Chea Sim

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Samdech Akeak Moha Thomak Pothisal
Chea Sim
GCRS NM
Chea Sim.jpg
Chea Sim in 2012
2nd President of the Senate
In office
25 March 1999 – 8 June 2015
Monarch Norodom Sihanouk
Norodom Sihamoni
Vice President Say Chhum
Tep Ngorn
Preceded by Re-established (Title last held by Peter Khoy Saukam)
Succeeded by Say Chhum
President of the Cambodian People's Party
In office
17 October 1991 – 8 June 2015
Deputy Hun Sen
Preceded by Heng Samrin
as General Secretary of the Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party
Succeeded by Hun Sen
Minister of Interior
In office
7 January 1979 – 27 June 1981
Prime Minister Pen Sovan
2nd President of the National Assembly
In office
6 October 1993 – 25 November 1998
Monarch Norodom Sihanouk
Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh
Ung Huot
Hun Sen
Preceded by Son Sann
Succeeded by Norodom Ranariddh
Chairman of the National Assembly of the People's Republic of Kampuchea
In office
27 June 1981 – 14 June 1993
Prime Minister Pen Sovan
Chan Sy
Hun Sen
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Office abolished
Chairman of the Council of State
In office
6 April 1992 – 14 June 1993
Prime Minister Hun Sen
Preceded by Heng Samrin
Succeeded by Norodom Sihanouk
Personal details
Born (1932-11-15)15 November 1932
Romeas Haek, Svay Rieng, Cambodia
Died 8 June 2015(2015-06-08) (aged 82)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Political party Cambodian People's Party
Spouse(s) Nhem Soeun
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Chea Sim (Khmer: ជា សីុម; 15 November 1932 – 8 June 2015) was a Cambodian politician.[1] He was President of the Cambodian People's Party from 1991 to 2015, President of the National Assembly of Cambodia from 1981 to 1998 (Vice President from June to October 1993) and President of the Senate from 1999 to 2015.[2] His official title was Samdach Akeak Moha Thomak Pothisal Chea Sim, Protean Protsaphea ney Preah Reacheanachak Kampuchea (Khmer: សម្តេចអគ្គមហាធម្មពោធិសាល ជា សីុម, ប្រធានព្រឹទ្ធសភា នៃ ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា).

Life and career[edit]

Chea Sim was born on November 15, 1932, in Romeas Haek, Svay Rieng Province to an ethnic Chinese peasant family.[3] As a young man, he partook in one of the first revolutionary movement by the communist Khmer People's Revolutionary Party (Khmer: គណបក្សប្រជាជនបដិវត្តន៍កម្ពុជា, KPRP), currently the ruling party of Cambodia. The movement which he joined was against Colonial France in the early 1950s. He later became a military commander of the communist Khmer Rouge even before it finally toppled the US-backed Lon Nol government in 1975. Like Heng Samrin and Hun Sen, he defected in 1978 from the Khmer Rouge, which was backed by China, and fled to Vietnam to join an anti-Khmer Rouge movement known as a resistance faction groomed by Vietnam. He later held positions in the new party and People's Republic of Kampuchea government, installed and backed by Vietnam after it invaded Cambodia and ousted the Khmer Rouge in 1979.[4] He was among the founding members of the United Front for the National Salvation of Kampuchea, the Vietnam-backed group that defeated the Khmer Rouge in 1979.[5]

Chea Sim was considered an important figure when negotiations happened, resulting in the 1991 Paris Peace Accord, which brokered a deal supposed to end three decades of civil war and paved the way for the U.N.-organized elections in 1993. After the elections, even though the royalist FUNCINPEC party topped the polls at that time, Hun Sen insisted that it share power with his Cambodian People's Party, and four years later grabbed the sole power for his Cambodia People's Party. From April 6, 1992 to June 14, 1993, Chea Sim served as the nation’s interim leader (Chairman of the Council of State) before Cambodia became a constitutional monarchy. He also acted as Head of State on behalf of King Norodom Sihanouk for brief periods in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 2004. Sihanouk awarded Chea Sim the honorary title of Sâmdech in 1993.

