Groundhog day lese majeste proposals

12 03 2012

At The Nation, there is a brief report on a proposal by the National Rule of Law Commission (NRLC) on lese majeste.

The NLRC, chaired by former Parliament President Professor Ukrit Mongkolnavin, was set up by the Yingluck Shinawatra government to provide “independent” advice “to ensure that the National Assembly, the courts, independent organizations established in accordance with the Constitution, and government agencies will perform their duties based on the rule of law.”

The Nation report states that, following a 3-month study, the NLRC has “proposed that the Royal Thai Police set up a special panel to screen lese majeste cases to prevent abuse of the lese majeste law as a political tool.”

It reportedly also proposed that “concerned government agencies find a way to allow suspects in lese majeste cases to be freed temporarily pending court trials.”

Of course, both proposals make sense, but isn’t this all a bit like Groundhog Day? Didn’t Abhisit Vejjajiva establish a committee for this purpose back in early 2010? At the time, Prachatai reported that then Premier Abhisit:

ordered the establishment of an Advisory Committee on National Security Cases Involving the Monarchy, with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice as chair. The Committee has the responsibility of advising the police, DSI and ICT Ministry on the careful, appropriate and fair conduct of lèse majesté cases….

And didn’t the Truth for Reconciliation Commission recommend some time ago that lese majeste victims receive bail?

Both proposals seemed to go nowhere. Abhisit’s committee seemed bent on ensuring that more lese majeste cases went to trial while the TRC’s recommendation was followed by a resolute state refusal to grant bail.

PPT can only hope that the current NLRC might have a more impact for those who suffer under the draconian law.



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17 03 2012

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