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Judges won’t be rushed on Prayut ruling

BANGKOK: The Constitutional Court says no ruling will be given on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s tenure at a special meeting today (Sept 8) as the court has promised an investigation into the leaking of a key document presented to it by a former lead charter writer.

politics
By Bangkok Post

Thursday 8 September 2022, 10:36AM


Prayut at work at the Defence Ministry on Aug 26. Photo: Government House

Prayut at work at the Defence Ministry on Aug 26. Photo: Government House

In scheduling a special meeting today, the court has no intention of prolonging or fast-tracking the tenure case in any way, Chaowana Traimas, secretary-general of the Office of the Constitutional Court, told reporters yesterday.

The press briefing was called apparently to straighten out misconceptions and false information regarding the timeframe behind the court’s ruling in the highly-anticipated case, reports the Bangkok Post.

Judges are meeting today to review information and statements presented by the various parties.

The case has not progressed to the point where a final decision has been reached, Mr Chaowana said, adding no date has been set for when the ruling will be handed down.

The court will be looking to see if the evidence submitted so far is sufficient for deciding the case or whether more must be sought in the form of additional documents from individuals.

Private individuals or state officials may also present their statements to the court orally.

The court secretary-general insisted the nine court judges deliberate strictly on the basis of facts presented to them.

“The court maintains utmost neutrality and independence and upholds justice,” Mr Chaowana said.

“At this juncture, it is premature to assume the judges have arrived at a decision since it has not yet been determined if the evidence they have to work with is sufficient,” he said.

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Constitutional Court president, Worawit Kangsasitiam, has expressed concern about the leaking of a document submitted to the court by Meechai Ruchupan, the former chairman of the 2017 charter drafting committee.

The court will launch a probe into the leak although Mr Chaowana declined to say whether the document, which has gone viral on social media, was genuine. It is unclear how long it will take.

In the document, Mr Meechai contends that Prayut’s premiership officially began in April 2017 when the constitution was promulgated.

That means Prayut’s eight-year tenure as prime minister would end in April 2025.

As a former chief charter writer, his statement is believed to carry substantial weight in the case.

According to the leaked document, Mr Meechai explained the 2017 constitution was promulgated on April 6, 2017, though it cannot be applied retroactively to actions that took place before its promulgation unless specific provisions are stipulated in the constitution.

Meanwhile, another document - claimed to be the one submitted to the court by the suspended Prayut - has found its way onto social media as well.

In it, Gen Prayut argues it is incorrect to assume his first term, which began in August 2014, was bound by the current constitution.

His first term was governed by an interim charter put in place by the coup maker, he said.

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Kurt | 09 September 2022 - 12:08:55

Coup leaders, dictators, that kind, once they experienced to be above the law, or twist the law as they want it, they feel 'God'. They never voluntarely respect the will of the people and  tale wacking/twisting things to stay in power. At the end they have to be removed with force.

JohnC | 09 September 2022 - 08:47:08

Wasn't HE the coup maker who put himself in place to govern? Took office illegally and now just like a Putin doesn't want to ever leave no matter how unpopular he is.

 

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