Mockery of justice will resolve little
Litigation in connection with the red and yellow protests will likely take more than a decade to complete and nothing but grief and animosity are likely to emerge from the long-drawn-out judicial process.
If the red and yellow leaders hope for a judicial review to vindicate their crusades, then they should think again. The ongoing and upcoming cases have nothing to do with political belief or whether the protests were justified.
The prosecution of the yellow shirts can be traced to grudges of the red shirts. Likewise, the reds are being tried because their yellow rivals want to destroy them. The country has been mired in this rough patch since 2005. Until leaders of the rival camps can reach an amicable settlement to end the war of political colour, damage will continue.
Even if key yellow leaders, such as Sondhi Limthongkul and Chamlong Srimuang, and their red rivals, including Jatuporn Promphan and weng Tojirakarn, are penalised or acquitted, their fate would be irrelevant to resolve any political issues. It’ s time for all sides to choose whether to move on or to dwell in the past.
This week public prosecutors are due to start trying some 114 "yellows" over the closure of Bangkok's two airports in 2008. More than 140 defendants face various trials in connection with the street protests led by the People's Alliance for Democracy. About 84 are slated to avail themselves of the Justice Ministry's Fund in order to facilitate bail applications. The ministry has allocated Bt67 million for bailing the yellow shirts. Last year, it spent more than Bt80 million to bail the red shirts.
It is ironic and awkward that the government sees itself as duty-bound to bail defendants charged with politically-motivated crimes against the state.
It is illogical and senseless that relevant parties start talking about granting an amnesty regardless of the judicial outcome. If politically motivated cases deserve state-sponsored bail and an amnesty, isn't it futile to prosecute?
Since the judiciary will address alleged offences involving each defendant, the rival camps aren't about to get vindication or condemnation for their protests. In other words, judicial rulings on cases involving the red and yellow shirts won't shed light on how and why political rallies spiralled into violence.
Prosecuting the yellow shirts for trespassing at Government House in 2008 will not unmask the culprits behind the M-79 attacks which killed innocent protesters. And trying the red shirts for terrorism in connection with their rallies has nothing to do with how and why violence erupted in mid-2010.
The manners which investigators and prosecutors build up their cases are haphazard and questionable.
Based on the trial in progress, the court heard expert testimony that the authorities might have arrested the wrong culprits for arson attacks at Central World in the aftermath of the Ratchaprasong rallies.
Prosecutors took more than three years to collect evidence before slapping light charges against the yellow shirts despite their disruptive activities at Government House, Parliament and two airports. Legal scholars should come up with a plan to preempt the mockery of justice and leave the judiciary out of the political crossfire between the rival camps.
Politicians are obliged to stop exploiting the war of political colours for their individual popularity.