Supreme Court dismisses insurrection case against NCPO

Supreme Court dismisses insurrection case against NCPO

Members of the Resistant Citizen group leaves the court after the ruling on Friday. (Photo courtesy of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights twitter)
Members of the Resistant Citizen group leaves the court after the ruling on Friday. (Photo courtesy of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights twitter)

The Supreme Court has refused to accept a case in which activists accused the junta of insurrection.

Upholding lower courts’ decisions, the Supreme court decided on Friday Section 48 of the 2014 interim constitution exempts the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) from any criminal and civil liabilities. Although the 2017 constitution replaced the interim charter, the new constitution endorses it in Section 279, the last provision.

The Resistant Citizen group, led by Pansak Srithep and 15 others, filed a lawsuit against Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and the NCPO in May 2015, accusing them of collaborating in an insurrection under Section 113 of the Criminal Code when they staged a military coup in 2014.

A week later, the first court dismissed the case. While it admitted the seizure of power was not democratic, it cited Section 48 of the 2014 interim charter as the reason.

Two months later, the activists appealed the decision, saying they disagreed with a constitutional provision written by criminals to absolve themselves from the guilt.

In February 2016, the Appeal Court upheld the first court's ruling, saying any act by the NCPO was legitimate. It refused to decide on the appeal claim that the legislation of the law was undemocratic. 

Three months later, the group filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. The ruling came on Friday.

“Since the court refused to accept the case, we don’t have a trial and have no way of showing evidence and arguing in court to set a precedent for future."   

 The Thai Lawyers for Human rights tweeted on Friday that as a result of the ruling, people again failed in their effort to hold coupmakers responsible and impunity would continue.

According to one of the TLHR reports, the case was the fourth time Thai citizens have tried, and failed, to hold coupmakers accountable since the rule of the country was changed to constitutional monarchy 86 years ago.

“All four efforts met with the same decision -- the courts refused to accept the case for consideration -- so there was no trial," the report said.    

“Such impunity has led to an endless vicious cycle of coups in Thailand, 10 of which were successful,” it added. 

Section 48 of the 2014 interim constitution provides: “All acts which have been done in relation to the seizure and control of the administration of State affairs on May 22, 2014 of the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order and the National Council for Peace and Order, including all acts which have been done by any person in connection with the aforesaid acts, or by the person who has been entrusted or ordered by the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order or the National Council for Peace and Order, for the fulfilment of such purposes, regardless of their legislative, executive or judicial force, as well as any punishment and other acts performed in relation to the administration of State affairs and whether the actors of those acts are principals, accessories, persons who employ another to commit those acts or the employed persons and whether those acts done before or after the date mentioned above, if the aforesaid acts were illegal, all related person shall be exempted from being offenders and shall be exempted from all liabilities.”


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