Thai-Cambodian border dispute continues to plague relations

Updated On: Sep 16, 2009

The Thai Civil Court has thrown out a suit by a group of Thai academics accusing the Cambodian prime minister and two other ministers of abusing Thai people's rights over Preah Vihear.

The suit, lodged by Thepmontri Limpaphayom and eight other scholars, accused Prime Minister Hun Sen, Deputy Prime Ministers Sok An and Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong of violating the Thai people's rights and liberties under the Thai constitution by encroaching on the Preah Vihear temple and the disputed area around the temple ruins.

They asked the court to order Cambodia to withdraw its troops from the area. The court was also asked to order the World Heritage registrar to withdraw Cambodia's registration of the ancient Hindu temple as a World Heritage site.

The court rejected the suit, saying the issue was a dispute between two countries over the sovereignty of the area and not a civil matter.

Meanwhile, Thailand's yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) plans to gather near the Preah Vihear Temple this Saturday, demanding that the 11th century Khmer temple be "returned" to Thailand.

Cambodia issued a warning on Tuesday against the September 19 rally spilling over the disputed border.

Chum Socheat, spokesman for Cambodia's National defense ministry said that Cambodia will certainly take action if the yellow-shirted protesters enter into Cambodian territory illegally.

"The Thai people can do whatever they want in their territory, but they must not enter into Cambodian soil. Our commanders at the front line will not allow them to cross the border", said the spokesman.

On July 15, 2008, Thai monks and nuns crossed the border into the Cambodian soil near the temple. They were arrested and freed after negotiation with the Thai soldiers.

In Thailand, the government has expressed misgivings about the protest.

The rally might only add fuel to the conflict between Thailand and Cambodia, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Tuesday.

"I don't know what the PAD's intentions are. They can gather and express their feelings but they should be careful of being at odds with the Cambodian side," Mr Suthep said.

The deputy premier, who oversees security affairs, said the Thailand-Cambodia Joint Border Commission (JBC) was looking into the ownership of 4.6 square kilometres of disputed land next to the ancient temple.

He called on people not to interfere with the JBC's work.

However, he added that the tension between the two countries has eased.


Rally at Preah Vihear Temple: Thais planning to rally warned, 15 September 2009,


PAD border protest 'not helpful', 15 September 2009,


Court rejects Preah Vihear suit, 14 September 2009,


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