Scales of justice?

4 03 2014

There has been talk of double standards in the Thai legal system for some time, and the red shirts have long pointed at these when, for example, red shirts were being locked up by the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime, while several cases against yellow shirts dragged on and on, and none of them seemed to ever be incarcerated. It was a reasonable complaint for any fair-minded person.

Recently, some red shirts decided to test the extent of double standards by deciding to set up a protest stage at the office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). In essence, they were emulating the anti-democrats, who not just set up stages, but blocked government offices, in some cases stormed them, and even dragged away files and papers.

Yet, as the Bangkok Post reports, these red shirts, who “opposed the anti-graft panel decision to charge the caretaker prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in relation to her problematic rice-pledging scheme,” [notice the Post’s bias in the use of the term “problematic”] have found themselves arrested in record time.

Partly, this rapid process reflects the fact that the members of the group “turned themselves in to police in Nonthaburi on Monday…” after the Nonthaburi provincial court approved arrest warrants. The report states that they have “been charged with trespassing at the office of the NACC and damaging property in connection with their protest on Feb 17.”

Not surprisingly, the group believed that “their protest should receive the same protection from the Civil Court’s recent order to protect anti-government demonstrators’ rights.” That would seem quite reasonable, especially as various courts have repeatedly refused warrants for the anti-democrats, including several for men armed with automatic weapons who shot up various areas in support of the anti-democrats.

But being reasonable and even observing the law is something that the courts now find politically impossible as they have become amongst the most politicized courts in Asia.





More politicized intervention

17 01 2014

For a backgrounder on the Constitutional Court’s politicized interventions, see this Prachatai story.

Recently activist and interventionist has been the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). As expected from the anti-democratic coalition that seeks to bring down yet another elected government, the Bangkok Post reports that the NACC “will investigate caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s role in the rice pledging scheme after bringing formal charges of corruption against two of her cabinet ministers.” The NACC is to determine “if she was negligent in her duties as chair of the National Rice Policy Committee.”

The NACC wants to determine Yingluck’s negilgence – whether she “failed or had no intention to stop the alleged corruption and she could face criminal charges…”. Note that the word “alleged” is used here as the two ministers alleged to have been corrupt have been charged but not even heard the charges, had an opportunity to defend these particular charges or been convicted in what is already a politicized set of charges.

PPT would have thought that allegations and charges needed to be proven before any legal case could be made of “negligence.” But then the law and its processes seldom bothers the politicized “independent” agencies in Thailand.





Lese majeste inanity

22 11 2013

Yes, we agree with Puea Thai Party politicians that the Constitutional Court’s verdict is inane. The idea that making the senate a fully-elected body is an act of treason is as silly as it gets.

So why is it that these politicians engage with lese majeste hysteria when fighting back against a court that is royalist to the soles of their boots and an agent of yellow-shirted political and democratic sabotage?

The report at the Bangkok Post that declares that the Puea Thai Party “will seek the impeachment of the court judges and file complaints against them for alleged malfeasance in office” seems a predictable response to the court’s royalist bias, but to then declare that the judges committed “lese majeste in rejecting the amendment draft while it is pending royal approval” is simply giving credit to the lunatics who use the charge against innocents on their side of politics.

Now that the Constitutional Court has performed its acrobatic feat, the king’s task will be to sort out any resulting constitutional crisis, and we know where that leads. This king has done more than anyone else in promoting judicialization and manufacturing the bias that has destroyed the foundations of the rule of law. He’s on their side and this looney law protects him and his, not the Puea Thai Party.





Partisan judges

6 11 2013

We have long known that Thailand’s legal bench is populated by royalists and corrupt flunkies who preside over kangaroo courts and dispense “justice” as a commodity and with a set of double standards that are lamentable in the region and globally.

Today, 63 judges have shown that they are pleased and proud to be partisan. We doubt that these royalist flunkies even understand the gravity of the situation they have created by being seen as partisan political activists. For this post, we can leave aside the corruption that riddles the courts and concentrate on their act of political and constitutional debauchery.Kangaroo Kourt

Their move is arguably more politically arrogant than the Puea Thai Party’s attempt to re-route amnesty.

The Bangkok Post states that this is “the first time that Court of Justice judges have publicly expressed their political views.” That’s not true in that many of the decisions they have made on several cases, including lese majeste, have been blatantly political, as any of our links posted above show.

Calling themselves “Judges Who Love the Motherland,” while reminiscent of the fascist judges of 1930s and wartime Europe for doing the bidding of their political bosses, by declaring their opposition to the amnesty bill they have destroyed what little credibility the courts had managed to maintain.

