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08BANGKOK2137 THAI GOVERNMENT’S FOES CALL FOR CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST CABINET

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THAI GOVERNMENT’S FOES CALL FOR CRIMINAL CHARGES

AGAINST CABINET

“161919”,”7/14/2008 10:19″,”08BANGKOK2137″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“08BANGKOK1879|08BANGKOK2091|08BANGKOK2111″,”VZCZCXRO6216

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SIPDIS

NSC FOR PHU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/14/2018

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KDEM, KJUS, TH

SUBJECT: THAI GOVERNMENT\’S FOES CALL FOR CRIMINAL CHARGES

AGAINST CABINET

REF: A. BANGKOK 2111 (FM RESIGNS)

B. BANGKOK 2091 (CLOUDED FUTURE)

C. BANGKOK 1879 (MINISTER CHARGED WITH LESE MAJESTE)

BANGKOK 00002137 001.2 OF 002

Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, reason: 1.4 (b) and (d).

SUMMARY

——-

1. (C) A group of leading critics of the Samak administration

on July 14 filed a complaint alleging that the cabinet,

former Prime Minister Thaksin, and other RTG officials

committed serious violations of the Thai Penal Code in

initially supporting the inscription of the Preah Vihear

temple on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The National

Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) will review this

complaint; if a majority of the NCCC Commissioners vote to

forward the complaint to the Supreme Court, this would

require all targeted officials to stop performing their

government duties; such a determination could be made within

a few months. Although the basis for the complaint appears

questionable, this process will likely cause further

headaches for the embattled Samak administration. End

Summary.

SUPPORTING TEMPLE INSCRIPTION TANTAMOUNT TO TREASON

——————————————— ——

2. (U) Leading figures from the People\’s Alliance for

Democracy (a group vehemently opposed to former Prime

Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the current government) on

July 14 filed a request with the National Counter Corruption

Commission (NCCC) for the investigation of alleged criminal

acts committed by the cabinet and six other RTG officials.

The allegations stem from the inscription of Preah Vihear

temple on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

3. (U) The PAD alleges that Prime Minister Samak, his

cabinet, and other officials violated sections 119 and 157 of

the Penal Code. According to the Embassy\’s unofficial

translations, these sections provide as follows:

– Article 119: \”Whoever does any act with intent to cause the

country or any part thereof to descend under the sovereignty

of any foreign state, or to undermine the independence of the

state, shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life.\”

– Article 157: \”Whoever, being an official, wrongfully

exercises or does not exercise any of his functions to the

injury of any person, or dishonestly exercises or omits to

exercise any of his functions, shall be punished with

imprisonment of one to ten years or fine of two thousand to

twenty thousand Baht, or both.\”

4. (U) PAD\’s complaint targets the following officials, in

addition to the Prime Minister and his cabinet members:

– MFA Permanent Secretary Virasakdi Futrakul;

– National Security Council Secretary General LTG Surapol

Puanaiyaka;

– RTAF Survey Department Director General LTG Dan Meechooarth;

– MFA Director General of the Treaties and Legal Affairs

Department Krit Kraichitti;

– MFA Deputy Director General of the East Asian Department

Pisanu Suvanajata; and

– MFA Minister for Treaties and Legal Affairs Chirdchu

Raktabutr, assigned to the Thai Embassy in Paris.

5. (U) PAD\’s complaint also alleges that, in the Preah Vihear

matter, former Prime Minister Thaksin violated Article 120 of

the Penal Code, which provides for no less than ten years\’

imprisonment for anyone who \”does an act for the benefit of a

foreign state with intent to cause the waging of battle

BANGKOK 00002137 002.2 OF 002

against the state or hostility in another way against the

state…\”

NCCC PROCEDURES

—————

6. (U) The NCCC is the proper body to screen complaints of

this nature; Article 250 of the constitution provides that

the NCCC is charged with investigating criminal cases

involving persons holding political positions. The

constitution provides that such cases are to be referred by

the NCCC to the Supreme Court\’s Criminal Division for

Political Office Holders. If the NCCC determines that a

prima facie case exists against some of the officials in

question, those officials will be required immediately to

suspend their duties, according to Articles 272 and 275 of

the constitution.

7. (C) An NCCC commissioner, aware of the upcoming filing,

told us on July 13 that he anticipated that it would take

approximately one week to determine whether the NCCC should

formally accept PAD\’s complaint. Assessing the merits and

determining whether a prima facie case exists should take

three to four months, he said. According to the

constitution, a simple majority vote by the NCCC suffices to

determine whether a prima facie case exists, and to trigger

the suspension of officials\’ duties. It is unclear how long

a Supreme Court trial in this matter might take.

8. (C) The Ambassador spoke on July 13 with MFA Permanent

Secretary Virasakdi, one of the officials targeted by the

PAD. Virasakdi expressed serious concern about the PAD

complaint.

COMMENT

——-

9. (C) We are not fully familiar with the technical details

of the 1962 International Court of Justice ruling that the

Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia, nor with all aspects

of Thai-Cambodian territorial disputes in the vicinity of the

temple, nor with all implications of the temple\’s

inscription. We are skeptical, however, that the inscription

process provides reasonable grounds for the allegations of

crimes tantamount to treason; we are confident that the

Ministry of Foreign Affairs\’ lawyers carefully considered how

to proceed prior to the Foreign Minister\’s mid-June signing

of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Communique. Nevertheless, this

issue has been heavily politicized, and the PAD appears

willing to use any tool at its disposal to keep the

government off-balance, or even bring it down. And given

that the NCCC consists of figures selected by the 2006 coup

leaders, we do not rule out that a meaningful number of the

Commissioners will be sympathetically inclined toward the

PAD\’s complaint.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 16, 2011 at 6:25 am

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