A group of Cambodians living in the Netherlands plans to stage a protest at The Hague in November, demanding that the International Court take action in an ongoing border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand.
Around 400 Cambodians from European countries and the US are expected to call for support of a 1962 decision by the International Court giving ownership of Preah Vihear temple and lands surrounding it to Cambodia, according to organizer Pothi Tey Svathey.
Thailand does not dispute Cambodia’s ownership of the temple, but it disputes nearby border land claimed by Cambodia.
Cambodia and Thailand have been at odds since July, when Thai soldiers entered a pagoda in one disputed area, following the inscription of nearby Preah Vihear temple as a Unesco World Heritage site. Thousands of soldiers have since massed on the border on each side, and fighting between soldiers last week left at least three Cambodians and one Thai soldier dead.
“We will bring a complaint to the Hague court about the Thai military or Thai government invasion of Cambodian territory and also the violation of the Hague court decision,” Pothi Tey Savathey said.
Thai officials maintain they have not invaded Cambodian territory and that Thai soldiers occupy Thai land.
The group will also complain to Unesco and the UN Security Council, she said, adding that she hoped the governments of Thailand and Cambodia would solve the border dispute peacefully and at the international level, Pothi Tey Savathey said.
“So what we are doing is just complain it through international law,” she said. “We really don’t want war to happen again.”
Both governments have side they remain committed to bilateral solutions.
Ir Channa, general secretary of the Cambodian Watchdog Council in Norway, said his group also urged a solution to the dispute through the International Court.
“The Hague court is our only hope that Cambodia will receive victory with pride and make sure that we don’t lost our land and our historical heritage,” he said.