NHRC to hear defence on demolition of 'historic' buildings
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will summon the Courts of Justice and the Chana Songkhram Police Station to provide information about the demolition of 'historic' buildings in the Supreme Court compound.The move is in response to a complaint filed by the Fine Arts Department on December 5.
Chula Sudbanthad, president of the Society for the Conservation of National Treasure and Environment, asked the NHRC to investigate the demolition because it went against the Constitution's Article 57, which requires state agencies to listen to public opinion before proceeding with a project that affects their rights.
National Human Rights Commissioner Niran Pitakwatchara held a meeting with the sub-committee tasked with investigating the issue yesterday. Saying this was an urgent matter because one building had already been demolished on December 20, Chula said the panel will on January 8 issue summonses to involved parties, including Fine Arts Department chief Sahawat Naenna and Silpakorn University lecturer Chatri Prakitnonthakan, to provide information.
Sitthisak Wanachaikit, spokesperson for the Courts of Justice, said his agency was ready to present factual evidence to defend the decision to demolish the building.
Wirat Chinwinijul, the agency's secretary-general, iterated that the demolition had been done according to law and that the issue had been up for discussion since 1973. He added that the demolition had been discussed with the Fine Arts Department several times from April 23, 2010 to March 18, 2011 before the building was demolished.
He said in a discussion on October 12, 2010 with the then-culture minister and Fine Arts Department, the department proposed to keep the building behind the statue of late Prince Rabi Badhanasakdi intact and build a new structure in place of the demolished one. In talks on March 2, 2010, the Fine Arts Department had accepted the new design created by Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Architecture team and agreed that the building behind the statue should be left untouched.
Wirat said the court didn't have any conflict with the department and had followed its advice all along. He added that the court had listed to all sides and considered all options before deciding to go ahead with the project. However, he said, if the other party did anything that affected the Courts of Justice's rights, then it would defend itself. He added that the details of this case had been made available on Facebook.