ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
World Court settles Thai-Cambodian border dispute
BANGKOK, Nov 11 - The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday ruled that Cambodia has sovereignty over a disputed promontory around the ancient Hindu temple, while the Thai prime minister pledged to cooperate with Cambodia to ensure peaceful coexistence.
The court awarded Cambodia sovereignty over the Preah Vihear promontory, saying that "Thailand was under obligation to withdraw its soldiers, police and other guards or keepers that were stationed there."
Cambodia petitioned the world court in 2011 asking the court to interpret its 1962 ruling. The move followed deadly military crashes at the border.
The ICJ ruled in 1962 that the temple itself belonged to Cambodia but there was no mention of the surrounding area. Both Thailand and Cambodia laid claim to the 4.6-square kilometre land adjacent to the ancient Hindu temple.
The 17 judges ruled that the promontory on which the Preah Vihear temple sits was part of Cambodia.
However the court did not address the issue of sovereignty over Phnom Trap (Phu Makheu in Thai), or any other area beyond the limits of the promontory of Preah Vihear.
Phnom Trap is in the disputed 4.6-square kilometre area.
"The court considers that Phnom Trap lay outside the disputed area and the 1962 Judgement did not address the question whether it was located in Thai or Cambodian territory. Accordingly, the court considers that the promontory of Preah Vihear ends at the foot of the hill of Phnom Trap, where the ground begins to rise from the valley." the ruling said.
The court also said that the Preah Vihear temple is a site of religious and cultural significance for the peoples of the region and is now listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. In this respect, the court advised that Cambodia and Thailand must cooperate between themselves and with the international community in to protect the site as a world heritage.
The court decision is binding and cannot be appealed.
Speaking to reporters after the court verdict, Thailand's ambassador to the Netherlands and head of the legal team, Virachai Plasai, said Cambodia didn't gain all the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area and Phu Makheu but only a small parcel of land which is to be calculated about its size.
In her national televised address after the court ruling, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pledged that Thailand will hold talks with Cambodia to find a mutually-agreed solution through existing bilateral mechanisms. She also stated that she would protect national interests. (MCOT online news)
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