Saying that “the statement reflected their personal opinions and had nothing to do with any court or judicial organisation” simply reflects how politically biased they are and, frankly, how stupid they are.They can have personal opinions, but judges as a group in a constitutional and representative system with separation of powers simply don’t mouth off.

Should we tell them that judges are supposed to be independent of the political process? Shouldn’t they already know? And if they don’t, shouldn’t they be sacked?

Proving their lack of legal and intelligence quotients, they apparently stated: “As judges, we are duty-bound to maintain righteousness and justice in this country. We strongly oppose the amnesty bill, which is to go before the Upper House…”. As judges, they are not duty-bound to engage in partisan politicking.

If they want to engage in such acts, they should resign. Now they should be required to stand down. We imagine there’s not much chance of that.

 





Attacking Puea Thai

7 10 2013

In several recent posts PPT has mentioned the anti-Thaksin Shinawatra coalition’s use of the “broad judiciary” in seeking to bring down the Puea Thai Party-led government.

The failure of the Democrat Party in multiple elections, the military’s lack of appetite for a coup, and the fizzling of street-based protest means the judiciary and “independent organizations” remain the next best opposition tool. That these organizations are largely populated by opposition and judicial appointees makes them potential allies against the elected government the royalists hate.

Usefully, The Nation has produced the following chart of the cases that have been brought by the Democrat Party and associated (mostly unelected) senators and PAD-related groups:

From The Nation

From The Nation





Opposition fails, judges needed

24 09 2013

A recent story at The Nation caught PPT’s collective eye for its statement that the “opposition Democrat Party, though experienced in parliamentary debate, has become increasingly ineffective…”. In fact, the party has failed and violated parliament.

Further, the account states: “Outside Parliament, the strength of the anti-government forces has also waned, with only one major issue able to re-ignite their fire – the proposed amnesty bill…”. We have also made this point several times.

Add to this that the military seems unwilling to talk coups, at least at the moment.

The story concludes, as we did yesterday when we were being very silly about the old farts at PART, the threat to the Yingluck Shinatwatra government comes in the form of the judiciary or, as the article has it, “the so-called judicialisation of politics.” It notes that the “opponents of the government see as the only way to ‘deal’ with the … [government] … is a series of petitions to the Constitutional Court, one of the cases might just result in the dissolution of the ruling party.”

So it is that the military junta demon seed unelected senators “have lodged a petition [with the Constitutional Court] arguing that the move to amend the law pertaining to the way senators are selected is in violation of Article 68 of the Constitution.” This will be followed by PART and the Democrat Party. All hope that the court may eventually dissolve the Puea Thai Party, thus throwing out the elected government, again.

The court knows that taking this path again is a very risky strategy. The judiciary is already rotten at its foundations, and another political act risks bringing the judges into even greater disrepute and could well bring the edifice down.

 

 

 





White Paper on the politicized judiciary

18 07 2013

As regular readers will know, PPT has repeatedly pointed to the politicized activism of some elements of the judiciary. In fact, only yesterday, we noted the impending departure from the Constitutional Court of its President Wasan Soypisudh. That post included several links showing the biased politics of that court and Wasan’s activist role.

In recent days, Thaksin Shinawatra lawyer Robert Amsterdam has produced another of his White Papers, this time entitled The Judicial Attack on Thailand’s Democracy. Democrat Party Games. Also available here. This is a timely publication that summarizes and explains the concerted use of elements of the judiciary to oppose elected pro-Thaksin governments and to destroy pro-Thaksin parties and movements.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

The White Paper is introduced thus:

The purpose of this White Paper is to alert the international community to an ongoing assault—carried out largely under the standard of the Democrat Party of Thailand, but engineered by a broader coalition of groups hostile to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra—designed to remove a democratically elected government by illegal means.

It is added:

This White Paper describes the efforts by the anti-Thaksin coalition to undermine the results of the 2011 election, and it calls upon the international community to throw its full-throated support behind the Yingluck [Shinawatra] government as it strives to advance true democracy in Thailand, while preventing a repeat of April/May 2010.

Referring to the need to break “a cycle of lawless coups and killings that dates back decades,” the White Paper is introduced as documenting the use of “every conceivable method to remove a duly elected government, primarily through an extra-parliamentary campaign of street action and judicial manipulation.”

While this paper is likely to be dismissed by royalists and other yellow-hued opponents of Thaksin, the issue of judicialization raised in the White Paper speak to the nature of Thailand’s democracy. It should be of concern to all that the judiciary lacks independence and takes political sides. This inevitably means that the judiciary becomes a site of bitter political contestation that takes rule of law off the table.





