A lot have been said about the recent decision to drop the case against Democrats in 29 mil fund case. The details are confusing, I don’t see any hope in trying to reconstruct the whole case as it happened, and it won’t matter anyway as people have already made their minds regardless of the “truth”. Many have made their minds long before the verdict.
What is missing in the ongoing public debate, however, is a look at the big picture.
First of all, the court is made of people, and people are social entities, they cannot be absolutely impartial and they cannot totally ignore attempts at pressuring them.
Ten years ago, in Thaksin hidden funds case, hardly anyone was surprised at the court decision. Many were disappointed that the court didn’t show as much heroism as they expected but anyone who has ever lived here knows very well that everyone has his limits, and I don’t know anyone who is ready to be a hero to the end, despite threats and/or enticements. Everyone bends to pressure. Fact of life.
What happened in Democrat case was a backlash against an attempt to bend the court again. After a barrage of video clips implicating court members in some nefarious activities, the court just snapped. People who tried to manipulate the court this way, or cheered the release of each new video, shouldn’t be surprised that judges didn’t interpret technicalities in their favor and they’ve lost the moral right to complain of prejudice, double standards etc.
The case itself was ridiculous from the start, nothing but a fertile ground for propaganda warriors. Ask anyone – what exactly have Democrats done wrong? All you get is vague references to “corruption”.
A couple of days before the verdict The Nation printed a graphic with details of prosecution charges. The ones that made most sense were “Dems printed their posters one inch shorter than specified”, “Dems used posters for local candidates campaign instead of advertising their party policies” and “Dems spent money in 2004 for 2005 elections”. Yeah, right, “2005″ elections means third week in January and the campaign officially started months before that – prosecution was just being anal. And that’s basically all Democrats were accused of.
This ugly case had met its ugly end and that’s all there is to it.
It wasn’t the courts most memorable moment, true, and months have been wasted on questioning the witnesses, but, perhaps, the decision to end it fast was made only recently, when youtube clips started leaking out and when the prosecution hand was fully revealed – they were never out seeking justice, it was a dirty political war.
Technically it was the EC that filed the charge but everyone knows PTP was the one on the attack there.
As for the EC itself – they’ve made quite a mess out of it, but why waste time picking on the details without taking into consideration red mob that broke into EC premises and threatened the lives of the commissioners? That “little detail” is hardly ever mentioned nowadays.
Did the EC try to dupe the reds to get off their backs, in full knowledge that the case won’t go anywhere? Did they, or Apichart, know about 15 day deadline that had long passed?
Doesn’t matter anymore. Reds tried to get their way by force and it didn’t work. Now let EC sort it out itself – no one else was in their meetings, we are in no position to guess the internal dynamics of their decision making processes at that time.
In the end both the Constitution Court and the EC have “compromised” themselves, as one side put it, or proved themselves human, as I, personally, believe.
I also believe that the popular “destroying institutions” crusade is juvenile at best. Grow up, will you? People need to trust something or someone. You destroy one thing and it will be replaced with another in no time. Such is the nature of human society.
And for the rest of us the lesson is – be careful with pressuring courts, the EC, the military etc. Public institutions do not perform well under pressure, and it won’t even matter if you succeed and for the righteous cause or not, there will always be a bitter taste of manipulation left in someone’s mouth, and if you destroy them you get nothing at all, just ruins.