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Thailand protesters petition for corruption charges over temple dispute

[JURIST] Protesters led by Thailand's People's Alliance for Democracy [JURIST news archive] petitioned the country's National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) [official website] Monday, asking it to bring new corruption charges against government officials and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The protesters are seeking new charges against the government for allegedly granting Cambodia full claim to a historic temple in exchange for personal favors to Thaksin. Last week, Thailand's Constitutional Court [official website, in Thai] ruled that current prime minister Samak Sundaravej [BBC profile] violated the country's constitution by dropping Thai claims [JURIST report] to the Preah Vihear temple [Telegraph backgrounder] without parliamentary approval. Opponents of the temple transfer have called for those involved to be impeached and charged with treason [JURIST report], while others have called for the government to rescind its recognition of the bid or join in the multinational force [Bangkok Post reports] that will guard the site. Reuters has more.

This latest controversy arises a week after the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) [official website] approved a Cambodian application [UNESCO press release, in French] for recognition of the temple as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tensions have long existed between Thailand and Cambodia concerning the Preah Vihear temple, as both countries have claimed jurisdiction over the structure. In 1962, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled [opinion, PDF] that the temple was officially located in Cambodia.

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