By Supalak Ganjanakhundee,
Alina Miron, co-counsel on the Thai legal team that is presenting the country's case in the Preah Vihear land dispute before the world court, smiled in surprise when told she had become a celebrity in Thailand.
Her strong presentation and photogenic appearance on the court’s TV screens have left many people following the case impressed. Also, many are curious about Miron and how she came to be a member of the Thai team.
Thailand’s agent in the case, Virachai Plasai, said that Wednesday’s appearance was Miron’s first before the world court, and that she did a great job of explaining Thailand’s position on the maps Cambodia is using to make its case.
“I trust her when it comes to presenting this important topic to the court, and she did an impressive job,” he said.
Virachai said he had spent a long time studying the maps with Miron, adding that her knowledge was very helpful. Miron is a Romanian with a solid educational 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.
In the world court case, Miron is serving as assistant to the team’s lead counsel, Prof Alain Pellet. She has worked with Pellet on many cases, advocating on behalf of Slovenia, Russia, Greece and Nicaragua.
Miron speaks many languages. Romanian is her mother tongue, but she also speaks French and English fluently. Her command of Italian is also good.
Thai social media have been gripped by the “Alina Miron fever”. Bloggers, along with Thai senators attending the trial at The Hague in the Netherlands, have praised Miron for her sound reasoning, which they believe will convince the world that Cambodia does not have the right to a 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area near the temple.
Appointed Senator Somchai Sawaengkarn posted a message on Facebook praising Miron’s politeness and her technique of reasoning. He said her use of pictures and maps to make comparisons have made Thailand confident of winning the case. “[Another senator] could not help but compliment her, telling her in person that she was ‘excellent’,” Somchai said.
Senator Kamnoon Sithisamarn said Miron demolished Cambodia’s argument, which is based on the Annex I map, dismissing it and turning the courtroom’s attention to maps introduced by Thailand in the 1962 case.
A blogger called “Sai Trong Paksanam” said Miron pointed out credible and technical problems with Cambodia’s Annex I map, saying it has been altered and contradicted geographically. Miron said the Thai team has found there are six different versions of the Annex I map.
The blogger received 5,000 “likes” and 2,310 “shares” 22 hours after posting.
Sermsuk Kasitipradit, a Thai PBS reporter, posted pictures of Miron and a message on his Facebook page and received 700 “likes”.
“Miron fever” also gripped the Pantip website, thanks to blogger “BaaD” with his blog “Netizens praise Miron after her taking to pieces Cambodia’s Annex I map”.
On Twitter, @SupotNTV wrote that Miron was brave in making her observations, saying that “Cambodia’s map is not accurate but I could not believe that the country has altered the map.” Within 18 hours, this message was re-tweeted 232 times. @doubletoyy tweeted that though Miron is not Thai, she carried out her duty better than Thai officials. She posted pictures of Miron on pic.twitter.com/DhCi9ewIOK