Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cambodia Gears Up for Preah Vihear Border Row Hearing

Cambodian police officials stand atop Preah Vihear temple on July 18, 2012 while Thai and Cambodian troops withdraw from disputed territory.

Apr 9, 2013
Cambodia has prepared a stack of documents to back its claim over a disputed area around an ancient temple on the border with Thailand at next week’s hearing at the International Court of Justice  in the Hague, a senior official said Monday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Cambodia’s delegation is setting off Tuesday for the Netherlands for the April 15-19 hearing on territory surrounding the Preah Vihear temple, the site of deadly border clashes with Thailand in recent years.

"The various documents including maps and legal documents [that they are bringing to the world court] are internationally recognized,” he said.

The delegation headed by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong comprises border officials and legal experts, he said, adding that the situation along the Cambodian-Thai border, where the latest clashes occurred in February and April 2011, is quiet for now.

Cambodia and Thailand exchanged several rounds of fire since 2008, when the temple, located atop a cliff in the Dangrek Mountains, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

They pulled hundreds of soldiers out of a disputed border area last year, a year after a ruling by the UN's highest court, replacing them with police and security guards

Cambodia administers the thousand-year-old Hindu temple, which the ICJ awarded to the country in a ruling in 1962.

But the decision did not take into account the disputed 4.6 square kilometer (1.8 square mile) area around the temple, and Cambodia has requested the court interpret the original ruling.

The ICJ will hear oral statements from Cambodia and Thailand and a decision is expected in October or November.

On Saturday, demonstrators in southern Thailand headed to a national park adjacent to Preah Vihear in a bid to set up a protest camp near the temple, but were stopped by Thai police, the Bangkok Post reported.

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