Samak cries foul over choice of thaksin critics
Says judges should not be openly critical of ex-PM
March 26, 2008
THAILAND, Minister Samak Sundaravej yesterday questioned the nomination of four judges with critical views of the former Thaksin Shinawatra government, while the Constitution Court selection committee insisted the process was proper and unbiased.
"I have doubts about Constitution Court judges who openly opposed the previous government," he said in reference to the upcoming litigation involving Thaksin and his allies.
Samak also said he viewed it as unusual to nominate only hostile judges ahead of the electoral-fraud cases linked to three coalition parties, including his People Power Party, punishable by party dissolution.
The four-member selection committee voted to nominate four candidates for vetting by the Senate before submitting their names for royal command of appointment.
Picked for their expertise in the law are Justice permanent-secretary Jaral Phakdeethanakul and Appeal Court Senior Judge Wasant Soipisut.
Nominated for their expertise in political science and public administration are two retired diplomats: Supot Kaimook and Chalermphol Ek-uru.
Responsible for the four nominations are Supreme Court president Virat Limvichai, Supreme Administrative Court president Ackaratorn Chularat, National Counter Corruption Commission chairman Panthep Glanarongran and opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.
House Speaker Yongyuth Tiyapairat is an ex-officio member of the committee and has been on a leave of absence, due to his trial for electoral fraud.
Jaral and Wasant won their nominations in the first round of open balloting with three and four votes, respectively.
Jaral secured less than a unanimous endorsement, because Virat cast his vote for another candidate.
Supot received his nomination in a unanimous decision in the first round of voting.
Chalermphol went through three rounds of voting before securing three votes for his endorsement.
The four, if appointed, will sit on the nine-judge bench for a term of nine years. The five ex-officio judges comprise three from the Supreme Court and two from the Supreme Adminis-trative Court.
The Supreme Court is expected to convene its full bench meeting on April 4 to elect three judges for the high court in a peer vote.
"Each selection-committee member has exercised his individual discretion to the best of his ability to nominate the most qualified and capable candidates for the job," Virat said in his capacity as leader of the selection process.
He said he had no reply to criticism the four successful candidates were seen as critical of the government.
"I can only say each candidate is suitable for the job, but I cannot vouch for future performance," he said.
Ackaratorn said the selection process was free and fair and that each committee member cast votes independently without any outside pressure.
"I don't think people in such senior positions would allow themselves to be dictated about what to do. If these people could be ordered around, then there would be no hope for the country," he said.
He said there was no linkage between the selection process for judges and an alleged plot to undermine or overthrow the government via the judicial process. "The speculation has gone overboard, as no one is capable of taking the entire country into own hands," he said.
My take: If you are not Thaksin's nominee and were not engaged in illegal acctivities then you have nothing to worry about.....................But TOO BAD, YOU ARE!!!