Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Still coping with the legacy of the 'killing fields'

Still coping with the legacy of the 'killing fields'

1863 - The Protectorate Treaty is signed between France and Prince Norodom. The Khmer king hands over the conduct of foreign relations to France, which in return recognizes his sovereignty.
1884 - France forces King Norodom to accept direct control from France.
1887 - French administration of Cambodia and Vietnam is joined to form Indochina Union. Laos is included in 1893.
1922 - Prince Norodom Sihanouk is born.
1928 - Sarloth Sar (Pol Pot) is born
1940 - Japanese occupation of Indochina begins after deal is signed between the Vichy Government in France and Japan.
1945 - Japanese occupation ends. France says Indochina will be granted partial self-government.
1946 - France recognizes Cambodia as an autonomous kingdom within the French Union, passing a new constitution allowing Cambodians to form political parties.
1947 - French troops suppress Khmer rebellion
1950 - Norodom Sihanouk becomes Prime Minister
1951 - The Khmer communist movement is founded. It becomes known as the Kampuchean Communist Party (KCP) in 1965.
1953 - Cambodia becomes independent from France.
1954 - France's colonial rule in Vietnam ends at the battle of Dien Bien Phu.
1955 - King Sihanouk abdicates in order to participate in the political arena and becomes Prime Minister. His father, Prince Norodom Suramarit, becomes king.
1960 - Sihanouk's father dies. Sihanouk becomes head of state.
1965-66 - The United States sends ground troops into South Vietnam to fight against the communist north. Sihanouk breaks off relations with the US and allows North Vietnamese guerrillas to set up bases in Cambodia.
1969 - US bombing of Viet Cong positions in Cambodia begins.
1970 - Sihanouk is deposed in a coup while abroad. The prime minister, General Lon Nol, seizes power and proclaims the Khmer Republic and orders his army to fight the North Vietnamese in Cambodia in support of US forces. From exile in Beijing, Sihanouk forms a guerrilla resistance movement, forming the Royal National Union of Kampuchea (GRUNK). US and South Vietnam infiltrate Cambodia and the Viet Cong establish control around the Angkor Wat temples in the north. The Cambodian army begins fighting both the North Vietnamese and the communist Khmer Rouge.
1973 - The Paris Peace Accords signal the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops. The KCP begins widespread recruitment of young peasants.
Apr 17 - Lon Nol is overthrown. The Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot occupy Phnom Penh. Sihanouk briefly becomes head of state. City dwellers are evacuated to rural work camps. The Khmer Rouge declare "Year Zero".
1976 - Sihanouk resigns as head of state. The country is re-named Democratic Kampuchea with Khieu Samphan as head of state and Pol Pot as prime minister.
1977 - Fighting breaks out with Vietnam as diplomatic relations are broken off.
1978 - Vietnamese forces occupy provinces to the east of the Mekong river following several Khmer incursions into Vietnamese territory.
1979-80 - The Vietnamese take Phnom Penh after a major offensive, proclaiming the People's Republic of Kampuchea. Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge forces flee to the jungle along the border with Thailand.
1980 - Khmer Rouge retain Cambodia's seat at the United Nations.
1981 - The pro-Vietnamese Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party wins the elections to the National Assembly. The international community refuses to recognise the new government. Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Son Sann and Khieu Samphan announce their agreement to form a coalition to fight against Vietnam's occupation of Cambodia.
1985 - Hun Sen becomes prime minister.
1989 - Formal withdrawal of Vietnamese troops as Soviet support declines. The country is re-named the State of Cambodia.
1991 - An international peace agreement is signed in Paris. A UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) shares power temporarily with representatives of the various factions. Sihanouk returns home after thirteen years in exile and becomes head of state.
1993 - The royalist Funcinpec party wins the most seats in the general election followed by Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP). A three-party coalition is formed with Funcinpec's Prince Norodom Ranariddh as prime minister and Hun Sen as deputy prime minister. Sihanouk becomes king again and the country is re-named the Kingdom of Cambodia. Khmer Rouge continue attacks on government forces.
1994 - Khmer Rouge movement outlawed by Cambodia's National Assembly. Thousands of Khmer Rouge guerrillas surrender in government amnesty.
1996 - Khmer Rouge forces split, with Ieng Sary defecting to the government in return for an amnesty.
1997 - Pol Pot executes Son Sen and is in turn placed under house arrest for life. Hun Sen stages a coup against the prime minister, Prince Ranariddh, and replaces him with Ung Huot. Cambodia's membership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is delayed.
1998 - Pol Pot dies and the Khmer Rouge finally collapses. Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan surrender to Hun Sen. Ta Mok remains the last Khmer Rouge leader still at large. General elections return CPP/Funkinpec coalition to power, dominated by Hun Sen. Ranariddh is tried in his absence and found guilty of arms smuggling, but is then pardoned by the king.
1999 - A United Nations Commission of Experts recommends the creation of an international tribunal and truth commission to judge the crimes of the Khmer Rouge period. Mok is captured by Cambodian army and sent before a military tribunal. Former Tuol Sleng prison commander Deuch is also arrested.
2001 - Donor nations conclude a 2-day conference on aid to Cambodia in Tokyo with combined pledges of $560 million.
2002 - First multi-party local elections. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) announces that the CPP has secured a sizeable victory, winning in all but 23 of 1,620 communes.
2003 - Prime Minister Hun Sen's CPP sweeps to victory in general elections, but falls short of the two-thirds majority needed to govern outright.
July - Hun Sen is re-elected after CPP strikes a deal with the royalist Funcinpec party. Hun Sen remains premier and Ranariddh becomes speaker of the National Assembly.
Aug - Parliament ratifies kingdom's entry into World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Oct - King Norodom Sihanouk abdicates. His son Norodom Sihamoni is crowned as his successor. 2005 February - Opposition leader Sam Rainsy leaves Cambodia for exile in France after he is stripped of parliamentary immunity.
Apr - Tribunal to try surviving Khmer Rouge leaders is approved by UN.
Dec - Sam Rainsy is convicted by a Cambodian court of defaming Hun Sen and is sentenced to nine months in prison.
Feb - Sam Rainsy receives a royal pardon and returns to Cambodia. The courtroom and administrative offices of the UN-backed Special Tribunal open in a military complex just outside Phnom Penh.
July - Former Khmer Rouge military chief, Ta Mok, dies in prison aged 82 without ever facing justice.
Jan - Human Rights Watch accuses the Cambodian government of interfering in the tribunal. The courts are yet to launch either an investigation or a prosecution.
June - The trials of surviving Khmer Rouge leaders move a big step closer as international and Cambodian judges agree the rules of the tribunal.

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