Happy Thai team home from The Hague

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Three members of the Thai delegation at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearing on Preah Vihear returned to Thailand from The Hague on Sunday morning and thanked the Thai people for helping them to do their utmost in the case.

Surapong Tovichakchaikul, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat, the defence minister, and Virachai Plasai, the Thai ambassador to The Hague and leader of the Thai legal team, were met on arrival by a cheering crowd with welcome home banners and a throng of foreign and local news reporters.

Mr Virachai thanked the Thai people for their moral support and affirmed that the Thai team had done its best in fighting the case.

He was glad secrets on how to fight the case had not been leaked before the team delivered its oral statement to the ICJ. He declined to go into detail, saying that to do so could be contempt of court.

Foreign lawyers in the Thai legal team will gradually return to Thailand afterwards.

They all knew the Thai people were full of praise for them, he said.

Mr Virachai said the Thai side had already prepared part of the documents to show the grid coordinates of the Preah Vihear ruins to be presented to the ICJ on April 26.

A meeting would be held this week of the foreign lawyers and agencies concerned to emphasise the Thai strategy and standpoint.

He believed relations between Thailand and Cambodia would not be affected because of the court dispute.

Mr Surapong said he would on Monday lead the team of foreign lawyers to meet with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to brief her on the case and developments made during April 15-19 when both the Thai and Cambodian sides delivered their oral statements to the ICJ.

He revealed he had talked to Hor Namhong, his Cambodian counterpart, before the delivery of the oral statements to ensure Thai-Cambodian relations would remain unchanged, whatever the outcome of the court case.

The Foreign Ministry would have to work hard to publish the oral statement made to the court so that the people could understand and be prepared for the court’s decision, Mr Surapong said.

Mr Surapong said when he assumed the foreign minister’s post, Mr Virachai was removed from the Joint Boundary Committee (JBC) as proposed by the ministry so that the ambassador could concentrate on preparing documents to be presented to the ICJ and Mr Virachai had proved his efficiency and ability.

He said the government provided full support for Mr Virachai, whose team had been working hard for over three years. He added that the team is the best ever.

Mr Surapong rejected as groundless a suggestion that the goverrnment did not replace the legal team, which was set up by the Democrat-led government, because it could put blame on the previous administration if Thailand was defeated in the court.

The foreign legal team hired by Thai side is Prof Alain Pellet, Prof Donald McRae, Prof James Crawford and Alina Miron.

Of those lawyers, Ms Miron, 34, was outstanding in her argument on the maps and has been praised as a heroine by Thais.

Ms Miron is a Romanian fluent in five languages. She has a strong academic background in public international law at universities in France, including the Universite Paris-Ouest Nanterre la Defense, Universite Paris-Ouest la Defense and Universite des Sciences Sociales.

Representing Thailand is her first time in the ICJ, she is serving as assistant to the team’s lead counsel, Prof Pellet. She has worked with Prof Pellet on several cases such as the whale hunt in Antarctica in which Australia sued Japan and the land and water dispute in which Nicaragua sued Colombia..

From: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/346314/thai-team-home-from-the-hague


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