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Preah Vihear temple: Disputed land Cambodian, court rules

Posted by Nuttapon_S On November - 12 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Cambodia should have sovereignty over most of the disputed land around the Preah Vihear temple on the border with Thailand, the UN’s top court has ruled.

The International Court of Justice in the Hague said Thailand must withdraw troops from around the hilltop temple.

But it did not give Cambodia all the disputed land, saying it had no jurisdiction to rule on a hill nearby.

Both governments welcomed the ruling, with the Thai prime minister calling on her people to accept the verdict.

In a televised address, Yingluck Shinawatra told Thais that both countries would work together to achieve peace.

Her Cambodian counterpart, Hun Sen, also addressed his nation, repeating a promise to work with Thailand to keep the border peaceful and “not do anything that will lead to tension”.

“This is a significant step forward… towards a peaceful resolution,” he said.

The BBC’s Jonah Fisher in Bangkok says the ruling was a qualified victory for Cambodia, and the two sides will now have to negotiate.

The 900-year-old Hindu temple is perched on a cliff in Cambodia, but more easily accessed from the Thai side.

Fears of violence

The long-standing rift has previously led to clashes between the two nations, which both lay claim to the land.

A 1962 verdict by the court declared the temple to be Cambodian, but did not rule on the area around it.

Cambodia sought a clarification of the ruling two years ago, after fighting erupted.

Delivering the judgement, Peter Tomka, president of the International Court of Justice, said the court had decided “that Cambodia had sovereignty over the whole territory of the promontory of Preah Vihear”.

“In consequence, Thailand was under an obligation to withdraw from that territory the Thai military or police forces or other guards or keepers that were stationed there,” he said.

Both sides agreed to withdraw troops from the disputed area in December 2011.

On Saturday, the chief of Cambodia’s military forces on the Thailand border called an emergency meeting after Thai aircraft were seen flying low around disputed land near the temple.

However, Cambodian regional commander General Srey Deuk told the BBC he expected no problems with the Thai military after Monday’s verdict.

He said no troop reinforcements had been brought up to the temple.

But fears remain about possible violence in border villages, stirred up by nationalist groups.

One Thai nationalist group, the Thai Patriotic Network, has said it will reject any judgement from the ICJ, according to The Nation newspaper. The group has already petitioned the court to throw out the case.

The territory has been a point of contention for over a century.

Map

The decision to award the temple to Cambodia in 1962 rankled Thailand, but the issue lay largely moribund due to Cambodia’s civil war, which only ended in the 1990s.

It came to the forefront again when Cambodia applied for Unesco World Heritage status in 2008, which it won – angering Thai nationalists. Both sides began a build-up of troops in the area.

The ICJ ruling is an interpretation of the 1962 judgement and cannot be appealed.

SA KAEO, Oct 28 – Thailand and Cambodia confirmed today that the judgement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Cambodia’s request for interpretation of its 1962 ruling concerning the Preah Vihear temple   would not jeopardise relationship between the two countries.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul told a press conference at the Thai border province that he held a one-hour talk with his Cambodian counterpart Hor Nam Hong on pre- and post-verdict preparations to ensure peace along the border.
He said Thailand and Cambodia agreed that the two countries would remain on good terms no matter what ICJ  judgement on November 11 will be.
The regular meeting of Thailand-Cambodia Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JC) is a significant mechanism for the two countries bilateral relationship and the foreign ministries of both countries have played their roles in preventing misunderstanding among the Thai and Cambodian people after the ICJ’s ruling, he said.
Mr Hor Nam Hong also gave assurances that the bilateral relationship would not be affected after the ICJ judgement and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on all parties to be patient and accept the verdict for the sake of peace between the two countries.
Thai Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said Thailand recently informed a meeting of army chiefs of 29 countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim of the Thai-Cambodian legal dispute currently pending the World Court decision.
The meeting urged Thailand and Cambodia to solve the conflict in a peaceful manner, he said, adding that Thai people should not over-react prior to the court’s ruling and the military would adhere to the law as well as avoid clashes on the border. (MCOT online news)

Cambodia’s ruling party declared poll winner

Posted by Nuttapon_S On September - 8 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Election Committee ratifies PM Hun Sen as official winner of disputed July election amid opposition protests.

Cambodia’s election committee has handed victory in hotly disputed polls to the ruling party of Prime Minister Hun Sen, despite allegations of widespread voter fraud.

The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) of the strongman leader won 68 seats to 55 for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), according to a notice on the website of the country’s government-appointed election committee.

The opposition has contested the outcome of the July 28 election, but its legal challenges were rejected.

The results end the legal avenues open to the opposition to contest the poll, despite its allegations that major voter fraud distorted the result and a mass rally of about 10,000 supporters on Saturday calling for an independent probe into the election.

According to preliminary official results from the National Election Committee (NEC), the CPP won 3.2 million votes to the CNRP’s 2.9 million, although the body was yet to confirm those figures on Sunday.

Cambodia has been in a political deadlock since the July poll, with a defiant Hun Sen vowing to continue in power despite vociferous calls from opposition leader Sam Rainsy for a probe into voter fraud.

Experts say the result is a blow to the CNRP which is adamant it had won the election, however it also represents a significant parliamentary gain on the last election.

Hun Sen, 61, a former Khmer Rouge cadre who defected and oversaw Cambodia’s rise from the ashes of war, has vowed to rule until he is 74.

His government is regularly accused of ignoring human rights and suppressing political dissent.

Cambodia rejects call for poll fraud inquiry

Posted by Nuttapon_S On July - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Government dismisses opposition demand for international probe after ruling party declared victory in general elections.

Cambodia’s government has rejected calls by the opposition for an international inquiry into allegations it used massive fraud to win re-election.

The US and EU have expressed concern about irregularities in Sunday’s election, but both said an investigation should be conducted by Cambodian electoral authorities, failing to endorse the opposition’s call for an inquiry involving the UN.

“We call for a transparent and full investigation of all credible reports of irregularities,” Jen Psaki, US State Department spokeswoman, said.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Monday called for the creation of a special committee including representatives from both parties, as well as local and international experts to investigate the allegations.

“The committee has just to confirm that irregularities are so widespread that they have distorted the will of the Cambodian people,” Rainsy told Al Jazeera.

The government announced on Sunday that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen had won 68 seats in the 123-seat parliament, a sharp fall from its previous tally of 90.

The government said it wanted parliament to approve a new cabinet quickly.

But the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which nearly doubled its seat total to 55, could delay it as a quorum of 120 out of 123 legislators is needed in parliament to approve a new cabinet.

Rainsy said up to 1.3 million names had been missing from the electoral rolls and complained about lack of access to the media as well as intimidation on the campaign trail.

Prolonged wrangling over the result and a weakened Hun Sen could raise uncertainty over policy in the small but fast-growing Southeast Asian country that has built up a thriving garment sector and forged economic ties with China and Vietnam.

“We urge all parties and their supporters to continue to act in an orderly and peaceful manner in the post-election period,” the State Department’s Psaki said.

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