Constitution Court on Preah Vihear Communique
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Constitution Court on Preah Vihear Communique

The Nation reports:
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Judges rule 8-1 that communique with Cambodia unconstitutional
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/>Less than 12 hours after the World Heritage Committee agreed to list Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage site, Thailand’s Constitution Court yesterday ruled as unconstitutional the joint communique signed by Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An to support the application.
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/>The ruling poses a political threat to the government, because senators and the opposition Democrat Party will seek impeachment of the Cabinet for violating the Constitution.
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/>Civic groups and academics called on Noppadon to step down.
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/>The joint communique is regarded as a treaty in line with the definition in the 1969 Vienna Convention, said court secretary-general Paiboon Warahapaitoon.
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/>The judges also unanimously deemed it a treaty, in accordance with Article 190 of the Constitution, he said.
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/>As it was deemed a treaty, the second paragraph of the article requires it to pass parliamentary reading before it is signed with foreign countries.

/>Another article from The Nation seemingly expounds on this:
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Article 190 of the Constitution stipulates that any treaty providing for changes in Thai territory or extraterritorial areas over which Thailand has sovereign rights must be approved by the National Assembly.

/>The Bangkok Post though states:
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Article 190 requires any treaty affecting Thailand’s society, its economy or the integrity of its borders to be scrutinised by parliament before being signed.

/>BP: From what I have read from Thai Rath and Matichon the Court only state that it was a treaty as per Section 190(2):
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A treaty which provides for a [1] change in the Thai territories or [2] the Thai external territories that Thailand has sovereign right or jurisdiction over such territories under any treaty or an international law or [3] requires the enactment of an Act for its implementation or affects immensely to [4] economic or [5] social security of the country or [6] results in the binding of trade, investment budget of the country significantly must be approved by the National Assembly.

/>BP: I have yet to see any mention in which of the six (or five or seven however you want to divide them up) possible categories the treaty was under. There was an op-ed last week by Borwornsak Uwanno in Matichon that it was a treaty, but didn’t fall into [1] or [2], but instead [5]. He said it was not within [1] or [2] as the Joint Comminque clearly stated that “shall be without prejudice to the rights of the kingdom of Cambodia and the kingdom of Thailand”. However, he viewed it fell within [5] (affect immensely the social security of the country) as there has been an “actual impact”. This can be seen by criticism of the people and the media in both countries (ดังจะเห็นได้จากการคัดค้านการวิพากษ์วิจารณ์ของประชาชน และสื่อมวลชนทั้ง 2 ประเทศ).
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/>BP: That some people dislike it hardly means it affects immensly the social security of the country. I don’t get his rationale. When the Surayud government pledged to provide “active support” in 2007 there was no public reaction. The public reaction this time around did not come really until after Noppadol had signed the Joint Communique. Public reaction is difficult to predict so if this is the standard going to be used, must a government do a poll to see public reaction to an issue will be first before signing such a treaty? What happens if a natonalist frenzy can be whipped up by the opposition on misleading and mostly inaccurate information? Modelling can be done for economic effect, but social security is so vague.
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/>If anyone can find something from the Constitutional Court explaining their decision please post a link.