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    Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) Third Report

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    Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) Third Report

    Post by Admin on 2nd April 2012, 11:02 pm

    Interim Report
    Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT)
    Third Report
    (July 2011 – March 2012)March 2012

    Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) Third Progress Report (July 2011 – March 2012)
    1. Introduction
    The regulation of the Office of the Prime Minister on Investigating and Determining the Truth for National Reconciliation B.E. 2553 (2010) established an independent commission, the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT), and fixed a twoyear period (17 July, 2010 – 16 July, 2012) to complete its proceedings. The regulation also stipulated that TRCT must present an interim report every six months and a final report detailing the results of its investigation and its recommendations at the completion of the two-year period. These reports are presented to the cabinet and to the public. The first and second interim reports have already been presented to the government and to the public.1 This third interim report details the activities of TRCT for the period July 2011 to March 2012.
    2. Progress of Activities- Third Report
    Activities during the third report period (July 2011 – March 2012) are as follows:
    2.1 Budget
    For the first year of its operation, TRCT received a budget of 32 million baht. For the second year, TRCT received 45 million baht.
    TRCT constantly keeps in mind that the funds it receives for its operation are provided by the Thai taxpayers and it therefore incumbent on the Commission to ensure that maximum benefit be obtained from its activities by the nation and the people.
    1 For proceedings for the first six months and for the second six months see the 1st and 2nd TRCT Interim
    Reports.
    3
    2.2 Recommendations to the Prime Minister
    TRCT has presented three recommendations to the Prime Minister based on the following concepts, principles and reasoning:
    2.2.1 TRCT was established by the previous government (that of Abhisit Vejjajiva) which was one of parties in the conflict. This has limited and obstructed TRCT in carrying out its duties but, be that as it may, TRCT carried on adhering closely to the principle of public accountability until gained trust from every party. The most recent election resulted in a new government headed by Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra as Prime Minister. TRCT is pleased that the new government has established a policy of urgently building reconciliation and harmony among the people as well as the restoration of democracy during its first year of office. In order to build an atmosphere for sustainable reconciliation TRCT has many recommendations to present to the Prime Minister in relation to close adherence to the rule of law; putting the benefit to the nation foremost; dealing with exaggerated accusations and temporary release of prisoners; swift, sincere and fair restoration, and concerns about proceedings related to lèse majeste offences according to Article 112 of the Thai Criminal
    Code.2

    2.2.2 As conflict was still active in Thai society prior to the latest election, TRCT called for all groups including the government, political parties, political groups, civil society groups, and various agencies to be extremely careful to maintain an atmosphere of reconciliation and avoid doing anything that might lead to a deepening of the conflict. The business sector and mass media came out in support of this request and eventually the election passed without incident and the results were accepted by all parties involved. It was particularly pleasing to see the business sector coming out to strongly denounce corruption and even though Mr. Dusit Nontanakorn, who was a driving force behind this movement, recently passed away, it is encouraging to see that the fight against corruption in the business sector continues.

    2.2.3 Since the beginning of the political conflict in our nation, offences against Article 112 of the Criminal Code have often been claimed. One side has used this offence as a tool for their own political ends by claiming that they are protecting the monarchy and by
    2 See TRCT document “Most Urgent. TRCT. 651/2554 dated 15th September, 2554” (2011) (Ref. Appendix 1)
    4
    calling for strict enforcement of this law, and the other side seeing this as an issue of political freedom according to the Constitution. This side feels that if all actions relating to this matter are a criminal offence then this is a breach of the individual’s right to freedom of expression which is enshrined in the Constitution. They therefore believe that this law should be modified or abolished. These arguments have resulted in an even further deepening of the conflict between them. TRCT has therefore presented a recommendation to the Prime Minister and all parties in the political dispute explaining that removing this offence from the Criminal Code is not appropriate within the context of current Thai society. However, at the same time, keeping it in its present form is an obstruction to reconciliation.
