Yingluck 'can appeal' rice saga ruling
Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the prosecution's right to appeal the Supreme Court's ruling in the rice-pledging trial remains unaffected even though the organic law governing the procedures has not yet been enforced.
Thanakrit Vorathanatchakul, a prosecutor attached to the Office of the Attorney General, said the absence of the organic law on the deliberation of criminal cases involving holders of political positions is not an excuse to prevent an appeal.
Earlier, deputy prime minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said Ms Yingluck is free to appeal if found guilty but it is unclear when she would be able to do so as the organic law must come into force first.
The National Legislative Assembly passed the organic bill on July 13 but it will be enacted when it receives royal endorsement.
Mr Thanakrit said the right to appeal is endorsed by Section 195 (4) of the constitution which says the parties involved can lodge an appeal with the assembly of Supreme Court judges within 30 days of the ruling.
Under Section 195 (4), an appeal can be submitted without the need for any new evidence, he said, pointing out that the provision is different from the 2007 charter which allows an appeal to be submitted in the event that new evidence is found.
According to Mr Thanakrit, even Section 195 (7) says an appeal must be processed in line with the organic law, and it cannot be used to strip the right to appeal under Section 195 (4).
Mr Thanakrit's confirmation of the right to appeal comes in the wake of a debate over whether Ms Yingluck can appeal if she is found guilty by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.
The court is scheduled to rule on Aug 25 if she is guilty of neglecting her duty in her administration's handling of the rice-pledging programme, causing the state billions of baht in damages.
If found guilty, Ms Yingluck could face a jail term of up to 10 years.
The former prime minister plans to give her closing statement verbally on Tuesday and both sides are required to submit written closing statements by Aug 15.
Meanwhile Nattawut Saikuar, a co-leader of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, said the government's move to accelerate the freezing or seizing of Ms Yingluck's assets before the Supreme Court's ruling will intensify tensions.
However, he said the red shirts will not carry out "underground activities" to cause unrest as they were being watched by soldiers.
Mr Wissanu said yesterday the Supreme Court's ruling has nothing to do with the administrative order requiring Ms Yingluck to pay 35.7 billion baht in compensation for her alleged dereliction of duty in the rice-pledging scheme.
He assured the enforcement of the order is being suspended pending a judicial decision after the ex-premier lodged a petition with the Administrative Court for an injunction.
According to Mr Wissanu, the money in Ms Yingluck's five bank accounts has been "frozen", not seized, by the Legal Execution Department (LED), he said. If seized, the money will be sent to the Finance Ministry.
He said the Administrative Court sent a letter to the LED and asked the department whether the injunction will cause any damage.
"If the Administrative Court rules against the petition, the administrative order will be enforced," he said.
It is widely believed the former prime minister will challenge the order in the Supreme Administrative Court if it rules against her.