By The Nation
The cases are the first two to be considered by the high court under the new law on criminal lawsuits against political office holders.
In the cases, Thaksin is accused of abusing his authority as prime minister concerning a Krung Thai Bank loan fraud case and the conversion of satellite and mobile phone concession fees into excise tax that benefited his former company Shincorp.
Wanchat Santikunchorn, spokesman of the Office of the Attorney-General, said the decision to file the request was based on a suggestion from a working group appointed by the Attorney-General late last month to consider whether to ask for the reactivation of criminal cases involving Thaksin.
Krisanapong Phutrakul, an academic at Rangsit University, said the new criminal law allowing courts to try people in absentia should be enforced equally regardless of who the defendant was.
Strict and transparent enforcement of the law was crucial to serve as a warning, Krisanapong said, adding that anti-graft laws would become more effective in deterring politicians from wrongdoing.
Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of an anti-corruption non-governmental organisation, said the law had to be applied to everyone accused of wrongdoing to avoid criticisms of political motivation in this kind of criminal case.
He said there should be more public explanation about the damage caused to the state by guilty political office holders in order to justify criminal actions against them.
In the two Thaksin-related matters, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders has been asked to revoke a previous order to temporarily suspend the cases.
The Supreme Court suspended the cases because Thaksin fled the country and the previous law did not allow for trials in absentia.
But Article 28 of the new procedural act on criminal cases against politicians stipulates that the Supreme Court |can deliberate cases in absentia if |defendants fail to appear before the court.
Thaksin also faces another two pending corruption lawsuits concerning the alleged abuse of power in approving a multi-billion-baht Export-Import bank loan and a state lottery scheme.
Those cases were also previously suspended due to Thaksin’s absence but can now proceed.