29 Apr 2011
As clashes with Thailand entered an eight day, Cambodia announced its submission to the ICJ regarding its 1962 decision to award it the 11th-century Hindu temple. Despite the almost fifty year old ruling, the problem over the ownership of a 4.6-square-km plot of scrub land surrounding the ruins has never been resolved, with both countries lay claim to the disputed area. The structure – one of the most celebrated example of Khmer architecture – has been the focus of strained relations between the neighbouring states, particularly since tensions it was granted UN World Heritage status in 2008.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia stated that the submission of the request was prompted by “Thailand’s repeated armed aggression to exert its claims to Cambodian territory, on the basis of its own unilateral map that has no legal basis”. It added that Cambodia also submitted a request to the ICJ to take conservatory measures, “in light of the repeated acts of aggression against Cambodian territory by Thailand’s armed forces”. “Cambodia considers conservatory measures as unavoidable for engendering a permanent ceasefire between the two countries, thus stopping the loss of lives and preserving the temple of Preah Vihear from serious damages, until the interpretation of the ICJ’ s 1962 judgment is finalised,” said the statement. A clarification by the court was of “the utmost necessity… in order to peacefully and definitely settle the boundary problem between the two countries in the area”.
Foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong stated “We especially want clarification about the vicinity around the temple. Thailand is using unilateral maps to claim our territory.”