- Posted August 8, 2013 by
Thailand's Amnesty Bill and Post-Crackdown Justice
Justice sought for those who suffered injuries caused by uniformed marksmen armed with precision rifles, those who observed the violence, and those who lost families and friends, during the chaotic days of the assault that was ordered by then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
On August 6, 2013, Ms. Cecile Pouilly, the spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed her concerns for the proposed Amnesty Bill.
The UN has suggested that the Government of Thailand is to act upon the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) which was created by Abhisit who is now the Opposition Leader.
Cecile states, the "Government to act on the TRCT's recommendations and ensure that state officials and others are held to account for their role in serious human rights abuses."
Human rights defenders have welcomed the call from the UN that state officials must be held accountable, particularly those within the top chain of command during the crackdown.
Though some have also expressed that the TRCT is flawed, with millions of Baht spent on unexplained expenditures and not a single member of the Red Shirt group was invited or participated in the Commission's fact finding. This has raised concerns of accountability and the transparency of the report while the Commission has been repeatedly questioned and challenged by members of political parties, human rights advocates, academics and non-governmental organizations.
Interestingly, the international community has failed to reject those who were responsible for the army coup of 2006, which saw the removal of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from his elected position.
The 2010 demonstration in Bangkok was the right of Thais to express their unhappiness against this breach of democracy and electoral process. Instead they were met with an assault by the army.
The present Government, under Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, is committed to the principles of justice and law. Her pledge during the 2011 national election was and still is, to take actions within the law, to bring about justice, specially against the person responsible for instructing the army to shoot at demonstrators.
Compensation, which was not forthcoming during Abhisit's regime, was given to the victims and their families under Yingluck's administration.
The amnesty bill is not just about "amnesty" but a crucial set of principles that would facilitate civil liberty and to honor those who lost their lives fighting for their rights in a democracy.