Court postpones ruling on Abhisit, Suthep

Court postpones ruling on Abhisit, Suthep

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban arrive the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) on Oct 31, 2013 to acknowledge murder charges in connection with the crackdown on red-shirt protesters in 2010. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban arrive the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) on Oct 31, 2013 to acknowledge murder charges in connection with the crackdown on red-shirt protesters in 2010. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Appeals Court on Friday postponed until Feb 17 next year its decision in a case involving former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban in connection with the lethal military crackdown on red-shirt protesters in 2010.

The postponement was made after Mr Suthep failed to show up in court on Friday. Only Mr Abhisit, accompanied by his lawyer, arrived at the court.

The court said a notice sent by mail to Mr Suthep, the second defendant, could not be delivered as there was no-one to receive it. The court accepted that the defendant was not aware of the scheduled date. It therefore  rescheduled the reading of its judgement to Feb 17. The two defendants were asked to show up in court.

In August last year, the Criminal Court dismissed charges of murder filed against Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep in connection with the military's suppression of the protests in 2010.

The court ruled it did not have jurisdiction in the case, which should have been brought in the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

Special case litigation prosecutors at the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) earlier sought to indict the two men in the Criminal Court, as recommended by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI). The attempted prosecution followed several court rulings that found some protesters were shot dead by soldiers acting on the orders of the now-defunct Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), set up by the then-Democrat-led government under Mr Abhisit.

Mr Suthep was deputy prime minister and the director of the CRES during the protest, acting on behalf of Mr Abhisit, who was the prime minister.

The cases against Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep were later combined.

The pair were charged with murder and attempted murder under sections 80, 83, 84 and 288 of the Criminal Code in connection with the military action against protesters led by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) between April 7 and May 19, 2010, during which at least 90 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

Both Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep denied the charges and submitted a petition to the court arguing the DSI did not have the power to handle the investigation.

The Criminal Court said the two men had declared a state of emergency and ordered soldiers to clampdown on the protesters, and allowed them to use weapons and live ammunition to retake areas occupied by red-shirt demonstrators.

But Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep had issued orders in their legal capacity as prime minister and deputy prime minister, the court said. The case fell within the jurisidiction of the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

The prosecution appealed on Sept 17 last year, reportedly citing legal legal issues involving the defendants' alleged offences under Section 288 of the Criminal Code. The state did not appeal on the charge of abuse of authority under Section 157 of the Criminal Code, the report said.


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