Demobilization: Framework for a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict

PARIS AGREEMENT

Annex 2. Withdrawal Ceasefire and Related Measures

Article III. Regroupment and cantonment of the forces of the Parties and storage of their arms, ammunition and equipment

1: In accordance with the operational timetable referred to in paragraph 4 of Article 1 of the present annex, all forces of the Parties that are not already in designated cantonment areas will report to designated regroupment areas, which will be established and operated by the military component of UNTAC. These regroupment areas will be established and operational not later than one week prior to the date of the beginning of the second phase. The Parties agree to arrange for all their forces, with all their arms, ammunition and equipment, to report to regroupment areas within two weeks after the beginning of the second phase. All personnel who have reported to the regroupment areas will thereafter be escorted by personnel of the military component of UNTAC, with their arms, ammunition and equipment, to designated cantonment areas. All Parties agree to ensure that personnel reporting to the regroupment areas will be able to do so in full safety and without any hindrance.

2: On the basis of the information provided in accordance with paragraph 3 of Article 1 of the present annex, UNTAC will confirm that the regroupment and cantonment processes have been completed in accordance with the plan referred to in paragraph 4 of Article 1 of this annex. UNTAC will endeavour to complete these processes within four weeks from the date of the beginning of the second phase. On the completion of regroupment of all forces and of their movement to cantonment areas, respectively, the Commander of the military component of UNTAC will so inform each of the four Parties.

3: The Parties agree that, as their forces enter the designated cantonment areas, their personnel will be instructed by their commanders to immediately hand over all their arms, ammunition and equipment to UNTAC for storage in the custody of UNTAC.

4: UNTAC will check the arms, ammunition and equipment handed over to it against the lists referred to in paragraph 3. b) of Article 1 of this annex, in order to verify that all the arms, ammunition and equipment in the possession of the Parties have been placed under its custody.

Article IV. Resupply of forces during cantonment

The military component of UNTAC will supervise the resupply of all forces of the Parties during the regroupment and cantonment processes. Such resupply will be confined to items of a non-lethal nature such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies as well as provision of medical care.

Article V. Ultimate disposition of the forces of the Parties and of their arms, ammunition and equipment

1: In order to reinforce the objectives of a comprehensive political settlement, minimize the risks of a return to warfare, stabilize the security situation and build confidence among the Parties to the conflict, all Parties agree to undertake a phased and balanced process of demobilization of at least 70 percent of their military forces. This process shall be undertaken in accordance with a detailed plan to be drawn up by UNTAC on the basis of the information provided under Article 1 of this annex and in consultation with the Parties. It should be completed prior to the end of the process of registration for the elections and on a date to be determined by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General.

2: The Cambodian Parties hereby commit themselves to demobilize all their remaining forces before or shortly after the elections and, to the extent that full demobilization is unattainable, to respect and abide by whatever decision the newly elected government that emerges in accordance with Article 12 of this Agreement takes with regard to the incorporation of parts or all of those forces into a new national army. Upon completion of the demobilization referred to in paragraph 1, the Cambodian Parties and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General shall undertake a review regarding the final disposition of the force remaining in the cantonments, with a view to determining which of the following shall apply:

a) If the Parties agree to proceed with the demobilization of all or some of the force remaining in the cantonments, preferably prior to or otherwise shortly after the elections, the Special Representative shall prepare a timetable for so doing, in consultation with them.

b) Should total demobilization of all of the residual forces before or shortly after the elections not be possible, the Parties hereby undertake to make available all of their forces remaining in cantonments to the newly elected government that emerges in accordance with Article 12 of this Agreement, for consideration for incorporation into a new national army. They further agree that any such forces are not incorporated into the new national army will be demobilized forthwith according to a plan to be prepared by the Special Representative. With regard to the ultimate disposition of the remaining forces and all the arms, ammunition and equipment, UNTAC, as it withdraws from Cambodia, shall retain such authority as is necessary to ensure an orderly transfer to the newly elected government of those responsibilities it has exercised during the transitional period.

Implementation History

1991

No Implementation

The United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) became operational as soon as the Paris Agreement was signed in October 1991. Brigadier-General Michel Loridon (France), Senior Military Liaison Officer, assumed command of the military elements of the United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) on November 12, 1991. As agreed on in the Paris agreement, parties had to demobilize 70 percent of the rival armies. But as of December 1991, the UN had failed to approve a budget or decide on the strength of the force it would send to Cambodia to monitor the ceasefire and demobilization of 70 percent of the rival armies and to help run the country before the UN-supervised elections.1

1992

Minimum Implementation

The UN force was carrying out reconnaissance throughout the country to prepare for the containment of those troops who would not be demobilized. Containment was expected to take place in early June and demobilization shortly thereafter.2 As of September 1992, the Khmer armed group remained intact while the rival armies of the two non-communist factions had broken up in anticipation of UN-supervised demobilization. The demobilization was several months behind schedule.3

Following the beginning of phase II on June 13, 1992, the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) was to have completed the regrouping and cantonment process within four weeks – that is, by July 11. The process was expected to disarm and demobilize 70% of the country’s estimated 200,000 soldiers. As of July 10, of the estimated 200,000 troops, the numbers of cantoned troops were as follows: CPAF, 9,003; ANKI, 3,187; KPNLAF, 1,322[G1] . However, reflecting the PDK's position of non-cooperation, no NADK troops were cantoned.4 “As for the cantonment process, which had begun in June with the declaration of phase II, some 55,000 troops of the three participating factions, or approximately a quarter of the estimated total number of troops, entered the cantonment sites and handed over their weapons. This process, however, had to be suspended, due to the non-compliance by PDK and the deterioration of the military situation. Some 40,000 cantoned troops were subsequently released on agricultural leave, subject to recall by UNTAC” (United Nations).5

1993

Minimum Implementation

The demobilization and disarmament process was suspended. With the Khmer Rouge's refusal to respect the terms of "Phase Two," the other factions stopped disarming and, in most cases, called their demobilized men back into service.6 A new Cambodian armed force comprised of the CPP, FUNCINPEC, and KPNLF armies was formed. The demobilization process was terminated without implementation.

