Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ICJ schedules hearings over Cambodian, Thai disputed territory

ICJ schedules hearings over Cambodian, Thai disputed territory

ICJ schedules hearings over Cambodian, Thai disputed territory

121203_03a

A Cambodian soldier rests at Preah Vihear temple during fighting in August in 2011. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Public hearings have been scheduled by the International Court of Justice in the ongoing territorial dispute between Cambodia and Thailand over the Preah Vihear temple and its surrounding area.

The hearings at The Hague, in the Netherlands, will run from April 15 to 19 next year.

Both countries will be allocated three sessions to present their arguments on interpretation of the ICJ’s 1962 ruling that granted Cambodia ownership of the 11th-century temple, which perches dramatically atop a 525-metre cliff near the border.

Ownership of the temple has been a contentious issue between the countries for more than a century and a flashpoint in Thai politics.

After the 1962 ruling, territorial debate between Cambodia and Thailand turned to the 17-square-kilometre area sur­rounding the temple.

In 2008, after UNESCO listed the Hindu temple as a World Heritage site in Cambodia, tensions at the border between Thailand and Cambodia flared.

The following years were punctuated by a series of sometimes-deadly military skirmishes that caused permanent damage to the temple.

According to a press release issued by the ICJ on Thursday, Cambodia contends that its “sovereignty over the Temple is a direct and automatic consequence of its sovereignty over the territory on which the Temple is situated”, and as such, Thailand must withdraw all military and other personnel from the vicinity.

During public hearings in May last year on Cambodia’s request for urgent provisional measures, Thailand maintained there was no dispute over the scope of meaning of the 1962 judgment and that there was no dispute.

In July this year, coinciding with an anniversary celebration of the 1962 decision, 485 Cambodian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Thai troops were redeployed from the provisional demilitarised zone set up by the ICJ after fatal clashes that killed at least 10 and displaced thousands of families in 2011.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith told the Post yesterday the International Court of Justice had informed Cambodia about the hearing and the government had already prepared the requisite documents with the assistance of legal experts to debate the long-standing territorial sovereignty impasse.

“The most important thing is a legal, and internationally recognised, demarcation of the border,” he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Cheang Sokha at [email protected]
Bridget Di Certo at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman