when a new Constitution required that it be replaced by a newly elected Council of Ministers. Pen Sovanbecame the new prime minister. He was assisted by three deputy prime ministers-- Hun Sen, Chan Si, and Chea Soth.
January 10 1979, the Vietnamese installed the new People's Republic of Kampuchea(PRK) (Vietnamese:"Cộng hòa nhân dân Kampuchea"), ruling through former Khmer Rougeofficials under the Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Partylabel. Heng Samrinwas named as head of state, and other Khmer communistslike Chan Syand Hun Senwere prominent from the start. The Vietnamese army continued its pursuit of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge forces. At least 600,000 Cambodians displaced during the Pol Pot era and the Vietnamese invasion began streaming to the Thai border in search of refuge. The international community responded with a massive relief effort coordinated by the United Statesthrough UNICEFand the World Food Program. More than $400 million was provided between 1979 and 1982, of which the United States contributed nearly $100 million. At one point, more than 500,000 Cambodians were living along the Thai-Cambodian border and more than 100,000 in holding centers inside Thailand.
Vietnam's occupation army of as many as 200,000 troops controlled the major population centers and most of the countryside from
1979to September 1989. The regime of Heng Samrin fielded 30,000 troops plagued by poor morale and widespread desertion. Resistance to Vietnam's occupation continued, and there was some evidence that Heng Samrin's PRK forces provided logistic and moral support to the guerrillas.
A large portion of the Khmer Rouge's military forces eluded Vietnamese troops and established themselves in remote regions. The non-communist resistance, consisting of a number of groups which had been fighting the Khmer Rouge after 1975--including
Lon Nol-era soldiers--coalesced in 1979-80 to form the Khmer People's National Liberation Armed Forces(KPNLAF), which pledged loyalty to former Prime Minister Son Sann, and Moulinaka( Mouvement pour la Libération Nationale du Kampuchea), loyal to Prince Sihanouk. In 1979, Son Sann formed the Khmer People's National Liberation Front( KPNLF) to lead the political struggle for Cambodia's independence. Prince Sihanouk formed his own organization, FUNCINPEC, and its military arm, the Armée Nationale Sihanoukienne(ANS) in 1981.
Warfare followed a wet season/dry season rhythm after 1980. The heavily-armed Vietnamese forces conducted offensive operations during the dry seasons, and the resistance forces held the initiative during the rainy seasons. In 1982, Vietnam launched a major offensive against the main Khmer Rouge base at
Phnom Melaiin the Cardamom Mountains. Resistance military forces, however, were largely undamaged. In the 1984-85 dry season offensive, the Vietnamese again attacked base camps of all three resistance groups. Despite stiff resistance from the guerrillas, the Vietnamese succeeded in eliminating the camps in Cambodia and drove both the guerrillas and civilian refugees into neighboring Thailand. The Vietnamese concentrated on consolidating their gains during the 1985-86 dry season, including an attempt to seal guerrilla infiltration routes into the country by forcing Cambodian laborers to construct trenches, wire fences, and minefields along virtually the entire Thai-Cambodian border.
The Khmer Rouge had also mobilized their guerrillas the same way. They cut down giant trees to block roads in the thick jungle along the Thai-Cambodian border to prevent the Vietnamese tanks and armored trucks from passing through. The Khmer Rouge laid down mines and subterfugere which forced the Vietnamese to employ guerilla warfare as one of their tactics as well. However, the Vietnamese suffered damaging casualties, and momentum shifted. The
Khmer Rougegained confidence that they could keep swiping away Vietnamese armies, and the Vietnamese found out how easy it is to become the prey rather than the predator. In fact some books have called this "Vietnam's Vietnam War".
Within Cambodia, Vietnam had only limited success in establishing its client Heng Samrin's regime, which was dependent on Vietnamese advisors at all levels. Security in some rural areas was tenuous, and major transportation routes were subject to interdiction by resistance forces. The presence of Vietnamese throughout the country and their intrusion into nearly all aspects of Cambodian life alienated much of the populace. The settlement of Vietnamese nationals, both former residents and new immigrants, further exacerbated anti-Vietnamese sentiment. Reports of the numbers involved vary widely with some estimates as high as 1 million. By the end of this decade, Khmer nationalism began to reassert itself against the traditional Vietnamese enemy.
In 1986, Hanoi claimed to have begun withdrawing part of its occupation forces. At the same time, Vietnam continued efforts to strengthen its client regime, the PRK, and its military arm, the
Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Armed Forces(KPRAF). These withdrawals continued over the next 2 years, although actual numbers were difficult to verify. Vietnam's proposal to withdraw its remaining occupation forces in 1989-90--the result of ongoing international pressure--forced the PRK to begin economic and constitutional reforms in an attempt to ensure future political dominance. In April 1989, Hanoi and Phnom Penh announced that final withdrawal would take place by the end of September 1989.
The military organizations of Prince Sihanouk (ANS) and of former Prime Minister Son Sann (KPNLAF) underwent significant military improvement during the 1988-89 period and both expanded their presence in Cambodia's interior. These organizations provide a political alternative to the Vietnamese-supported People's Republic of Kampuchea [PRK] and the murderous Khmer Rouge. The last Vietnamese troops left Cambodia in 26 September 1989 but probably not until 1990 [http://www.ichiban1.org/html/history/history_map.htm] .
The Constitution of the PRK, promulgated on June 27, 1981, defines Cambodia as "a democratic state...gradually advancing toward socialism." The transition to socialism was to take place under the leadership of the Kampuchean (or Khmer) People's Revolutionary Party (KPRP--see Appendix B), a Marxist-Leninist party founded in June 1951 (see The Emergence of Nationalism , ch. 1). The Constitution explicitly defines the country's position in international relations. It places Cambodia within the Soviet Union's orbit. The country's primary enemies, according to the Constitution, are "the Chinese expansionists and hegemonists in Beijing, acting in collusion with United States imperialism and other powers."
The Constitution guarantees a broad range of civil liberties and fundamental rights. Citizens are to be equal before the law and are entitled to enjoy the same rights and duties regardless of sex, religion, or race. They have the right to participate in the political, economic, social, and cultural life of the country and to be paid according to the amount and quality of work they perform. Men and women are entitled to equal pay for equal work. All individuals--including monks and soldiers--over the age of eighteen may vote, and citizens over twenty-one may run for election. The Constitution also guarantees the inviolability of people and of their homes; privacy of correspondence; freedom from illegal search and arrest; the right to claim reparation for damages caused by illegal actions of the state, social organizations, and their personnel; and freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly. The exercise of fundamental rights, however, is subject to certain restrictions. For example, an act may not injure the honor of other persons, nor should it adversely affect the mores and customs of society, or public order, or national security. In line with the principle of socialist collectivism, citizens are obligated to carry out "the state's political line and defend collective property."
The Constitution also addresses principles governing culture, education, social welfare, and public health. Development of language, literature, the arts, and science and technology is stressed, along with the need for cultural preservation, tourist promotion, and cultural cooperation with foreign countries.
Provisions for state organs are in the constitutional chapters dealing with the National Assembly, the Council of State, the Council of Ministers, the local people's revolutionary committees, and the judiciary. Fundamental to the operation of all public bodies is the principle that the KPRP serves as the most important political institution of the state. Intermediary linkages between the state bureaucracy and grass-roots activities are provided by numerous organizations affiliated with the KUFNCD (see The Kampuchean (or Khmer) United Front for National Construction and Defense , this ch.).
An administrative infrastructure, functioning under the KPRC, was more or less in place between 1979 and 1980. With the promulgation of the Constitution in June 1981, new organs, such as the National Assembly, the Council of State, and the Council of Ministers, assumed KPRC functions (see fig. 11). These new bodies evolved slowly. It was not until February 1982 that the National Assembly enacted specific law for these bodies.
The National Assembly
The "supreme organ of state power" is the National Assembly, whose deputies are directly elected for five-year terms. The assembly's 117 seats were filled on May 1, 1981, the date of the PRK's first elections. (The KNUFNS had nominated 148 candidates.) The voter turnout was reported as 99.17 percent of the electorate, which was divided into 20 electoral districts.
During its first session, held from June 24 to June 27, the assembly adopted the new Constitution and elected members of the state organs set up under the Constitution. The assembly had been empowered to adopt or to amend the Constitution and the laws and to oversee their implementation; to determine domestic and foreign policies; to adopt economic and cultural programs and the state budget; and to elect or to remove its own officers and members of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers. The assembly also was authorized to levy, revise, or abolish taxes; to decide on amnesties; and to ratify or to abrogate international treaties. As in other socialist states, the assembly's real function is to endorse the legislative and administrative measures initiated by the Council of State and by the Council of Ministers, both of which serve as agents of the ruling KPRP.
The National Assembly meets twice a year and may hold additional sessions if needed. During the periods between its sessions, legislative functions are handled by the Council of State. Bills are introduced by the Council of State, the Council of Ministers, the assembly's several commissions (legislative committees), chairman of the KUFNCD, and heads of other organizations. Individual deputies are not entitled to introduce bills.
Once bills, state plans and budgets, and other measures are introduced, they are studied first by the assembly's commissions, which deal with legislation, economic planning, budgetary matters, and cultural and social affairs. Then they go to the assembly for adoption. Ordinary bills are passed by a simple majority (by a show of hands). Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority. The Council of State must promulgate an adopted bill within thirty days of its passage. Another function of the assembly is to oversee the affairs of the Council of Ministers, which functions as the cabinet. Assembly members may make inquiries of cabinet officials, but they are not entitled to call for votes of confidence in the cabinet. Conversely, the Council of Ministers is not empowered to dissolve the National Assembly.
The Constitution states that in case of war or under "other exceptional circumstances," the five-year life of the Assembly may be extended by decree. In 1986 the assembly's term was extended for another five years, until 1991.
The Council of State
The National Assembly elects seven of its members to the Council of State. After the assembly's five-year term, council members remain in office until a new assembly elects a new council. The chairman of the council serves as the head of state, but the power to serve as ex officio supreme commander of the armed forces was deleted from the final draft of the Constitution.
The council's seven members are among the most influential leaders of the PRK. Between sessions of the National Assembly, the Council of State carries out the assembly's duties. It may appoint or remove--on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers-- cabinet ministers, ambassadors, and envoys accredited to foreign governments. In addition, the Council of State organizes elections to the National Assembly, convenes regular and special sessions of the assembly, promulgates and interprets the Constitution and the laws, reviews judicial decisions, rules on pardons and on commutations of sentences, and ratifies or abrogates treaties. Foreign diplomatic envoys present their letters of accreditation to the Council of State.
The Council of Ministers
The government's top executive organ is the Council of Ministers, or cabinet, which in late 1987 was headed by Hun Sen (as it had been since January 1985). Apart from the prime minister (formally called chairman), the Council of Ministers has two deputy prime ministers (vice chairmen) and twenty ministers. The National Assembly elects the council's ministers for five-year terms. They are responsible collectively to the assembly. When the assembly is not in session, they are responsible to the Council of State. The prime minister must be a member of the assembly; other council members, however, need not be. The council's five-year term continues without hiatus until a new cabinet is formed after general elections.
The Council of Ministers meets weekly in an executive session, which is attended by the prime minister, the deputy prime ministers, and a chief of staff who is called the Minister in Charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers. The executive group prepares an agenda for deliberation and adoption by the council's monthly plenary session. (A secretary general of the Council of Ministers provides administrative support for the cabinet.) The executive group also addresses measures for implementing the plenary session's decisions, and it reviews and coordinates the work of government agencies at all levels. Decisions made in the executive sessions are "collective," whereas those in the plenary sessions are by a majority. Representatives of KUFNCD and other mass organizations, to which all citizens may belong, may be invited to attend plenary sessions of the council "when [it is] discussing important issues." These representatives may express their views but they are not allowed to vote.
Government ministries are in charge of agriculture; communications, transport, and posts; education; finance; foreign affairs; health; home and foreign trade; industry; information and culture; interior; justice; national defense; planning; and social affairs and invalids. In addition, the cabinet includes a minister for agricultural affairs and rubber plantations, who is attached to the Office of the Council of Ministers; a minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers; a secretary general of the Office of the Council of Ministers, who is also in charge of transport and of Khmer-Thai border defense networks; a director of the State Affairs Inspectorate; and the president-director general of the People's National Bank of Kampuchea.
The Office of the Council of Ministers serves as the administrative nerve center of the government. Directed by its cabinet-rank minister, this office is supposed "to prepare, facilitate, coordinate, unify, and guide all activities of individual ministries and localities." Fiscal inspection of public institutions is the responsibility of the State Affairs Inspectorate, which has branch offices in all provinces.
The restoration of law and order has been one of the more pressing tasks of the Heng Samrin regime. Since 1979 the administration of justice has been in the hands of people's revolutionary courts that were set up hastily in Phnom Penh and in other major provincial cities. A new law dealing with the organization of courts and with the Office of Public Prosecutor was promulgated in February 1982. Under this law, the People's Supreme Court became the highest court of the land.
The judicial system comprises the people's revolutionary courts, the military tribunals, and the public prosecutors' offices. The Council of State may establish additional courts to deal with special cases. The Council of Ministers, on the recommendations of local administrative bodies called people's revolutionary committees, appoints judges and public prosecutors. Two or three people's councillors (the equivalents of jurors or of assessors) assist the judges, and they have the same power as the judges in passing sentence (see Protection Under the Law , ch. 5).
Local People's Revolutionary Committees
In late 1987, the country was divided into eighteen provinces (khet) and two special municipalities (krong), Phnom Penh and Kampong Saom, which are under direct central government control. The provinces were subdivided into about 122 districts (srok), 1,325 communes (khum), and 9,386 villages (phum). The subdivisions of the municipalities were wards (sangkat).
An elective body, consisting of a chairman (president), one or more vice chairmen, and a number of committee members, runs each people's revolutionary committee. These elective bodies are chosen by representatives of the next lower level people's revolutionary committees at the provincial and district levels. At the provincial and district levels, where the term of office is five years, committee members need the additional endorsement of officials representing the KUFNCD and other affiliated mass organizations. At the commune and ward level, the members of the people's revolutionary committees are elected directly by local inhabitants for a three-year term.
Before the first local elections, which were held in February and March 1981, the central government appointed local committee officials. In late 1987, it was unclear whether the chairpersons of the local revolutionary committees reported to the Office of the Council of Ministers or to the Ministry of Interior.
Politics of Cambodia
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