Protesters denounce ICJ over land dispute

Hundreds of members of the Thai Patriots Network rallied at the Royal Plaza yesterday to oppose the International Court of Justice (ICJ)'s role in ruling on the Thai-Cambodian dispute over the Preah Vihear temple.

  • Published: 22/01/2013 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Members of the Thai Patriots Network gather in front of the Supreme Court to submit a petition calling on the government to reject the International Court of Justice’s jurisdiction in the territorial dispute over the Preah Vihear temple. A similar petition was also lodged with the commanders of the three armed forces. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

Chaiwat Sinsuwong, a leader of the rally, said the network had 1.3 million people sign a petition rejecting the ICJ's jurisdiction over the issue.

The government should not acknowledge the court's jurisdiction in the dispute nor should it commit itself to following the court's upcoming ruling, he said.

The ICJ has accepted Cambodia's request to reinterpret its 1962 ruling, which awarded ownership of the temple to Cambodia. The ruling did not mention the disputed area immediately surrounding the temple.

Representatives from both countries are scheduled to meet the court in April.

The demonstrators submitted their petition to the ICJ via the Bangkok office of the United Nations on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue.

Copies of the same petition were also submitted to commanders of the army, air force and navy, as well as to the president of the Supreme Court.

The demonstrators dispersed after delivering the letters to the agencies.

Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said the army will wait for the ICJ's ruling, expected later in the year, before considering further actions together with the government.

He said the troops will continue to abide by the ICJ's 2011 order that instructed the two countries to jointly establish a demilitarised zone of 17.3 sq km around the temple.

The zone includes a 4.6 sq km area that is claimed by both countries.

Both countries should avoid a repeat of the 2011 border clashes, Gen Prayuth said.

But if it comes to that, the army will be ready to fight, he said.

In response to the protest yesterday, he said he could not stop the group from voicing their opinion, though he warned them not to become violent.

Meanwhile, in Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district, a group of people calling themselves Kamlang Pandin (Power of the Land) erected a large billboard in Kantharalak city centre rejecting the ICJ's jurisdiction over the territorial dispute.

The group, led by Kittisak Ponpai, called on the army to push Cambodian soldiers and civilians away from the disputed area near Preah Vihear temple.

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