Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand, 1962, ICJ)

Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand, 1962, ICJ)


  1. Principle of acquiescence
  2. International law uses of principle of equity, which is a principle of law used in civilized nation and international law adopted the same.

Fact: Preah temple was an ancient and significant temple due to its cultural and historical value. It was situated on the border of Thailand and Cambodia. Though Thailand was the historical owner of that area in 1904 when Cambodia was a colony of French they came to an agreement with Thailand; they agreed to divide the border according to the watershed. After that, A French – Siamiz (now known as Thailand) commission they drew a detailed map of the border where thought by mistake but very clearly marked the Preah Vihear in the territory of Cambodia, Thai Government never object after officially receiving that map. Later, after several years when Thai Prince went to visit that Temple, he sow the French Flag over the temple but did not raise any objection.

The main objection came by Thailand when UNESCO declared The Preah Vihear as a world heritage and thus take million dollar project to save it, they demanded it as their land and put some military personnel, on the other hand, Cambodia rejected that claim. On gradual dispute, it went to International Court of Justice.

Issue: Whether Cambodia had sovereignty over the territory of preah Vihear?

Decision: Cambodia had sovereignty over the whole territory of the promontory of Preah Vihear and that, in consequence, Thailand was under an obligation to withdraw from that territory the Thai military or police forces.

Reasoning: The commission that marked the map finally was a joint commission form both party and both of the party adopted the same without any objection, therefore, Cambodia had sovereignty over that area according to their treaty.

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Rayhanul Islam

Rayhanul Islam

Rayhanul Islam is a lawyer by profession, he is also a researcher. Critical thinking is his main focus. He is the founder and Editor in Chief of Law Help BD. He is on a quest to bring positive change to the legal sector of Bangladesh. He promotes legal knowledge and human right concept to the root level. e-mail: rayhan@lawhelpbd.com

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