Cease Fire: Framework for a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict


Part I

Section V. Cease-Fire and Cessation of Outside Military Assistance

Article 9

The cease-fire shall take effect at the time this Agreement enters into force. All forces shall immediately disengage and refrain from all hostilities and from any deployment, movement or action which would extend the territory they control or which might lead to renewed fighting.

The Signatories hereby invite the Security Council of the United Nations to request the Secretary-General to provide good offices to assist in this process until such time as the military component of UNTAC is in position to supervise, monitor and verify it.

Article 10

Upon entry into force of this Agreement, there shall be an immediate cessation of all outside military assistance to all Cambodian Parties.

Annex 2. Withdrawal, cease-fire and related assurance

Article 1. Ceasefire

1. All Cambodian Parties (hereinafter referred to as the Parties) agree to observe a comprehensive ceasefire on land and water and in the air. This ceasefire will be implemented in two phases. During the first phase, the ceasefire will be observed with the assistance of the Secretary-General of the United Nations through his good offices. During the second phase, which should commence as soon as possible, the ceasefire will be supervised, monitored and verified by UNTAC. The Commander of the military component of UNTAC, in consultation with the Parties, shall determine the exact time and date at which the second phase will commence. This date will be set at least four weeks in advance of its coming into effect.

2. The Parties undertake that, upon the signing of this Agreement, they will observe a ceasefire and will order their armed forces immediately to disengage and refrain from all hostilities and any deployment, movement or action that would extend the territory they control or that might lead to a resumption of fighting, pending the commencement of the second phase. Forces are agreed to include all regular, provincial, district, paramilitary and other auxiliary forces.

During the first phase, the Secretary-General of the United Nations will provide his good offices to the Parties to assist them in its observance. The Parties undertake to cooperate with the Secretary-General or his representatives in the exercise of his good offices in this regard.

6. The Parties shall scrupulously observe the ceasefire and will not resume any hostilities by land, water or air. The commanders of their armed forces will ensure that all troops under their command remain on their respective positions, pending their movement to the designated regroupment areas, and refrain from all hostilities and from any deployment or movement or action which would extend the territory they control or which might lead to a resumption of fighting.

Implementation History


Minimum Implementation

“On 27 November 1991, the Party of Democratic Kampuchea (PDK) delegation arrived in Phnom Penh. It was forced to flee, however, after demonstrations against the delegation became violent, and its members were attacked” (United Nations).1 Despite the cease-fire agreement, opposing armies sought control over territory and rural populations before the deployment of UN peacekeepers.2

According to the Cambodian Defense Ministry, Pol Pot’s army strived to extend their control over areas by attacking the position of the Cambodian army. The ministry’s press release states that at dawn on November 11, 1991, “between 200 and 300 army men of Pol Pot's Division 785 and Son Sann faction launched an offensive against three positions of the Cambodian army in the region of Kouk Rovieng, between 9 and 12 kilometres north-west of the district seat of Stoung, Kompong Thom Province.” This suggests that a breach of the ceasefire agreement occurred. From November 10 - 14, Pol Pot’s troops (between 70 to 80 infantrymen with artillery support) attacked three positions of a garrison at Puok district in Siem Reap-Oddar Meanchey Province. These three assaults were repelled by the local irregular forces.3

  • 1. “Cambodia - UNAMIC Background – Introduction,” United Nations, accessed July 19, 2010, http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/past/unamicbackgr.html.
  • 2. “Sihanouk Ends Exile, Returns to Cambodia; Troops, Rebels Clash Despite Cease-Fire,” Washington Post, November 14, 1991, A37.
  • 3. “Defence Ministry alleges cease-fire violation,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, November 19, 1991; SPK News Agency, Phnom Penh, in English, November 1991, 0407 gmt 15.

Minimum Implementation

The cessation of hostilities did not hold. On February 28, 1992, the UN Security Council passed a resolution that strongly urged the “Cambodian parties to agree to the complete demobilization of their military forces prior to the end of the process of registration of the elections as well as to the destruction of the weapons and ammunitions deposied (sic) into the Authoriy’s custody in excess of those, if any, which may be deemed necessary by the Authority for the maintenance of civil order and national defense, or which may be required by the new Cambodian Government” (United Nations, 1992).4

On May 9, 1992, the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) announced phase II of the ceasefire - the cantonment, disarming, and demobilization phase. UNTAC did not receive cooperation from PDK.5

