A Change of Guard

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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Court nullifies Cabinet resolution on Thai-Cambodian joint communiqué

Sunset over Preah Vihear temple.

BANGKOK, Dec 30 (TNA) – A Thai court has ruled to revoke the Cabinet’s resolution endorsing the joint communiqué of Cambodia and Thailand to back Phnom Penh’s bid to list the ancient 11th century Preah Vihear Khmer temple complex as a United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

The Central Administrative Court nullified the Cabinet’s resolution of June 17, 2008 during the administration of the late Samak Sundaravej approving Thailand endorsing the joint communiqué by then foreign minister Noppadon Pattama and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

The joint declaration was signed on June 18, one day after the Samak administration gave it the green light.

The Thai court on Wednesday also ordered an injunction to temporarily put on hold all activities authorised by the then Cabinet’s resolution until the end of the case.

Nitithorn Lamlua, a lawyer from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) earlier petitioned the Central Administrative Court against then foreign minister Noppadon Pattama for signing the joint communiqué without approval from Parliament as required by Article 190 of the 2007 Constitution.

The Central Administrative Court ruled that the communiqué was a form of agreement involving Thailand's boundary and that there it required prior approval from Parliament.

The government of former prime minister Samak attempted to bypass Parliament and approve an MOU without referring it to the Council of State.

After the court ruling, Mr Niitithorn said the verdict indicated that the process to endorse the signing of the communiqué was not in accordance with the law and the petitioners will file a complaint to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). (TNA)

Cabinet resolution on Preah Vihear Temple cancelled by court order

The Central Administrative Court on Wednesday ruled to nullify a Cabinet resolution under the Samak Sundaravej government related to the Cambodian registration of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site.

Last year the Samak government authorised its foreign minister Noppadon Patama to sign a memorandum of understanding related to the overlapping borders surrounding the temple.

The People's Alliance for Democracy cried foul on the ground that the MOU and its attached map would tantamount to conceding the Thai territory to Cambodia.

A group of 13 PAD complainants filed an administrative lawsuit seeking to nullify the authorisation for signing the MOU. They also sought and received the court injunction to put the Cabinet resolution and the MOU on hold pending the completion of judicial review.

In the verdict, the court ordered the cancellation of the Cabinet resolution after finding that the Samak government failed to follow the procedures prescribed for international negotiations impacting on the borders.

Under the Constitution and relevant laws, such negotiations must be done under the legislative scrutiny. But the Samak government bypassed Parliament and tried to push through the MOU without consulting with the Council of State.

The Nation

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