On the 24th anniversary of the end of Cambodian civil war, Prime Minister Hun Sen sent out a congratulatory message addressed to the nation, recalling how his win-win policy brought about comprehensive peace, national unification and unity on December 29, 1998.

Hun Sen said the win-win policy eventually put an end to the prolonged conflict and political divisions which had plagued the country for decades.

“The win-win policy is a strategy based on principles that bring about social security, national unity, peace, territorial integrity, sovereignty and sustainable political and socio-economic development,” he said.

The Ministry of National Defence is celebrating the Win-Win Policy Day with a three-day event from December 29-31 to commemorate the “bloodless” end to the civil war.

The event, presided over by defence minister Tea Banh, also intends to cultivate the will of the public to participate in keeping the peace in Cambodia.

“In the past 24 years, despite many complex changes in the national and international situation, the government … has always overcome all obstacles and moved forward. The courage and flexibility of Prime Minister Hun Sen in the face of global challenges have made the country progress in all areas,” he said.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, recalled that after the 1993 general elections were organised by the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), the civil war still continued.

“At that time, the so-called Democratic Kampuchea [DK] regime under the Khmer Rouge was still operating illegally in Cambodia,” he told The Post.

“This meant the country had two governments: the elected government of Phnom Penh and the DK-led government exiled to the forest. There was continued conflict until December 29, 1998, when Cambodia was completely united. Being ruled by more than one government meant we faced a political crisis, as well as a civil war. The country was torn apart as natural resources and social structures were destroyed. It is important to remember that this was just 24 years ago,” he added.

He said that in line with the premier’s win-win policy, important measures such as ensuring the protection of those who accepted it were successfully implemented, culminating in national reconciliation and unity.

“The last battle occurred when a united front fought and defeated Ta Mok, the last of the Khmer Rouge leaders, in Anlong Veng, Oddar Meanchey province, completely uniting the nation. There was no more gunfire between Phnom Penh and the parties in the forest. We have had comprehensive peace from then until now,” he added.

The Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam) said the Khmer Rouge regime had committed serious human rights abuses in the 20th century that left more than two million Cambodians dead, one of the saddest tragedies in human history. Cambodia suffered from this regime, but has fought to restore itself from scratch.

“Cambodia will continue to improve day by day for the next generation and be a part of a brighter world. DC-Cam is proud to document this tragedy’s history for the cause of justice, memory and reconciliation for the nation and the world,” it said in December 29 statement.