International Decision: Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 15 June 1962 in the Case Concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand)
American Journal of International Law, Vol. 108, No. 2, 2014
9 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2014 Last revised: 21 Aug 2015
Date Written: February 26, 2014
This article reviews the 2013 International Court of Justice decision in the case concerning the temple of Preah Vihear, the site of a longstanding territorial feud between Thailand and Cambodia. In 2011, after a series of military clashes, the Cambodian government asked the Court to interpret its 1962 judgment pertaining to Preah Vihear, which awarded the temple to Cambodia but left the status of surrounding territories unclear. The Court agreed to interpret the original judgment, seeking to clarify some of its ambiguities without violating the principle of non ultra petita. Its cautious 2013 interpretation left important questions unanswered and subject to further bilateral negotiation, but the absence of a more decisive ruling has a potential silver lining. It gave each side the capacity to claim partial victory, which may help relieve some of the nationalist pressure that has fueled the dispute.
Keywords: International Court of Justice, territorial dispute, Thailand, Cambodia
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