The International Court of Justice in the Hague has ruled that a disputed promontory that surrounds a 1,000-year-old Hindu temple belongs to Cambodia and said forces from neighboring Thailand should pack up and leave.
The conflict over the 2.8-mile Preah Vihear promontory has led to several skirmishes and exchanges of artillery fire between Thai and Cambodian forces in recent years.
In 1962, the same court ruled that the temple complex was on Cambodian soil but left open the question of exactly where the border around it should be drawn.
In Monday’s ruling, however, the ICJ rejected Cambodia’s claim to a nearby hill which falls within the disputed area.
“The 11th-century Preah Vihear temple complex is situated on a steep-sided promontory that juts south into the Cambodian plain, making access – including tourism – difficult without access from the northern, Thai side.
The judgment was expected to spark further opposition in Bangkok, where hundreds of protesters petitioned the Defence Ministry earlier Monday to reject the ICJ’s authority over the dispute.”
In 2008, Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, sparking clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops. In 2011, Cambodia brought the border issue back to the ICJ.
The Associated Press says:
“Asked for his initial reaction to the ruling, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters at the court, “It’s good enough.”
Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said the verdict included “satisfactory results to both sides,” adding the two neighbors will work together to implement it.”
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in a televised address, said the two countries need to cooperate.
“Thailand and Cambodia share an 800-kilometer (500-mile) border,” she said, adding that the Southeast Asian neighbors “have to rely on each other for prosperity.”