Details/Information for Canadian Forces (CF) Operation MARQUIS

CF Overseas Operations have most often operated within the construct of an international mandate. As such, the International Information is presented first in order to provide the context of the Canadian Operation (displayed second). Eventually, all rotations associated with the particular Canadian operation will also be displayed.

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International Information

International Operation Name:  United Nations Advanced Mission in Cambodia

International Mission Name:  United Nations Advanced Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC)

Mandating Organization:  United Nations

Region Name:  Asia

Location:  Cambodia

Mission Date:  16/10/1991 - 15/03/1992

Mission Mandate:  

Authorized under United Nations Security Council Resolution 717 of 16 October 1991, the United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) was tasked with helping implement a peace agreement reached between various Cambodian factions in 1991. In January 1992 the mandate was extended to include the provision of mine awareness training to the local population and mine detection and mine clearance activities.

UNSCR 668(1990), 717(1991), 718(1991), 728(1992)

Mission/Operation Notes:

In the years following the Second World War, Cambodia was torn apart by internal strife and the fall-out of the Vietnam War that culminated in the four-year reign of terror under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. In 1978 the Vietnamese army stepped in and occupied Cambodia, replacing the pro-Chinese Khmer Rouge with a new Cambodian leadership, also communist but aligned through the Vietnamese to the Soviet Union. They kept this government in power through most of the 1980s by maintaining a large Vietnamese army of occupation in the country. The occupation resulted in the emergence of three separate resistance groups in the country: the Khmer Rouge, supported by Thailand, China, and partly financed by the United States; the National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC), which sought the return to power of Prince Norodom Sihanouk; and the right wing Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF), led by remnants of the Lon Nol government that had overthrown Sihanouk in 1970.

The United Nations Security Council first considered the Cambodian situation in 1979, following the Vietnamese intervention the year before, and continued its efforts throughout the 1980s to find resolution to the conflict. In fact, negotiations only began in earnest when, with the end of the Cold War, the Vietnamese announced that they would withdraw their army by September 1989. At the initiative of the French Government, the Paris Conference on Cambodia was convened from 30 July 1989 and ran through the month of August. Attended by nineteen countries and the four main Cambodian factions – the Vietnamese-backed government and the three resistance groups – the Conference succeeded in mapping out a broad strategy for peace but was suspended without achieving a comprehensive settlement. The stumbling blocks were the power-sharing formula to be used during the transition period while elections were held and a new constitution was drafted, and the role of the Khmer Rouge in it. The Conference also failed to agree on the means to verify the promised Vietnamese withdrawal, but that issue was resolved when the Vietnamese proceeded to withdraw despite the lack of any verification body.

Following the suspension of the Conference, Australia proposed an enhanced role for the United Nations by suggesting that it place a civil administration in Cambodia under the supervision and control of the United Nations until the establishment of an elected government. A period of intense negotiations followed in which the five permanent members of the Security Council worked to find a comprehensive settlement. On 10 September 1990, a proposal was brought before the four Cambodian parties at a meeting in Jakarta. They agreed to constitute a Supreme National Council (SNC) of twelve members, which would elect a chairman. On 20 September the UN Security Council endorsed the proposal with the passage of UNSCR 668(1990). Indonesia and France then took charge of the negotiations to fill out the framework proposal into a peace agreement and in December 1990 the SNC accepted the draft.

Fighting continued until April 1991, however, when the Secretary-General appealed for a temporary cessation of hostilities in Cambodia as a gesture of good faith. This resulted in a voluntary cease-fire that went into effect almost immediately and was generally observed as the peace negotiations continued. Later in the summer, the SNC, under its newly elected chairman Prince Sihanouk, appealed to the UN to send observers to help it in monitoring the ceasefire and the cessation of foreign military assistance. This was seen as the first stage of the “good offices” mission envisioned in the draft peace agreements. The Secretary-General recommended that the Security Council authorize the United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) to become operational as soon as the Paris Agreements were signed.

