The Center for the Study and Development of Human Rights Lawyers
Released on 28 May 2017
On 29 May 2017 at Lomsak Provincial Court
Villagers appeal court decision for them to pay for Climate change damage
to the National Park authority and request to exempt court fee
On 29 May 2017, 11 villagers will file the appeal to Appeal court on the civil case that the Provincial Court of Lom Sak on 28 December 2016 ordered the 11 villagers to pay 20,000 bath/rai with 7.5 % interest (total of 362, 353 baht), due to that the criminal court found them guilty of land encroachment therefore they shall pay the climate change damage. Since they are poor therefore they will file the petition to exempt the court fee on the same day.
At 28 October 2016, the Provincial Court of Lom Sak has taken evidence in the Civil Case, the Black Case no. 77/2553 in which the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) had sued asking for damages from Ms. Maneerat Khambao and others, altogether 16, villagers of Ban Huay Kon Tha, Moo 6, Tambon Pak Chong, Lom Sak District, Phetchabun.
Related to this, around early August 2005, 11 individuals were criminally prosecuted with the Provincial Court of Lom Sak in the Black Case no.831/2558, Red Case no. 349/2550 between the Lom Sak public prosecutor v Ms. Maneerat Khambao and others, altogether 11. The case against minor defendants were separately indicted with the Provincial Court of Phetchabun’s Family and Juvenile Division in the Black Case no. 340/2558, Red Case no. 89/2550 with the defendants including Ms. Mali Khammoo and another person. Both minors were charged for violating the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act, BE 2535 (1992) and the Forestry Act, BE 2484 (1941). In a similar circumstance, the defendants in both cases were accused of working as hired labor to harvest corn planted inside the Phu Pha Daeng Wildlife Sanctuary covering the area of 9 rai and 46 square wah. The Provincial Court of Lom Sak has later decided to acquit all the defendants in both cases and the cases have reached their final verdicts.
Then, on 25 February 2010, the DNP, by its Director General, Mr. Chatuporn Burutphat, has filed civil suits against the same defendants with the Provincial Court of Lom Sak. This time, they even filed charges against the three statutory agents of the two minors to hold them accountable for the damages as well. There are altogether 16 defendants in this case and all of them are alleged to have trespassed, made clearance, and occupied the land in the manner detrimental to the forest and wild animals.
Invoking Section 97 of the Enhancement and Conservation of the National Environmental Quality Act, BE 2535 (1992), all of them are asked to provide for 470,978.79 baht as damages. The calculation was made based on the formula cited in the model to appraise environmental damage as a result of deforestation, developed by the Division of Watershed Research, the Bureau of Watershed Research and Conservation, DNP. The formula has been used for civil suits launched by the public prosecutors countrywide.
Today, the prosecutor has failed to bring other witnesses to give evidence to the Court and therefore declared that there would be no more witnesses to give evidence and it will be the turn of the attorneys to introduce their witnesses.
Mr. Thanomsak Rawadchai, attorney of the Center for the Study and Development of Human Rights Lawyers, has furnished the Court with the evidence given by the three defendants who had then stood trial in the criminal case, eventually dismissed by the Court. He has supplied the Court with the letter certifying the case had reached its final verdict as well. He then introduced two more witnesses including Mr. Rawee Thaworn, researcher of the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) and Mr. Amarin Saichan, attorney of the EnLAW Foundation. Both have rebuked the use of the global warming formula given its lack of consistency and based on various academic papers and researches, the formula does not take into account the analysis of the actual condition of land and forest in dispute prior and after the dispute has happened. As a result, the data used for the calculation is too vague to be used to calculate the exact amount of damages and it is not based on the economic principle and ethics.
More Detail contact : Mr. Tanom Rawatchai , Lawyer of the Center for the Study and Development of Human Rights Lawyers at 081-6663533