    TRCT therefore deem it appropriate to modify the offence to be one “requiring
    authorization” before commencing criminal proceedings and to be punishable by a prison
    sentence not exceeding seven years or a fine not exceeding 14,000 baht, or both fine and
    imprisonment as it used to be before the amendment upon the coup of the National
    Administrative Reform Council in B.E.2519. 3
    2.2.4 From work carried out so far, TRCT see that restoration and rehabilitation should cover all individuals, communities, and groups that have been affected by the violence that resulted from political conflict since before the coup of 19 September 2006 and that such restoration and rehabilitation should be provided urgently, continually and fairly in order to provide support to those in need. This is an important condition for building national reconciliation so TRCT is pleased that the government accepted TRCT’s recommendation and put it into practice by establishing a commission to expedite and follow up this work.
    2.2.5 TRCT has a Restoration and Rehabilitation Coordination Center serving those affected by the violence. TRCT has forwarded the names of persons to the Prime
    Minister for her consideration and further action. 4
    2.3 International Cooperation
    International cooperation enables the work of TRCT to be more widely accepted and
    to be carried out more efficiently. TRCT has been contacted by a number of respected
    international agencies and organizations with extensive experience in investigation and truth-
    3 TRCT Document No. 751/2554 dated 30 December 2011 (Ref. Appendix 2)
    4 Footnote TRCT Document No. 154/2555 dated 9 March 2012 (Ref. Appendix 3)
    5
    seeking, restoration procedures, rehabilitation, and conflict resolution. These include the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD), as well as a number of embassies. TRCT also received cooperation and advice from foreign experts in truth-seeking for reconciliation. International cooperation to date includes the following:
    2.3.1 The Embassy of Switzerland in Thailand sent Dr. Beatrice Schiffer, an expert in forensic science to join TRCT for a period of one year, from June 2011 to May 2012.
    2.3.2 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) sent Mr. Samuel Gbaydee Doe to advice on conflict analysis. He supported the work of TRCT for two months from 15 June to 15 August 2011.
    2.3.3 Mr. Samuel Gbaydee Doe from UNDP organized a workshop conducted at the TRCT office from 12th-16th September 2011 on Transitional Justice for the staff of TRCT.
    2.3.4 From 19th - 23rd September 2011, Ms. Priscilla Hayner, an expert on truth commissions and transitional justice joined with TRCT to provide advice on its procedures. 5
    2.3.5 On 27th September 2011, H.E. Kristie Kenney, American Ambassador to Thailand, met with TRCT to be briefed on its activities and progress.
    5 Ms. Priscilla Hayner participated in the following activities of the TRCT:
    1. Meeting with Mr.Abihisit Vejjajiva, Leader of the Opposition at the Democrat Party Headquarters and met with the members of the Restoration Sub-Committee to discuss the progress of reparations at the TRCT office on Monday 19 September 2011.
    2. Meeting with the Prime Minister, Ms.Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House. Also with the members of the Truth-Seeking Sub-Committee to discuss the fact-finding process at the TRCT office on Tuesday 20th September 2011.
    3. Meeting with General Daopong Ratanasuwan and General Prayut Chan-O-cha, and later with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Somsak Kiartsuranond at the Parliament followed by a meeting with the secretariat and key staff of TRCT at the TRCT office on Wednesday 21 September 2011.
    4. Meeting with civil society groups such as People Information Center (PIC), National Human Rights Commission, Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP), International Crisis Group (ICG), Mrs. Nicha Hiranburana Thuvatham (wife of Colonel Romklao Thuvatham) at the TRCT office on Thursday 22nd September 2011.
    5. Presented and exchanged experiences at a public forum on “The Role of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions during Transitional Justice” at the Siam City Hotel, Friday 23 September 2011.
    6
    2.3.6 On 18th October 2011, the Finnish Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Sirpa Maenpaa, met with TRCT to be briefed on its activities and progress.
    2.3.7 From 17th to 20th December 2011, Mr. Samuel Gbaydee Doe from UNDP
    organized a workshop on Transition and Transitional Justice, Multi-stakeholder Conflict
    Analysis, Truth-seeking, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation for the staff of TRCT and the staff
    of the Statement-taking Project. The workshop was conducted at the Rama Gardens Hotel.
