Tuesday, October 15, 2013

ICJ ruling delayed: Thai gov’t

A Cambodian heritage police officer stands guard at the Preah Vihear temple in February 2011. HENG CHIVOAN

Stuart White Mon, 14 October 2013

Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul has announced that the International Court of Justice will postpone its final ruling on the Preah Vihear territorial dispute by some two months, chalking the delay up to a busy schedule, the Bangkok Post reported on Friday.

The delay would push the court’s verdict – previously expected by the end of this year – to sometime in February, though Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said yesterday that his office had not received any notification of the delay.

“Cambodia has not received any official information from the ICJ so far,” Kuong said, declining to speculate on the impact of the delay. “We cannot comment right now. It is up to the ICJ, and the situation along the border between the two countries is normal right now.”

Though the decision has been hotly anticipated in both countries – Thailand in particular – news of the delay raised few eyebrows among analysts.

“It’s quite normal for that kind of delay in the announcement of the verdict,” political analyst Lao Mong Hay said. “Some cases need more time [for judges to] look into and deliberate.”

Either way, Mong Hay said, he was “not so sure we would get all we have expected”.

Fellow political analyst Kem Ley said yesterday that, if anything, a delay in the verdict would be a good thing, giving Cambodia more time to get over its own political difficulties and come up with a plan for dealing with the potential fallout of the ICJ’s decision.

“I want them to delay, not only until next year, but if they can make a delay until the end of 2014, it’s good, because the Cambodian political situation is not so good right now,” he said.

A recent white paper published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies warned that the ICJ’s ruling over who owns the disputed 4.6 square kilometres surrounding the World Heritage Site would do little to solve the decades-long dispute, and could even serve to inflame Thai nationalist sentiments to the point of renewing fighting in the area.

A ruling in favour of Cambodia, the paper argues, would prompt calls for the Thai government to ignore the verdict and station troops nearby, forcing the Cambodian government to respond in kind.

“Another border clash is, therefore, likely to take place and ASEAN and/or the United Nation[s] Security Council may need to assist,” the paper reads.

Intense fighting that erupted between Cambodia and Thailand in 2011 left at least 18 dead and thousands displaced.

Ley maintained that “conflict will happen whether Cambodia wins or loses”, and said that the delay would provide welcome breathing room to come up with contingency plans.

“At least Cambodia has further opportunity to think on how to accept the results,” he said. “I don’t know whether we’ll win or lose, but when the two parties are on board at the National Assembly, or the coalition government, they can sit together and think about how they [feel] about the result.”


Anonymous said...

Not to forget Preah Vihear is still critical issue we have to win with the ICJ. We must put enough attention to work with the lobbying for our land. Thailand is trying hard to make the best of it while Cambodia is busy at election issue. If we want to make a difference, do it before the verdict. Don't slake or Cambodians will scold you again Ah HUN SEN gov't.

Anonymous said...

i think it is good that cambodia asked the world court to look into thailand's aggression toward cambodia. with this international intervention, the world will see to it that cambodia gets justice! i think the UN and the world won't ignore cambodia's request for finding justice for khmer people. whatever threat or result, cambodia will benefit from this from my khmer perspective. one thing for sure, preah vihear area and this part of cambodia will no longer stay isolated due to international attention to the issue. cambodia is a member state of the UN organization and so is thailand. as long as countries are its members, the UN international law is binding to all its member states. we can see thailand tries really hard, and we cambodia just relax and smile because we know the law is on our side for justice. it's time cambodia and our khmer people get justice for a change.

Anonymous said...

cambodia and its people count on the UN to do the right thing and not letting siem's threat to distract it from help solving this conflict once and for all so the future will be clear and not vague again in our preah vihear case, the temple itself and its surroundings or vicinities. this way siem cannot say again that the icj ruled that the temple belongs to cambodia but the surrounding vicinities is never mentioned in its ruling. this is why cambodia wants to clear it with the icj so to prevent the same conflict again in the future. the case is nothing new, we cambodia just ask the UN to verify its ruling and clear any misunderstand the temple and it's map used to rule in favor of cambodia in 1962 because cambodia can never accept the new unilateral map made up by siem side. only the khmer/french/siem map of 1907 is accepted as it was the original and legal map cambodia always uses.

Anonymous said...

siem people think the khmer/french/siem map of 1907 is wrong due to its use of the so-called watershed of the dangrek mountain range for marking the boundary. but what siem don't understand is that even though the so-called watershed was use as reference for demarcation, there were acceptions to the rule in certain areas such as preah vihear temple and surroundings, etc which can be both detrimental to siem or cambodia, depending on the areas they talk about. according to khmer perspective, there are a few areas of exceptions to the rule that either benefit siem side or khmer side. and preah vihear temple vicinity is one of those exceptional areas. so, why is siem complaining now? don't siem know the statue of limitation was way pass due already! khmer people like me hope the ICJ will tell thailand this so thai/siem people can get educated about the law regarding to preah vihear case. i think if the UN and the ICJ tells educate thailand about this, thailand and its naive people will have a rude awaking. the ICJ/UN will put more weight with thailand in addition to cambodia's dealing with them. the preah vihear case is not really about armed confrontation anymore as it was long settled by the ICJ in 1962, it is now a clarification of that judgment because apparently thai/siem people show that they did not understand it. the UN/ICJ can help to clarify that misunderstand once and for all. it is the UN/ICJ job to do so, not thailand's job.

Anonymous said...

everytime i read something about cambodia's preah vihear temple, i always come across people saying the ICJ did not mention the map of its environ, so that is why cambodia asks the ICJ to clarify this claim people uneducated people will have no more doubt about preah vihear's surrounding and vicinity. hopefully, next time when people write about preah vihear, they will note that the ICJ was requested to verify and clarify the definition of preah vihear's surroundings and vicinity once and for all. this is justice for cambodia once the court clarify ruling. i believe the ICJ can help settle this vague allegation that the court did not rule on lands surrounding the temple. the court can clarify what map they used for their 1962 ruling.