. សេរីភាពបញ្ចេញមតិគឺជាលក្ខណៈគ្រិៈនៃសិទ្ធិ We should live without fear( សូមបងប្អូនជាជាតិខ្មែរ សូមចូលរួមបោះឆ្នោតជ្រើសរើសមេឃុំ/សង្កាត់ នៅថ្ងៃទី ០៤ ខែ មិថុនា ឆ្នាំ២០១៧ អោយបានគ្រប់ៗគ្នា."

ព៍ត៌មានទាន់ហេតុការណ៍ៈ បាតុកម្មនៅមុខ សាលាក្រុងប៉ោយប៉ែតមានជ័យ ថ្ងៃទី ៣០ ខែ ឧសភា ឆ្នាំ២០១៧

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The ICJ and Preah Vihear

Monday's decision by the International Court of Justice leaves many questions and too many loopholes. But while the interim verdict is incomplete and debatable, it is a starting point. It can help both Thailand and Cambodia to get their relations back in order. Both sides, therefore, need to follow this order of the World Court.
The establishment of a de facto demilitarised zone around the Preah Vihear temple will cool tempers. More importantly, it will separate armed forces and diminish the chances of more bloodshed.
Thailand certainly failed to get what it wanted from the court. Judges rejected the Thai view that the ICJ has no authority in this bilateral border dispute. Nor did Cambodia achieve its goal. Phnom Penh demanded an order for Thai troops to leave and, in effect, for the court to award Cambodia control of the temple area. The judges drew a red line all around the temple grounds and ordered all military forces out. It is an unsatisfactory order, but it is fair and both countries should move quickly to accept, obey and enforce it.
By far the most contentious and troublesome part of the ICJ ruling concerns the temple itself. The court ruled that "non-military" Cambodians have the right to go to and from the temple and to stay inside. This startling and difficult order is certain to cause trouble. It is almost impossible to accept that Cambodia will refrain from abusing this part of the court ruling. Thailand will have to help Cambodians go back and forth to the temple, and to supply the people there.
This order will require Cambodia to tightly control access from its side. Phnom Penh must provide full details to Thailand of who goes in and out, and what they take, if the government expects Thailand to help bring in supplies from Thai territory. In addition, the court's off-handed ban on "non-military personnel" in the temple ignores the reality on the ground, where security forces, both in and out of uniform, constantly are at work around the temple area.
The provisional verdict of the court is unsatisfying because it leaves open so many questions. For example, it does not address the long-running problems of access to the temple by visitors. Under the court ruling, the most simple questions such as transporting tourists and resuming the vendors' stalls are left open. Yet these are vital questions. The issues between Thailand and Cambodia involve ownership of the land around the temple, the 4.6 square kilometres of disputed land. If anything, Monday's verdict by the World Court fed the uncertainty over this dispute.
There is also irony in the court's unnecessary order that both countries allow Asean observers into the demilitarised zone. Under the extremely fragile pact brokered by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Nata-legawa in April, the "observers" at the temple site are to be from the Indonesian military. Both the Thai and Cambodian military provided a low-key tour of the border area to Indonesian soldiers early this month. The observers will presumably be unarmed, but the court's order is to keep out local soldiers but to facilitate foreign soldiers inside the restricted zone.
Despite the flaws in the court's order, Thailand and Cambodia can - and must - abide. It is an interim verdict, with more definitive rulings to come.
The two governments should use the coming weeks and months to engage in serious discussions about how to manage and maintain the heritage site. With hard work and goodwill, disputes over the Preah Vihear region can be settled without armed confrontation.

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