Christopher G. Moore Updates: 7 March 2014

Dear Readers,

Courts are pivotal institutions in most countries. Increasingly, courts have suffered from mission creep crossing the boundary into political territory.

This is true for courts in Thailand and many other countries from the USA to Malaysia. Judges have been trained in the law. Most judges have law degrees.

Once courts enter the political battleground questions arise as to whether the judges remain impartial. And whatever the ruling made by the judges, in the heat of political turmoil the losing side is likely to claim unfairness.

As a lawyer and law professor I have had close friends who are judges. They have been trained as lawyers. In most cases, the judges Iíve known are among the best and brightest of the lawyers. Iíve observed first hand trials and hearing held in a number of countries: USA, Canada, England, Burma, Malaysia, and Thailand.

My observations this week in Judging the Judges: Distrust and the rise of Violence against Courts are the context of what role judges and courts are being called upon to play in a world of growing political fragmentation, dissent, and unrest. When a judicial system becomes Ďpoliticizedí what are the implications for the rule of law? Where is the line drawn between legislative decision-making and judicial decision-making?

This week, 4 of the protest sites in Bangkok, including the one at Asoke and Sukhumvit Roads, have been closed and the protesters have moved and set up camp at Lumpini Park. The park is effectively closed to outsiders after reports of intimidation by PDRC guards have circulated on social media.

Traffic is now moving freely in most places in Bangkok. Demonstrators continue to press their demands by paying courtesy calls on the US Embassy, and various businesses associated with the Shinawatra family. Questions remain as to whether PDRC leader Suthep and Prime Minister Yingluck will publicly meet to debate or otherwise conduct an open face-to-face negotiations. Meanwhile the respective role of the military, the courts, and the independent agencies in the ongoing drama is a cause of much speculation. This puzzle has many pieces and assembling them into a coherent pattern tests the skill of the best commentators.

Still no leads on the whereabouts of David Walker, a Canadian writer and filmmaker went missing on 14th February in Siem Reap.



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