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Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 15 June 1962 in the Case Concerning The Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand)

International Court of Justice
2013 I.C.J. 281 (2013)


The ruins of the ancient Preah Vihear Temple stand on a clifflike promontory along the border of Cambodia (plaintiff) and Thailand (defendant). In 1904, Cambodia was a French protectorate, and Thailand was called Siam. France and Siam entered a boundary treaty, agreeing that the border between the two countries followed the contours of a natural watershed that corresponded with the cliff edge. That placed the temple in Siam, which was on the same side of the cliff, making access relatively easy. In contrast, reaching the temple from Cambodia required scaling the cliff. But the commission charged with carrying out the border delineation used French maps that placed the border as cutting across the promontory instead of following the cliff edge, showing the temple in Cambodia, and the Siamese government did not object to those maps. Fifty years later, Thailand stationed troops around the temple on the ground that the 1904 treaty set the border as corresponding with the cliff edge. In 1959, Cambodia petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to declare that the temple stood within Cambodia, again presenting the French maps. The court ruled that the temple itself stood in Cambodia. Another 50 years later, Cambodia asked the ICJ to interpret the 1962 ruling as applying to the entire promontory and to enter provisional measures requiring Thailand to withdraw military forces from the surrounding area. The court issued a provisional order in 2011, followed by a ruling as to the boundary dispute in 2013.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning

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