Thailand firm on defending ICJ case
The government is determined to defend Thailand's sovereignty in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to ensure that Cambodia will not be allowed to register the 4.6-sq km of land around Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site, deputy government spokesperson Sunisa Lertpakawat said Thursday.
- Published: 18/04/2013 at 06:28 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
She rejected Democrat Party claims that the government was not giving its best at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and insisted the Yingluck Shinawatra-led administration would maintain the same position as those led by the late Samak Sundaravej and Thaksin Shinawatra.
Lt Sunisa said the government had given moral support to the Thai legal team in the current ICJ hearing and believed Thailand and Cambodia would find a peaceful solution to their dispute under international law.
She warned the Democrat Party to stop distorting the facts and not use the issue as a political foil which could lead to violence.
Preah Vihear temple (EPA Photo)
Meanwhile, the armed forces have expressed confidence that the ICJ ruling on the Thai-Cambodian territorial dispute around Preah Vihear would be correct and be based on the facts, Supreme Commander Thanasak Patimaprakorn said on Thursday.
He said the military will not object to the ICJ's ruling, which is expected to be delivered in October this year.
"I don't think the ruling will trigger another round of conflict between Thailand and Cambodia," Gen Thanasak said.
He asked the Thai people to stand united and the media to promote peace between the two countries. The media had an important role in how the situation would play out, he said.
"Peace or war, it's also up to the media," the supreme commander said.
Asked by reporters what the military planned to do if Thailand lost the case, he said: "This is not the time to discuss the issue."
He said the two countries would be able to settle the problem and continue to live as peaceful neighbours, regardless of the outcome.
Thailand and Cambodia have been given a deadline of April 26 by an ICJ judge to submit documents backing up each country's view of the meaning of "vicinity" around the temple, Thai delegation chief Virachai Plasai said Thursday.
The two countries must then provide counter-arguments within another week, by May 3. The deadline was imposed by a single judge, not the court, said ambassador Virachai. Submissions can include old and new maps, or a description of the coordinates.
He described the request by Somalian Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf as normal procedure in international courts and tribunals, including the World Trade Organisation and other arbitration processes. Both sides get time to make written submissions.
"This offers a good opportunity for Thailand to give more information (to the court), and Thai people should not panic" at this request, he said.
The presentation of maps on Wednesday lasted around 40 minutes, and was the result of thorough research for three years by Romanian lawyer Alina Miron. She was inexperienced at the ICJ, he said, but she deserves trust because of her skill in pointing out to the court the several versions of the map presented by Cambodia. Mr Virachai, as a result, told the judges Cambodia had "fabricated" a key map during its testimony on Monday.
Mr Virachai said the court had used two maps - the Annex I map known as the 1:200,000 scale map to prove the temple is under Cambodian sovereignty, and a second map, called the 85D map, which is used to identify the disputed area.
"The 85D map is the only map created by the court," he said. "We presented the large 4.5-by-3 metre map but the court cut out just a tiny part to make a new map, which is different from other maps compiled in the documents. It is important that we pointed this out to the court," he noted.
Mr Virachai, who is Thai ambassador to The Hague, said he was satisfied with the oral statement by the Thai team on Wednesday. He described it as well sequenced, and said it reached the conclusion that the ICJ has no authority to consider the case brought by Cambodia.
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