FOREIGN MINISTRY, MINISTER SUED FOR PROVIDING FALSE INFO ON PREAH VIHEAR
Leaders of the Thai Patriotic Group - Chaiwat Sinsuwong, Wanwipha Burutrattanaphan and Somboon Thongburan - filed the lawsuit with the Criminal Court.
In addition to Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul, the other defendants are permanent secretary for foreign affairs Seehasak Puangketkaew, East Asia Department director-general Passakorn Siriyaphan, Department of Information director-general and ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdi and Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs deputy director-general Thatchayut Phakdi.
They are being accused of malfeasance in violating Articles 83, 90, 91 and 157 of the Penal Code, as well as loading false information into a computer system, which was damaging to the public.
The lawsuit said that from March 15 last year, the Foreign Ministry had begun falsely publicising on its website (www.mfa.go.th) that the minutes of three previous meetings of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission were legally binding, when in reality they were not.
"The three reports still need to be endorsed by the Parliament, which is part of the process required by the law and the Constitution," the lawsuit said. "The defendants' false statement has led to confusion among the public. This caused a misunderstanding that there is already a legally binding effect on Thailand."
According to the plaintiffs, the false information was part of a section providing "information Thais should know about the Preah Vihear case and negotiations about the Thai-Cambodian border".
Meanwhile, former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama, who is a legal adviser to former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, yesterday blamed the opposition Democrat Party for making at least "six mistakes" in relation to the Preah Vihear Temple and the dispute with Cambodia. He said late Democrat leader and former PM Seni Pramoj was part of the legal team fighting the case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1962, which resulted in Thailand losing the temple to Cambodia.
At the Senate meeting yesterday, Bangkok Senator Rossana Tositrakul called on the government to conduct a public referendum on whether Thailand should respect the latest ICJ ruling on the case. She said the government could cite the referendum result when it says it does not want to abide by a court verdict that would result in Thailand losing more territory.
Senator Kamnoon Sidhisamarn voiced his support to the idea of holding a plebiscite about this matter.