Banteay Meanchey provincial governor Soun Bovor has been promoted from Brigadier General to Major General, according to a February Royal Decree made public yesterday – a promotion that led one human rights official to question the legality of holding offices in both the government and military.
Bovor was elevated from deputy governor to governor last year. His deputy, Oum Reatrey, said yesterday that the move was an endorsement of Bovor’s achievements in working for the people.
“It is normal; the government has seen his achievements in working hard to serve people in Banteay Meanchey province, and therefore the government has promoted him,” Reatrey said.
But Am Sam Ath, of the rights group Licadho, said regulations stipulate that officials should not hold positions in both the government and armed forces.
Cambodian law, however, does not explicitly ban sharing military and civil servant roles. The Law on the General Statutes for the Military Personnel of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces states that personnel should be neutral and prevents them from using functions or titles for political activities.
“When he took the position of provincial governor, he should have suspended his previous [military] job,” Sam Ath said. “And when he is not fulfilling his work at the armed forces, how can he get a promotion?”
Asked why the governor was still working for the RCAF, Reatrey would only say that Bovor had previously been associated with the military and is currently in the process of switching from being military personnel to civil servant.