Trouble foreseen as U.N. court says Hindu temple site belongs to Cambodia

November 11, 2013

(Buddhist monks visit the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple on the border between Thailand and Cambodia November 10, 2013. REUTERS/Samrang Pring)

A U.N. court ruled in favour of Cambodia on Monday in a long-running dispute with Thailand over jurisdiction of land around an ancient temple, a decision that threatens to add fuel to a deepening political standoff in Bangkok.

The Preah Vihear Temple sits atop an escarpment that forms the border between Thailand and Cambodia. Under a map drawn up when Cambodia was a French colony, the temple is Cambodian but its ownership has dogged ties since Cambodia’s independence in the 1950s.

The two sides have exchanged fire around the temple on several occasions in recent years and the dispute has become divisive within Thailand where two broad political factions have been batting for power for years.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), in clarifying a 1962 decision to award jurisdiction of the temple to Cambodia, ruled that part of the land around it was Cambodia’s and Thailand must withdraw its forces from the area.
Read the full story by Thomas Escritt and Amy Sawitta Lefevre here.

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