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Cambodia asks ICJ to review disputed temple on Thailand border

The Cambodian government requested Friday that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] clarify [press release] its 1962 decision [judgment, PDF] awarding the Temple of Preah Vihear [UNESCO profile] to the Cambodian city of Phnom Penh. Cambodia has requested the clarification in order to "peacefully and definitely settle the boundary problem between [Cambodia and Thailand] in the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear." Parts of the Cambodia-Thailand border have never been formally demarcated, which has led to border disputes [BBS report]. In response to the latest border clash [JURIST report], UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website; JURIST news archive] stressed that the dispute could not be resolved through military force [statement] and urged both sides to continue working towards a ceasefire.

Cambodia's border with Vietnam has also been a point of controversy. Early last month, Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy [party profile; JURIST news archive] lost his final appeal in the Cambodian Supreme Court on charges [JURIST reports] of intentionally destroying posts marking the Cambodia-Vietnam border and inciting racial discrimination. The ruling was given in absentia because Rainsy has been in self-imposed exile since 2005. At the hearing, Rainsy's representative stated that this was a political issue, not a criminal one. Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] criticized the ruling [JURIST report] as demonstrating the government's control over the judiciary.

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