By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
Published on May 4, 2011
Phnom Penh appeals to ICJ for 'provisional measure' adjacent to Preah Vihear Temple
Cambodia has sought a provisional measure from the International Court of Justice, to have Thai troops withdrawn from the disputed area adjacent to the Preah Vihear Temple.
The provisional measure has been sought before the court begins its interpretation of the 1962 judgement on sovereign territories in the temple area.
The International Court of Justice (IJC) said in a statement yesterday that Cambodia, along with its application for an interpretation of the court's 1962 ruling, had submitted an urgent request on April 28 for an indication of provisional measures.
Cambodia had explained that the measures were badly needed as serious incidents had occurred since April 22 in the Preah Vihear area, as well as at several locations along the boundary between the two countries, causing fatalities, injuries and the evacuation of inhabitants.
The serious armed conflicts were continuing at the time of filing the request to the court, so Cambodia asked the court to indicate provisional measures as may be required pursuant to article 41 of the ICJ's statutes and Article 73 of the Rules of the Court, the ICJ said.
Cambodia has asked the IJC for three measures:
? Withdrawal of Thai troops immediately and without conditions;
? A ban on all Thai military activity in the area of Preah Vihear;
? Thailand be ordered to refrain from any acts of interference in the rights of Cambodia.
The ICJ ruled in 1962 that the Hindu temple of Preah Vihear was situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia.
Thailand argues that the court ruled only on the sandstone ruin, but not on the areas surrounding the temple, which belong to Thailand. The overlapping area near the Preah Vihear Temple, over which both sides claim sovereignty, measures about 4.6 square kilometres.
The two countries have boosted military forces in the area and there have been many confrontations and clashes in recent years.
Phnom Penh requested the ICJ's interpretation of its 1962 ruling on the grounds that the boundary was defined by a map made by the French and drawn on a scale of 1:200000, as mentioned in its judgement. In its request to the IJC, Cambodia sought "a map which enables the court to find that Cambodia's sovereignty over the temple is a direct and automatic consequence of its sovereignty over the territory on which the temple is situated".
According to the 1962 judgement, Thailand is under an obligation to withdraw any military or other personal from the vicinity of the temple on Cambodia's territory, it said.
Thailand disagrees with all the points raised by Cambodia and is setting up a team of legal experts to present its case before the IJC.
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya flew to France on Sunday to consult legal experts on the matter. He will return today.
Meanwhile, the situation in the border area remains tense, particularly at Ta Muen Thom and the Ta Kwai temple, about 150 kilometres west of Preah Vihear. A Thai soldier was killed and three others injured in a small-arms clash in the border area of Surin province on Monday night and the early hours of Tuesday. It brought the death toll of Thai troops to seven, with more than 130 injuries, since a clash at Ta Mouan on April 22.
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said the situation in the border area had been quite stable over the past few days since there were only small-arms clashes.
Cambodian commanders on the ground had made several attempts to establish cease-fire talks with their Thai counterparts, he said.
"But we consider the situation first. If there are still attacks, it's useless to talk," Prayuth said. "Basically, the military has no duty to talk. It is the role of the government. The military simply protects our land," he said.