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Thanks For The Robust Debate; Now Find Us A Way Out: Thai Talk


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THAI TALK

Thanks for the robust debate; now find us a way out

Suthichai Yoon

The Nation

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So far, it has been, to say the least, a very interesting, even exciting, intellectual exercise. You can even say it's a robust public service to educate the public on some of the country's most controversial issues.

For what it's worth, Thailand badly needs some real, informed exchanges of ideas on correcting the past to enable us to take the next step.

Except for some subtle personal sparring, the exchanges among several leading law and political science academics, sparked by a statement on September 19 by the "Nitirat Group" (also known as the Enlightened Jurists) to declare null and void all legal actions taken as a result of the 2006 coup must be considered one of the most enlightening academic activities so far.

Whether you agree with the provocative stand taken by the seven-member Nitirat Group or not, the reactions from other law experts have been highly educational to most people interested in trying to find a solution to the ongoing political conflicts.

The Enlightened Jurists want the whole package of legal provisions related to the coup to be nullified, arguing that the coup was illegal.

The "fruit of the poisonous tree" theory is cited to support this proposal. If the tree is poisoned, the fruit can't be edible, so goes the contention.

Reactions were hot and quick. The Law Society of Thailand, led by Sak Kohsaengruang, issued a statement suggesting the move was obviously to help former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. Nitirat's chief spokesman Worachet Pakeerut of Thammasat University denies that. He says Nitirat is all about the rule of law. Thaksin's gains or losses as a result of their move have nothing to do with it.

Sak is adamant that while he agrees the coup was illegitimate, the cause of that unfortunate action was no doubt prompted by severe corrupt practices by the government under Thaksin. He declared: "The Nitirat Group has proposed to cancel the part of the legal provisions that were damaging to former politicians and not to seek justice for society. Corruption is an international crime."

Kittisak Prokkati, also a Thammasat University law faculty member, casts doubt on the group's stand. He insists in an article that a democratic system isn't based solely on what is perceived as the wishes of the majority of voters.

"In the end, respect for the rule of law means that despite what the majority of people want, all legal verdicts must be based on the judgements of a properly instituted and independent justice system."

The Nitirat Group cites the case of the German parliament enacting a law to nullify all the verdicts handed down by the Nazi's "People's Court". Kittisak counters that the comparison between the Nazi case and Thailand's judicial actions after the 2006 coup is not valid. The Nazi's People's Court, he points out, comprised five judges, two professionals and three officials appointed by Hitler.

"Judges on Thailand's Criminal Court for Political Office-Holders were not appointed by the coup leaders. They were all voted to the court by senior judicial officers. The coup leaders had no authority whatever in the appointments," the professor argued.

Sastra Toh-on, a law lecturer at Rangsit University, chimes in with his analysis aimed at disproving the "fruit of the poisonous tree" argument. He insists that law and political science academics must take a more dynamic view of social issues, instead of just confining themselves to a particular defect. "One must also consider the causes that brought about the coup in order to be able to make an accurate analysis of the problems affecting society," he writes.

He blames part of the problem on the "decaying of the old legal system that was being crippled by the lack of dynamism."

Sastra belongs to the school of law experts who believe that any discussion of freedom must go side by side with the responsibility for ensuring social safety. The selective choice of principles that fit one's own bias while neglecting other equally important considerations is something any jurist true to his profession should try to avoid, he insists.

The Enlightened Jurists aren't sitting still. They have come back with counter arguments; the basic contention is that coups are illegal and therefore unacceptable under any circumstances.

Then came a group of 23 "law lecturers" who took the Group of Seven to task by suggesting that the latter should challenge "every coup" in the past, all the way back to the first military takeover in 1932 that overthrew the country's absolute monarchy.

The debate won't die down easily. But as long as the protagonists stick to a healthy academic exchange and refrain from personal attacks, this discussion will certainly benefit Thai society. For the first time, perhaps, it should be able for someone to disagree with somebody else and not get labelled a lackey of a third person.

But an academic exercise will not offer a solution to society unless all parties concerned can promise to reach a set of thoughts that could lead the country out of the current deadlock.

