Political appointees to the Constitutional Court

12 02 2020

Continuing the military junta’s practice of appointing protectors of the status quo to the Constitutional Court, the junta appointed Senate selected four new Constitutional Court judges, all of them – as far as we can tell – died-in-the-wool royalists and rightist supporters of the military’s role in politics.

From Ji Ungpakorn’s blog

While it isn’t clear exactly what their qualifications are, those selected are Udom Sitthiwirattham, Wiroon Saengthien, Jiraniti Hawanont, and Noppadol Theppithak.

We did a little digging and found some links, in English, on these new appointees.

Udom Sitthiwirattham is the judge who ruled the project to construct court office buildings and housing for judges and officials on a 147-rai slice of green land near the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park legal. More than that, he “warned that continuing to post comments online or sharing comments online that are deemed to tarnish the reputation of the Appeals Court Region 5 could result in lawsuits.” So he fits in nicely to the Court.

Wiroon Saengthien was appointed by the junta – well, the Supreme Court, but there has been little space between them – to be “in charge of the rice-pledging dereliction of duty against former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.” However, we think this might refer to ” case against former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and 20 other people for alleged malfeasance, in connection with the sale of government rice under the previous administration’s rice-pledging scheme.” Those are the “credentials” valued by the Senate.

Jiraniti Hawanont was appointed by the junta established following the 2006 military coup to a committee to “probe of allegedly corrupt politicians…”. This was a special graft investigation panel and with “the power to freeze suspect assets.” Again, solid establishment and military-linked credentials. Many of those on the committee were also solid yellow shirts. Jiraniti has also held a position with the Ananda Mahidol Foundation, providing palace links.

There’s less we could find on Noppadol Theppithak. He seems to come from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But if that’s so, MFA is renowned for its conservative royalism and support of military dictators.

In other words, don’t expect the Constitutional Court to become anything different from its current politicized self.

Any further information from readers would be appreciated.


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