Just a month before the ruling CPP and opposition CNRP fought a fierce election battle on July 28, a fresh raft of military promotions were handed out, two of which included the son and nephew of CPP members with high-ranking military positions.
Kim Rithy, who is the son of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) Joint Chief of Staff General Kun Kim, was promoted from major general to lieutenant general, according to a Royal Decree signed by King Norodom Sihamoni on June 25 and published in the latest edition of the Royal Gazette.
The decree also stated that Pol Sinuon, who is the nephew of RCAF Commander-in-Chief General Pol Saroeun, was promoted to lieutenant general from major general.
“We order Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Decho Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, to implement this Royal Decree from the moment the King signs,” the decree states, adding that a total of 41 military personnel were promoted to higher positions within the armed forces.
In total, six military officials were promoted from major general to lieutenant general, 19 officials were promoted from brigadier general to major general and 16 officials were promoted from colonel to brigadier general.
The latest round of promotions comes after the elevation of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son, Hun Manet, to lieutenant general in July.
Mr. Hun Sen’s second son, Hun Manit, was also promoted to RCAF brigadier general on June 12. Eighty-eight other military personnel also received promotions in that round of promotions.
Major General Chea Vanna, the Defense Ministry’s Cabinet chief, confirmed the promotions of Gen. Kim and Gen. Saroeun’s relatives.
“The promotions depend on their work, though sometimes the old military generals die and the promotions replace these jobs,” Maj. Gen. Vanna said, declining to say why so many senior military promotions were being made on an annual basis in the country.
Experts have said that such promotions typically take years in other countries’ defense forces. According to Defense Ministry figures, there was a 60 percent rise in the number of promotions to the rank of general between 2010 and 2011.
While there are less than 500 generals in the U.S. military, Cambodia had more than 2,000 generals three years ago.
Lieutenant General Srey Doek, commander of RCAF Division 3, said Lt. Gen. Rithy, 32, who was also a reserve CPP election candidate in Kandal province on July 28, attended a military school overseas, which more than qualifies him for the job.
“I think the promotions are suitable for them, because it is time; they were promoted because old military officers will retire, so we must train the younger generation of military officers to replace them,” he added.