    2.3.8 The Embassy of Switzerland in Thailand sent Mr. Quentin Milliet, a visual imagery expert, to advice on investigating and truth-seeking for a period of two months from January to February 2012.
    2.3.9 On 11th January 2012 Mr. Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, met the Chairman of TRCT to discuss rights and freedom of expression as well as principles of human rights.
    2.3.10 On 19th January 2012, Mr. Francesc Vendrell, former Spanish diplomat who played a role in promoting reconciliation in many countries; Mr. Michael Vatikiotis, Director of Asian Region for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) and Mr. Adam Cooper and Ms. Theerada Supapong, Coordinators for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in the name of Friends of Thailand6; met with the Chairman of TRCT to exchange ideas regarding reconciliation and the role of TRCT from the viewpoint of the international community.
    2.3.11 On 19th January 2012, the Chairman of TRCT met with the Japanese
    Ambassador to Thailand.
    2.3.12 On 26th January 2012, the Chairman of TRCT along with TRCT Commissioners met with the Delegation of the European Community to Thailand.
    6 Friends of Thailand (FOT) is a group of senior diplomats and international relations experts who have
    had experience working in Thailand and who are very concerned about the political conflict that have occurred in Thailand over recent years. The FOT is an unofficial group whose aim is to support the process of reconciliation in Thailand.
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    2.3.13 The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) sent Mr. Patrick
    Burgess, the ICTJ Director for the Asian Region and Mr. Ari Bassin, Asian Regional Program Manager to participate in the training of the report committee for the Sub-commission on Investigation and Truth-seeking conducted between 8 – 10 February 2012. In addition, they exchanged experiences with the TRCT Committee on 9th February 2012.
    2.4 Establishing an Advisory Group
    In order to proceed with the duties that have been entrusted to TRCT more
    thoroughly and efficiently, TRCT established an advisory group to offer advice and
    suggestions in their work. This advisory group is composed 6 Thai and foreign experts as
    follows:7
    2.4.1 Special Professor Dr. Surakiat Sathienthai, former Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of Foreign Affairs.
    2.4.2 Professor Dr. Chaiwat Satha-anan, Professor of Political Science, Thammasat
    Uiversity.
    2.4.3 Ms. Priscilla Hayner, expert in truth-seeking and transitional Justice.
    2.4.4 Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda, former Minister of Foreign Affairs for Indonesia.
    2.4.5 Dr. David Kennedy, professor of law from Harvard University.
    2.4.6 Honorable Judge Dennis Davis, former South African Appeals Court judge.
    2.5 Communication with the Public
    TRCT has repeatedly stressed right from the beginning of its work that all branches of
    the media must be very careful and responsible in their coverage of events to the public
    and should ensure that the information being provided is correct. Further, that the media
    should avoid inciting violence and avoid presenting analyses and news in a way that
    challenges and defies other groups as this will destroy any atmosphere of reconciliation.8
    TRCT believes that the media plays a critically important role in overcoming conflict of the
    type we are experiencing. In order to ensure that news and information are correct, TRCT
    7 Established on the 23 September 2011.
    8 Refer to the Recommendations in the 1st Interim Report of TRCT, page 23
    8
    has widened its channels of communication with the public so as to make society reflect more carefully on how we are going to rectify the problems that have given rise to the conflict. Such widening of channels also provides opportunities for people from all sides to express their opinions while considering the benefit to the nation and the people. In the public media TRCT broadcast a program “TRCT Reporting to the People” which is aired every Friday from 8:40 - 9:30 p.m.9 on Channel 11. In addition, we still maintain online communication with the public through our website10, in Facebook11, and in Twitter12.
    2.6 Statement-taking Project
    The conflict and violence that have occurred have had far-reaching effects on people throughout Thai society and throughout the country. To provide a forum for people affected by the violence to express their anger, sadness and frustration TRCT acts as an impartial “middleman”, listening to the problems and hearing about the impact that these events have had on people. TRCT can then use this information when considering reparations and can also learn more about the root causes of the problems that have arisen in Thai society. This also helps us to set a strategy for reconciliation in the future. TRCT has compiled a survey and a record of statements given by the people affected by the violent events in April and May of 2010.
