Senators press govt to defy ICJ over Preah Vihear plot
A group of senators Monday urged the government to reject the authority of the World Court in the dispute over the plot of land surrounding the Preah Vihear temple.The so-called Group of 40 Senators said the Pheu Thai government would have to inform the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that it had no authority to make a ruling over the dispute -- and Thailand would not accept a ruling or order of the court that would affect sovereignty over the disputed plot.
Cambodia asked the ICJ for an interpretation of the scope and meaning of its 1962 verdict that the ancient Hindu Preah Vihear temple was located on Cambodian territory. Phnom Penh wants the court to explain who has sovereignty over the area surrounding the temple, which Thailand claims as its own.
Thailand is scheduled to present oral arguments to the ICJ judges on April 17 and 19.
Appointed senator Kamnoon Sidhisamarn, a member of the group, said the Thai representatives must use the chance to tell the ICJ that Thailand would not accept its jurisdiction over the Kingdom.
Kamnoon said the jurisdiction of the old world court over Thailand expired in 1959, so Thailand should not accept the ICJ's jurisdiction and the Kingdom is not bound to observe the ruling.
Phetchaburi senator Sumol Sutawiriyawat, another member of the group, said Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul should recall how he gave an interview earlier that Thailand could lose in the ICJ battle.
Sumol said the Thai government should also step up efforts to push Cambodians from the plot around the ancient Hindu temple.
"The government should not prejudge that the people, who come out to give opinions on the issue, want to topple the administration. The government should listen to their opinions," Sumol said.
Nirand Praditkul, another appointed senator who belongs to the group, said the Thai ambassador in The Hague, Weerachai Palasai, should also cite the Franco-Thai treaty of 1907 for the arguments of Thai sovereignty over the plot.
He said the Thai side should make sure that no ICJ judges had a conflict of interest because of their race or nationality.
Another appointed senator, Weerawit Kongsak, said the government should have the National Security Council gather opinions and suggestions on the issue for the government to consider.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, meanwhile, urged all sides not to politicise the border dispute as her government would try its best to protect Thai sovereignty over the plot surrounding the Preah Vihear.
She said a yellow-shirt group should rally peacefully when it holds a demonstration later this month.
People's Alliance for Democracy spokesman Panthep Phuaphongphan said last week his group would submit its seven demands to Yingluck today, in which the government will be encouraged to speak up at The Hague in April and officially denounce the ICJ’s jurisdiction.
Chaiwat Sinsuwong, yellow-shirt leader, said on Sunday the Thai Patriots would hold a mass demonstration on January 21 to call on the courts and the military to do anything to prevent the government from accepting the ICJ's ruling. The group had yet to select a venue.
Yingluck said she had tried to use her personal ties with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to drop the case from the ICJ, but the Cambodian prime minister insisted on proceeding with it.
Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said neither side should politicise the border dispute.
He said the Army would try its best to protect the country's sovereignty in line with the law and rules.