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    Scrapping AEC rulings would spell doom for the country: chairman

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    Scrapping AEC rulings would spell doom for the country: chairman

    Post by Admin on 7th April 2012, 9:29 am

    Scrapping AEC rulings would spell doom for the country: chairman
    The Nation April 6, 2012 1:00 am

    Nation News Agency's Attayuth Bootsripoom interviews former Supreme Court judge and AEC chairman Nam Yimyaem.
    Amid the controversial proposals for reconciliation, the 2006 military coup and the legal effects of the Assets Examination Committee were pointed out as causes for current political conflicts.
    Q : There has been a proposal to cancel all legal effects of the Assets Examination Committee for the purposes of reconciliation?

    A : The AEC's work really had nothing to do with reconciliation. It was about allegations of corruption related to the country's money and damage to the country. The AEC's investigation stuck to civil and criminal laws. When we examined the cases, we let the accused people defend themselves according to their full rights. The AEC had no right to ignore those rights or take short cuts. More important, the AEC's work was not final. We had to pass it on for the attorney general's consideration.
    If approved, the case was filed to the Supreme Court's division of criminal cases for political office holders. If a case was not approved, we set up a joint panel. If we agreed, we submitted the case to court; if not, the AEC filed the case alone. So the cases investigated by the AEC were completed at the court, not the AEC itself.

    Q : The AEC was criticised as being appointed by the administration established by the military coup, and therefore illegitimate, like a kangaroo court.

    A: A military coup is undemocratic. But when the AEC was appointed, could it be dominated? Could the coup-makers dominate the AEC? No, they couldn't. All the AEC members worked to best of their ability without interference by the government.

    Q : Critics the AEC could be compared to the assets seizure committee appointed by the National Peacekeeping Council.

    A: I don't think so. Someone asked me if I would agree to join the AEC, I don't know who it was. I don't know if it was General Sonthi or not, but he told me through someone that the AEC would be appointed. Then it was appointed. I saw it was for the country's sake and that joining it would be serving the country, so I was happy to do so. Although I realised that I would be drawing enemies, I accepted decisively.
    Q : The proposal that the AEC be abolished was based on a claim that its members were biased.

    A : Honestly, none of the AEC members had any special sense of who was right and who was wrong. Our decisions were based on evidence and witnesses, documents and evidentiary exhibits. We examined them and reached guilty verdicts if appropriate. If we didn't think the accused people were guilty or if the evidence was insufficient, we ruled not guilty. There was no bias at all.

    Q : Many people said many of the AEC members had had cases against [fugitive former prime minister] Thaksin [Shinawatra], such as Banjerd Singkaneti and Kaewsan Atibodhi. Even you were an investigator in the Thai Rak Thai dissolution case when you worked for the Election Commission.

    A : The problem was whether Thaksin did wrong. If he did, he was guilty. If he didn't, he was not guilty. I did not aim at saying Thaksin was guilty.

    Q : Politicians say forgiveness and cancellation of cases against one another would bring reconciliation. Then they will pass an amnesty law.

    A : The cases were handled by the AEC and ruled on by the court. How can you revoke that? The only way is to petition for royal pardon. Take the penalty first and then ask for royal pardon. Royal pardon doesn't mean not guilty. They are abusing their majority. Have they thought thoroughly whether this would violate the law? I am worried that they could be jailed for this. I warn them to look carefully into the laws. They cannot just claim the majority of votes in Parliament and decide [based on that].

    Q : King Prajadhipok's Institute's study proposed three options about the legal effects of the AEC. First, cancel the cases that haven't been ruled on. Second, cancel all of them and reintroduce them to the legal process. And third, cancel all the cases without taking legal action again. Do you agree?

    A : The cases that have been ruled on must be final. Why would they cancel the cases and reopen them? That's not right. Why do they have to investigate retroactively and waste time and the country's money? Anyone who did wrong must accept that they were wrong. Everyone must be under the law. If they did wrong and then claimed they had many people behind them, so they were not wrong, how can that be right? If so, the law cannot be enforced in the future. Anyone with many supporters can be above the law.

    Q : Why do you think politicians are speeding up measures on reconciliation, cancellation of the AEC's legal effects and passing an amnesty law?

    A : Considering their acts claiming many supporters, I noticed something. I doubt that they proposed to General Sonthi Boonyaratglin that the AEC cases be used for reconciliation. I will tell you, when the AEC froze the assets, powerful people called and thanked us that the government had achieved something. I didn't say who. I said powerful people. Figure out for yourself who that would be. And now just cancel the cases? What is that?

    Q : What do you think that General Sonthi brought up the proposal to cancel the AEC work?

    A : No comment. Please figure out.Is the atmosphere now healthy for reconciliation? If it is according to the law, that's fine. If it's being forced through by the majority, that will mean problems and not fun.

    Q : In what form do you think reconciliation should come?

    Talk. This person yields on this, that person yields on that. But please don't abuse your numbers. This is not reconciliation. They should stay away from legal cases, such as terrorism cases according to Order 66/23. Those who were accused must continue to be under the legal process.
    Those who were not accused are clean. Cases in police hands must be continued. As far as I remember, I was at the Supreme Court and was a judge for such cases. So [people found guilty] should come and accept their penalty and then petition for royal pardon. They must be like ordinary people, without special privileges.

    Q : You are also among the conflicts.

    A : No. I never have conflict with anyone. People just imagine. I follow the laws. I did my duty for the country. I did even though I was tired. I could have stayed freely at home but I worked hard on the AEC work. That was hard. All the AEC members faced the same thing. All worked actively and they were not tricky. Wrong is wrong, right is right.What if the AEC cases are cancelled?
    That would be doom for the country. That would damage the country, destroy the principle of rule of law.

    Q : Do you feel uncomfortable that AEC is being accused nowadays?

    A : That's why I give you this interview. If I'm happy why would I give interview. I'm upset that the AEC was accused all alone. They only talked half truth. They must speak all the truth. What was the AEC's authority. It had to stick with the laws. It could not override the law. The cases did not end at the AEC. We were just investigators.

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