Truth commission recommends amendment for lèse majesté laws-Nation

April 4, 2012

[CJ Hinke of FACT comments: Gambling is illegal in Thailand. But I’ll bet govt ostriches pay no more attention to this commission’s recommendations than it did to the public’s. Something’s got to give way and, with friends in govt like these, it may well be the monarchy itself.]


TRCT rues slow reconciliation process

The Nation: April 3, 2012

Justice in Perspective:


Calls for cooperation and impartiality from all parties in political conflict; urges changes to lese majeste law.

The Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) has renewed its call for open-mindedness and collective efforts to bring back political peace – a process it laments is moving slower than expected.

Full report click

The commission, in its latest report issued yesterday, also suggested changes to the lese majete |law to prevent it from being used |as a political tool and to make |penalties for violations more appropriate.

Reiterating its stances on fairer treatment of political suspects and prisoners, the commission insisted that true reconciliation can only be achieved through impartiality and the participation of all parties concerned, be it the government, the Opposition, academics, the media, military or other groups.

“[Impartiality] is an important element in creating an environment in which people on all sides – individuals, agencies, networks and others – especially the two groups in conflict, can talk together and exchange ideas in a peaceful manner either through informal discussions or in more formal meetings. It is in this way that a solution to this conflict will be found,” it said.

“The TRCT is aware that the progress of reconciliation is not moving forward as had been expected. This may be due to the lack of cooperation by the government, agencies and other stakeholders,” it said.

The call for impartiality and cooperation comes amid renewed animosity between both sides of the political divide as the government’s “reconciliation” push in Parliament has been branded insincere. The ruling party has been accused of trying to use its parliamentary superiority to forge a reconciliation blueprint that is lopsided.

The TRCT also touched on the issue of the lese majeste law, acknowledging that it has been |used as a political tool at times, |but also pointing out that debate on the subject is causing more division and probably delaying reconciliation.

“The arguments have further deepened the conflict between the [two sides]. The TRCT has therefore presented a recommendation to the prime minister and all parties in the political dispute explaining that removing this offence from the Criminal Code is not appropriate within the context of current Thai society. However, at the same time, keeping it in its present form is an obstruction to reconciliation,” the commission said.

The TRCT called for modification of the lese majeste law so that violations are offences “requiring authorisation” before criminal proceedings can commence, and are punishable by a prison sentence not exceeding seven years or a fine not exceeding Bt14,000, or both.

According to the TRCT, the complexities of Thailand’s political crisis involve 1) inequalities in the structure of power; 2) management and attitude of the military; 3) the role of society, culture, history and identity; 4) law enforcement; and 5) using communication media as a tool for broadcasting ideology.


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