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Cablegate: Thai Judicial Commission Unanimously Elects New

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS BANGKOK 004818

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SOCI TH
SUBJECT: THAI JUDICIAL COMMISSION UNANIMOUSLY ELECTS NEW
SUPREME COURT PRESIDENT

NEW SUPREME COURT PRESIDENT ELECTED

1. (U) On July 25, the Thai Judicial Commission (JC)
unanimously elected Mr. Chanchai Likhitjittha, 59, to be the
new President of the Supreme Court. Chanchai will replace
Mr. Supphachai Phoo-ngam, who will retire on September 30.
Chanchai has served on the Supreme Court since 1998, and is
currently the Court's Third Vice-President. As President of
the Supreme Court, Chanchai will be in charge of
administrative functions and will not adjudicate cases.

THE STRUCTURE OF THE THAI SUPREME COURT

2. (U) The 15-member JC that elected Mr. Chanchai is composed
of the Supreme Court President and fourteen commissioners.
These commissioners are elected from among judges at all
levels of the national court system. In addition to electing
the court's President, the JC is tasked with making judicial
appointments, promotions and transfers, and has the power to
discipline sitting judges. The election of the President is
generally viewed as an apolitical process.

3. (U) The full membership of the Thai Supreme Court consists
of 86 justices. When a case is brought before the Supreme
Court, three justices from among their number are chosen to
hear it, and together they issue a single verdict. Supreme
Court appointments have generally not been a source of
controversy in Thailand. The election of Mr. Chanchai was
barely covered in the Thai press, and there was no national
debate about his beliefs or political ideology.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

4. (U) Chanchai Likhitjittha was born on April 25, 1946. He
received a BA in Law from Thammasat University in 1969 and
was appointed to the Thai Bar in 1971. He began his career as
an Assistant Judge in 1972, and was appointed as a Civil
Court Judge in 1987, and a Judge of the Court of Appeal in
1990. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1998, and
became the Court's Third Vice-President (out of a total of
three) in 2004.
BOYCE

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