    TRCT collected data in the major demonstration rally areas in Bangkok and also in the demonstration rally areas in the provinces13 by interviewing approximately 3,000 people from all parties in the conflict including relatives of those who were killed, those who were injured, those arrested, those whose property was damaged, those who ran businesses in the rally areas, officials on duty at the rally points and others. Areas were divided according to violent events. There are six major areas each subdivided as follows:
    9 Broadcast for the first time: 7 October 2011
    10 http://www.thaitruthcommission.org
    11 https://www.facebook.com/TRCT2010 and fan page: https://www.facebook.com/TRCThailand
    12 Twitter@THAI_TRC
    13 The statements taking have been conducted in areas that have been declared to be in state of
    emergency according to the Emergency Decree on Government Administration in States of Emergency B.E.2548, furthermore, the taking of statements have also been undertaken in areas with parallel demonstration and where violent conflict escalated.
    9
    2.6.1 Bangkok, where the violence occurred during April and May 2010. This is subdivided into four areas:
    1) The Democracy Monument on Rachadamneon Avenue and its vicinity including the Kok Wua intersection where a clash occurred on 10th April 2010; Khao Sarn Road; the area around Phan Fa Leelart Bridge; and the incident in which a foreign journalist lost his life.
    2) The vicinity of Rajaprasong Intersection; Siam Square; Rama 1 Road, where the Central World Department Store was damaged by fire; the Siam Movie Theatre, areas around Siam Square and the precincts of Wat Pathumwanaram where six people were killed.
    3) The vicinity of Silom Road and Rama IV Road including the area of demonstrations at Bon Kai and Soi Phra Jen where clashes occurred; the site of the death of Major-General Khattiya Sawasdipol, areas where buildings were burnt such as the Metropolitan Electricity Authority Building in Klong Toey and the Bangkok Bank branches on Rama IV Road, at Hualumpong, and on Soi 6 of Jun Road.
    4) The vicinity of The Victory Monument, Sam Liam Din Daeng, Soi Rang Nam, Rachaprarop Road along to Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, including memorial monument and around the area of the 11th infantry regiment where the encounter at the Sam Liam Dian Daeng- Soi Rang Nam, encounter at the Memorial Monument, encounter at the 11th infantry reguiment, arson and damaginh of properties, for instance, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, department stores, Center One Department stores and other stores nearby, unoccupied buildings at the Rachaprarop Road and the Siam City Bank Public Compay Limited, Rachaprarop Branch etc.
    2.6.2 The Central Area including the provinces of Chonburi, Ayutthaya, Samutprakarn, Nonthaburi, Pathun Thani, and Nakorn Pathom where there were incidents of violence; and also an incident at the Thaicom Satellite Station.
    2.6.3 The Upper Northeastern Area. This area includes the provinces of Udorn Thani, Kon Kaen, Mukdaharn, Nongbualumpoo, Mahasarakam, Roi Et, Sakolnakorn and Kalasin where incidents of violence occurred such as the burning of the Central Provincial Office in Udorn Thani, the burning of the Bangkok Bank branch at Sri Jun in Kon Kaen, and the torching of rubber tires in front of the Central Provincial Office in Mukdaharn.
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    2.6.4 The Lower Northeast including the provinces of Ubol Ratchathani, Chaiyaphum, Nakorn Ratchasima and Sri Saket where violent incidents occurred such as the burning of the Central Provincial Office in Ubol Ratchathani and the Mahart Thai Communications Center.
    2.6.5 The Upper North including the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Lampang where violent incidents occurred such as the throwing of incendiary bombs into the security guard post in front of the entrance to the official residence of the Chiang Mai Provincial Governor.
    2.6.6 The Lower North including the provinces of Nan and Nakornsuwan14
    2.7 Truth-seeking
    2.7.1 According to our records, a total of 93 people15 were killed during the period of unrest. Of these, 89 have been classified as special cases by the Department of Special Investigation. Autopsy reports have been sent to the investigation unit of the Metropolitan Police Bureau to proceed with according to the Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 150. In at least 16 cases16 there is suspicion that the deaths occurred as a result of actions by government forces who claim that they were acting according to duty.
