Team confident in arguing case

The legal team representing Thailand in the Preah Vihear border row at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is confident it can counter Phnom Penh's main arguments, said Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana.

The deputy premier travelled to London last week to meet the team of foreign legal experts preparing the case for Thailand.

The Thai legal team is led by Veerachai Plasai, Thai Ambassador to The Hague.

Mr Phongthep said the team assured him it could argue against the use of the so-called 1:200,000 map _ the key document behind the ICJ's 1962 judgement which granted ownership of the Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia. The map shows the temple is inside Cambodia.

A 4.6-square-kilometre area around the temple has since been disputed by the two countries, and Cambodia has asked the ICJ to interpret its 1962 judgement to clarify ownership of that land.

The oral statements are expected to be ready in late March. Thailand and Cambodia will present their statements in the hearings scheduled for April 15-19. The ICJ is expected to hand down a ruling in October.

"There are several other minor points to be covered and we will address all of them in the oral statements," Mr Phongthep said. "We have presented 1,600 pages of documents to the ICJ so far, compared with the 300 pages submitted by Cambodia."

Mr Phongthep added that he has submitted the government's opinions and points of concern to the legal team to use in improving the oral statements.

He said the government expects to call a meeting with security authorities after he briefs Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra about the London trip.

Asked if Thailand plans to assert that the ICJ has no authority to rule on the territorial dispute, he said that all possible arguments are being covered.

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Writer: Patsara Jikkham
Position: Reporter