Home > Hun Sen, Local News > Hun Sen playing high stakes game

Hun Sen playing high stakes game

The government was hardly taken by surprise
when Cambodia resorted to citing the International Court of Justice’s
1962 ruling on ownership of Preah Vihear as the border dispute between
the two sides unfolded this week.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (R), speaks during a press conference
in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 17 February 2011. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun
Sen holds the press conference on the border issue with Thailand.
The ICJ ruled that the temple belonged to Cambodia, but did not
determine who owned the 4.6 square kilometres of surrounding land.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong raised the 1962 verdict at
the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York on
In the last paragraph of his statement, Hor Namhong said the UNSC
may refer to the ICJ for interpretation of its judgement according to
Article 96.1 of the UN Charter, because the 1962 ruling – and its
misinterpretation – is the root cause of the conflict.
The UNSC, however, did not look closely into the ICJ’s decision,
instead calling for the two countries to agree to a permanent ceasefire
and to allow Asean to mediate the matter.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday that his government would ask the ICJ to rule on the matter again.
Phnom Penh is adamant that bilateral negotiations are not the answer
to the dispute and will try all means to avoid them. It prefers to take
the matter back to court, because it has won there before.
Cambodia is also aware that Thailand does not favour outsiders
getting involved in the border row – which is perhaps why Phnom Penh is
proposing signing a peace deal witnessed by other Asean member
Thailand is unlikely to agree, so the meeting of all 10 Asean
foreign ministers in Jakarta on Feb 22 looks unlikely to result in a
In taking the case back to the ICJ, Phnom Penh is prepared to hire
lawyers who have experience fighting border disputes before the
international court. But Thailand is confident it will be able to
better defend itself this time if the matter does go to the ICJ.
Bangkok believes the ICJ will not hand a repeat victory to Cambodia simply on the basis of its 1962 ruling.
That the dispute has carried on ever since highlights its complexity.
If this assumption is true, the ICJ might defer its authority to the
two countries to reach their own settlement, which would back up
Thailand’s position that no one knows the problems on the border better
than those involved in the dispute: itself, and Cambodia.
Bangkok Post
Categories: Hun Sen, Local News
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