Cambodia National Holidays: Constitution’s Day – Thursday, 24.9.2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 631
The public holidays of Cambodia as announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, designate 24 September is designated as “Constitution’s Day.”
At this occasion, access is made available to the text of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, as presented on the website of the Embassy of Cambodia, Washington D.C., which points out: “It is not an official translation.” The following selections were made considering issues on which the Khmer press touched over the years. Still, the text presented here is much longer than a normal daily publication. While selecting sections of text, only full articles, or full paragraphs, have been omitted; all full sentences presented here, including wording and spelling, are kept as found in the source quoted.
CONSTITUTION OF THE KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA
WE, THE PEOPLE OF CAMBODIA, Having known a grand civilization of a prosperous, powerful, and glorious nation whose prestige radiates like a diamond,
Having endured sufferings and destructions and having experienced a tragic decline in the course of the two decades,
Having awakened, stood up with a resolute determination to strengthen the national unity, to preserve and defend Cambodia’s territory and its precious sovereignty and the prestige of Angkor civilization, and to restore Cambodia into an “Island of Peace” based on a multi-party liberal democratic regime with guaranteeing human rights and the respect of law, and responsible for the destiny of the nation always evolving toward progress, development, prosperity, and glory,
WITH THIS RESOLUTE WILL
We inscribe the following as the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia:
CHAPTER I: SOVEREIGNTY
Article 1: Cambodia is a Kingdom with a King who shall rule according to the Constitution and to the principles of liberal democracy and pluralism.
The Kingdom of Cambodia shall be independent, sovereign, peaceful, permanently neutral and non-aligned country.
Article 2: The territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia, shall absolutely not to be violated within its borders as defined in the 1/100,000 scale map made between the year 1933-1953 and internationally recognized between the years 1963 – 1969.
Article 3: The Kingdom of Cambodia is an indivisible state.
Article 4: The motto of the Kingdom of Cambodia is: “Nation, Religion, King”.
Article 5: The official language and script are Khmer.
Article 6: Phnom Penh is the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
CHAPTER II: THE KING
Article 7: The King of Cambodia shall reign but shall not govern.
The King shall be the Head of State for life. The King shall be inviolable.
Article 8: The King of Cambodia shall be a symbol of unity and eternity of the nation.
The King shall be guarantor of the national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the protector of rights and freedom for all citizens and the guarantor of international treaties.
Article 11: In the case that the King cannot perform His normal duties as Head of State owing to His serious illness as certified by doctors chosen by the President of the Senate, the President of the Assembly and the Prime Minister the President of the Senate shall perform the duties of Head of state as “Regent.”
In the case of the President of the Senate cannot perform his duties as the acting Head of State replacing the King as “Regent” when he is ill seriously as provided in the above paragraph the President of Assembly shall take them over.
In the case as stated in the above paragraph, other dignitaries as following hierarchy can perform Acting Head of State as Regent:
A. First Vice-President of the Senate
B. First Vice-President of the Assembly
C. Second Vice-Presiednt of the Senate
D. Second Vice-President of the Assembly
Article 12: In case of the death of the King, the President of the Senate shall take over the responsibility as Acting Head of State in the capacity of Regent of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
In the case that the President of the Senate cannot perform his duties of the acting Head of State as “Regent” in the place of the King on the death of the King the responsibilities of Head of State in the capacity of regent shall be exercised in conformity with the second and third paragraph of new Article 11.
Article 17: The provision as stated in the first clause of Article 7, “the King of Cambodia shall reign but shall not govern”, absolutely shall not be amended.
Article 20: The King shall grant an audience twice a month to the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers to hear their reports on the State of the Nation.
Article 21: Upon Proposals by the Council of Ministers, the King shall sign decrees (Kret) appointing, transferring or ending the mission of high civil and military officials, ambassadors and Envoys Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
Upon proposals by the Supreme Council of Magistracy, the King shall sign decrees (Kret) appointing, transferring or removing judges.
Article 23: The King is the Supreme Commander of the Royal Khmer Armed Forces. The Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Khmer Armed Forces shall be appointed to command the Armed Forces.
Article 26: The King shall sign and ratify international treaties and conventions after a vote of approval by the National Assembly and the Senate.
