The Dictator on the Thai justice shamozzle

21 10 2014

A shamozzle is a mess. That may not be the absolute best description of the Thai justice system, but it is accurate. A better word would need to capture a justice system that is politically-driven and marked by incompetence, corruption and an inability to deliver anything like justice.

The elite knows nothing of justice. The elite buys its justice or has it delivered on a silver tray. Those who lead the odious military dictatorship know nothing of justice for they have always enjoyed impunity and never have to think they they might be held accountable for their crimes whether they are trafficking of people, arms or drugs, murdering civilian political opponents or their vast corruption.

So nobody should take seriously a report at Khaosod that has junta leader and dictator Prayuth Chan-ocha “urging all dissidents of his military regime to return from exile and face prosecution in Thailand. He said: “If you are not guilty, no one can punish you.” He added: “Please come back to go through justice system in Thailand…“. Then he added: “I will give you fairness. I will instruct the Ministry of Justice to take care of you.”

Here he shows how ridiculous the Thai (in)justice system is, for he will influence it. He will provide “fairness.” Nobody should ever expect fairness from the Thai (in)justice system. As PPT recently posted:

The police are … corrupt and hopeless, lacking the normal skills of investigation, and relying on torture and [forced] confessions. Judges are political tools, very often money grubbing, and appear to know little about the law, often making decisions that flout the constitution (when there is one) and disregarding other laws when it suits them. Some of the very worst examples involve lese majeste cases, where the refusal of the right to bail is “normal.”

Conviction rates are high because of collusion between police, judges and prosecutors, ignoring the torture, imprisonment that amounts to torture, beatings and publicizing of suspects by parading them before the media and having re-enact their “crimes.” Money and social class is a significant factor in many cases, for if one is wealthy and from a good – i.e. wealthy or high status – or powerful family then deals are almost always done.

Prayuth’s call is simply ridiculous. The “[s]cores of politicians and activists opposed to the junta [who] fled Thailand shortly after the military staged a coup against the elected government on 22 May” will find The Dictator laughable. Many of these exiles “have been charged with failing to report to the junta after the coup, which could land them six months behind bars. Others have been accused of insulting the monarchy, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison in Thailand.” Lese majeste trials are never conducted in a manner that can deliver justice; the system delivers convictions.

As Khaosod notes, “[i]t’s unlikely that Thailand’s political fugitives will return to the Kingdom, as they are likely to face trial in military court, where appeals are not permitted.” Civilian courts are no better.

As a footnote, Khaosod comments on the farcical and bizarre that characterizes Prayuth:

… Gen. Prayuth said he informed other foreign delegates at the summit in Milan that despite the current restrictions on free speech and the lack of an elected government, Thailand is still a functioning democracy.

“I stressed to them that we still have democracy, because we don’t ban everything,” Gen. Prayuth explained. “We only ban issues that affect national security.”


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24 10 2014
Impunity not just for the military | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] has often posted on the abject failure of Thailand’s so-called justice system. We have also posted on the impunity enjoyed by officials – mostly in the corrupt military […]