Vitit and 112

31 10 2022

It takes a while and careful language for essentially conservative legal scholars to speak up. Recently, at the Bangkok Post, Vitit Muntarbhorn, a professor emeritus at the Law Faculty at Chulalongkorn University, has done this as he laments the lack of space for young Thais to participate under the current repressive political arrangement. He observes:

The air of ambivalence is witnessed by history itself, especially the pervasiveness of non-democratic rule in the country which also hampers the role of youth in the national polity.

He notes the “bloodshed and suppression of the student movement, with a return to non-democratic rule via a coup d’etat staged by uniformed authorities” in 1976.

He goes on to look at the “troubling scenario in recent years in regard to how young people’s voices have been constrained.” He means political repression. In pointing to the “Youth-led demonstrations in 2020, calling for reforms of the political system and related entities” – he means the monarchy but can’t seem to write that – and its repression by the authorities.

He notes that the “Constitutional Court also found that a number of youth leaders had been seeking to overthrow established institutions [he means monarchy] through their demands and were thus acting unconstitutionally.” Vitit tiptoes around this court decision, but says: “It is open to debate whether that was the case, and whether the movement was advocating too much or not.”

Then lese majeste.

It is of great concern that nearly 300 children in this group are now being prosecuted under the national emergency decree, Section 112 on lese majeste and other criminal law provisions.

He rambles on about law and conventions but can’t condemn Article 112…. Or even call for reform of the law.



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