After the King announced his permanent abdication on October 7, 2004, Chea Sim once again became acting Head of State. In the same year, he was escorted out of the country after refusing to sign off as acting head of state on changing the constitution, which would eventually help the CPP and the Funcinpec parties form a coalition government under the deal between Hun Sen and prince Norodom Ranariddh.[6] Many saw it as the first-ever public display of power struggle and infighting between Hun Sen and Chea Sim. Subsequently Hun Sen continued his tactic of replacing Chea Sim's loyalists with his favourite candidates for important roles in the party and government.[6] Chea Sim had led a powerful faction within the ruling CPP party which was at times at odds with Hun Sen and his supporters, but many describe Sim’s role after that as little more than symbolic.[6]

Chea Sim left the position of acting Head of State on October 14, 2004, when Norodom Sihamoni became king. He was absent from the 63rd anniversary celebrations of the CPP in June 2014, following years in which age and illness from high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic ailments forced him to back away from his roles and receive medical care in Vietnam. The Phnom Penh Post reported that Hun Sen was publicly referred to as “acting CPP president” for the first time at the anniversary event. In the months leading to his death, Chea Sim's signature continued to appear on documents passed by the Senate, of which he was President, but which was in practice presided over by his Deputy President, Say Chhum.[6] He died on 8 June 2015.[6][7] His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, signed a royal decree to establish a commission to organize the funeral of Chea Sim. The newly established commission is chaired by Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly along with three vice chairmen, including Prime Minister Hun Sen; Say Chhum, Acting President of Senate; Kong Sam Ol, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Royal Palace. Cambodia is going to hold a formal mourning ceremony for Chea Sim on June 19, 2015.[8]

Human Rights Watch Asia Director Brad Adams described it as a "mockery of justice" that Chea Sim was able to continue being one of the rulers of the post-Khmer Rouge government without being brought to justice, as Chea Sim was accused of overseeing atrocities committed under his role as a military commander. Brad Adams also accused Chea Sim of operating "a police state" in the 1980s that arrested, imprisoned, and tortured Cambodian political activists without trial.[9] Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith criticized The Phnom Penh Post for publishing an article which accused Chea Sim of violating human rights under the Khmer Rouge regime. Khieu Kanharith said that in the Cambodian tradition, respect for the dead is very important during the mourning ceremony and that The Phnom Penh Post could be sued if Chea Sim's family members wished to do so.[10] AKP argued, in that barbaric regime, Samdech Chea Sim was just a simple local official. AKP argued Chea Sim and his family members were also victims (of the regime) as other Cambodian people. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior strongly rejected the comments made by Director of Asia Division for Human Rights Watch and quoted by The Phnom Penh Post.[11]

Sam Rainsy, the leader and co-founder of the main opposition party, Cambodia National Rescue Party, and a member of Parliament (MP) for Kampong Cham since July 2014, hailed Chea Sim as a national hero and likened him to the popular late king Norodom Sihanouk who, Rainsy said, considered Chea Sim as his "little brother". Once considered as the second most powerful man in the government after Hun Sen, Chea Sim, as Rainsy said, was highly regarded for his patriotic ideals and national reconciliation after the Khmer Rouge.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chea Sim dead at 83". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Veteran Cambodia politician Chea Sim dies at 82". Aljazeera. June 8, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Chea Sim: Politician who left the Khmer Rouge and became a key figure in Cambodia after the fall of the brutal regime". The Independent. Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "Chea Sim, a Leader in Post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Dies at 82" (8 June 2015). ABCNews. The Associated Press. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Saing, Soenthrith (8 June 2015). "CPP President Chea Sim Dead". The Cambodia Daily. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Cheang Sokha, Daniel Pye (8 June 2015). "Senate President Chea Sim dead at 82". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  7. ^ Yeang, Socheameta (8 June 2015). "Cambodia's Ruling Party President Chea Sim Dies". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  8. ^ Organizing Commission for Late Samdech Chea Sim’s Funeral Formed
  9. ^ "Cambodia: Chea Sim Death Shows Failings of Khmer Rouge Court". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  10. ^ Cambodian Information Minister’s Reaction to The Phnom Penh Post
  11. ^ More Reaction Against The Phnom Penh Post
  12. ^ Meas, Sokchea (June 12, 2015). "Rainsy lauds late Chea Sim". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved June 13, 2015. 
Political offices
Preceded by
None
President of the National Assembly of Cambodia
1981 – 1993
Succeeded by
Son Sann
Preceded by
Heng Samrin
Chairman of the State Council of Cambodia
1992 – 1993
Succeeded by
None
Preceded by
Son Sann
President of the National Assembly of Cambodia
1993 – 1998
Succeeded by
Norodom Ranariddh
Preceded by
Saukam Khoy
President of the Senate of Cambodia
1999 – 2015
Succeeded by
Say Chhum
Preceded by
Norodom Sihanouk
King of Cambodia
Interim Head of State of Cambodia
2004
Succeeded by
Norodom Sihamoni
King of Cambodia
Party political offices
Preceded by
Heng Samrin
People's Revolutionary Party
President of the Cambodian People's Party
1991 – 2015
Succeeded by
Hun Sen