The ICJ July 18 Ruling
… Today I have the necessity to brief the press as well as our people on the ICJ July 18 ruling on Request for the Indication of Provisional Measures made by Cambodia. I may stress that as soon as the Court issued its ruling, a declaration has also been made by the Royal Government of Cambodia to offer its entire support to the ruling of the Court, leading to a reaction from the Prime Minister of Thailand Abhisit Vijjajia that “Cambodia supports first, so Cambodia has to withdraw troops first, too …” I think that is so childish. Let me have his attention that it is neither a child’s play nor a matter between two countries – Cambodia and Thailand, and ASEAN as before anymore. The Court’s ruling bears the obligation to be carried out internationally. On this note I hope Thai out-going Prime Minister will moderate his words to be more polite in making related statement, while causing no disturbance to the incoming Government to be headed by Lok Chumteav Yingluck Shinawatra.
As for Cambodia, we have been able to move on the subject swiftly because we work as team. It has always been Cambodian way that we have those officials, including some commanders at the front and those commanders at the rear, who work alongside together. Look when Deputy Prime Minister HE Sok An went to UNESCO and Deputy Prime Minister HE Hor Namhong to the ICJ at the Hague, we at the rear – other Deputy Prime Ministers, Chief of Staff, General Director of the National Police, Commander of the National Military Police and specialized officials – have all followed up with them on all developments. That is why in just hours from the time of ICJ ruling, the Royal Government was able to put together a comprehensive declaration on the matter.
According to the ICJ communiqué issued by the ICJ, in its conclusive paragraph, there is a reminding set of obligations that each Party shall inform the Court as to its compliance with the all related provisional measures. I see this as an international legal obligation that all parties concerned have to abide by. The ruling also notes that decision given in the present proceeding on the request for the indication of provisional measures in no way prejudges any question that the Court may have to deal with relating to the Request interpretation. It consists of two points in our understanding of the ruling as follows.
Firstly, the order (on request for the indication of) provisional measures is international legally binding obligation, for which Abhisit could not childishly say it otherwise. Secondly, the order is in no way to be understood to prejudge any question relating to the Request interpretation. I do not look for win – lose situation here, but it seems the Thais have made it their advantage gaining interpretation. As has been clarified in the Thai media, including newspaper The Nation, the Court has unanimously rejected the Kingdom of Thailand’s request to remove the case introduced by the Kingdom of Cambodia on 28 April 2011 from the General List of the Court. I would leave it to the Cambodian and Thai public, considering this development, for their judgments whether that is Thai victory. The decision has been a slap in the Abhisit’s face and I should suggest that (he) should keep silent and leave the issue to the Court.
As you all know Cambodia is also requesting for interpretation of the judgment of June 15 1962 in the case concerning the temple of Preah Vihear and is taking urgent measures to save this world heritage.
Next Step: Simultaneous Withdrawal Plan
As a party to implement the Court’s ruling, Cambodia sees it necessary, within its own right and obligation, to take the initiative to put forward succeeding measures. It is in this effort that Cambodia has come up with a Draft Agreement on Compliance with the Order of 18 July of the International Court of Justice. Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister HE Hor Namhong sent a copy of the Draft Agreement to Government of Thailand via the Embassy of the Kingdom of Thailand to Cambodia. A copy has been sent to Indonesia, also a concerned party in the provisional measures order, and to the ICJ in The Hague as is demanded by the Court Order. We also send a copy to the UN Security Council.
I understand that you all have a copy of the Draft Agreement I would just make some comments on a number of points relating to the issue so that we all could see how to proceed to a provisional demilitarized zone (PDZ) in compliance with the Court Order. The Draft Agreement obliges (the Kingdom of) Cambodia, (the Kingdom of Thailand) and Indonesia, currently rotating Chair of ASEAN, to fulfill the following:
First – to withdraw military personnel currently present in the provisional demilitarized zone, as defined in Paragraph 62 of the Court Order, with the cooperation of Indonesia and each party will inform the Court of its compliance on the number of troop stations as of July 18 in the zone.
Second – to guarantee Cambodia’s free access to the Temple of Preah Vihear and Cambodia’s provision of fresh supplies to its non-military personnel in the Temple, with the cooperation of Indonesia, and each party will inform the Court of its compliance on status of non-military activities as of 18 July 2011 in the demilitarized zone.
Third – upon the two tasks entered into force, both parties shall propose for immediate organization and sending of Indonesian observers, on behalf of ASEAN, as is stipulated in Paragraph (B) 3 of the Court Order, and Paragraph 10 of the declaration of the ASEAN Chair on 22 February 2011 in Jakarta.
Fourth – after the arrival of the Indonesian observers, with the cooperation of the latter, actual delimitation of Points A, B, C and D of the provisional demilitarized zone will be carried out in accordance with the coordinates defined in Paragraph 62 of the Court Order.
Fifth – with the cooperation of the Indonesian observers, both parties shall set a timetable for immediate withdrawal of all military personnel from the provisional demilitarized zone.
Sixth – in compliance with Paragraph 61 of the Court Order, the tasks to be carried out in this Agreement shall not impact works to be carried out by the General Border Committee (GBC) and Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) in delimitation and keeping security and order along the border.
Seventh – in compliance with Paragraph 69 of the order of 18 July 2011, a separate agreement between Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia shall be formulated so as to define terms of responsibility and reference of the Indonesian observers, who take the duty on behalf of ASEAN, and those of Cambodia and Thailand aimed at facilitating the mission of the Indonesian observers.
Well these are points in the Draft Agreement that we have sent to relevant parties – Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia – for further discussion. We welcome all inputs on the Draft Agreement and will consider them seriously while preparing for taking part in upcoming negotiation.
