Abhisit case dead in the water, CDC says

Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, centre, and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban, right, leave the Criminal Court after being acquitted by the Supreme Court on Thursday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Section 236 of the charter, which the red shirts plan to use to revive the cases against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban for a deadly crackdown on red-shirt protesters in 2010, cannot be used for this purpose, the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) said on Friday.

It only provides a legal channel to punish the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for dereliction of duty or gross negligence of duty, the CDC said.

A petition with at least 20,000 signatures would be needed to kick start a process allowing the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to set up a panel to investigate the NACC for dereliction of duty.

CDC spokesman Udom Ratha-amarit said Section 236 will therefore be of little use in helping the red shirts realise their threat of trying to impeach the NACC if it fails to revive the case against Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep.

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the cases against both men. It said the NACC would have to file a new case with the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions instead of the Criminal Court.

Citing the same section, Mr Udom said a petition bearing that many names could be forwarded to the House speaker, who would then forward it to the aforementioned Supreme Court division.

Only then could the court set up a panel to examine the NACC for abuse of power or a severe breach of ethics, he added. 

Nattawut Saikuar, a core member of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), said if the NACC refuses to revive the case against Mr Abhisit he will petition National Legislative Assembly president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai to bring it to the Supreme Court division in compliance with Section 236.

He said UDD plans to collect one million names to ensure justice is served and the dead honoured.

NACC president Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit said a study must first be done to decide whether there is enough new evidence and witness accounts to warrant reviving the cases.

Mr Nattawut said the UDD was gathering new evidence and making a comparison of similar cases the court has ruled on.

After Thursday's ruling, Phayaw Akkahad, 52, the mother of a nurse killed during the crackdown, and about 10 others held a religious rite near Ratchaprasong intersection, which was the epicentre of the 2010 red-shirt protests.

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