I am tempted to suggest that we should lock the academics from all sides in a room and let them out only when they can knock on the door to declare: "Yes, we have worked out a way out of this impasse." Surely, the country's intelligentsia must be smart enough to offer us a solution. We certainly don't lack a divergence of views. What we desperately need is for the best and the brightest brains to agree on a way out of this deadlock.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-06

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The problem they have is that Thaksin's money laundering convictions are not related to post-coup laws.

Maybe they would like to return to a mythical pre-coup world where financial corruption was not an offence?

No, they are trying to argue that the prosecution of such offences is tainted ie no coup, no prosecution.

Do such ideas make sense? Only to so-so academics and grateful red-shirts in the photo. It makes you weep.

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The problem they have is that Thaksin's money laundering convictions are not related to post-coup laws.

Maybe they would like to return to a mythical pre-coup world where financial corruption was not an offence?

No, they are trying to argue that the prosecution of such offences is tainted ie no coup, no prosecution.

Do such ideas make sense? Only to so-so academics and grateful red-shirts in the photo. It makes you weep.

Are you implying there was no financial corruption during Mark's junta regime?

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The problem they have is that Thaksin's money laundering convictions are not related to post-coup laws.

Maybe they would like to return to a mythical pre-coup world where financial corruption was not an offence?

No, they are trying to argue that the prosecution of such offences is tainted ie no coup, no prosecution.

Do such ideas make sense? Only to so-so academics and grateful red-shirts in the photo. It makes you weep.

Are you implying there was no financial corruption during Mark's junta regime?

Is there a person, group or body suggesting that, if such corruption occurred, it should not be prosecuted?

Or do you prefer, everybody does it so let's forget about it?

"Kittisak Prokkati, also a Thammasat University law faculty member, .....................

"In the end, respect for the rule of law means that despite what the majority of people want, all legal verdicts must be based on the judgements of a properly instituted and independent justice system." "

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The problem they have is that Thaksin's money laundering convictions are not related to post-coup laws.

Maybe they would like to return to a mythical pre-coup world where financial corruption was not an offence?

No, they are trying to argue that the prosecution of such offences is tainted ie no coup, no prosecution.

Do such ideas make sense? Only to so-so academics and grateful red-shirts in the photo. It makes you weep.

Are you implying there was no financial corruption during Mark's junta regime?

Are you implying that we should not prosecute Thaksin and various other officials for their financial corruption simply because to date PT and the legal system have not yet taken action against any financial corruption during Abhisit's leadership formed as part of the democratic process?

Will you agree that even if there is a rewind, that given some of the corruption charges would stand under the 1997 constitution that the PT and red shirts hold so dear despite TRT ignoring much of it, that he should still face trial for those, with any evidence gained from the investigations to date being considered now in plain view?

Surely the aim of a working democracy is to discourage the elite being able to manipulate the laws and media for their own benefit, in, I don't know, things like:

- lying in their asset declarations

- forcing the media to stop covering the story of a prominent son caught cheating in his university exams

- forcing through changes in law to first force 25% maximum foreign ownership then changed to 49% allowing the sale of 96% of a company to a foreign entity

- forcing through a legal decision to allow children to buy shares for 1b and resell them the next day for 47.5b, but to be able to do tax free

- creating bidding for numerous government funded projects then manipulating the bidders and process to ensure that only connected parties bid and collude to ensure that one party wins the bid at an unreasonably low price

I am completely in agreement that arguably perhaps the cases were politically motivated. There is a reasonable doubt there. not from me, not from the letter of the law...but from the public.

So.....Let's either accept the decisions made to date....or retry them. ALL OF THEM.

These 3 words, 3 little words just like Tom Vu said, are the only 3 words that your pal Thaksin probably doesn't/cannot stomach hearing.

Let's face it, he should have been banned in 2001 for that asset declaration, as he lied/forgot depending how you look at it. He got off using a popularity contest.

This time, let's not give him the same wiggle room.

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The problem they have is that Thaksin's money laundering convictions are not related to post-coup laws.