On 1 October 1991 the second session of the Paris Conference on Cambodia met and produced a peace plan that became known as the Agreements on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict. The Agreement consisted of a Final Act, and three instruments: an Agreement on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodian Conflict; an Agreement concerning the Sovereignty, Independence, Territorial Integrity and Inviolability, Neutrality and National Unity of Cambodia; and a Declaration on the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Cambodia. On 30 October, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council that the Paris Agreements had been adopted, and that the Agreements invited the Security Council to establish the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). The Security Council then passed Resolution 718(1991) in support of the peace plan.

With the Paris Accords signed and the creation of UNTAC imminent, UNAMIC was to bridge the gap between the signing of the peace agreement and the time when the full UN mission could be put on the ground in Cambodia, estimated to be six months in the future. With its headquarters in Phnom Penh and forward positions in Battambang and Siem Peap, it also had liaison officers in the headquarters of each of the four political parties. Its task was to deploy small teams of military personnel with experience in training civilians on how to avoid injury from mines or booby-traps as part of a mine awareness program, and observers to monitor the cease-fire agreement. UNAMIC was initially estimated to require eight civilian liaison staff, fifty military liaison officers, twenty other military personnel to form the mine awareness unit and approximately seventy-five local and seventy-five international support staff. In addition there would be a military communications unit of forty personnel, four helicopters and one fixed wing aircraft. UNSCR 717(1991) authorized UNAMIC on 16 October 1991, and it became operational on 9 November. Canada participated in the original UNAMIC deployment under the operation name MARQUIS by sending eight military observers.

Once the mission began, however, it quickly became apparent that there was an urgent need for a major de-mining effort. To this end the Security Council passed Resolution 728(1992) on 8 January 1992, which expanded the size of the UNAMIC mission from its original two hundred personnel to 1,090 by adding field engineers and logistic support personnel. That same month Canada issued orders to deploy an additional ninety-five logistics troops bringing her commitment to 103 personnel.

In February 1992, with the passage of UNSCR 745(1992), the United Nations established the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). The initial phase of UNTAC’s deployment began on 15 March, and UNAMIC began the hand-over process. Canada’s Operation MARQUIS carried on under the same name as part of the UNTAC force.

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Canadian Forces (CF) Information (MARQUIS)

Name:  MARQUIS

Date:  20/11/1991 - 15/03/1992

Canadian Task Force Name Mission Statement:  

Authorized under United Nations Security Council Resolution 717 of 16 October 1991, the United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) was tasked with helping implement a peace agreement reached between various Cambodian factions in 1991. In January 1992 the mandate was extended to include the provision of mine awareness training to the local population and mine detection and mine clearance activities.

UNSCR 668(1990), 717(1991), 718(1991), 728(1992)

CF Mission/Operation Notes:

In the years following the Second World War, Cambodia was torn apart by internal strife and the fall-out of the Vietnam War that culminated in the four-year reign of terror under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. In 1978 the Vietnamese army stepped in and occupied Cambodia, replacing the pro-Chinese Khmer Rouge with a new Cambodian leadership, also communist but aligned through the Vietnamese to the Soviet Union. They kept this government in power through most of the 1980s by maintaining a large Vietnamese army of occupation in the country. The occupation resulted in the emergence of three separate resistance groups in the country: the Khmer Rouge, supported by Thailand, China, and partly financed by the United States; the National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC), which sought the return to power of Prince Norodom Sihanouk; and the right wing Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF), led by remnants of the Lon Nol government that had overthrown Sihanouk in 1970.

The United Nations Security Council first considered the Cambodian situation in 1979, following the Vietnamese intervention the year before, and continued its efforts throughout the 1980s to find resolution to the conflict. In fact, negotiations only began in earnest when, with the end of the Cold War, the Vietnamese announced that they would withdraw their army by September 1989. At the initiative of the French Government, the Paris Conference on Cambodia was convened from 30 July 1989 and ran through the month of August. Attended by nineteen countries and the four main Cambodian factions – the Vietnamese-backed government and the three resistance groups – the Conference succeeded in mapping out a broad strategy for peace but was suspended without achieving a comprehensive settlement. The stumbling blocks were the power-sharing formula to be used during the transition period while elections were held and a new constitution was drafted, and the role of the Khmer Rouge in it. The Conference also failed to agree on the means to verify the promised Vietnamese withdrawal, but that issue was resolved when the Vietnamese proceeded to withdraw despite the lack of any verification body.

