Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Reference: The judgement of the World Court 1962, Bangkok Post, June 25, 2008
The essence of the agreement between Thailand and the French in the early 1900s with respect to the border between them in the region of Preah Vihear is that the border corresponds with the watershed line. The opinion of the World Court in 1962 that Preah Vihear falls on the Cambodian side is based on the logic that the French had drawn the map that way and that the Thais had seen it but had been silent on the issue of Preah Vihear. In so doing, the Court took it upon itself to interpret Thailand's silence and concluded that their silence could only mean that Thailand had accepted the map as drawn. This interpretation is logically flawed because the silence of the Thais may also be interpreted to mean that they were waiting for positive verification that the French line corresponded with the watershed. It is very clear that Thailand had never accepted anything but the watershed line as the limits of their territory. Now that we know that the French map does not correspond with the watershed; and since the watershed still stands as the only agreement that both Thailand and the French had explicitly accepted, it is clear that the Court erred in its opinion and that the matter should be reviewed in its entirety. The map drawn by the French and the opinion passed by the World Court contravene the treaty between Thailand and the French with respect to their border in the region of Preah Vihear.