A THAI court on Wednesday ordered the revocation of a resolution passed by the Thai cabinet last year in support of Cambodia’s bid to list Preah Vihear temple as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
On May 22, 2008, Thai then-foreign minister Noppadon Pattama and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An met at UNESCO headquarters in Paris and formulated a joint communiqué supporting Cambodia’s bid to inscribe the 11th century temple as a World Heritage site, with the Thai cabinet approving the communiqué in a resolution passed in June of last year.
Prasat preah vihear does not depend on thai Politics
A group of prominent members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, also known as the Yellow Shirts, challenged the legality of this resolution, however, saying that Noppadon and then-prime minister Samak Sundaravej should have obtained approval from the Thai parliament before issuing it. Thailand’s Central Administrative Court on Wednesday ruled in the group’s favour, according to the Bangkok Post, arguing that the resolution did in fact require parliamentary approval because it had a bearing on Thailand’s international boundaries.
Noppadon has argued that such approval was unnecessary because the resolution was not an international treaty. The Wednesday ruling followed a decision made by Thailand’s Administrative Court on June 28 of last year ordering a suspension of the resolution.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan dismissed the court’s ruling as part of Thailand’s “internal politics”, adding that it had no bearing on the prestige of the temple complex, which was officially inscribed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in July 2008.
“Prasat Preah Vihear does not depend on Thai politics; it depends on its own outstanding value,” Phay Siphan said.
In September, Thailand’s National Counter-Corruption Commission presaged the Central Administrative Court’s ruling, saying that Samak and Noppadon had violated the constitution by failing to consult with the Thai parliament prior to the resolution.
Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said that because the resolution in support of the joint communiqué had already been suspended, the court’s Wednesday decision would not affect the ongoing border negotiations between Thailand and Cambodia.
“The ruling relates to the joint communiqué, and as we all know, the joint communiqué has already been annulled before now,” he said. “In practical terms, the ruling is a confirmation of that.”