Officially, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An died yesterday Wednesday, a statement that fell at 6:30 pm. He would have turned 67 on 16 April. His death is a page that turns, that of the Cambodia of the Paris Agreements of 1991. Helen Jarvis, in particular adviser since 1999 of the one who was named Samdech Vibol Panha earlier this week - title that can be translated as "lord of The greatest wisdom - does honor to the Lepetitjournal.com by tracing the life of this man often qualified as the right arm of Hun Sen.
Sok An had been Deputy Prime Minister since 2004 and had been Minister of the Cabinet Office since 1993 (as a co-minister from 1993 to 1998). In 1980 he was the personal secretary of Hun Sen (then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs), then secretary-general of the Foreign Office, then Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister of the Interior, Of the Cambodian People's Party (PCP) and Ambassador to India (1985-1988).
He was also Secretary General and one of the two representatives of the State of Cambodia on the Supreme National Council (1989-1993). Since 1993 he was the PPC deputy in the National Assembly for the province of Takeo, and a member of the Central Committee since 1992 and the Standing Committee of the Party since 1996.
One of Sok An's main achievements was the preservation and preservation of Cambodia's cultural heritage, including the successful listing of Angkor (1992) and Preah Vihear (2008) as World Heritage sites.
Since its creation in 1993, he has held the position of President of the APSARA National Authority, which manages the 40,000 hectare park in Angkor. He was elected Chair of the World Heritage Committee in 2012 and chaired his 37th session this year in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. I successfully chaired the World Tourism Conference on Cultural Tourism in 2013.
Since 1999, Sok An has been mandated by the Prime Minister to bring the genocide of the Khmer Rouge to justice. As chairman of the working group on the Khmer Rouge trials, he led the sometimes difficult negotiations with the United Nations, which culminated in the creation of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Cambodian Courts.
It obtains the national political and popular support necessary to undertake a historic and unusual step of inviting judges and foreign personnel into a national jurisdiction to deal with this most sensitive subject, known as the "dark chapter in the history of Cambodia". The initial adoption in 2001 of the law and its 2004 amendment on the establishment of Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia was the first piece of legislation to obtain the unanimous support of the National Assembly.
At the same time, it had to face vigorous opposition from some NGOs and critics who opposed the creation of this "national court with international characteristics". Instead, they preferred a purely international jurisdiction and continued to complain about the ECCC.
Prior to the Khmer Rouge regime, Sok An graduated from the Royal University of Phnom Penh with a degree in geography, history and sociology (1972), then graduated in Ecole Normale Supérieure (1973) and then in diplomacy at Ecole Nationale d 'Administration.
Like most of his Cambodian compatriots, Sok An lived the hardships and sufferings of the Khmer Rouge regime. With his new wife Theng Ay Annie, they were forced to leave Phnom Penh and suffered famine in the labor camps. Succeeding in survival, they return to Phnom Penh with a little girl and commit themselves to help rebuild the country. They have since had four sons and, since 2015, seven grandchildren.
Those who know Sok An personally know his keen interest in agriculture. He cultivated orchids, fruits and raised chickens, fighting cocks, river lobsters and cattle in his Soma farm in Takeo (named after his daughter). He was a passionate and bird lover. He often received guests on his farm or in the Phnom Penh family home where large aviaries were installed.
He liked to evoke the tiny Chatomuk Tailorbird - discovered only in 2013 in Phnom Penh - or to bring a light interlude to intense discussions commenting on the beauty or prowess of his latest acquisition.
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