United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia
|United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia
Autorité provisoire des Nations unies au Cambodge
|United Nations protectorate|
Location of Cambodia in Southeast Asia.
|Political structure||United Nations protectorate|
|Special Representative of
|-||UN Security Council Resolution 745||February 28, 1992|
|-||Disestablished||May 20, 1993|
|United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia|
|Formation||28 February 1992|
|Legal status||Ended September 1993|
|Parent organization||United Nations Security Council|
|Part of a series on the|
|History of Cambodia|
The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) was a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Cambodia in 1992–93. It was also the first occasion on which the UN had taken over the administration of an independent state, organized and run an election (as opposed to monitoring or supervising), had its own radio station and jail, and been responsible for promoting and safeguarding human rights at the national level.
UNTAC was established in February 1992 under United Nations Security Council Resolution 745 in agreement with the State of Cambodia, the de facto government of the country at that time, in order to implement the Paris Peace Accords of October 1991. UNTAC was the product of intense diplomatic activity over many years.
Headed by Chief of Mission Yasushi Akashi (Japan), Force Commander Lieutenant-General John Sanderson (Australia), and Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Klaas Roos (Netherlands), UNTAC involved approximately 15,900 military, 3,400 civilian police, 2,000 civilians and 450 UN Volunteers, as well as locally recruited staff and interpreters. During the electoral period, more than 50,000 Cambodians served as electoral staff and some 900 international polling station officers were seconded from Governments. The whole operation cost over $1.6 billion, mostly in salaries for expatriates. The participating countries providing military observers, police, or troops were: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.  
UNTAC's aim was to restore peace and civil government in a country ruined by decades of civil war and Cold War machinations, to hold free and fair elections leading to a new constitution and to "kick-start" the rehabilitation of the country. It was to exercise 'supervision' or 'supervision or control' over all aspects of government, including foreign affairs, national defence, finance, public security and information, and to supervise, monitor and verify the withdrawal and non-return of foreign military forces; to canton, disarm and demobilize Cambodia's fighting factions, confiscate caches of weapons and military supplies, promote and protect human rights, oversee military security and maintain law and order, repatriate and resettle refugees and displaced persons, assist in mine clearance and the establishment of training programmes in mine clearance and mine awareness, rehabilitate essential infrastructure and assist in economic reconstruction and development.
Another important goal was the trial of senior Khmer Rouge leaders. The process that was initiated during the UNTAC led in October 4, 2004, to the ratification of an agreement with the United Nations by the Cambodian National Assembly on the establishment of a tribunal to try senior leaders responsible for the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. Donor countries pledged the $43 million international share of the three-year tribunal budget, while the Cambodian government's share of the budget was $13.3 million. The first trials of senior Khmer Rouge leaders took place only in 2007, when many of them were already dead or in ill-health.
Despite UNTAC's boasting of its effectiveness and being feted by the international community as a success, UNTAC failed to disarm the Khmer Rouge, while effectively disarming the SOC's local militias. This bias allowed the Khmer Rouge to make territorial gains and gave rise to political violence. The State of Cambodia's military leaders were furious, claiming that UNTAC was extremely exacting with the disarmament of the CPAF, but too lenient and ineffective when it came to disarm the Khmer Rouge.
Over 4 million Cambodians (about 90% of eligible voters) participated in the May 1993 elections, although the Khmer Rouge or Party of Democratic Kampuchea (PDK), whose forces were never actually disarmed or demobilized, barred some people from participating. Prince Ranariddh's FUNCINPEC Party was the top vote recipient with a 45.5% vote, followed by Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party and the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party, respectively. FUNCINPEC then entered into a coalition with the other parties that had participated in the election. The parties represented in the 120-member assembly proceeded to draft and approve a new constitution, which was promulgated September 24, 1993. It established a multiparty liberal democracy in the framework of a constitutional monarchy, with the former Prince Sihanouk elevated to King. Prince Ranariddh and Hun Sen became First and Second Prime Ministers, respectively, in the Royal Cambodian Government (RGC). The constitution provides for a wide range of internationally recognized human rights.
Effects of UNTAC presence
Norodom Sihanouk had many reservations about the UNTAC operation, for the massive presence of foreign troops led to the abuse of some Cambodian women, boosting prostitution and introducing AIDS, which led Cambodia to become one of the worst affected countries by AIDS in Asia. The number of prostituted women in the State of Cambodia rose from about 6,000 in 1991, to over 20,000 after the arrival of UNTAC personnel in 1992. By 1995 there were between 50,000 and 90,000 Cambodians affected by AIDS according to a WHO estimate.
Duration: March 1992 – September 1993
Strength: Approximately 22,000 military and civilian personnel
Fatalities: 78 (4 military observers, 41 other military personnel, 14 civilian police, 5 international civilian staff and 14 local staff).
Expenditures: US$1.62 billion (UNAMIC and UNTAC combined)
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 745 S-RES-745(1992) on 28 February 1992 (retrieved 2008-04-09)
- Cambodia. Lonely Planet
- UN Cambodia - UNTAC. Facts and Figures
- Margaret Slocomb, The People's Republic of Kampuchea, 1979-1989: The revolution after Pol Pot ISBN 978-974-9575-34-5
- Benny Widyono, Dancing in Shadows: Sihanouk, the Khmer Rouge, and the United Nations in Cambodia, ISBN 0-7425-5553-4 - ISBN 978-0-7425-5553-2
- Milton Osborne, Sihanouk, Prince of Light, Prince of Darkness. Silkworm 1994
- Soizick Crochet, Le Cambodge, Karthala, Paris 1997, ISBN 2-86537-722-9