Thai ambassador to the Netherlands believes ICJ will rule fairly on Cambodian border issue

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BANGKOK, July 17 — Thailand’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Virachai Plasai said he believed the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s highest court based in The Hague, would rule fairly on Tuesday, July 18, when it is scheduled to issue clarifications on Thai-Cambodian border measures.

The ICJ is set to rule on Cambodia’s request to issue provisional measures forcing Thailand to withdraw troops from the disputed area near Preah Vihear temple and banning military activity in the vicinity, following sporadic deadly clashes between troops of both countries.

A public hearing would take place at the Peace Palace in The Hague and the President of the Court will read the court’s order.

Mr Virachai said the direction of the ruling was expected to be one of three scenarios: the court will issue provisional measures as requested by Cambodia, it will decide that it has no jurisdiction and drop the case, or the court may order both Thailand and Cambodia to jointly carry out actions.

The first order would of the most benefit for Thailand, he added.

The ambassador said Thailand was well prepared for the oral hearing at The Hague during May 30-31, concerning Cambodia’s request for indications of provisional measures pertaining to its other request for interpretation of the Court’s 1962 judgment in the case concerning the Preah Vihear Temple.

Thailand’s legal team had done it best and believed in the fairness of the ICJ, he said, adding that the case could be used to affirm the justice of the ICJ.

A Thai delegation led by outgoing Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and his entourage, including Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to the foreign minister, Theerakul Niyom, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ittiporn Boonpracong, Director-General of the Department of Treaties and Legal Affair and representatives from Royal Thai Army Survey Department, the Office of the Attorney General and Fine Arts Department left Bangkok Saturday for The Hague to be present at ICJ.

In 1962, the court ruled that Preah Vihear temple belonged to Cambodia. Thailand complied with the ruling but argued that the verdict covered only the sandstone ruins themselves, while the area around it belonged to Thailand.

Since then, both sides have built up military forces along the border and periodic clashes have occurred, resulting in the deaths of troops and civilians on both sides.

On April 28, Cambodia asked the ICJ to interpret its 1962 judgment to establish if the land in the temple’s vicinity also belonged to it. The application was accompanied by an urgent request to indicate provisional measures.

In a related development, the border trade between Thailand and Cambodia at Chong Sangam border crossing in Si Sa Ket province was robust, as Cambodians crossed the border to shop for goods in Thailand to sell in Cambodia.

Thai troops were on full alert at the checkpoint by the entrance of the Khao Phra Wihan National Park in Kantharalak district to prevent untoward incidents.

Meanwhile, Cambodian troops reportedly reinforced at Preah Vihear Temple with at least five tanks moving into the area. The Cambodians were also reportedly building a road in the area to facilitate troop movements.