Thaksin, Holding Illegal Nicaragua Passport
( Last edit 2009-04-22 )
Thai fugitive is "diplomatic" nica
Original Article in Spanish
by Lucydalia Baca C. and Wendy Alvarez Hidalgo
Minor Modification to English for International Readers
Ortega named him Ambassador on Special Mission, and gave him a diplomatic passport at the beginning of the year (2009). In Thailand Thaksin is a fugitive, recently committed new criminal charges following instigating mobs to violently riots to cancel ASEAN summit meeting resulting in all of his passports cancelled.
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a sentenced-to-jail in his country, fleeing in exile with diplomatic passports issued by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was confirmed yesterday by the coordinator of the Communication and Citizenship Rosario Murillo, through a press release.
The Thai politician, who was visiting Ortega in Nicaragua on February 10, 2009, was appointed Ambassador on Special Mission to facilitate "Attraction of investment to the country" and therefore, was given a diplomatic passport.
The paper is limited to saying that in relation to information circulating in the international media, the Council of Communication and Citizenship said that President Ortega "instructed the Foreign Ministry to accredit Thaksin as an Ambassador on Special Mission to Nicaragua, facilitating their efforts to bring investment into the country and to fulfill its mission received a diplomatic passport for his high office."
According to international news agencies, billionaire Shinawatra is considered one of the richest men in his country. He ruled from 2001 until 2006, and ousted by a coup.
He is currently accused of instigating the protests from exile to overthrow the government and therefore subjected to a new arrest warrant for him and cancellation of his passports.
Contrarily, the Nicaragua government communique said that Thaksin was elected democratically and then forced to leave his office with a coup and that his people now struggle to peacefully restore the institutions and the rule of law to facilitate his return to the country."
For the former minister and current member of the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), Victor Hugo Tinoco, no matter who is actually Shinawatra, the fact is another example of "amazing ability" of President Ortega and his staff to commit "nonsense" and actions "preposterous" that does nothing for the people, and "erratic foreign policy in Nicaragua."
Tinoco considers whether or not Thaksin is guilty of what he is charged in Thailand, no country gives a diplomatic passport for free to any citizen.
He adds that one can not say what was the intention of the Government to make public at this time such an appointment. If the intention was to claim that a Nicaraguan diplomat would give diplomatic immunity, in fact, the diplomatic passport of Nicaragua does not give anybody such protection.
"The immunity applies to the country that is accredited, but never to his own country. As a Thai citizen he will not enjoy immunity in his country, unless there is a bilateral agreement and I do not think so.", said Tinoco.
For his part, member of the Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC) and president of the Justice Commission of the National Assembly, Jose Pallais, explained that the post of Ambassador on Special Mission "does not exist in international conventions and is a decoration just invented to evade the legal mechanism that provides for the appointment of the Parliament for ratification.
But it is a flawed practice that the government allowed Thaksin to use several of Nicaragua and other countries to evade legal proceedings. "The position is Head of Mission, but to avoid that Parliament has to ratify the 60 percent of the vote, as stated in Article 138 in paragraph 30 of the Constitution, creates an office that does not exist," said Pallais .
Although appointing a Special Ambassador for missions would be a transitional, short-term and limited appointment as the Government said, still Thaksin is not recognized by the authorities of any country. Pallais said that there was a similar case in Costa Rica which became a scandal in which the court had to intervene and apply sanctions to those involved.
The National Assembly is interested in investigating what benefits the Government aims for in granting this unusual concession, since doing so violated several legal procedures such as the Passport Law and the Constitution which control the mechanism for appointment of diplomatic posts.
Former Director General of Immigration, Avila Ramirez, said that Ortega has no power to grant a diplomatic passport to any foreigners. "The law does not empower the President at any time, or the Coordinating Council of Citizen Power, the Foreign Minister of the Interior or the Director of Immigration to issue a diplomatic passport to any aliens, or anyone other than those stipulated by the laws, "he explained.
The President and those who participated in the issuance of a diplomatic passport acted outside the law, ignoring the rule of law, violating the principle of legality and could even be considered a crime."
Ramirez said that "it seems that we are returning to the 80's and our country once again. The image is negative and thus, instead of encouraging investment, what you are doing is driving away investment.
The former Defense Minister also explained that the use of the diplomatic passport is a privilege granted to sovereign states in terms of office held by public officials. He mentioned that in the case of Nicaragua Ministerial Agreement number 50-2005, approved on 3 June 2005 by the National Assembly and published in Official Gazette number 134 of July 12, 2005, the article does not mention that any foreigners may be entitled to a diplomatic passport. "This means that this law clearly defines who may or may not enjoy the privilege of a diplomatic passport," he stressed.
For that reason, he continued, "The president, instead of giving diplomatic passports to fugitives from justice and criminal suspects, should worry about thousands of Nicaraguans who have no identification card, both those who suffer from it in the country as well as other thousands of Nicaraguans abroad who by law are entitled to it."
Thaksin, Thai's Fugitive, Nicaraguan's Shame CLICK