The Cambodian government on Monday asked [press release] the UN International Court of Justice [official websites] to order Thai troops to withdraw from a disputed border area surrounding the Temple of Preah Vihear [UNESCO profile]. Cambodia sought clarification from the court of a 1962 decision [judgment, PDF] awarding the temple to the Cambodian city of Phnom Penh. Cambodia argued before a panel of 16 judges [Aljazeera report] that the troops in the surrounding area of the temple are a threat to the security and peace of the region. Thailand argues that the ICJ does not have jurisdiction to decide border disputes between countries. Thailand does not dispute [Bangkok Post report] the Cambodia's ownership of the temple ruins but does dispute ownership of the 4.6 kilometer area surrounding the temple.
Last month, Cambodia petitioned the court [JURIST report] requesting clarification of the 1962 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 [BBC 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.