Thailand and Cambodia presented their cases to the International Court of Justice yesterday on a complaint by Cambodia over Preah Viharn.
A view of the International Court of Justice in the The Hague as it waits to hear a request for interpretation of its 1962 judgement over Preah Viharn temple. AFP
Temple battle moves to court
Thailand, Cambodia put case for land rights
HANIDA TANSUBHAPOL AND AFP
THE HAGUE : Thailand told the International Court of Justice yesterday Cambodia started the border fighting because it wanted to include Thai territory in its management plan for Preah Vihear temple.
Phnom Penh had never disputed Thailand's claim to land near the temple. But its stance changed after it succeeded in convincing UN's cultural body Unesco to list the temple as a World Heritage site in 2008, according to the Thai statement to the ICJ.
Thailand appeared in court in response to Phnom Penh's petition asking the ICJ to rule on whether the land surrounding the ancient Hindu temple belonged to Cambodia.
In the petition, Cambodia asked the court to order an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Thai troops from land surrounding the temple and to ban Thai military activity in the area.
Alain Pellet, an attorney representing Thailand, told the court that Thailand had accepted and duly complied with a 1962 ICJ judgement that the temple belonged to Cambodia. As a result, though, the court has no jurisdiction to judge on Cambodia's request.
Cambodia, meanwhile, had also accepted without protest the line drawn by Thailand demarcating the area that encompasses the Hindu temple compound following the 1962 court decision.
Cambodia started to challenge the perimeter limits of the temple only recently when it wanted to list the temple as a World Heritage site.
Moreover, Cambodia has also admitted that it had yet to demarcate the border – including the area where Preah Vihear temple is located – when it signed the memorandum of understanding with Thailand in 2000.
Speaking outside the courtroom, Thailand's caretaker Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said Thailand had never questioned the court's 1962 ruling over Cambodia's ownership of the temple.
"We have never contested or disputed the court's decision on the temple," he told reporters.
He said Thailand's dispute was specifically over the 4.6-square-kilometre area surrounding the complex.
"That's different," Kasit said when asked about the disputed territory. "The court did not have jurisdiction to rule on that."
But he said Thailand's view "has been our position for the last 50 years."
"We do not understand why we had to come here," he said.
The 11th-century complex has been at the centre of an ongoing legal wrangle between Thailand and Cambodia – which took its southeastern Asian neighbour to the ICJ in 1958.
The UN court ruled in 1962 that the 900-year-old Khmer temple belonged to Cambodia, but both Phnom Penh and Bangkok claim ownership of the surrounding land.
Cambodia presented its statement to the court earlier in the day, asking it to order an immediate Thai troop withdrawal around the ancient temple of Preah Vihear.
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interpretation – an explanation of the meaning or importance of something การตีความ
border – the official line separating two areas, regions or countries เขตแดน อาณาเขต
territory – an area of land controlled by a particular country, leader or army อาณาบริเวณ อาณาเขตประเทศ
dispute – to say that something such as a fact is not true or correct โต้แย้ง
claim – to say that you have the right to have or own something, especially land or property อ้างสิทธิ
stance – an attitude or view about an issue that you state clearly; position จุดยืน
convince – to make somebody/yourself believe that something is true; to persuade somebody to do something ทำให้เชื่อ, ทำให้แน่ใจ, ชักจูง
statement – something that you say or write that gives information or an opinion แถลงการณ์, คำแถลง
body – a group of people who work or act together, often for an official purpose, or who are connected in some other way กลุ่มคน, นิติบุคคล
World Heritage site – a place, building, structure, etc. that has been determined by the UN to be of great historical or culture value and is given a special protected status โบราณสถานที่เป็นมรดกโลก
petition – an official document in which you ask a court to take legal action คำร้องต่อศาล
rule – (of a court or other group with similar authority) to make and announce a decision ตัดสิน, พิพากษา, ชี้ขาด
surrounding – all around a place บริเวณรอบๆ
ancient – very old ที่เก่าแก่ ที่โบราณ
immediate – happening or done now, without any delay ทันทีทันใด
unconditional – without limits or requirements that something must be done อย่างไม่มีเงื่อนไข
withdrawal – the act of no longer being involved in something การถอนตัว,
troops – soldiers, especially in large numbers กองทหาร
ban – to officially say that someone is not allowed to do something ห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ
attorney – a lawyer ทนาย
duly – in the correct or expected manner ตามกำหนด, อย่างเหมาะสม
comply – to obey a rule or law or do what someone asks you to do ปฏิบัติตาม (กฎหมาย, ข้อเสนอ, etc.)
jurisdiction – a country or area in which a particular legal system operates ขอบเขตอำนาจที่ศาลและกฏหมายควบคุมไปถึง
protest – a strong complaint or disagreement การประท้วง
demarcate – to decide the limits of something, especially the borders of an area ปักเขต, กำหนดเขต
encompass – to include a large number or range of things รวมทั้ง, รวมเข้าไว้ทั้งหมด
compound – an area in which a group of buildings stands บริเวณ
challenge – to question whether something is true, accurate, or legal คัดค้าน
perimeter – the outer edge of an enclosed area of ground ขอบนอกสุด, อาณาเขต
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it ยอมรับ
memorandum of understanding (MOU) – a document used to describe a form of a written agreement between two or more groups, countries, etc. The document is not as strong as a contract but outlines a commitment between the two to work together toward the same purpose or goals
caretaker – in charge for a short time, until a new leader or government is chosen รักษาการ
contest – to disagree with something and often to take action to stop it from happening ถกเถียง โต้แย้ง
specifically – in a detailed and exact way เฉพาะ, เฉพาะเจาะจง
complex – a large building with various connected rooms or a related group of buildings
legal – relating to the law or lawyers เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
wrangle – an argument that lasts for a long time, especially an angry and unpleasant one การโต้เถียง, การทะเลาะ