P Penh accepted Thai view years ago: temple team
(ANN/ The Nation)– On Monday, the first day of the hearing, Cambodia told the court that it has never accepted the unilateral delimitation of Preah Vihear’s vicinity made by the Thai cabinet in 1962 following the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s judgement.
Cambodia has on many occasions over the past 50 years expressed its disagreement with the Thai action. Phnom Penh suggested to the court that the 1962 judgement, which found that Preah Vihear was situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia, is the consequence of the existing international boundary line. That boundary line is defined only by the French-made 1:200,000 scale map.
The ICJ ruled in 1962 that the Hindu temple is under Cambodian sovereignty and ordered Thailand to withdraw troops from the temple and its vicinity.
To comply with the court judgement, the Thai cabinet in 1962 relinquished a quarter of a square kilometre of the land on which the temple sits and its immediate vicinity. Cambodia argues that this action went against the court’s judgement. The temple vicinity from where Thailand must withdraw its troops should be in accordance with the boundary line shown on the map, Cambodia’s counsel team told the court.
Thailand will today tell the 17-member court that Cambodia has de-facto acknowledged the vicinity determined by Thailand since 1962. The noises of disagreement from Cambodian leaders over the past years were neither official nor serious, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana, who is also a legal expert.
“Cambodia said they have never accepted it but we will tell the court that they have already accepted it,” Phongthep said. “They believe their reason is convincing; we also believe in ours,” he said.
Foreign Ministry deputy permanent secretary Nattavudh Photisaro said the Thai legal team held several rounds of meetings to analyse the Cambodian testimony and found it matched the Thai preparations for counter arguments.
The map would be a major topic and legal counsels and experts would explain its inaccuracy to the court, he said. Several copies of the map were produced and the map itself was inaccurate when translated to real terrain, he said.
Thailand’s main argument is that the map was not the crucial part in the 1962 judgement. It was not mentioned in the operative clause of the judgement.
Cambodia argued earlier that the map, which was referred to in the court as Annex I, was inseparable from the main judgement. The court should take the map into account when interpreting the 1962 judgement.
Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Cambodia gave weight to the map in its presentation to the court as it was fundamental to the 1962 judgement.