Will Thailand comply with the ICJ’s Preah Vihear decision?
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Will Thailand comply with the ICJ’s Preah Vihear decision?

The Bangkok Post in an editorial:

There is one problem. Whereas Prime Minister Hun Sen and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong of Cambodia have agreed to accept the court’s decision, the Thai team has not taken that step. Thailand has pledged to stay calm, consult Cambodian officials and remain in full communication with Phnom Penh and border units. That is not the same thing as accepting the court’s decision and abiding by it.

The government claims it is in a difficult position, and one easily sees the problem. Thailand should not close off the possibility of an egregious court decision. But by refusing to state it will accept the court’s decision this afternoon, the government is effectively showing disrespect for rule of law.

It is too late to equivocate. This government itself agreed to put the temple issue before the ICJ one more time. It must also agree to live with the consequences.

By refusing to get entirely behind the ICJ’s verdict, the government is playing into the hands of the self-styled patriots. They want to make trouble, and they threaten possible violence. It is possible the ICJ will disappoint Thailand again today with its temple verdict. But the country survived the last injustice, and, in the name of respecting rule of law, it can easily survive another.

The editorial doesn’t state which decision, but perhaps it was referring this per the Bangkok Post:

Nutthavudh Photisaro, the ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, said Thailand and Cambodia would have to follow many steps after the court decision, and there is no need for those living along the border to move out of those areas.

He said the ministry is looking beyond the court ruling for ways in which the countries can maintain good ties and tackle the problem peacefully.

The ministry called on border villagers to stay calm ahead of the ruling.

He said the ministry has set up a working group, led by its permanent secretary, to analyse the decision and propose recommendations for the government .

The matter could be taken to the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission under a negotiation framework from parliament.

Or this per The Nation:

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose government is under strong pressure from street protests, said whatever the court finds, Thailand and Cambodia must come together to deal with the verdict.

After the court ruling, our legal team will study the judgement and set a position to deal with it in accordance with the Thai Constitution and law,” she said.

“On top of [all this], we have to bear in mind that Thailand and Cambodia are neighbours who cannot run away from each other. We have to maintain friendship and good relations for peace, stability and the prosperity of the Asean region,” she said. “We have to cooperate for peace and stability along the border.”

[However] the court rules, both countries agree to allow each of us to take time, as well as respect the rights and stance of each other, in dealing with the court judgement in accordance with our internal laws and procedure,” she said.

The Nation though interprets this statement as meaning complying:

“Whatever the ruling will be, Thailand and Cambodia will have to sit down and find a mutual resolution,” she said.

She insisted that in complying with the ICJ ruling, the Thai government would follow the Thai laws and the Constitution and the government is ready to heed all opinions for the sake of the nation and good friendship between Thailand and Cambodia.

A statement would be issued right after the ruling comes out, she said.

BP: Sure there was no explicit mention of complying (it is about “complying” not “accepting”), but was it really in dispute? The statements are  explanations on the process the government would take following the decision. More specifically on the issue of compliance, The Nation on October 22:

A team of legal advisers will be set up to discuss and analyse the much-awaited ruling by the International Court of Justice on the Preah Vihear temple dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, after it is read out on November 11.

Thailand and the military were ready to comply with the decision in accordance with Thai laws, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said yesterday. This implies legal steps would be needed, plus approval from the parliament under Article 190 of the Constitution, if the ruling goes against Thailand and requires boundary demarcation.

“[Which ever way] the decision goes, compliance by Thailand will be carried out according to Thai laws and bilateral relations will not be affected by the ICJ ruling,” said Surapong, citing a key conclusion reached at a meeting between Premier Yingluck Shinawatra and the military, plus other agencies yesterday.

“The decision, however it rules, must not affect relations between Thailand and Cambodia and their co-existence,” he said.

BP: In Thai, Surapong has stated, per Thai Rath, that both sides have measures in place to comply. Given this, should every government statement have to specifically mention compliance? The Cambodians also understand that the Thai side will comply per VOA:

Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen, explained to the Cambodian people that he and his Thai counterpart, Yingluck Shinawatra, have agreed in advance to comply with the decision by the International Court of Justice and maintain peace and stability along the disputed border.

BP: So is there anything that the government has said that suggests they won’t comply?

Also, it was Hun Sen, under the Abhisit government, that put the temple issue before the ICJ…