“In June, the Khmer Rouge refused to disarm or allow UN peacekeeping troops on the territory they controlled. KR argued that they did not want to disarm because there still were Vietnamese forces in the country. In mid-July the KR seized six villages and attacked UN helicopters. The UN Security Council at several occasions (S/RES/766 in July, S/RES/783 in October) demanded that KR comply with phase II of the Paris Agreement. On November 30th, the Security Council adopted resolution S/RES/792 imposing a trade embargo on areas under KR control. On 2 December six UN soldiers were held capture for two days by KR accused of spying” (The New York Times, 1992).6

Using quotes from the Voice of the People of Cambodia, the BBC reported that ''between 23rd October 1991 and 23rd October 1992, the Khmer Rouge launched 244 shellings and 124 attacks on SOC (State of Cambodia) positions'' (BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 1992). The breaches ''resulted in 79 people and a Buddhist monk being killed and 140 others wounded'' (BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 1992). “The radio also reported that, according to sources at the SOC's military coordination committee with the United Nations, the Khmer Rouge recently engaged in activities that violated the SOC sovereignty through their troops’ infiltration of zones under SOC control.”7

  • 4. “Resolution 745 (1992),” UN Security Council (S/RES/745), February 28, 1992, par. 8.
  • 5. “SECOND PHASE OF CEASEFIRE, MAY - NOVEMBER 1992,” Cambodia-UNTAC Background, accessed July 19, 2010, http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/past/untacbackgr2.html#two.
  • 6. “Khmer Rouge Frees 6 U.N. Soldiers in Cambodia,” The New York Times, December 5, 1992.
  • 7. “Khmer Rouge Ceasefire Violations Reported,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, October 31, 1992.

Minimum Implementation

On January 4, Prince Sihanouk, Chairman of the Supreme National Council (SNC), declared his withdrawal from the peace process and cooperation with UNTAC. He claimed that the increasing political violence against his party, FUNCINPEC (a French acronym that translates into the ‘National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia’), and the failure of UNTAC to curtail this violence were main reasons for his withdrawal. After meetings with UNTAC officials, Sihanouk agreed to return to the peace process a week later. In late January, the transitional government forces launched a large-scale military offensive against the Khmer Rouge.

One of the UN Chief Administrators in Cambodia, Gerard Porcell, threatened to resign, citing the reasons for resignation as the UN's failure to stop the violence and intimidation allegedly carried out by the Khmer Rouge and the CPP (the former government), which is short for the Cambodian People’s Party. Porcell stayed until the May 1993 election.8 According to the Sydney Morning Herald report from March 31, 1993, “the Khmer Rouge has refused to disarm, which has forced the UN to stop disarming other factions. Cease-fire violations occur almost daily, threatening a key stipulation of the accords that the election be politically neutral and free of intimidation and violence” (Sydney Morning Herald, 1993).9

  • 8. Benny Widyono, Dancing in Shadows: Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge, and the United Nations in Cambodia, (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007), 17.
  • 9. “Cambodians Return to an Uncertain Future,” Sydney Morning Herald, March 31, 1993,10.

Minimum Implementation

On May 28, 1994, the National Assembly delegation and the Royal Government of Cambodia issued a statement in Pyongyang that top representatives of the KOC, namely the National Assembly and the Royal Government, fully accepted the king's proposal for a cease-fire. However, the ceasefire proposal was rejected by the Khmer Rouge.10

“The Cambodian parliament adopted legislation here Thursday to outlaw the Khmer Rouge after including amendments to safeguard against human rights abuses. Interior Minister You Hokry said here Tuesday (July 5, 1994) that the authorities were still holding 14 Thai citizens in connection with a failed coup bid during the last weekend. This included the arrest of former Interior Minister Sing Song, Interior Secretary of State Sin Sen and Senior Police Officer Tes Choy. However, the alleged coup plot co-leader Prince Norodom Chakrapong, half brother of Prince Ranariddh, was allowed, through the intervention of his father, the king, to leave the country for Malaysia. The government is currently hunting two interior minister generals and an Undersecretary of State Defense Chhay Sang Yung, all three of whom may have fled to Vietnam."11

It was reported that the Khmer Rouge had committed atrocities against civilians in the last three months of the year, as part of their campaign against the government. From April through June attempts to begin peace talks were made, but they fail due to the Khmer Rouge refusal to agree to a ceasefire.12

  • 10. “Khmer Rouge rejects cease-fire schedule,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, May 30, 1994.
  • 11. “Cambodian parliament passes law banning Khmer Rouge,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, July 7, 1994.
  • 12. "Cambodia," Uppsala Conflict Data Program, accessed July 19, 2010, http://www.pcr.uu.se/gpdatabase/gpcountry.php?id=27®ionSelect=7-Eastern_Asia#1992.