On Informing the Court of Each Party’s Compliance
I may now make a few comments on issue of informing the Court of each party’s compliance to its order with the cooperation of Indonesia in giving number of troops and their stations as of 18 July 2011 in the demilitarized zone.
First of all, it is necessary to start with the present status so as to have a better knowledge of who is stationing where. It is necessary, for instance, to know the whereabouts of the Cambodian troop positions prior to their withdrawals. If it is required that number of weapons needs to report, Cambodia may also comply, if Thailand and Indonesia agreed.
Second, as ordered by the Court, only military personnel shall be withdrawn, while non-military personnel shall be allowed to stay. It is therefore necessary to inform the Court of status of non-military activities on the both sides of Thailand and Cambodia in the provisional demilitarized zone. On the Thai side, they may have non-military personnel such as forest rangers, national park staff, etc. at Srah Trao, Red House, etc. On the Cambodian side we also have Heritage police to protect the Temple, tourist police to protect the tourists, and forest rangers to guard against illegal logging. But there will be no military forces.
Please allow me to clarify this point to our people that to do that will not mean that Cambodia withdraws out of and/or abandon rights to control its territory as has been provoked by the opposition. We will safeguard our sovereignty and the benefit we will achieve is to have no more military clashes. Both people and armies of the two countries – Thailand and Cambodia, will benefit from the PDZ. Military confrontation and armed clashes will come to an end when the two troops have moved out of the area.
On the Provisional Demilitarized Zone
In event that anything happens from the withdrawal of the troops, Indonesia has to uphold what is stated in the Paragraph 3 of the Court Order. This time, let me stress, the role to be played by Indonesia is not that has been expected before. It seems Prime Minister Abhisit has made a contradicting statement to the Court Order when he said that foreign troops, namely Indonesia, shall not be allowed to enter the conflict area. The Court Order, however, states that both Parties shall continue the co-operation which they entered into within ASEAN and, in particular, allow the observers appointed by that organization to have access to the provisional demilitarized zone.
The newly defined PDZ covers an area of 17.388 square kilometers, which is bigger than the area previously under consideration, to which Indonesia observers have full access. The term of reference under the ASEAN (conflict resolution) framework is now obsolete. It is also inapplicable to have only fifteen observers for each side as originally planned.
On issue of actual locations of Points A, B, C and D of the provisional demilitarized zone to comply with the coordinates defined in Paragraph 62 of the Court Order, as you all have seen on the map, we have to follow two factors – actual geographical conditions and coordinates defined by the Court. I need to clarify a few points here in relation to what has been said by Prime Minister Abhisit and quoted in NNT Pataya Mail dated July 20. He said that the area of over 17 square kilometers defined by the Court at the Thai-Cambodian border includes 8.5 square kilometers on the Thai side and 8.8 square kilometers on the Cambodian side.
I have the duty to clarify to the Court today on the size of the PDZ in Cambodian territory. It is not at all as stated by Abhisit. This is because Abhisit is using Thailand’s unilateral or pirate map. According to the Dangrek map – the Annex 1 map used by the ICJ Judgment in 1962 – the area of the PDZ belonging to Cambodia amounts to 14.363 square kilometers of the total of 17.388 square kilometers. When Indonesian observers arrive, both Cambodia and Thailand must cooperate in order to locate the four points of the PDZ.
Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia will have to work together to determine the locations on the ground of Points A, B, C and D in accordance with the coordinates defined by the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Once the locations are fixed, a review of the military personnel on the ground will be conducted in order to allow for setting the date for the withdrawal. Cambodia wishes to see that no one should be allowed to take advantage of the situation and hopes that people of the two countries are living in peace.
Please note that the map of the PDZ attached to the Court Order does not show the boundary line, as this will be the subject of the final interpretation of the Court as requested by Cambodia. I am speaking on this topic only in response to Abhisit’s misleading and incorrect statements on the relative size of the Thai and Cambodian parts of the PDZ. Abhisit, for his own domestic purposes, deceived his own people, saying that Cambodia ‘lost’ more territory than Thailand from the Court Order. Even though our territory subject to the Court Order is much greater than the Thai territory, we do not regard it as lost. This is only a temporary measure awaiting the final interpretation. As it will bring to an end the bloodshed in this area, and save our Temple from attack, we support and are fully committed to comply with the decision of the Court.
The Role of Indonesian Observers
Let me now emphasize on the role of the Indonesian observers. As I stress primarily that the ASEAN 22 February 2011 declaration is still in force, and even strengthened by the recognition in the Court Order. I would, however, indicate that the previous draft TOR for the observers and the “package” solution of 09 May 2011 are now obsolete. Now we have to implement and comply with the Court Order.
Now we do not need to talk any more about the positions of the Indonesian observers. As far as Cambodia is concerned, they can decide themselves to go anywhere within the PDZ, and we will facilitate. We hope Thailand will do the same.
On the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bali
The Indonesian Foreign Minister has drafted a statement on behalf of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers, reporting on their discussion on regional developments, including the Thai-Cambodian border issue. The draft reported that all Foreign Ministers agreed to welcome, respect and comply with the Court Order. This draft was supposed to be released on 21 July 2011, but it was opposed by Thailand, and so it has not yet been released.
If Thailand continues to oppose release of this statement, then I will instruct the Foreign Minister to inform the Court and to send a copy of the draft to the Court, so that they will understand the situation. The document is marked ‘confidential’, but we can’t keep this confidential as the Court and the world need to know.
As owners of the Temple of Preah Vihear inherited from our ancestors, including His Majesty the King Father, Norodom Sihanouk, who reclaimed it for the nation in 1962, we children agree to withdraw our armed forces from 14.363 km2 of our territory to save our Temple from possible attack, and for the sake of peace for our two peoples and nations./.