Cambodia, Thailand border spat heads to UN court

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The UN's highest court is to have public hearings later this month after Cambodia requested an order against Thailand to withdraw its troops from a disputed border area, the court said Thursday.

Locked in a bitter quarrel with Thailand over an patch of land around the ancient Preah Vihear temple, Cambodia late last month filed the urgent request before the International Court of Justice, based in The Hague.

"The International Court of Justice will hold public hearings in the case," the ICJ said in a statement adding the hearings "will be devoted to the request for the indication of provisional measures filed by Cambodia."

"This means the hearing will focus specifically on Cambodia's urgent request for an order for Thai troop withdrawal," a source close to the court told AFP.

The hearings on May 30 and 31, will be in the form of oral submissions from both countries.

The UN court ruled in 1962 the 11th-century Khmer temple belonged to Cambodia, but both Phnom Penh and Bangkok claim ownership of the 4.6-square-kilometre (1.8-square-mile) surrounding area.

Cambodia last month asked the ICJ to explain that ruling, with the ICJ saying it would rule on a clarification at a later stage.

At least 18 people have been killed and 85,000 have been temporarily displaced in weeks of clashes over the ownership of the small patch of land around the temple.

© 2011 AFP

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