The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
UCA News

Thailand

Split decision in Thai-Cambodian temple dispute

Thailand told to withdraw troops by International Court of Justice

Stephen Steele, Kantharalak

Stephen Steele, Kantharalak

Updated: November 11, 2013 03:49 PM GMT
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Split decision in Thai-Cambodian temple dispute
Share this article :
The International Court of Justice awarded control of some disputed land around 1,000-year-old Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia on Monday following a long-running dispute with Thailand which led to deadly border clashes in recent years.

Delivering the judgment, Peter Tomka, president of the ICJ, said the Hague court had decided "that Cambodia had sovereignty over the whole territory of the promontory of Preah Vihear.

"In consequence, Thailand was under an obligation to withdraw from that territory the Thai military or police forces or other guards or keepers that were stationed there," Tomka said.

Although ownership of the temple was never in doubt following an ICJ ruling in Cambodia's favor in 1962, a disputed 4.6-square-kilometer area of land around the UNESCO World Heritage Site had been a source of tension. Sporadic fighting over the disputed tract in 2009 and 2011 claimed at least 28 lives.

Monday's ruling means that sovereignty over much of that area remains unresolved as the foreign ministers of both countries present in the Hague agreed to work together to demarcate the disputed area.

Thailand had closed its side of the border on Monday ahead of the announcement by the ICJ and was preventing tourists and journalists from getting within five miles of the historic grounds.

Provincial officials in Thailand's Sisaket province declined to comment on the dispute, saying instead that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was reviewing the world court's decision and would address the nation in a televised address.

The decision was broadcast live in an outdoor press conference in Sisaket.

In Thailand's Ban Phum Saron village, which was heavily damaged in the 2011 fighting, villagers said they would not leave their village should fighting between the two neighboring countries resume.

"I am not leaving my home,” said a defiant Nang Luongsay, 49, who operates a small store and restaurant.

"If they start bombing, I will go there," she said, pointing to a bunker built on the school grounds across from her home.

Her husband, Pang Luongsay, 54, works as a laborer in Nam Bua Lamphu province, about seven hours away. He returned the weekend before the court's decision to stay with his family in case trouble returned to his village.

"I came home to make sure they are safe," he told ucanews.com.

Both Thai and Cambodian officials downplayed reports of both sides amassing troops along the border.

However prior to the announcement, Thai nationalist groups said they would reject any decision rendered by the international court. A handful of protesters from the Thai Patriotic Network gathered in front of police barricades that blocked the highway leading into Preah Vihear. A larger protest of a coalition of nationalist groups gathered outside the Thai defense ministry building in Bangkok.

Support UCA News...

UCA News provides a unique service, bringing you the voices of emerging churches and helping you see efforts made to evangelize and bring relief to people in all manner of need.

UCA News has more than 40 full time and part time reporters, editors and administrators bringing you this service from across 23 countries in south, southeast and east Asia. You, too, can be part of their efforts by contributing even a small amount to keep UCA News available to the world.
Click here to consider the options available to you.

Your contribution to UCA News will immensely help us continue to grow a strong media community by harnessing information technology to inform, engage, inspire and influence the Catholics of Asia and the world.

As a gesture of our gratitude to your commitment to UCA News, we are pleased to gift you a free PDF Book/e-Book titled Mission in Asia when you make a contribution.

UCA News Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
UCAN Ad
 
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution