Arrest Warrant Issued for Thaksin in Thailand

Thaksin Shinawatra is again making international news today after he and his wife were issued a summons for arrest by Thailand’s supreme court. The couple did not appear in court on the opening day of their trial for corruption in connection with the sale of a piece of government-owned property to Thaksin’s wife.

Thaksin’s lawyers are calling this development a “stunt” by the junta to heap embarrassment on the former prime minister in advance of the constitution referendum on Sunday.

An eventual conviction against Thaksin in the case would presumably a trigger a review by the Premier League of Thaksin’s status under the “fit and proper person” standard. It doesn’t seem likely that the UK would agree to requests to extradite Thaksin so long as the junta retains political power, however.

A different, less certain question (as far as I can tell)  is just how much legitimacy a conviction against Thaksin in this case would carry within Thailand.

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4 Comments on “Arrest Warrant Issued for Thaksin in Thailand”

  1. Vichai N Says:

    That is a fair question Thad, but you were already jumping the gun.

    You already assume that Thaksin will get conviction(s). Is that because there are just too many criminal cases against Thaksin that by laws of probability, the Thai judiciary should be able to pin at least one on him. (Actually the election fraud case that led to the dissolution of Thaksin’s TRT party is done – – with only the criminal case to adjudicated which stacks against Thaksin, considering he was the party leader).

    But if the conviction of Thaksin (should he be convicted) occurs under a democratically elected civilian government, but with perceived anti-Thaksin sentiments, can it then be called legitimate?

    Or are you suggesting Thad that Thaksin’s cases should be prosecuted outside, a-la Hague? That would be silly, wouldn’t it?

    But Thaksin Shinawatra and his army of defense attorneys must surely be able to put up a good legal defense . . . Thaksin himself continues to be in good mood dispensing with 30 million baht jokes to distant Thai judges.

  2. thadw Says:

    Hi Vichai,

    I’m not assuming he’ll get convicted of anything. Just thinking through the possible scenarios.

    No, I don’t think these corruption cases should be an international matter. But what is your view on how Thais view the legitimacy of the judicial process now under way with the corruption charges? If he gets convicted and the gov’t appears to have a very solid case, will most Thais say, ok, they nailed him, he’s guilty, or will they take the view that this is kangaroo court, rough justice. (Obviously some will say the latter no matter what, my question is what the balance of opinion might be.) Curious to get your take on this…

  3. fall Says:

    Bad enough that Thai court being view as corrupt. Now the very legitimacy of court indeed hung on a thin thread.

    As far as I know, the most damning evidence on this case is Thaksin’s copy of official ID attach along with documents, still debatable solidity of the case.

    IMO, this arrest warrant is legit. The man got a case(s), wrongfully accused or not, he should come to face it. If safety is his concern, fine. Wait till coup government gone, but he must live with the warrant. You cannot get it both way in being innocent before convicted, but not facing the court.

  4. Vichai N Says:

    I can see your point Thad . . it does leave both the junta and the Thai judiciary open to quick suspicions as to legitimacy. The recent outlawing of the TRT party was a point in case, and that party was a 14,000,000 member-size Godzila.

    On the other hand Thaksin’s rule was inaugurated with that infamous ‘honest mistakes’ ruling by the Constitutional Court (the same court, with different judges make-up, that dissolved the TRT party under the junta), exonerating Thaksin despite hidden assets proven and undenied in names of Thaksin’s driver and cook, and clearly in violation of Thai election laws. And NOT to be omitted in Thaksin’s many past colorful court battles (we can be certain of even more color in many more Thaksin & wife & children & in-laws court battles ahead), was the recent Baht 30 million joke-of-a-bribe offer to a recent Constitutional Court Tribunal judge by a Thaksin emissary.

    Your question as to the BALANCE of opinion is difficult to say from my limited perspective as a Bangkok resident and thus insulated from real grassroots opinions that matter from villagers and the Isans.

    It is no coincidence that there is a lot of nasty rumors being circulated lately to dent or scratch the formidable YELLOW (monarchy) that annoy the REDS (TRT) every Thailand Monday. That YELLOW was sobering disincentive to violence from ex-TRT REDS of 14 million-member strength deeply angered by their party’s judicial demise (exactly your legitimacy issue Thad).

    Dangerous times ahead for Thailand Thad. Because clearly Thaksin Shinawatra is now viewed as a real danger/threat to Thailand and to the established Thailand ‘elite’ network. With HMK clearly looking frail at his 80-year old frame, Thailand’s elite network must have already seen the urgency to checkmate Thaksin Shinawatra for good, and appearances of legitimacy may no longer be on top of their order of priorities.

    It is NOT yet sure Thad there will be a civilian election at end of this year nor next. Anything can happen considering the volatile elements in play. Even if the YES wins this week’s referendum. the generals may still feel they have not completely isolated the Thaksin danger until they have secured one or more solid Thaksin-Potjaman criminal convictions.

    Thad, I thus sense the Generals may use any excuse still to keep the military rule a little bit longer . . . if only to ensure that the wheels of Thai justice will roll on smoothly, unimpeded by honest mistakes and more bad Thaksin jokes.

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