Following the suspension of the Conference, Australia proposed an enhanced role for the United Nations by suggesting that it place a civil administration in Cambodia under the supervision and control of the United Nations until the establishment of an elected government. A period of intense negotiations followed in which the five permanent members of the Security Council worked to find a comprehensive settlement. On 10 September 1990, a proposal was brought before the four Cambodian parties at a meeting in Jakarta. They agreed to constitute a Supreme National Council (SNC) of twelve members, which would elect a chairman. On 20 September the UN Security Council endorsed the proposal with the passage of UNSCR 668(1990). Indonesia and France then took charge of the negotiations to fill out the framework proposal into a peace agreement and in December 1990 the SNC accepted the draft.

Fighting continued until April 1991, however, when the Secretary-General appealed for a temporary cessation of hostilities in Cambodia as a gesture of good faith. This resulted in a voluntary cease-fire that went into effect almost immediately and was generally observed as the peace negotiations continued. Later in the summer, the SNC, under its newly elected chairman Prince Sihanouk, appealed to the UN to send observers to help it in monitoring the ceasefire and the cessation of foreign military assistance. This was seen as the first stage of the “good offices” mission envisioned in the draft peace agreements. The Secretary-General recommended that the Security Council authorize the United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) to become operational as soon as the Paris Agreements were signed.

On 1 October 1991 the second session of the Paris Conference on Cambodia met and produced a peace plan that became known as the Agreements on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict. The Agreement consisted of a Final Act, and three instruments: an Agreement on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodian Conflict; an Agreement concerning the Sovereignty, Independence, Territorial Integrity and Inviolability, Neutrality and National Unity of Cambodia; and a Declaration on the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Cambodia. On 30 October, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council that the Paris Agreements had been adopted, and that the Agreements invited the Security Council to establish the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). The Security Council then passed Resolution 718(1991) in support of the peace plan.

With the Paris Accords signed and the creation of UNTAC imminent, UNAMIC was to bridge the gap between the signing of the peace agreement and the time when the full UN mission could be put on the ground in Cambodia, estimated to be six months in the future. With its headquarters in Phnom Penh and forward positions in Battambang and Siem Peap, it also had liaison officers in the headquarters of each of the four political parties. Its task was to deploy small teams of military personnel with experience in training civilians on how to avoid injury from mines or booby-traps as part of a mine awareness program, and observers to monitor the cease-fire agreement. UNAMIC was initially estimated to require eight civilian liaison staff, fifty military liaison officers, twenty other military personnel to form the mine awareness unit and approximately seventy-five local and seventy-five international support staff. In addition there would be a military communications unit of forty personnel, four helicopters and one fixed wing aircraft. UNSCR 717(1991) authorized UNAMIC on 16 October 1991, and it became operational on 9 November. Canada participated in the original UNAMIC deployment under the operation name MARQUIS by sending eight military observers.

Once the mission began, however, it quickly became apparent that there was an urgent need for a major de-mining effort. To this end the Security Council passed Resolution 728(1992) on 8 January 1992, which expanded the size of the UNAMIC mission from its original two hundred personnel to 1,090 by adding field engineers and logistic support personnel. That same month Canada issued orders to deploy an additional ninety-five logistics troops bringing her commitment to 103 personnel.

In February 1992, with the passage of UNSCR 745(1992), the United Nations established the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). The initial phase of UNTAC’s deployment began on 15 March, and UNAMIC began the hand-over process. Canada’s Operation MARQUIS carried on under the same name as part of the UNTAC force.