The Hague, The Netherlands — The International Court of Justice (ICJ) unanimously confirmed Cambodia’s sovereignty over the entire disputed promontory bearing the Preah Vihear temple on its border with Thailand in a ruling Monday afternoon.
The ICJ also reiterated the 1962 ruling that required Thailand to withdraw all security forces from the temple’s vicinity.
The 11th-century Hindu temple complex is on a steep-sided promontory that juts south into Cambodia, making access to the temple difficult without access from the northern Thai side.
The court said the border between the two countries should correspond with the natural promontory, and that it did not have to follow the watershed as Thailand had argued, according to reports.
The ICJ, however, rejected Cambodia’s claim to a nearby hill, called Pheu Makheu in Thailand and Phnum Trap in Cambodia. The hill is within the disputed 4.6 square kilometer area.
The court’s decision was welcomed in Cambodia, which claims the area around the temple is needed to access the World Heritage Site.
In a 1962 ruling, the ICJ said the temple itself was on Cambodian soil, but did not rule on the border line around it, which left the door open for further disputes.
Today’s decision was expected to spark further opposition in Bangkok, where hundreds of protesters petitioned the Defence Ministry earlier Monday to reject the ICJ’s authority over the disputed area.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had said over the weekend that Thailand and Cambodia must work together to maintain good relations regardless of the outcome of the ICJ ruling.