Maybe they would like to return to a mythical pre-coup world where financial corruption was not an offence?

No, they are trying to argue that the prosecution of such offences is tainted ie no coup, no prosecution.

Do such ideas make sense? Only to so-so academics and grateful red-shirts in the photo. It makes you weep.

Are you implying there was no financial corruption during Mark's junta regime?

Are you implying that we should not prosecute Thaksin and various other officials for their financial corruption simply because to date PT and the legal system have not yet taken action against any financial corruption during Abhisit's leadership formed as part of the democratic process?

Will you agree that even if there is a rewind, that given some of the corruption charges would stand under the 1997 constitution that the PT and red shirts hold so dear despite TRT ignoring much of it, that he should still face trial for those, with any evidence gained from the investigations to date being considered now in plain view?

Surely the aim of a working democracy is to discourage the elite being able to manipulate the laws and media for their own benefit, in, I don't know, things like:

- lying in their asset declarations

- forcing the media to stop covering the story of a prominent son caught cheating in his university exams

- forcing through changes in law to first force 25% maximum foreign ownership then changed to 49% allowing the sale of 96% of a company to a foreign entity

- forcing through a legal decision to allow children to buy shares for 1b and resell them the next day for 47.5b, but to be able to do tax free

- creating bidding for numerous government funded projects then manipulating the bidders and process to ensure that only connected parties bid and collude to ensure that one party wins the bid at an unreasonably low price

I am completely in agreement that arguably perhaps the cases were politically motivated. There is a reasonable doubt there. not from me, not from the letter of the law...but from the public.

So.....Let's either accept the decisions made to date....or retry them. ALL OF THEM.

These 3 words, 3 little words just like Tom Vu said, are the only 3 words that your pal Thaksin probably doesn't/cannot stomach hearing.

Let's face it, he should have been banned in 2001 for that asset declaration, as he lied/forgot depending how you look at it. He got off using a popularity contest.

This time, let's not give him the same wiggle room.

You mean... "This time, let's not give THEM the same wiggle room".... I'm all for getting ALL the corrupt statesmen, MP's, reps., and officials into a court of law and get there due through the judicial system. I don't believe ANYONE should have ANY amnesty. Let the courts decide instead through a VERY transparent method. They'll need more judges and courts to handle all of these "elites".... This means also, doing away with a statute of limitations law...

Edited by scotbeve
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You mean... "This time, let's not give THEM the same wiggle room".... I'm all for getting ALL the corrupt statesmen, MP's, reps., and officials into a court of law and get there due through the judicial system. I don't believe ANYONE should have ANY amnesty. Let the courts decide instead through a VERY transparent method. They'll need more judges and courts to handle all of these "elites".... This means also, doing away with a statute of limitations law...

AGREED :_)

:jap:

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You mean... "This time, let's not give THEM the same wiggle room".... I'm all for getting ALL the corrupt statesmen, MP's, reps., and officials into a court of law and get there due through the judicial system. I don't believe ANYONE should have ANY amnesty. Let the courts decide instead through a VERY transparent method. They'll need more judges and courts to handle all of these "elites".... This means also, doing away with a statute of limitations law...

AGREED :_)

:jap:

I am in agreement with all as well. The point that is being missed by these seven Thaksin lovers thou is that where the law went down the toilet was not with the 2006 coup but right back in 2001 when the fugitive criminal Thaksin had a court decision on his thieving brought and sold / or pressured into in a disgraceful court decision. No wonder every thai now thinks it is fine to lie, steal and cheat and show absolute disregard for the law when the countries elected leader at the time was given such bullcrap latitude above the law.

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The problem they have is that Thaksin's money laundering convictions are not related to post-coup laws.

Maybe they would like to return to a mythical pre-coup world where financial corruption was not an offence?

No, they are trying to argue that the prosecution of such offences is tainted ie no coup, no prosecution.

Do such ideas make sense? Only to so-so academics and grateful red-shirts in the photo. It makes you weep.

When does Thai logic not make the world weep or laugh Hysterically , this type of logic is in complete harmony with their driving skills .

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