Constitution Writing & Conflict Resolution
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Cambodia 1993

The 1993 Cambodian constitution writing took place after two decades of violence that included a genocide, an invasion, and civil war. The Security Council’s five permanent members, the Vietnamese, the Japanese and several other countries helped established the general terms of the process, encapsulated in the Paris Agreements. They brought together the various warring parties, and in return for a peace agreement promised economic aid to rebuild the country.

The essential features of the accord were a UN Transitional Authority (government), the free and fair election of a Constituent Assembly, and the conversion of this Assembly into a functioning legislature after the promulgation of a constitution. These features were accepted by all the parties except the Khmer Rouge, who left the talks before they were completed and refused to take part in the process that followed.

After a period of “constitutional literacy” education conducted by UNTAC, a 120-member Constituent Assembly was elected using a version of proportional representation in an internationally monitored election. The Constituent Assembly had 58 FUNCINPEC representatives, 51 CPP representatives, 10 BLDP and 1 MOLINAKA representatives. When it convened, the assembly appointed a 12 member drafting committee, which met in complete secrecy to draft a new constitution. This drafting body was made up of 6 FUNCIPEC, 5 CPP and 1 BLDP representatives. After 10 months, this draft and another, written by the royalist political party (FUNCINPEC) were presented to the head of state, Prince Sihanouk. The Prince made some changes to FUNCINPEC’s draft and submitted it back to the Constituent Assembly. The Drafting committee’s draft was not re-submitted to the Assembly. After further review the Constituent Assembly adopted the amended draft 113 in favor and 5 opposed, with two abstentions. Three days later Prince Sihanouk ratified this document as the constitution of Cambodia.

 

 

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