045- Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia vs Thailand)
Cambodia filed an Application to institute proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Thailand. It complained that the defendant state had occupied a piece of its territory surrounding the ruins of the Temple of Preah Vihear, a place of pilgrimage and worship for Cambodians.
Thailand raised preliminary objections relating to the jurisdiction of the Court. However, none of them were upheld by the ICJ in its judgment of May 26th, 1961.
The Court ruled on the merits on the case in its judgment of June 15th, 1962, noting that a Franco-Siamese Convention dated of 1904 provided that in the in the area under consideration, the frontier was to follow the watershed line. Furthermore, a map based on the work of a Mixed Delimitation Commission showed the Temple on the Cambodian side of the boundary. The arguments raised by Thailand before the ICJ to dismiss this card were rejected. Once it had been admitted that the Temple was in Cambodian territory, it followed that the military presence of Thai troops around the building, without the agreement of Cambodia, amounted to a violation of the international principle of state sovereignty.
Hence, Thailand was under an obligation to withdraw elements of the armed forces or police stationed there and to return to Cambodia any item removed since 1954.
This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.