Spanking Thaksin

There was a time when Thaksin Shinawatra could seemingly get away with everything in court. Every challenge to him in court went his way causing people to roll their eyes wondering why the court ruled against common sense and obvious conclusions. That was then, but those days seem to be gone thanks to sound advise and guidance given to the high court judges by the King.

When a high court in any country makes a ruling, that ruling is analyzed around the world by various teams of legal specialist. Those teams usually consist of lawyers and retired judges. One of the reasons for this scrutiny is to evaluate the fairness of the court and to measure corruption. To put it in another way, the face of a country is greatly influenced by court rulings.

After the 2006 Coup that ousted Thaksin, the court started to change. Judges were given very public reviews by the King and they were covered in the media both in print and on TV. The King talked about the pillars of society and that fairness of the court and upholding the law was one of those pillars. It was very obvious after that the judges listened to the advice of the King because after that the court rulings were very in depth and made sense based on the law. That meant Thaksin no longer would get a preferential ruling in his favor.

The first rulings that went against Thaksin were his conviction for corruption that resulted in a 2 year sentence that he is running from. The dissolving of his party the Thai Rak Thai (TRT) for election rigging, and the confiscation of 46 Billion Baht from Thaksin ($1.4 Billion) that was deemed to be fruits of corruption. There was also tax evasion related to the sale of the Shin satellite communication system where Thaksin did his best to hide he was the beneficiary. Many of those rulings have additional cases to be heard and are waiting for Thaksin to return to Thailand before they start.

More recently cases related to attempts to change the Constitution have gone against Thaksin as well. It was very clear to see the attempts to change the Constitution were all about gaining more power by removing checks and balances. Those changes were sponsored by the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) that is a proxy of Thaksin.

The court ruled that the desired changes to the Constitution were against the Constitution. The court further ruled that the methods used to ram through the changes also violated the Constitution. That opened the door to impeach the entire group of Members of Parliament that voted for the changes. Although Thaksin is the clear beneficiary of those changes, it will be others that will take the fall as Thaksin has a way of insulating himself.

So to say the courts are giving Thaksin a spanking would be an accurate metaphor. Unfortunately that will not stop him and he will continue to try to get his way as by his own words he has no reverse. But it is clear, Thaksin no longer gets preferential treatment by the court. That is something all Thais can be proud of in that at least the high courts are on the up and up and the face of Thailand will not be tarnished by their rulings.

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