Cambodia (Kampuchea)

Cambodia (Kampuchea)

Cambodia (Kampuchea) Cambodia became formally independent from France on 9 November 1953 when political power was transferred to King Sihanouk but the last French troops only left the country after the Geneva Conference in April-July 1954. In 1946-53, an armed struggle for independence was led by the united front Khmer Issarak which was dominated by left-wing groups and co-operated with Vietnamese and Laotian forces.

Both right- and left-wing opposition against Sihanouk's rule grew in the mid-1960s and the "Khmer Rouge" (Red Khmer) initiated an armed struggle in 1967. After a coup against Sihanouk in 1970 he joined forces with the Khmer Rouge against the new government. The spread of the Vietnam War into Cambodian territory in 1970-73 increased rebel recruitment and the alliance FUNK seized power in April 1975. The "alliance" broke down as Khmer Rouge took power and started border conflicts with Vietnam and Thailand while organizing a totalitarian regime in Cambodia. It is estimated that some 1,5-3 million people were executed or starved to death during the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge government. The group continued to target civilians in opposition, especially focusing on ethnic Vietnamese. With support from Vietnamese troops, a new communist government was installed in 1979 and the Khmer Rouge, Sihanouk, and another opposition group soon formed a new alliance, FUNCINPEC. The conflict temporarily ended with a 1991 UN-sponsored peace agreement which was followed by UN-administered elections. The implementation of the agreement was difficult and the Khmer Rouge remained active until the last political leaders surrendered in late 1998.

Cambodia has since 1946 included extra-state, inter-state, intra-state conflicts and one-sided violence.