Article 27: The King shall have the right to grant partial or complete amnesty.
Article 28: The King shall sign the law promulgating the Contstitution; laws adopted by the National Assembly and laws completely reviewed by the Senate and shall sign the Royal decree presented by the Council of Ministers.
Article 30: In the absence of the King, the President of the Senate shall assume the duties of acting Head of State.
In the case that the President of the Senate cannot perform his duties as the acting Head of State replacing the King due to his absence, the responsibilities as the Acting Head of State shall be exercised in conformity with second and third paragraph of new Article 11.
CHAPTER III: THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF KHMER CITIZENS
Article 31: The Kingdom of Cambodia shall recognize and respect human rights as stipulated in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human rights, the covenants and conventions related to human rights, women’s and children’s rights.
Every Khmer citizens shall be equal before the law, enjoying the same rights, freedom and fulfilling the same obligations regardless of race, color, sex, language, religious belief, political tendency, birth origin, social status, wealth or other status. The exercise of personal rights and freedom by any individual shall not adversely affect the rights and freedom of others. The exercise of such rights and freedom shall be in accordance with the law.
Article 32: Every Khmer citizen shall have the right to life, personal freedom, and security.
There shall be no capital punishment.
Article 35: Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to participate actively in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the nation.
Any suggestions from the people shall be given full consideration by the organs of the State.
Article 36: Khmer citizens of either sex shall receive equal pay for equal work.
The work by housewives in the home shall have the same value as what they can receive when working outside the home.
Every Khmer citizen shall have the right to obtain social security and other social benefits as determined by law.
Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to form and to be member of trade unions.
Article 37: The right to strike and to non-violent demonstration shall be implemented in the framework of a law.
Article 38: The law guarantees there shall be no physical abuse against any individual.
The law shall protect life, honor, and dignity of the citizens.
The prosecution, arrest, or detention of any person shall not be done except in accordance with the law.
Coercion, physical ill-treatment or any other mistreatment that imposes additional punishment on a detainee or prisoner shall be prohibited. Persons who commit, participate or conspire in such acts shall be punished according to the law.
Confessions obtained by physical or mental force shall not be admissible as evidence of guilt.
Any case of doubt, it shall be resolved in favor of the accused.
The accused shall be considered innocent until the court has judged finally on the case.
Article 39: Khmer citizens shall have the right to denounce, make complaints or file claims against any breach of the law by state and social organs or by members of such organs committed during the course of their duties. The settlement of complaints and claims shall be the competence of the courts.
Article 40: The rights to privacy of residence, and to the secrecy of correspondence by mail, telegram, fax, telex and telephone shall be guaranteed.
Any search of the house, material and body shall be in accordance with the law.
Article 41: Khmer citizens shall have freedom of expression, press, publication and assembly. No one shall exercise this right to infringe upon the rights of others, to effect the good traditions of the society, to violate public law and order and national security.
Article 42: Khmer Citizens shall have the right to establish associations and political parties. These rights shall be determined by law.
Khmer citizens may take part in mass organizations for mutual benefit to protect national achievement and social order.
Article 43: Khmer citizens of either sex shall have the right to freedom of belief.
Freedom of religious belief and worship shall be guaranteed by the State on the condition that such freedom does not affect other religious beliefs or violate public order and security.
Buddhism shall be the religion of the State.
Article 44: The right to confiscate properties from any person shall be exercised only in the public interest as provided for under the law and shall require fair and just compensation in advance.
Article 45: All forms of discrimination against women shall be abolished.
The exploitation of women in employment shall be prohibited.
Men and women are equal in all fields especially with respectt to marriage and family matters.
Marriage shall be conducted according to conditions determined by law based on the principle of mutual consent between one husband and one wife.
Article 46: The commerce of human beings, exploitation by prostitution and obscenity which affect the reputation of women shall be prohibited.
A woman shall not lose her job because of pregnancy. Woman shall have the right to take maternity leave with full pay and with no loss of seniority or other social benefits.
The state and society shall provide opportunities to women, especially to those living in rural areas without adequate social support, so they can get employment, medical care, and send their children to school, and to have decent living conditions.
Article 47: Parents shall have the duty to take care of and educate their children to become good citizens.
Children shall have the duty to take good care of their elderly mother and father according to Khmer traditions.
Article 48: The State shall protect the rights of children as stipulated in the Convention on Children, in particular, the right to life, education, protection during wartime, and from economic or sexual exploitation.
The State shall protect children from acts that are injurious to their educational opportunities, health and welfare.
CHAPTER IV: ON POLICY
Article 51: The Kingdom of Cambodia adopts a policy of Liberal Democracy and Pluralism.
The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country.
All power belongs to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, The Senate, the Royal Government and the Judiciary.
The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be sepatrate.
CHAPTER V: ECONOMY
Article 56: The Kingdom of Cambodia shall adopt the market economy system.
Article 58: State property notably comprises land, mineral resources, mountains, sea, underwater, continental shelf, coastline, airspace, islands, rivers, canals, streams, lakes, forests, natural resources, economic and cultural centers, bases for national defense and other facilities determined as State property.
The control, use and management of State properties shall be determined by law.
Article 59: The State shall protect the environment and balance of abundant natural resources and establish a precise plan of management of land, water, air, wind, geology, ecological system, mines, energy, petrol and gas, rocks and sand, gems, forests and forestry products, wildlife, fish and aquatic resources.
CHAPTER VI EDUCATION, CULTURE, SOCIAL AFFAIRS
Article 65: The State shall protect and upgrade citizens’ rights to quality education at all levels and shall take necessary steps for quality education to reach all citizens.
Article 71: The perimeter of the national heritage sites as well as heritage that has been classified as world heritage, shall be considered neutral zones where there shall be no military activity.
Article 72: The health of the people shall be guaranteed. The State shall give full consideration to disease prevention and medical treatment. Poor citizens shall receive free medical consultation in public hospitals, infirmaries and maternities.
Article 75: The State shall establish a social security system for workers and employees.
CHAPTER VII: THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Article 76: The National Assembly consists of at least 120 members.
The deputies shall be elected by a free, universal, equal, direct and secret ballot.
Khmer citizens able to stand for election shall be the Khmer ctitizens of either sex who have the right to vote, at least 25 years of age, and who have Khmer nationality at birth.
Article 77: The deputies in the National Assembly shall represent the entire Khmer people, not only Khmers from their constituencies.
Any imperative mandate shall be nullified.
Article 79: The National Assembly mandate shall be incompatible with the holding of any active public function and of any membership in other institutions provided for in the Constitution, except when the assembly member(s) is (are) required to serve in the Royal Government.
Article 80: The deputies shall enjoy parliamentary immunity.
No assembly member shall be prosecuted, detained or arrested because of opinions expressed during the exercise of his (her) duties.
The accusation, arrest, or detention of an assembly member shall be made only with the permission of the National Assembly or by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly between sessionst, except in case of flagrante delicto. In that case, the competent authority shall immediately report to the National Assembly or to the Standing Committee for decision.
In any case, detention or prosecution of a deputy shall be suspended by a 3/4 majority vote of the National Assembly members.
Article 88: The National Assembly sessions shall be held in public.
The National Assembly shall meet in closed session at the request of the Chairman or of at least 1/10 of its members, of the King or of the Prime Minister.
Article 90: The National Assembly is an organ which has legislative power, and performs its duties as provided for in the constitution and laws.
The National Assembly shall approve the national budget, State planning, loans, financial contracts, and the creation, modification and annulment of tax.
Article 91: The members of the Senate, the members of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister have the right to initiate legislation.
Article 93: Any law approved by the assembly and finally reviewed by the Senate and signed by the King for its promulgation shall go into effect in Phnom Penh ten days after its signing and throughout the country twenty days after its signing.
Article 96: The National Assembly shall establish one day each week for questions and answers. There shall be no vote during any session reserved for this purpose.
CHAPTER VIII: THE SENATE
Article 99: The Senate is a body that has legislative power and performs its duties as determined in the constitution and law.
Article 100: The king shall nominate two Senators.
The Assembly shall elect two Senators by majority Vote.
Others shall be universally elected.
Article 103: The mandate of senators shall be incompatible with the holding of any active public function, with the functions of members of the National Assembly, and of any membership in other institutions provided for in the constitution.
Article 104: The Senator shall enjoy parliamentary immunity.
Article 111: The Senate sessions shall be held in public.
CHAPTER IX: THE ASSEMBLY AND THE SENATE
Article 116: In the special case, the Assembly and the Senate can assemble as the congress to resolve the important issues of the nation.
CHAPTER X: THE ROYAL GOVERNMENT
Article 118: The Council of Ministers is the Royal Government of Cambodia.
The Council of Ministers shall be led by one Prime Minister assisted by Deputy Prime Ministers, and by State Ministers, Ministers, and State Secretaries as members.
Article 120: The functions of members of the Royal Government shall be incompatible with professional activities in trade or industry and with the holding of any position in the public service.
Article 122: Members of the Royal Government shall not use the orders, written or verbal, of anyone as grounds to exonerate themselves from their responsibility.
CHAPTER XI: THE JUDICIARY
Article 128: The Judicial power shall be an independent power.
The Judiciary shall guarantee and uphold impartiality and protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens.
Article 129: Only judges shall have the right to adjudicate. A judge shall fulfill this duty with strict respect for the laws, wholeheartedly, and conscientiously.
Article 130: Judicial power shall not be granted to the legislative or executive branches.
Article 131: Only the Department of Public Prosecution shall have the right to file criminal suits.
Article 132: The King shall be the guarantor of the independence of the Judiciary. The Supreme Council of the Magistracy shall assist the King in this matter.
Article 133: Judges shall not be dismissed. The Supreme Council of the Magistracy shall take disciplinary actions against any delinquent judges.
Article 134: The Supreme Council of the Magistracy shall be chaired by the King. The King may appoint a representative to chair the Supreme Council of the Magistracy.
The Supreme Council of Magistracy shall meet under the chairmanship of the President of the Supreme Court or the General Prosecutor of the Supreme Court to decide on disciplinary actionts against judges or prosecutors.
CHAPTER XII: THE CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL
Article 136: The Constitutional Council shall have the duty to safeguard respect of the constitution, interpret the Constitution and laws adopted by the National Assembly and reviewed completely by the Senate.
Article 137: The Constitutional Council shall consist of nine members with a nine-year mandate. 1/3 of the members of the Council shall be replaced every three years. 3 members shall be appointed by the tKing, 3 members by the National Assembly and 3 others by the Supreme Council of the Magistracy.
Article 141: Khmer Citizens shall have the right to appeal against the constitutionality of any law through their representative or President of National Assembly or member of the Senate or President of the Senate as mentioned in the above articles.
CHAPTER XIII: THE ADMINISTRATION
Article 145: The territory of the Kingdom of Cambodia shall be divided into provinces and municipalities.
CHAPTER XIV: THE NATIONAL CONGRESS
Article 147: The National Congress shall enable the people to be directly informed on various matters of national interests and to raise issues and requests for the State authority to solve.
Khmer citizens of both sexes shall have the right to participate in the National Congress.
Article 148: The National Congress shall meet once a year in early December at the convocation of the Prime Minister.
It shall proceed under the chairmanship of the King.
Article 149: The National Congress adopts recommendations the Senate the National Assembly and to the Executive branch for reflection.
The organization and operation of the National Congress should be determined by law.
CHAPTER XV: EFFECTS, REVISIONS AND AMENDMENTS OF THE CONSTITUTION
Article 150: This Constitution shall be the Supreme law of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Article 153: Revision or amendment affecting the system of liberal and pluralistic democracy and the regime of Constitutional Monarchy shall be prohibited.
CHAPTER XVI: TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS
Article 154: This Constitution, after its adoption, shall be declared in full force immediately by the King of Cambodia.
Article 155: After the entry into force of this Constitution, the Constituent Assembly shall become the National Assembly.
Article 158: Laws and standard documents in Cambodia that safeguard State properties, rights, freedom and legal private properties and in conformity with the national interests, shall continue to be effective until altered or abrogated by new texts, except those provisions that are contrary to the spirit of this Constitution.
This Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Assembly in Phnom Penh on 21 September 1993 at its 2nd Plenary session.
Phnom Penh, 21 September, 1993.
Signed: SON SAN
This Constitutional law was adopted by the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia on the 4th March, 1999 in its 2nd plenary meeting
Phnom Penh, 6 March 1999
National Assembly President
Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.