Minimum Implementation

The Cambodian government had offered amnesty to members of the Khmer Rouge, which expired on January 15, 1995. According to government figures, almost 2,000 fighters had surrendered in the month prior to January. The government estimated the current strength of the Khmer Rouge was between 5,000 and 10,000 hard-core troops.13 There were some positive developments in August: members of the Khmer Rouge were reported to have said that they would go to Phnom Penh to lay the groundwork for negotiations with the Cambodian Government in order to end the country's long-running civil war. The rebels, however, “agreed to the talks once the government dropped demands that a ceasefire be signed before negotiations.”14 A ceasefire agreement was not reached.

  • 13. "January, 1995, Cambodia," in Keesing's Record of World Events, vol. 41, 40366.
  • 14. “Khmer Rouge in Peace Talks Offer,” Herald Sun, August 11, 1995.

Minimum Implementation

On August 20, a breakaway faction of the Khmer Rouge, which was based in Pailin and led by Pol Pot's former deputy Ieng Sary, and the Cambodian army agreed to a ceasefire in territories under the rebels' control.15 After some political maneuvering, the king signed a royal degree granting amnesty to the defector, Mr. Ieng, on September 16.16

Though the Khmer Rouge still controlled areas of Cambodia, particularly in the north near Anlong Veng, it had lost more than half of its military strength and the area around Pailin, which was rich in natural resources, including gems and logs.

  • 15. “Khmer Rouge "coup" faction agrees to ceasefire,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 20, 1996.
  • 16. “Rebel leader given amnesty Cambodian peace talks back on track,” The Globe and Mail (Canada), September 16, 1996.

Minimum Implementation

In 1997, the conflict between the
government and the Khmer Rouge continued, even though clashes became less
intense due to the fact that many KR members had defected.

There were also clashes between the two government coalition parties, the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) government and the main faction of the FUNCINPEC. On July 7, 1997, Hun Sen, the leader of the CPP, overthrew Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh in a brutal, bloody coup. Two days of fighting left at least 58 people dead and hundreds wounded. Ranariddh's forces were overwhelmed. In the days following Ranariddh's overthrow, Hun Sen's soldiers hunted down supporters of Ranariddh's FUNCINPEC party. Several of the victims were apparently tortured before being murdered; four of the bodyguards of Nhiek Bun Chhay, Ranariddh's top military commander, were found with their eyes gouged out. Nhiek Bun Chhay narrowly escaped. Former Interior Minister, Ho Sok, was shot in the head while in the custody of Hun Sen's military.17 In late August, “King Sihanouk joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Prince Ranariddh in calling for peace talks and a mutual ceasefire. Hun Sen refused, claiming the resistance fighters are law-breakers who ought to give up or be apprehended.”18

  • 17. Bruce Sharp, “Butchers on a Smaller Scale: Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party,” 1997, accessed July 19, 2010, http://www.mekong.net/cambodia/hun_sen1.htm.
  • 18. “Cambodian king talks with new strongman Hun Sen,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, September 6, 1997.

Intermediate Implementation

On February 27, Cambodia's warring factions agreed to a ceasefire, ending months of fighting between Phnom Penh's troops and the deposed co-premier Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s resistance army. This ceasefire agreement completed the first of a four step Japanese peace plan aimed at enabling the exiled prince to return to Cambodia and participate in July's scheduled elections.19

The Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement broke the ceasefire agreement between Cambodia's two main warring political factions on Sunday, March 1, 1998, and vowed to keep fighting the Phnom Penh government.20 Many KR fighters that had come over to the government with the KR leadership, including Khiev Samphan, defected in December 1998. The last armed resistance ended with the capture of the last remaining KR soldiers, led by Ta Mok in December 1999.

  • 19. “Ceasefire puts exiled prince back in poll picture,” The Weekend Australia, February 28, 1998.
  • 20. “Khmer Rouge blast Cambodian ceasefire, vow to keep fighting Hun Sen,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, March 1, 1998.

Full Implementation

In the 1997 coup, the leader of the royalist faction, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, was effectively ousted from his position as co-prime minister by rival Cambodian leader Hun Sen; also, several leaders of the royalist faction, including their military leaders, were executed. More than 5,000 of the royalist fighters who fought against Cambodian armed forces loyal to the CPP during the bloody 1997 coup officially rejoined a united military during a ceremony on Friday, February 26, 1999. The ceremony marked the final integration of the remaining royalist forces into the army. Thousands of Khmer Rouge fighters were also integrated as the guerrilla movement collapsed from mass defections.21 The ceasefire was finally holding.

  • 21. “Royalist resistance forces rejoin Cambodian army,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, February 26, 1999.

Full Implementation

The ceasefire was maintained.