Thailand has recognised it used cluster bombs against Cambodia (map, from bbcimg.co.uk) in February, according to campaigners against those weapons.
The decision was described as “appalling” and “unconscionable” by the Cluster Munition Coalition.
Both Thailand and Cambodia are among the countries who haven’t signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) three years ago in Norway.
Cambodia quickly accused its neighbour of using cluster munitions for four days of border fighting in February.
But Thailand denied, saying that if the weapons had been used it was by Cambodian forces.
Therefore it would mark a significant shift in Thailand’s position if the country admitted the use of cluster munitions.
The shift seems to come from the fact that several humanitarian organisations who have visted the border area around Preah Vihear temple said they found unexploded cluster bomblets.
Thousands of people at risk
According to the Cluster Munition Coalition Thailand argued that it fired the weapons in self defence against heavy artillery from Cambodia landing in civilian areas.
But the coalition said that should not be a justification for using weapons which now put thousands of villagers at risk of death or serious injury because of unexploded artillery.
The brightly-coloured bomblets are well known to attract children who get badly hurt if they pick them up.
Thailand and Cambodia both claim ownership of the temple’s surrounding area. Located high in the mountains which form the border between the two countries, the 11th Century Preah Vihear temple is a UN World Heritage site and was awarded to Cambodia in 1962 by the international court.
The dispute led to several incidents in the past years.