The scene is almost deja vu: A group of Karen villagers dressed in traditional costume and their representative lawyers clad in solemn suits hold their hands high in victory. The location is the Supreme Court. Journalists rush to interview them and file reports that read: "Klity villagers win court battle". Again.
Justice delayed is justice denied. This legal maxim hit the victims of the Klity creek lead poisoning tragedy hard on Tuesday.
Ethnic Karen forest dweller Kamthorn Srisuwanmala, 47, and other victims of the lead poisoning at Klity Lang, Kanchanaburi, arrived at the provincial court with high hopes. They left with heavy hearts.
The Supreme Court was scheduled to issue the final verdict in their court case against Lead Concentrates (Thailand), the mining company which released toxic waste water into their creek for decades, resulting in numerous deaths, illnesses and disabilities.
A final ruling in a 119-million-baht lawsuit against a lead-separation company for poisoning a natural water source in Kanchanaburi 13 years ago was postponed on Tuesday after the provincial court found a defendant had yet to pay a court fee.
The suit, filed by eight Karen villagers, named Lead Concentrate (Thailand) Co as first defendant and its owner, Kongsak Kleebbua, as second defendant.