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Borders on the Fantastic: Mimesis, Violence, and Landscape at the Temple of Preah Vihear

  • P. Cuasay (a1)

Abstract

Peace based on a fallacy is not for the living. The living must and shall demand the truth, for such is the way of nations, and such is the way of man.—Seni Pramoj, speaking at the World Court, March 27, 1962 (Pleadings, 564)

On 15 June 1962, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) pronounced judgment on a dispute between Cambodia, formerly a colony of France, and Thailand, formerly called Siam, a neighboring kingdom which had never been formally colonized. The dispute regarded territorial sovereignty over the area of an ancient Brahmanic temple named Preah Vihear (following the Khmer language of Cambodia) or Phra Viharn (following Thai language). The Temple is perched high on a spur of the Dangrek mountain chain which roughly forms the boundary between both countries. North of the Dangrek lies the Khorat Plateau of Northeast Thailand, while to the south the Temple affords a magnificent view of the forested Cambodian plain below. The judgment was peculiar in that it relied upon absence to startling effect. Applying the principle qui tacet consentire videtur si loqui debuisset ac potuisset (Judgment, 23) [He who keeps silent is held to consent if he must and can speak—ibid., 96], ICJ held that Thailand's failure to protest the inaccuracy of a map purporting to reflect the watershed line between the two states, and thus by the Treaty of 1904 the international boundary between them, constituted tacit acceptance of the map line as the line established by treaty.

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Borders on the Fantastic: Mimesis, Violence, and Landscape at the Temple of Preah Vihear

  • P. Cuasay (a1)

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