The Judicial Administration Commission has decided to use a land plot in Chiang Rai to build the Appeals Court Region 5 office and residences for judges and officials, and to this bring an end to the Doi Suthep row.
A plot of land located at the Plant Research Centre in Chiang Rai will be used for the construction, said Sarawut Benjakul, secretary-general of the Office of the Judicial Administration Commission. The land belongs to the Department of Agriculture.
The resolution was reached during a meeting of the commission chaired by Supreme Court president Cheep Jullamon at the River by Kata Thani in Chiang Rai on Thursday and Friday, Sarawut said.
Court officials had visited the research centre to see the plot and raised the proposal during the commission’s meeting on Friday, he said.
Once the construction at the new site is completed, the Appeals Court Region 5 office and residences would be moved from Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai to the new site, he said.
The government would decide on what to do with the old site at Doi Suthep, he said, but the officials who had already moved in to the residential buildings on the mountain would leave only after the new site was completely built.
Chiang Mai citizens’ groups and environment activists have called on the courts to immediately stop using the residences built on Doi Suthep.
The Appeals Court Region 5 had obtained permission to use the Crown Property land on Doi Suthep to build the residences and court office. But local people cried foul, noting that the area was still fertile forestland. The land did not have official status as a protected forest.
Some locals also argued that the construction of residences on the “sacred” mountain was an insult to the spirits of three historic kings of Chiang Mai.