Constitution Court judges to keep jobs

Constitution Court judges to keep jobs

Nine sitting judges of the Constitutional Court will be spared from being immediately removed under the so-called "set-zero" principle, after an organic bill on Constitutional Court trial procedures is promulgated.

This was revealed by Somkid Lertpaitoon, chairman of the NLA committee vetting the bill, who said the panel's deliberation of the legislation was now complete.

The bill will be given back to the NLA for consideration today.

Citing the bill's transitional provision, judges will retain their positions after the bill is enacted.

As for the four judges who have yet to complete their terms, the NLA committee voted in favour of allowing them to hold onto the positions until their terms finish, Mr Somkid said.

Regarding five other judges whose terms had actually expired but kept their positions under the orders of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief, the panel voted to allow them to stay in the positions until new judges are sought, he noted.

"The decision to allow the four judges to stay in the positions until their terms are completed without taking into account the qualifications stipulated under the 2017 charter was made because when they took office under the 2007 constitution, they were all qualified," said Mr Somkid.

"They are judges and the court is not an independent organisation."

To get rid of judges immediately would be a major concern and could be criticised by foreign countries as the courts must be free from influence, he noted.

The judges are drawn from the Supreme Administrative Court, and from among among legal and political experts.

"This is different from 'set-zero' approaches applied to other organisations," said Mr Somkid.

"The Constitutional Court comes under the charter's court chapter and it is not regarded as an independent organisation."

Under the organic bill endorsed in September, all National Human Rights Commission commissioners will have to vacate their posts, but they will assume a caretaker role until a new human rights body is appointed. The NHRC claimed the move was unfair and unnecessary.

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