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The Constitutional Court Thursday decided to proceed with judicial review of two more petitions against the controversial amendment to Article 68 of the charter.

The court voted 5 to 4 to review the petitions filed by Chamlong Srimuang and five other members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy and by Democrat Party MP Wirat Kalayasiri.

But the court refused to issue an injunction to suspend the on-going amendment to Article 68.

The Democrat MP and Chamlong were told to make 312 copies of their petitions to send to 312 MPs and senators, whom were complained against in the petitions.

The bill seeking to amend Article 68 has been passed in the first reading and is now being vetted by a special committee of the Senate and House.

In another case, the Constitutional Court Thursday delayed its deliberation on Pheu Thai MP’s petition for the court to consider the MP status of Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.

A source from the court said constitutional court judges needed more time to consider written defence of Abhisit before deliberation the case in details.

The petition against Abhisit was signed by 134 Pheu Thai MPs who accused the Democrat leader of having lost his MP status after the defence minister issued an order to fire him retroactively as a lecturer of a military cadet school.

The MPs reasoned that the Constitution does not allow a person fired from government service to contest for a House seat.

PAD leaders indicted over airports seizure

Posted by Rattana_S On March - 14 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Thirty-one leading members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have been indicted in the Criminal Court on a range of charges including terrorism in connection with the seizure of Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports in 2008.

Prosecutors state in the indictment that the 31 violated the emergency decree imposed by the then-Somchai Wongsawat government on Nov 29, 2008 and incited PAD protesters to occupy the two airports.

Their intention was to force the Somchai government to resign.

The airports seizure was called off on Dec 2, 2008 when the Constitution Court ordered the dissolution of the People Power, Chart Thai and Matchimathipatai parties. The dissolution order resulted in Mr Somchai losing the prime minister’s post.

The 31 are charged with terrorism, illegal assembly, violation of the emergency decree and a variety of other offences.

They include Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang, Sondhi Limthongkul, Pibhop Dhongchai, Somsak Kosaisuk, Suriyasai Katasila, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, Sirichai Mai-ngam, Samran Rodphet, Maleerat Kaewka, Sawit Kaewwan, Therdphum Jaidee, Pol Gen Pratin Santiprapop and Anchalee Paireerak.

There are altogether 114 people who will face charges over the incident which closed the airports and caused massive disruption to flights and inconvenience to business people, tourists and commuters.

The prosecutors will indict the other defendants later.

Arch-enemies reach deal on amnesty

Posted by Rattana_S On February - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Core UDD and PAD leaders pitch two bills

Members of the red- and yellow-shirt political camps have reached an agreement to press ahead with a pair of political amnesty bills.

Pheu Thai Party list MP and red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) core leader Korkaew Pikulthong, and Parnthep Pourpongpan, a core member and spokesman for the yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) met at parliament on Thursday at the invitation of deputy House speaker Charoen Chankomol.

The meeting was revealed Friday by the two leaders of the rival colour-coded groups.

They reached an initial agreement to issue two amnesty bills.

The first bill involves the rank-and-file protesters who violated the emergency decree declared during the political protests five years ago, and the second bill would set up a committee to decide if anyone else should be granted amnesty.

Mr Parnthep said on his Facebook page Friday that Mr Charoen asked him about his views on an amnesty bill proposed by the Independent Committee for Promotion of the Rule of Law, chaired by Ukrit Mongkolnavin.

The bill seeks to grant amnesty to protesters who took part in the political rallies from Sept 19, 2006 to May 10, 2011. Mr Parnthep said the bill also covers the PAD so he felt the need to clarify his position on the amnesty issue to avoid any conflict outside of parliament after the bill reaches the House.

He also consulted with PAD core leader Sondhi Limthongkul and PAD lawyer Suwat Apaipak before deciding to attend the meeting.

Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan Worachai Hema, another red-shirt co-leader, and Wirapat Pariyawong, a public law expert, were also present at the meeting.

Mr Parnthep said he emphasised the PAD’s stance that the rule of law must be upheld and those who broke the law must be punished. For those who were not guilty of crimes, there would be no need to grant them amnesty, he said.

He added that all stakeholders should get a voice in the amnesty, including the Democrat Party, the Pheu Thai Party and the wife of Gen Romklao Thuwatham — an army officer killed during the 2010 political violence.

Mr Parnthep said he agreed that the amnesty bill should follow the recommendations made by Mrs Nicha, Gen Romklao’s wife.

She had proposed that an amnesty bill must not cover criminal offenders or those implicated in lese majeste cases.

The government must not lead the public to believe that an amnesty is reconciliation, she had also said. An amnesty would only be part of the effort aimed at national reconciliation.

Mr Parnthep said, however, Mr Korkaew proposed that the amnesty bill should cover additional groups of people.

The meeting then agreed to propose two separate bills.

The first bill would follow Mrs Nicha’s proposal and the second bill would scrutinise other candidates for amnesty.

However, Mr Parnthep said, he told the meeting that the PAD would not join any committee set up under the bill because the PAD does not want to be used as a tool to probe amnesty claims.

According to Mr Parnthep, Mr Charoen said he will invite representatives from the government and the opposition to discuss the possibility of drafting the two amnesty bills.

Everyone would be given a chance to review the bills if they are drafted, he said.

Mr Korkaew said the meeting was only to discuss the amnesty bill issue.

The proposals from the UDD are different from those of the Nitirat group, which call for a blanket amnesty, Mr Korkaew said.

The UDD has proposed that the amnesty cover two groups of political offenders. The first group would comprise the rank-and-file protesters who violated the emergency decree. The UDD says they should be granted amnesty straight away.

The other group would comprise others who would be scrutinised by a committee to figure out who among them were protest leaders or instigators.

Mr Korkaew said the meeting also discussed the possibility of excluding deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from the amnesty process.

“The outcome of the meeting has yet to represent [the opinions of] the entire group,” Mr Korkaew said.

Mr Charoen said parliament could help both sides reach a resolution, adding that parliament would draft the bills to present to Pheu Thai and Democrat MPs for approval before resubmitting them to the House during this session.

He said he had now sought opinions from the PAD, UDD and the Democrats.

Representatives from Pheu Thai and former Pitak Siam leader Boonlert Kaewprasit will be asked shortly to share their opinions, Mr Charoen said.

He said if all sides manage to find a common position on the issue, any parliamentary process that follows should be swift.

Political bickering ‘risks negative ICJ ruling’

Posted by Rattana_S On January - 10 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Internal political bickering could put Thailand at a disadvantage ahead of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) upcoming ruling on the Thai-Cambodian border dispute.

Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana, who has been appointed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to lead the legal battle at the ICJ, said all sides should work together in urging a positive attitude among the ICJ judges.

The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Tuesday submitted a seven-point proposal to the government, demanding it reject any unfavourable ruling by the ICJ in the dispute.

The ICJ has asked Thailand and Cambodia to present oral statements on the border row from April 15-19. Its ruling is expected to follow in October.

The ICJ judges will also consider information from sources other than the two national governments regarding the dispute, said Mr Phongthep, warning that any bad impressions could yield a negative result for the side that creates it.

He said he would try his best to defend Thailand’s interests. The rest would be up to the ICJ judges, he added.

Yesterday in Si Sa Ket province, a large number of tourists visited Pha Mor E-Daeng cliff in the Khao Phra Viharn National Park in Kantharalak district _ the location of the Preah Vihear temple.

Visitor Mongkol Khemthong, 37, said he wanted to visit the national park now in case violence erupts later.

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