Is there any point in international arbitration?

The Cambodia-Thailand border around the thousand year old temple of Preah Vihear is well defined. A joint commission in 1904 set the border between Siam and French Indochina at the watershed in the Dângrêk mountains. The maps provided by the French however deviated from this line at Preah Vihear. At the time the Siamese did not protest. In 1954 Thai forces occupied the temple following the withdrawal of the French and in 1962 the International Court of Justice ruled that the temple was Cambodian. However although it withdrew its forces Thailand has never accepted the border. There have been clashes since with the most recent killing up to fifty people. This case shows the problems with international arbitration and dispute resolution. There is little the international community can do when one side refuses to accept the results.

Is there any point in international arbitration?

Yes because... No because...

Lack of authority is just plain stupid.

Like someone else said, there has to be some form of governing force. Without a central governing authority, there is no order, and without order there is chaos, so... unless you like chaos, we need international arbitration

But at least with Chaos, there is some end to the matter and the underlying issues are dealt with. Thanks to arbitration, the issue between Thailand and Cambodia has still not been resolved. As both parties are massaging the death statistics, we do not have an accurate image of how many people died. But with this arbitration set to continue, we would be better to solve the issue as soon as possible.

Is there any point in international arbitration?

Yes because... No because...

Nationalism is too much of an issue

When countries can't (or refuse to) solve their own problems, the international community has to step in. While nationalism exacerbates bipartisan talks between regions, that is no reason to have no talks at all or to do away with trying to resolve problems altogether.

Thailand is being pressured to compromise and without any pressure would have zero chance of "seeing the error in her ways.", at least there is a global understanding that Thailand stands on shaky ground.

National pride gets in the way of countries seeing sense. As with Thailand, even though all international maps dictate that Cambodia is the country in which the Preah Vihear is situated, and many international agreements agreeing what territory the temple belongs to[[http://the-diplomat.com/asean-beat/2011/02/08/cambodia-thailand-clash-over-temple/]]; Thailand are still unwilling to compromise. With this much level of evidence against their case, how could any arbitrator make Thailand see the errors in its thinking when it has been told that it is wrong in its submissions all along?! The problem is the sense of nationalism that comes to play in international arbitration – it is not a useful tool in such situations.

Is there any point in international arbitration?

Yes because... No because...

The stakes are too high with people dying

What alternative do we actually have? When there is no central authority that either party will definitively submit to, all we have to resort to is war. If this were the chosen method of 'dispute resolution' then there would be more dead than 5-50!!

In the current dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, there could be anything from 5 to 50 dead[[http://the-diplomat.com/asean-beat/2011/02/08/cambodia-thailand-clash-over-temple/]]. Each side is stating different accounts in order to promote their case in arbitration. This is neither. With the countries failing to disagree as to who is to decide the dispute; arbitration is clearly not the way forward. The judgment will not be enforceable, and the losing party will never agree to the jurisdiction of the arbitrator. Whilst the case is backed to and fro for deciding in arbitration, people are losing their lives. It is for this reason that arbitration is not suitable.

Is there any point in international arbitration?

Yes because... No because...

Disputes as to the arbitrator are unavoidable!

By this argument there should be no legislation at all because there are instances where and when the neutrality of an arbitrator or residing judge cannot always be insured. Not all judgments are true and accurate.

However, international disputes unlike a prolonged court case can undergo the process of resolution for an unlimited period of time, changes in evidence and international opinion can change the judgment passed or the strategy suggested for problem solving without a lengthy appeal process or having to worry about it being too late.

Thailand appears to be stubborn about this but unless Thailand has legitimate cause to reject Cambodia's independence(other than being upset about losing money in tourism and losing land that isn't theirs in the first place) the fact that Cambodia owns the temple stands, whether Thailand likes it or not.

It may be difficult to resolve the issue, [[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/cambodia/8308615/What-is-behind-the-latest-Thailand-Cambodian-conflict.html]] but no interference or pressure would mean Thailand and Cambodia will have a full-out war, which the bigger country with the bigger military will win. India's stance on the Kashmir issue is not very different from Thailand's on the temple issue. Borders have been set by the international community and yet India claims that even the Chinese part of Kashmir is theirs. The international community can only go so far as keeping governments in check (in the case of India-Pakistan-China triangle a nuclear war has been and continues to be subdued by international pressures) . Infighting within Guerrilla groups and the border patrol is still better than a war with an astoundingly worse death toll.

Countries have too many allegiances. One of the benefits of arbitration is that you can choose the arbitrator by agreeing. However, in international disputes, choosing an independent party to finally judge the case is somewhat difficult with national allegiances in line. This can be seen with Thailand, even with the International Court of Justice; even after signing a contract submitting to their jurisdiction, Thailand refuted it [[http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/45/4859.pdf]]. This shows how truly difficult it is to settle international disputes via arbitration.

Is there any point in international arbitration?

Yes because... No because...

Law only works when you submit to their authority

Countries are inter-dependent. Bon jovi said that, 'No man is an island', well, no country stands alone either. The fact that Thailand hasn't annexed the temple in Cambodia proves that international pressure amounts to something, that both Thailand and Cambodia know their need for international support and therefore state self-flattering accounts to win over the international council.

While border fighting is eminent, a war has been averted. Only the international media can give you a clear picture of whose account is sound. The temple is in Cambodia and Thailand is being pressured to leave it alone. Pressures on the Thai government by the people are the only thing keeping the Thai government from submitting.

Is it better to submit to the authority of the world than your own people? Do the people care about the temple or are forces politically opposed to the government egging the people on to care?

As John Locke stated, authority is only binding when there is a 'consent of the goverened'. People give up a little bit of their freedom, they submit to the rules, on the condition that the Government will rule to protect them[[http://www.democracyweb.org/consent/principles.php]]. However, this does not work when we have countries at an international level. Neither has a law binding over the other. Neither affords protection to the other. Neither consent to being governed. It is for this reason that international arbitration does not work.

Debates > Is there any point in international arbitration?