Wednesday 09th February
PHNOM PENH —
Cambodia’s border dispute with Thailand has escalated into war, Prime Minister Hun Sen told a meeting of business leaders in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.
He also said Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva should be brought before international courts for war crimes.
‘‘This is not an ‘armed clash,’ but it was a war because it lasted four days and not only small but heavy weapons were used. I used this word with (U.N. Secretary General) Ban Ki Moon, Hun Sen told the annual meeting of the country’s Commerce Ministry.
‘‘Cambodia is not staging this war, but Thailand, and Prime Minister Abhisit (Vejjajiva), as a leader of the country, must be accountable for war crime. The shooting and destroying the (Preah Vihear) temple and (Buddhist) pagoda is a war crime.
‘‘They even used cluster bombs and heavy weapons for hours. It was a real war,’’ Hun Sen continued.
And he reiterated the need for intervention by outside parties.
‘‘From now on, we must go with the third party, but through peaceful means.
‘‘We cannot delay any further and Cambodia will use all international mechanisms…I told Ban Ki Moon that Abhisit is cheating. Abhisit always says Cambodia is invading Thailand, but why he is afraid of international participation or third party? My question is who invades whom? In order to resolve this border conflict, we can no longer use bilateral means.’‘
‘‘We can no longer trust bilateral mechanisms,’’ he said.
Hun Sen said Cambodia will ask the International Court of Justice in the Hague to rule on the border demarcation at the heart of the conflict and said Thailand must be prepared to attend and stand by any ruling.
‘‘I would like to tell Prime Minister Abhisit that if you are not a thief don’t be afraid of a judge, (and have Thailand appear at the court,’’ he added.