  • 6. “UN struggles on despite failure of peace accord Kevin Barrington reports on the difficulties the UN has faced in trying to bring the main factions together in Cambodia,” The Irish Times, April 10, 1993.
1994

Minimum Implementation

With the formation of a new armed force, the demobilization process terminated without implementation.

1995

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

1996

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

1997

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year. 

1998

Minimum Implementation

The demobilization process began after a pause of some years. In December 1998, Tie Banh, co-defense minister, said that the governments had formulated a plan to demobilize up to tens of thousands of soldiers each year.7

  • 7. “CAMBODIA: MINISTER ON TROOP DEMOBILIZATION,” BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific – Political, December 21, 1998.
1999

Minimum Implementation

The demobilization process began gradually. On January 15, 1999, “the Royal Government of Cambodia announced that it would demobilize 79,000 troops - 55,000 soldiers in the Cambodian Royal Armed Forces and 24,000 policemen - over a five-year period. According to a press communiqué from the Information Ministry dated 15th January (1999), Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen submitted this proposal to the Council of Ministers' session on the morning of 15th January. The proposal was adopted at the meeting. The communiqué further said that, in order to facilitate this demobilization process, the Royal Government planned to set aside a budget to provide 1,200 dollars currency not further specified each (sic) to the demobilized personnel who would also be given vocational training in enterprises and guidance to get a job to earn a living” (BBC, 1999).8

On February 25, 1999, the Cambodian government “appealed donor countries and international financial institutions to provide 104m dollars in financial, technical and material support over the next five years for demobilizing 55,000 soldiers. Sok An, senior minister in charge of the office of the council of ministers, made the request in a statement on the opening day of a two-day donor conference in Tokyo. He also disclosed a timetable for downsizing the army, saying 11,500 soldiers would be cut in 2000, 11,000 in 2001, 20,500 in 2002 and the remaining 12,000 in 2003” (BBC, 1999). The government estimated that there were 148,000 soldiers. However, this figure was widely disputed. Upon completion of the program, the government estimated that the share of defense in recurrent expenditure would be reduced from the 1998 figure of 35.8 percent to about 20 percent.9

As part of the reform program, 14 military officials were promoted to the rank of brigadier-general and 23 others to the rank of major-general. The promotions were "part of the army restructuring and demobilization efforts to divert the budget from this sector to the social services” (BBC, 1999).10

At a donor conference, the Cambodian government stated that it had discovered 15,551 "ghost" soldiers and 159,587 dependents. However, purging these individuals from the payroll has been a slow process. It was also reported that, at the end of September 1999, the number of illegal weapons confiscated consisted of 16,412 rifles, 11 land mines, and 345 hand grenades. In a conference it was stated that people had voluntarily turned in 5,655 rifles, 190 hand grenades, and 332 land mines, and that the government had destroyed 20,112 rifles.11

  • 8. “Cambodia to Demobilize 79,000 Security Personnel Over Five Years,” BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific – Political, January 18, 1999, http://www.camnet.com.kh/ocm/government35.htm.
  • 9. “Cambodia Seeks 104M to Demobilize Soldiers at Japan Aid Conference,” BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific – Political, February 25, 1999.
  • 10. “Cambodia: Army Officers Promoted as Part of Restructuring Programme,” BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific – Political, March 3, 1999.
  • 11. “Cambodia donors satisfied but military demobilization slow,” BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific – Political, October 29, 1999.
2000

Minimum Implementation

“The last experimental demobilization was held in Battambang Province. It involved 421 troops and began on the 11th of July, 2000” (BBC, 2000).12 The World Bank was also involved in the demobilization process. It provided $15 million dollars for military demobilization in Cambodia in 2001. The World Food Program (WFP) had also promised to provide rice for demobilized soldiers. “In a pilot project, the government had cut off 1,500 soldiers from government's pay rolls while WFP had assisted 150 kilograms of rice to each demobilized soldier” (Xinhua, 2000).13 Even if the experimental demobilization ended, there were efforts to demobilize soldiers from the Royal Cambodian Army and downsize the armed force.

NOTE: The World Bank awarded Cambodia a loan of 18.4 million in 2001 to be put toward achieving the objective of military reform in Cambodia. The program would involve the demobilization of some 30,000 soldiers. “This DDR process only affects people who have already been integrated into the armed forces, and is aimed at leaving troop numbers at between 70,000 and 80,000. Reform of the armed forces has been delayed by mistakes committed during the DDR process and by a lack of sufficient funding. The reforms that remain to be implemented will have to deal with the demobilization of a number of inactive troops and a larger number of officers. The World Bank calculated in 1991 that DDR would lead to a saving of 10.3 million dollars a year in military spending. However, in October 2006, Government approved the compulsory military service, against the Armed Forces reduction plans, justified by the high unemployment level of young people in the country” (ECP).14 By 2006, Cambodia still had 110,000 soldiers, which someone said would be downsized to 70,000 in month or year.15