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'Thais won't accept ICJ ruling in temple dispute'

A yellow-shirt group yesterday submitted letters to the United Nations, the Army chief and the Supreme Court president, demanding rejection of the ongoing International Court of Justice hearing into the Thai-Cambodian dispute.

Hundreds of members of the United Front of Patriotic Thais for the Protection of Thai Territory (UFPTP), led by Chaiwat Sinsuwong, gathered at the Royal Plaza at 11am and paid their respects to the King Rama V statue. They then formed a procession and marched to the Makkhawan Rangsang Bridge to submit a letter to the UN office.

Before the march, Chaiwat announced his group was invoking Articles 70 and 71 to protect the national interest by rejecting the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the dispute over the Preah Vihear Temple. Chaiwat said his group wanted to advise the UN that Thais would never accept ICJ jurisdiction and they opposed the government and politicians who "betrayed" the nation by handing over national interests to others.

Chaiwat submitted the UFPTP letter to Adnan Alini, an adviser to the UN office in Bangkok. The letter was supported by copies of 1.2 million signatures Chaiwat claimed his group had gathered in opposition to the ICJ's involvement. The UFPTP demonstrators moved on to Army headquarters and submitted a letter to the Army chief via Lt-Colonel Satit Wongsamlee, an officer on duty at the Army Secretariat.

The protesters then marched to the Supreme Court and submitted a letter to the court president via a court official. Chaiwat read a statement in front of the court, demanding the judiciary counter-balance the government's power to stop it from giving away the country's sovereignty. The group dispersed at 2.30pm. Chaiwat said his group would rally on Kood Island in Trat on February 2.

Meanwhile, Army Commander-in-Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said he hoped the UFPTP would not break the law in its demonstrations.

He said the Army and the government were waiting for a ruling from the ICJ before planning the next move.

The Army chief said he preferred bilateral talks with the Cambodian government on how to settle the dispute over the land plot near the Preah Vihear Temple.


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