The verdict underscores the role of Thailand’s judiciary in adjudicating a deep-rooted political dispute that has paralyzed a longtime American ally in Asia. Since a 2006 coup that removed Thaksin, he and his allies have lost a string of important court cases, while his opponents have largely been spared. This has fueled frustration among his supporters over judicial bias and political interference by royalist officials whom they accuse of persecuting a democratically elected leader.
/>“This confirms what people already think they know, that they’re going all out to stop [Thaksin]. I don’t think that it changes anything at all,” says Michael Montesano, a visiting fellow at the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.
/>Government officials and media outlets have urged the public to accept the judges’ decision.
Marwaan in IPS:
“This verdict confirms the continuing role of the judiciary in resolving political crises in the country,” says Thanet Aphornsuvan, a historian at Bangkok’s Thammasat University. “The Supreme Court is being increasingly asked to play an important role, so I was not surprised by the verdict. The judges settled for a compromise rather than take all of Thaksin’s assets.”
/>Yet he confirmed during an interview with IPS: “The judiciary is now so powerful it is almost becoming another sovereign power. It is more powerful than the legislative and executive branch of government.”
/>Thanet once described this trend as a “judicial revolution,” marking a break from the pliant courts of previous decades that were obedient to the executive branch of government and stayed clear of taking on politically charged cases.
/>This shift is rooted in an April 2006 speech by the country’s revered monarch, who by Thai law is above politics. At the time, King Bhumibol Adulyadej told the judges of the administrative and supreme courts to do their job to help resolve a political deadlock and growing anti-Thaksin protests on the streets.
BP: The Nation‘s sister Thai language publication Krungthep Turakit had an editorial on March 1 referring to accusations by Thaksin and his associates/followers of injustice stating that it was contempt of court which was unforgivable (กล่าวหาของอดีตนายกฯ และพรรคพวกที่ดูหมิ่นศาลอย่างไม่น่าให้อภัยเลย). As we can see, the judiciary is the new institution which cannot be questioned….