French citizens who lost property they owned in Cambodia prior to October 1991 have until the end of June to file a claim for compensation.
In its Finance Law for 2002, the French government has set that deadline for people who have not yet applied. According to Alain Rauch, deputy head of the French Embassy in Phnom Penh, about 80 percent of people who qualify for payments already have filed for them.
Funds for compensation come out of an account created in 1954, when Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam signed an agreement with France to distribute among the three countries assets that France had administered in one treasury during Indochina’s colonial days.
On March 15, 1995, Finance Minister Keat Chhon and French Minister of Economy Edmond Alphandery signed an agreement concerning Cambodia’s share of the 1954 payout, which it had not collected.
It was decided that some of this money would be used to compensate French citizens who owned property before the Paris Agreement of 1991.
In order to qualify, people must have been French citizens when events forced them to abandon their property.