Skip to main content

U.N.: Thai, Cambodian troops must leave disputed temple area

By the CNN Wire Staff
Thailand's Ambassador to the Netherlands Virachai Plasai, center, at the International Court of Justice Monday
Thailand's Ambassador to the Netherlands Virachai Plasai, center, at the International Court of Justice Monday
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cambodia asks the international court to order Thai troops out of the area
  • Court draws a "provisional demilitarized zone" around the Preah Vihear temple
  • It asks the two nations to allow neutral observers to monitor the cease-fire
  • The court says it wants both sides to withdraw to avoid more casualties
RELATED TOPICS

(CNN) -- The United Nation's highest court ruled Monday that both Cambodia and Thailand must withdraw their troops from an area where a disputed border temple sits.

The International Court of Justice drew what it called a "provisional demilitarized zone" around the Preah Vihear temple and asked the two nations to allow neutral observers into the area to monitor the cease-fire.

Cambodia had asked the international court to intervene and order Thai troops out of the area.

The court, instead, said it ruled that both sides withdraw to avoid more casualties.

The 11th century temple sits atop a cliff on Cambodian soil but has its most accessible entrance on the Thai side. The two countries differ on whether some territory around the temple forms part of Thailand or Cambodia.

The International Court of Justice awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962. Thailand claims, however, that the 1.8 square mile (4.6 sq. km) area around it was never fully demarcated.

Thailand says the dispute arose from the fact that the Cambodian government used a map drawn during the French occupation of Cambodia -- a map that places the temple and surrounding area in Cambodian territory.

In 2008, the United Nations approved Cambodia's application to have the temple listed as a World Heritage Site -- a place the U.N. says has outstanding universal value.

The decision re-ignited tensions, with some in Thailand fearing it will make it difficult for their country to lay claim to disputed land around the temple.

Thousands have been displaced in the fighting and many have been killed.

 
Quick Job Search