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Corruption court to kick off in October

The new corruption court is due to begin hearing cases on Oct 3, although current cases such as the Yingluck Shinawatra malfeasance trial will continue at the Supreme Court.

Thailand's first-ever corruption court is set to open on Oct 3 and will first try 70 cases related to allegedly dishonest officials which judges hope will proceed more quickly than in regular courts.

Fast-tracking the cases is one aim of the court's chief judge Amnat Phuangchomphu.

The new court will have judges with years of experience who will develop expertise in this area. However, he is reluctant to set a time frame for each case.

"It still depends on [the complexity] of each case," Mr Amnat said.

However, he said judicial panels will play a key role in helping to streamline the work mainly based on findings from the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

The court currently has 20 judges, which could increase to a maximum of 45.

Mr Amnat is not worried about the judges' qualifications.

The court requires chiefs of judge panels to have at least 20 years of experience while panel members must have a minimum of 10 years' experience.

So even the judge with the least amount of experience "already has examined cases for up to 17 years", Mr Amnat said, referring one of the court's 20 judges.

The corruption court can also work faster if all corruption-related complaints are petitioned directly to the court, he said.

After Oct 3, corruption cases can be still lodged with courts nartionwide for the sake of convenience, although all will end up at the corruption court, Mr Amnat said.

Among the 70 cases to be examined first up by the court are those involving "high-ranking authorities", Mr Amnat said.

The new court is divided into a primary court and appeal court.

However, if any parties want their cases to be settled by a supreme court, they need to seek approval from a supreme court judge, he said.

The new court is part of the government's efforts to eradicate corruption in the country. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha earlier said his government has mapped out a strategy to wipe out corruption in the country within 20 years.

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