Tue, Jul 19, 2011 - Page 5 News List

ICJ orders Thailand, Cambodia to move away from temple

AFP, THE HAGUE

The UN’s highest court yesterday ordered Thailand and Cambodia to immediately withdraw their troops from a disputed area around an ancient temple on the border between the two countries.

“Both parties should immediately withdraw their military personnel currently present in the provisional demilitarized zone and refrain from any military presence within that zone,” said the order, read by International Court of Justice (ICJ) president Hisashi Owada at a sitting in The Hague.

Cambodia in late April launched a bitter legal battle before the court in which it asked for an interpretation of a 1962 court ruling about the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple.

It also asked the court, while judges were pondering the request, to approve provisional measures, including an immediate Thai troop withdrawal and a ban on all Thai military activity there.

Although Thailand does not dispute Cambodia’s ownership of the temple, secured by the 1962 ruling, both Phnom Penh and Bangkok claim the 4.6km2 area surrounding the Khmer complex.

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