If legislation passes, suspects and prisoners accused of lèse majesté and corruption will no longer be eligible for political amnesty. The amnesty will neither include political leaders.
On 2 January 2016, Suchon Chalikrua, a representative from Thailand’s National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA), announced it will recommend to the junta that future political amnesties be inapplicable to those suspected or guilty of violating the country’s anti-corruption laws, as well as Article 112 of Thailand’s criminal code — the lèse majesté law.
An example of political amnesty was the extension of a white flag to communists under the government of General Prem Tinsulanonda. Under the amnesty, suspected communists were not charged regardless of the evidence against them.
If the anti-amnesty measures are implemented, those accused of corruption or lèse majesté will have no recourse but to place faith in Thailand’s criminal justice system.
The reforms come as part of the junta’s efforts to eradicate political conflict and promote reconciliation. The junta is currently reviewing the recommendations of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand before it forms its official policies on promoting reconciliation.
According to Suchon, the NRSA will likely recommend the establishment of a special committee tasked with deciding the merits of political amnesty on a case-by-case basis. This would circumvent the need for the junta to invoke emergency powers under Article 44 of the interim constitution.
The junta also plans to prioritise compensating those negatively affected by political mobilisation since 2004 — roughly the period when conflict between the red and yellow shirts began escalating.
According to Suchon, the government’s Rights and Liberties Protection Department will propose a list of victims eligible for compensation. Compensation will come in both monetary and sentimental forms. While the amount victims are eligible for remains undecided, monetary compensation is unlikely to exceed 7.5 million baht.
Once the junta has completed its review, its official policies on promoting reconciliation and providing compensation will be submitted to Thailand’s junta-appointed legislature for approval. The junta will urgently implement its policies in 2017 without waiting for the promulgation of Thailand’s new constitution.
This article was translated from a Thai version originally published on Matichon Online.