From Voice of Taksin, February 15, 2010
The headline reads: The lists of the judges to give the verdict in the case involving the seizure of 7.6 billion baht
From left to right are the judges’ names: Thanit, Pairoj, Somsak, Prateep, Adisak, Riththep, Pithak
[The article is a list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of each judge. This comes after articles on Oliver Cromwell, punishing judges at the Nuremberg trials, and assassination.]
The recent intimidation of judges by revealing their phone numbers is nothing new. In the buildup to the 2010 protests in Bangkok, Red Shirt publications listed personal contact details of judges involved in Thaksin’s assets seizure along with articles detailing historical assassinations of the unjust.
Traditionally, Thai governments have expected to be totally exempt from pressure from the public or other checks and balances once they are in power. The independent organizations and judiciary oversight enshrined in the 1997 constitution were an anathema to many in the Thai political world.
As was witnessed during the Thai Rak Thai government era, subverting or otherwise exerting control over any possible check and balance on the sitting government was a priority.
In subsequent years, the activities of the judiciary in disbanding the Thai Rak Thai and People Power Parties, confiscating Thaksin’s assets, and now halting the government from amending the constitution means the courts remain in the cross-hairs of the pro-Thaksin camp.
Independent checks and balances are still a new concept in Thailand and are often lumped into the same group as the shadowy and unnameable extra-political forces that continue to exert influence on the political world.
Thus, it may not be surprising that the Thai definition of democracy, in response to criticism over issues as diverse as the thinly veiled amnesty bills for Thaksin to the mass killings of suspected drug dealers, is simply “we have the most votes.” Similar thinking can be seen in the nascent democracies developing in Pakistan, Venezuela, and Russia.