Democrat duo in NACC's sights
The criminal litigation case by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his then-deputy Suthep Thaugsuban over their involvement in the 2010 political violence is being closely scrutinised.
- Published: 21/01/2013 at 12:00 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
Vicha: Probe will assess use of power
Some political observers point out that the case against the Democrat pair might not be straightforward.
The DSI was reluctant to charge Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep as political post-holders in charge of the government during the violence.
It wanted to avoid letting the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) investigate the pair under Section 157 of the Criminal Code and to keep the cases under its jurisdiction.
NACC member Vicha Mahakun, who is leading an inquiry into the 91 deaths during the 2010 political violence, shares his views about the DSI's criminal litigation and its implications for the NACC's investigation.
Does the NACC need evidence from the DSI or a court ruling to proceed with its inquiry?
Our inquiry is not about charging or not charging Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep with murder. Our probe is to establish their role and responsibility and decide if they committed abuse of authority. We will use witnesses and evidence presented in court and, of course, a court verdict in our consideration.
Is it possible for the public prosecution to indict Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep in their capacities as the then-prime minister and then-director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation?
The public prosecution doesn't have to see eye to eye with the DSI, police or the NACC. There are cases where the prosecution disagree with us and they do not file a case with the court.
A state official faces a charge under Section 157 of the anti-graft law if he abuses his authority.
For instance, there has been a case of a police officer prosecuted in connection with an assault of a suspect as both an official of the state and as an individual _ the Supreme Court has made a ruling in a case like this.
In this case, the police officer can't say that he beat the detained suspect while acting as an individual rather than as a police officer, to excuse himself from what he did. So an assault charge is a separate offence [from an abuse of authority charge].
Do you think the issue is part of a political game?
I don't want to look at it that way. Whether as part of a trial or an NACC investigation, a ruling is given based on evidence and laws. I won't criticise any of them because they have a job to do. They will go to court over this and the accused will have to answer questions about their role and responsibility in such a situation.
However the court rules, in the end the NACC will have to step in and investigate, correct?
A court ruling will show if it is about abuse of authority or not. Then we will see if it falls under Section 157 of the Criminal Code.
About the author
- Writer: King-oua Laohong
- Position: Reporter