THE HAGUE. The International Court of Justice, ICJ, announced today the schedule for the public hearings in the case concerning the request for interpretation of the 1962 ruling in the case over the Preah Vihear Temple. The first round of oral argument is programmed for Monday 15 April, 2013, for Cambodia and Wednesday 17 April for Thailand. The second round argument will be on 18 April for Cambodia and 19 April for Thailand. On 28 April 2011 Cambodia submitted to the Court a request for interpretation of the sentence that gave the sovereignty of the millennial temple on 15 June 1962 to Cambodia, but let surrounding land to be discussed by both countries in a bilateral dialog. Thailand argued that there is not a dispute in the interpretation of the 1962 sentence.

Cambodia World Court Preah Vihear

In this 2011 photo a Cambodian police officer, right, stands near the 11th century Hindu Preah Vihear temple, near the disputed border of Cambodia-Thailand. Pic: AP.

The ICJ says in its press release:

(…) Cambodia indicates in its Application the “points in dispute as to the meaning or scope of the judgment” at issue. It states in particular that: “(1) according to Cambodia, the Judgment [rendered by the Court in 1962] is based on the prior existence of an international boundary established and recognized by both States; (2) according to Cambodia, that boundary is defined by the map to which the Court refers on page 21 of its Judgment . . ., a map which enables the Court to find that Cambodia’s sovereignty over the Temple is a direct and automatic consequence of its sovereignty over the territory on which the Temple is situated . . .; (3) according to [Cambodia], Thailand is under an obligation [pursuant to the Judgment] to withdraw any military or other personnel from the vicinity of the Temple on Cambodian territory . . . [T]his is a general and continuing obligation deriving from the statements concerning Cambodia’s territorial sovereignty recognized by the Court in that region.” Cambodia asserts that “Thailand disagrees with all of these points.”

Cambodia requested in its application an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Thai forces from those parts of Cambodian territory situated in the are of the Preah Vihear Temple, a ban on all military activity in the area of the temple by Thai forces and that Thailand refrains from any action that would interfere the rights of Cambodians.

The first public hearing on this Cambodian request were hold on May 30 and 31, 2011 where Thailand claimed that there was not a dispute around the 1962 sentence: ‘it did not dispute the fact that the Temple of Preah Vihear was situated in Cambodian territory, as recognized in the first paragraph of the operative clause of that Judgment,’ said the communicate and continues stating that Thailand ‘claimed furthermore not to dispute the fact that Thailand was under an obligation, pursuant to the second paragraph of the operative clause of the said Judgment, to withdraw its military forces from the Temple or from its vicinity in so far as those forces were situated in Cambodian territory; it asserted that this “instantaneous” obligation had been fully met by Thailand and could not give rise to an interpretative judgment; and Thailand maintained, in consequence, that the Court manifestly lacked jurisdiction “to rule on Cambodia’s Request for interpretation” and, therefore, to indicate the provisional measures requested by the Applicant.’

Cambodia maintained its request for the provisional measures.

Military tensions diminished during the government of  P.M. Yingluck Shinawatra of the Pheu Party. During the last ASEAN Defense Ministers’ summit last week, Tea Banh of Cambodia and Sukumpol Suwanatat of Thailand discussed the border dispute and they agreed on the improving of bilateral relations. ‘There is not need to settle the issue now as peace is the priority,’ said Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh in Siem Reap.  It was a consequence of a joined declaration given by both primer ministers Yingluck Shinawatra and Hun Sen on October 19 that Thai and Cambodian people would be allowed to live in the area without fear.