Sosthène Fernandez

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General Sosthène Fernandez (28 November 1923; Phnom Penh–2006; France) was the commander-in-Chief of the Khmer National Armed Forces (FANK) and chief of general staff of the Khmer Republic after Prince Sihanouk was deposed as head of state in 1970. Prior to 1970, he was a prominent politician and a former chief of the police.

Fernandez was born in Phnom Penh[1] to Filipino father and an ethnic Khmer mother born in Vietnam.[2][3] Fernandez briefly joined the teaching service and was naturalised as a French subject in 1915. Fernandez took up law studies, and by 1928 was appointed as a local magistrate. In the 1940s, he co-founded the Liberal Party along with Prince Norindeth, and was elected to parliament in 1951. Fernandez served under various ministry portfolios in the 1950s and 1960s.[4]

General Fernandez and Lon Nol left the country before the Khmer Rouge took Phnom Penh in 1975. All the republicans wanted to stop the Civil War in Cambodia. Several others officials such as Long Boret, Lon Non and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak remained in office until the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975. They mistakenly thought that they would be spared through the intercession of Norodom Sihanouk, but were executed by the Khmer Rouge.

Undoubtedly, General Fernandez was an important figure of Cambodia's war against the communist Khmer. He is a part of Cambodia History and said to be very influential General that couldn't continue the fight against the Khmer Rouge, Viet Cong and North Vietnamese.

In 1975, because of the cut of US aid, all the republican government's leaders wanted to stop the war without conditions. However, Fernandez refused to negotiate with the Khmers rouges if the government would make FANK lay down their arms during the negotiation; for this reason, he resigned as army chief. The government let the Khmer rouges take Phnom Penh without real battle for the purpose of negotiation.

In 1998, Fernandez returned to Cambodia to meet his former soldiers and all Cambodian citizens. He has written a book about his life as the Commander-in-Chief of the Khmer National Armed Force. He died in France in 2006.[5]


  1. ^ The Times-News, 13 August 1970
  2. ^ Becker (1998), p. 15
  3. ^ Asphyxiating the Capital Mar. 17, 1975, TIME
  4. ^ Preston et al. (2007), p. 305
  5. ^ "The Gecko: 11 August, 2006". The Phnom Penh Post. 11 August 2006. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 


External links[edit]

United States: Senate and congress

Introduction by senator Kennedy: