Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Cambodia seeks UN court ruling on Thai border row

Troops from both sides have been camped out along the border for several days

via CAAI

3 May 2011

Another Thai soldier has died in border clashes with Cambodian troops, as Cambodia petitioned the UN's highest court to clarify a judgement at the heart of the dispute.

The Thai soldier became the 18th casualty of 12 days of fighting.

On Monday displaced villagers began returning home as clashes eased, but shooting continued through the night.

Cambodia wants the International Court of Justice to explain its ruling on ownership of a hilltop temple.

In 1962, the court awarded ownership of the temple of Preah Vihear to Cambodia based on a map drawn at the turn of the century. Thailand does not contest ownership of the temple but claims the surrounding area.

The recent fighting has for the most part taken place at two other temples some 150km (90 miles) from Preah Vihear.

But it remains the most prominent symbol of the dispute and a focus of nationalist sentiment on both sides.

'Matter of urgency'

In its submission to the court, Cambodia asked it to clarify the meaning and scope of its judgement concerning the temple of Preah Vihear.

Such an explanation could "serve as a basis for a final resolution of this dispute", it was quoted as saying in a statement posted on the ICJ website.

It asked the court to act "as a matter of urgency" because of the gravity of the situation.

The row has been festering between Thailand and Cambodia since Unesco awarded the temple World Heritage Status in 2008.

The latest fighting flared on 22 April around the temples of Ta Moan and Ta Krabey, which lie in jungle areas that both claim.

A ceasefire was agreed on 28 April but fighting has continued - although officials say exchanges of fire have lessened somewhat.

"Even though clashes continued, it has become less intense and the use of heavy weapons has stopped," said Thai army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

"Army representatives on both sides will meet twice a day to reduce tension and restore goodwill on the ground."

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