Twenty-nine Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) personnel are the latest in a raft of military promotions that were handed out in the run-up to the July 28 national election, with Anti-Corruption Unit chief Om Yentieng’s son among them, a Royal Decree has revealed.
The decree was published on August 4 in the latest edition of the Royal Gazette, but the promotions were made on June 26—a month prior to the election.
Om Yentieng’s son, Yentieng Puthira, was one of 12 officials who advanced from brigadier-general to major general, while 17 others moved up to brigadier-general from the rank of colonel.
“We order Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, the prime minister of Cambodia, to implement this Royal Decree from the moment the King signs it,” the document states.
Two previous decrees, signed June 25 and June 12, promoted 131 officers—including Mr. Hun Sen’s two eldest sons, Hun Manit and Hun Manet, and Pol Sinuon, nephew of RCAF Commander-in-Chief General Pol Saroeun—bringing the total number promoted ahead of the election to 160.
Experts have questioned the number of RCAF promotions and the exceptional speed at which the sons of high-ranking officials achieve them when compared to countries with armies that vastly outsize Cambodia’s.
The number of RCAF generals swelled by 60 percent between 2010 and 2011—including two more of Mr. Yentieng’s sons—according to the Defense Ministry, which prompted a temporary freeze on further promotions.
Even though the Defense Ministry has not stated the current total number of generals, even three years ago, RCAF had 1,500 more generals than the entire U.S. military.
RCAF and Defense Ministry officials declined to comment Monday on the promotions.
In the past, military officials have defended promotions within the army by insisting they are solely based on merit and ability.