Cambodia Accused of Doctoring Maps in Temple Dispute

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Thailand's Ambassador to the Netherlands Virachai Plasai addresses the International Court of Justice in the Hague on April 17, 2013.
Thailand's Ambassador to the Netherlands Virachai Plasai addresses the International Court of Justice in the Hague on April 17, 2013.

Thailand accused Cambodia on Wednesday of submitting doctored maps to the International Court of Justice hearing a dispute between the two Southeast Asian neighbors over an ancient temple site along their shared border.

Thai officials also asked the top U.N. court in The Hague not to make a ruling on the territorial boundaries surrounding the long-running feud over land around the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple.

Testifying at the hearing, Thai Ambassador to the Netherlands Virachai Plasai, who is also head of the country’s delegation, said that the court should refuse to rule on the territorial dispute because in 1962 it had refused to delineate the border.

The ICJ began a week of hearings on the dispute on Monday after Phnom Penh asked for a reinterpretation of the court’s 1962 ruling that awarded possession of the temple to Cambodia, but did not take into account the now-disputed 4.6 square kilometers (1.8 square miles) of land surrounding it.

Cambodia had not objected to the original ruling until 2008, when the temple was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, Virachai said.

And now, more than 50 years after the 1962 ruling, “the court is asked to give, under the guise of interpretation, a declaration which the court then expressly declined to give,” he said.

The Thai legal team argued that Cambodia’s “real request” was about reinterpreting the original ruling its own favor, rather than about any ambiguities in the original ruling.

“It is an attempt to refashion the 1962 judgment to obtain a ruling that the court refused to make in 1962,” lawyer for the Thai delegation David McRae told the court.

Photo: RFA


The Thai delegation argued that there were problems with maps Cambodia had submitted to the court, accusing Cambodia of misleading the court by using falsified maps to back its claims.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong rejected the claims, accusing Thailand of presenting incorrect maps.

“They use many maps that were not used by the ICJ to issue the 1962 judgment. They use different reasons that are irrelevant to the law,” he told RFA’s Khmer Service after Wednesday’s hearing.

“Thailand used different excuses. Their argument is contradictory to the truth.”

Virachai said a map of the area that Cambodia used in its presentation to the hearing on Monday differed from one attached in its petition to the court.

Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said Cambodia also switched the map that the Thai side presented to the court in the old case, and that border lines on Cambodia's maps do not match actual land, according to the Bangkok Post.

After this week’s hearings, the ICJ will likely issue a decision on the dispute within six months.

Thailand and Cambodia have exchanged several rounds of fire since 2008, when the temple, located atop a cliff in the Dangrek Mountains, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The latest clashes left 10 dead in February 2011 and 18 dead in April that year.

Both countries pulled hundreds of soldiers out of the area last July, a year after the ICJ asked the two countries to demilitarize the disputed zone and replace the soldiers with police and security guards pending this week’s hearing.

While the site has since been free from bloodshed, tensions over the temple boundaries remain.

In southern Thailand's Si Sa Ket province, demonstrators at a national park adjacent to Preah Vihear held a rally on Wednesday aiming to raise the Thai flag over the patch of land surrounding the temple, but were stopped by some 200 Thai police, The Nation newspaper reported.

Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Sok Ry Sum. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.

Comments (5)

Thai people

from The world

Cambodia holding map of shame(Annex1). That map doesn't exist on actual land. Even ever no one know really history back then. Thai people proud of "Krom" but not greedy Khmer. Northeastern people of Thailand have right to own on Phra Viharn 100%. Remember that "Krom" is not all Khmers. 1000 years ago, There is no Thailand or Cambodia until French came and draw the border line on thier favor. Shame you Khmer where is your EQ? Childish!

Aug 23, 2013 03:17 PM


from Japan

Yes, that map of shame (Annex1) Alice in the wonderland Khmer low.

Aug 23, 2013 03:16 PM

Anonymous Reader

from washington

HISTORICALLY Thai had no country, but Thai are parasites and opportunistics. they are cancerous cell waiting for opportunity to attack the weakening host(cambodian).
as cambodian people, we must all unite, stand strong to protect our tiny land.
dispute about Prah Vihea, in the eye of law, whose party can convince the judges with evidences is the going to win. their attorneys can alledge, can manipulate fake into facts if those judges are not spending time for their investigation.
as cambodian, we know the truth. we should not let those attorneys represented Thailand bother us. their jobs are to protect their clients. they can say whatever they want. if the ICJ is live up to its reputation, justice will be served for cambodian people.

Apr 21, 2013 03:58 PM

Thais need to learn real history of its own country.

from siem reap

The thai historians should teach true history to its own people and stop trying to falsify the real history and attempt robbing Khmer's land.
Or the thai race just born to steal their neighbors'land around them?

Apr 19, 2013 01:21 AM


from Siemriep

The Thai robber always misled the world. The Thai loser always loser. Cambodians always winner, and will win again this time for sure. Cambodia is solely undisputed owner of the Land even Thailand and Vietnam to these days still plunder Khmer soil. How can the world sit still and let the gangster Siam to bark?

Apr 18, 2013 01:48 AM

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