Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TTT - Topsy Turvey Thailand

The decision of the NCC to charge Chavalit and Somchai over the police crackdown of PAD protesters last year seems bizarre.

For starters, is it within the jurisdiction of the NCCC?

The constitution defines the role of the NCCC thus:

(2) to inquire into facts, summarise the case and prepare opinions in relation to a criminal proceedings of the persons holding political positions to be submitted to the Supreme Court of Justice’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions in accordance with section 275;

(3) to inquire and decide whether a State official of high administration level or a government official holding a position of a Divisional Director or its equivalent or higher level has become unusually wealthy or has committed an offence of corruption, malfeasance in office or malfeasance in judicial office, and to take such actions against a State official or a government official of lower level who participates in the commission of such offence with the person holding the said position or the person holding political position or who commits an offence in the manner deemed appropriate by the National Counter Corruption Commission in accordance with the organic law on counter corruption;

(4) to inspect the accuracy, actual existence as well as change of assets and liabilities of the persons holding positions under section 259 and section 264 as stated in the account and supporting documents submitted in accordance with the rules and procedures prescribed by the National Counter Corruption Commission;

(5) to supervise and monitor moral and ethics of persons holding political positions;

(6) to submit an inspection report and a report on the performance of duties together with recommendations to the Council of Ministers, the House of Representatives and the Senate annually. The report shall be published in the Government Gazette and disclosed to the public;

Of course clause five could be used to cover virtually anything. Secondly, why charge Somchai? As PM, if he is to be found guilty for every mistake made by police then there's not a person in the world who would want the job of Thai PM. Finally of course, the insane amongst us might think that it is perfectly normal. indeed advisable, to have police crack down on a violent mob who have unlawfully invaded public space and refused all warnings to leave. But as Giles Unpagkorn recently said: "In Thailand, everything is topsy turvey.

Speaking of Giles, when hearing Aphisit's response to him in the Oxford speech concerning Lese Majeste, I couldn't help but think back to the excellent and highly articulate article by David Streckfuss that appeared on BP's blog.

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