Tainted judge going

17 07 2013

In an important yet brief report, The Nation explains that Constitutional Court president Wasan Soypisudh is resigning “as both president and judge from August 1.” In resigning, Wasan said:

his resignation was in accordance with an agreement by judges when he was elected as president – that he would stay in the post for not more than two years to complete some goals to manage the administration system and finish some cases.

He says he has now completed all his work.

Wasan has been a politicized judge at the head of a politicized court. PPT has had several posts on his activities. In earlier posts, PPT noted that the Constitutional Court is irretrievably biased in favor of the royalist elite. We have shown that this court is corrupt and only too happy to collude with members of that elite, including in the palace. The Constitutional Court has repeatedly acted the judicial arm of the royalist elite, most notably in its actions to dissolved various pro-Thaksin Shinawatra parties and politicians and in its protection of favored parties and groups. Its actions to stymie legal constitutional change have been some of the most biased and ludicrous cases ever seen in Thailand.

The court’s politicized decision-making has been central to the political conflicts of the past decade and Wasan has even stated the biases of the court:

WasanAt a seminar on the court’s role in keeping the balance in Thai politics, he referred to the court’s resolution to dissolve the People Power, Chart Thai and Matchima Thipataya parties [the 2008 judicial coup]. If various groups had not staged so many rallies at the time, the decision might have been different, he said. “If the country at that time had been peaceful, the government and the opposition could have joined hands, the country could have moved forward, and I believe most of the judges would have decided not to dissolve the parties,” he said. “But the country at that time was chaotic and the Constitution Court had to use its judgement to maintain law and order,” he said, adding however that the court was under no pressure.

To the very end, Wasan was acting politically, telling reporters that he delayed his resignation due to “the court was being pressured by the red shirts.” The Bangkok Post notes that the Court did not wish to be seen to be “caving in to pressure from the protesters.”

The resignation of a judge who has presided over the politicization of the Constitutional Court should be cause for some relief, tempered by the knowledge that the Constitutional Court judges have a nine-year term that began in May 2008.





Ask the Constitutional Court

14 01 2013

The Red Shirts blog states that the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship has now submitted a letter to the Constitutional Court, seeking clarification on the court’s earlier decisions and pronouncements on how the government can or cannot amend the constitution.

According to the report, the court’s July 2012 ruling was “that amending the constitution does not pose a threat to the monarchy…”. The oddity is that this even required a ruling; but it was a bunch of mad monarchists making the claim that changing the military junta-dictated constitution amounted to republicanism.

But the Court also threw one of its large royalist spanners in the works when it “suggested that the government hold a referendum regarding the amendments.” Because this is a suggestion, no one understands if it has any legal basis or merit. But, hey, don’t mess with the Constitutional Court or they’ll dissolve you party and ban you or even have you jailed!

In its letter, the UDD asks the following:

1. Does the suggestion from the Court that the government hold a referendum regarding constitutional amendments constitute advice or an order? What law or article of the Constitution was consulted by the Court in this decision?

2. Does the Court disagree with a parliamentary vote on the Constitutional amendments? If so, what law or article of the Constitution was consulted by the Court in this decision?

RejectedIn the circumstances of Thailand’s recent politics and its remarkable judicialization, these seem like reasonable questions. However, as we know, even before receiving them, a court spokesman had rejected the idea of clarifying anything and the very moment these questions were received, the deeply politicized court president Wasan Soypisudh had rejected the notion that the court would clarify its not-a-ruling-but-a-suggestion intervention, which he thinks is “clear.”





Opposing 112

21 12 2012

PPT draws attention to another post at Red Shirts blog on opposition to the lese majeste law:112.jpg

Nearly every Sunday afternoon since March 2012, a dedicated group of Red Shirts have gathered in front of Ratchada Criminal Court under the banner “Declaration of Street Justice”. Organized by Dr Suda Rangkupan, a professor of linguistics at Chulalongkorn University, the “Friends of Thai Political Prisoners”, or the Street Justice movement, is committed to protecting the human rights of political prisoners in Thailand and 112 (lèse majesté) prisoners in particular.

The group demands an amnesty for all political prisoners and “strongly supports, not only an amendment to 112, but reform to all of Thailand’s defamation laws which they argue are in violation of Thailand’s international human rights obligations.” Dr. Suda explains that rallying at the court is significant:

Normally protesters gather outside government houses or the parliament, giving the illusion that only politicians are to blame for Thailand’s problems. We gather here in front of the court because we recognize that the abuses of power extend to these institutions [the judiciary] as well.

She adds: “The judges are very upset about our gatherings.” Of course they are. The activists draw attention to political bias in the judiciary, the double standards that exist and the judicialization of politics.








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