Activists ask court to stop planned Thai troop withdrawal from disputed border


Activists ask court to stop planned Thai troop withdrawal from disputed border

BANGKOK, Jan 11 – Thai nationalist activistts on Wednesday sought court approval to suspend the Thai government order that the army withdraw troops from the disputed Preah Vihear temple border area as earlier demanded by the World Court.

A group of nationalist activists led by Chaiwat Sinsuwong petitioned the Administrative Court, asking it to stop Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from interfering with the Thai military after her government ordered the military to withdraw its troops from the area around the ancient Preah Vihear temple.

The group also asked the court to order the Thai government to withdraw from the case filed by Cambodia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and reject the legal binding of any court rulings.

Following sporadic deadly clashes between Thai and Cambodian militaries, the Cambodian government last April asked the world court to interpret its 1962 ruling which awarded Preah Vihear to Cambodia but left the surrounding area in dispute. The Thai government at that time led by Abhisit Vejjajiva decided to contest the case in court.

The ICJ on July 18 last year issued an injunction during the trial, ordering Thailand and Cambodia to withdraw their troops from the newly defined demilitarised zone in a disputed portion of their border around the temple while urging both countries to work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to allow the regional bloc’s observers to enter the disputed zone.

Mr Chaiwat said the current government reiterated many times that it accepted and would follow the ICJ’s order. He claimed that the prime minister and Defence Minister Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa also tried to interfere with the army over the troop withdrawal.

The activist claimed that the commanders of the Thai armed forces refused, however, to proceed with the government’s request, but the government kept pressuring them to move.

He said the group had no choice but to seek a court order to stop the premier’s action to protect the country’s interest and sovereignty.