    2.7.2 Facts related to the cases
    There are a total of 261 criminal proceedings against demonstrators which can be divided into 4 groups: 1. 148 cases of terrorism; 2. 22 cases of coercing the government; 3. 71 cases of harming the public or government officials; and 4. 20 cases of possessing weapons belonging to the government. Of these 261 cases17, 131 have been investigated and another 130 are still under investigation. In relation to these cases there are 650 accused persons of whom 290 have been arrested, 358 escaped, and 2 dead.
    14 Beginning of the Statement Taking project: March 2012
    15 Ref. Appendix 4
    16 DSI documents (Ref. Appendix 5) the number has increased to 18 persons (status as of March)
    17 DSI provided information to the TRCT during Meeting No. 7/2555, 2 March 2012.
    11
    Data summary of DSI Cases under Special Investigation
    261 cases
    2.8 Rehabilitation and Restoration
    TRCT has carried out the following rehabilitation and restoration:
    2.8.1 Victim support visits to both those directly and indirectly affected through projects initiated by the Sub-commission on Rehabilitation, Restoration and Violence Prevention as follows:
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    1) “Panel Discussion on the effects of the violent conflict and restoration which shall lead upon reconciliation.” which has organized forums in Bangkok 18opens sessions in Songkla19 and Udorn Thani20.
    2) Visits to those who were on duty as peace-keeping personnel during the political unrest. This project is a probe investigation to determine their mental state and the mental impact of events as well as learn about the mental health treatment of those who were on duty during the unrest in April-May 2010. An example group is that comprised of soldiers who were on duty during the unrest and are still on active duty in their unit - 170 from the navy and 156 from the army; 326 in total. After assessing their state of mental health it was found that 26 had mental health problems including political problems (38.5%), work-related problems (34.5%), and personal problems (11.5%).
    3) A project for rehabilitation . . . leading to the development of a healthier society which aims to listen to problems and requests of those affected by employing a system of “reach, understand, and rehabilitate”. This applies to individuals, groups and communities. The project builds groups that develop and learn how to solve social problems together by promoting mechanisms that already exist within the family. The community and locality have a role to play in solving problems and preventing violence in the form of promoting rehabilitation volunteers for the purpose of harmony.
    4) A project to follow up on rehabilitation and restoration of those affected by events and unrest in political demonstrations in the Bon Kai and Phra Jen communities by visiting the area and assessing the mental health of individuals in the Bon Kai Housing Development, the communities of Pattana Bon Kai, Soi Phra Jen, Soi Gularp Daeng, Soi Polo; as well as arranging support groups in those areas. A meeting was arranged of all those participating to assess problems and obstructions to receiving services and meeting their requirements for assistance. They also provided suggestions to the principle unit responsible for future assistance procedures.
    5) A project to set the method and criteria for rehabilitation for those
    affected by events and violence both in the short and long term that correspond to
    18 Progress report for Bangkok can be found in the 2nd Interim Report of the Truth for Reconciliation
    Commission of Thailand, TRCT, (Ref. Appendix 5)
    19 Organized on the 24 February 2012 at the BP Grand Tower Hotel
    20 Organized on the 2 March 2012 at the Prajaktra Design Hotel
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    international standards of rehabilitation and that satisfy those affected as well as are appropriate to the Thai context. Also to compile a practical handbook which systematically explains the method and criteria for rehabilitation in the short and long term which meets standards, is concrete, and can actually be put to use.
    2.8.2 Established the Coordination Center for Rehabilitation and Restoration of People affected by Violent Incidents21 which is responsible for screening requests and forwarding them to relevant agencies, following up on progress made and informing those who are to receive reparations. The progress of proceedings to date is as follows:
    1) The first round of data collection from those applying for reparations was carried out between December 2010 and May 2011. A total of 614 applications were received. These are categorized according to the type of request as follows:
    • Physical, 18 applications
    • Mental / emotional, 24 applications
    • Property / earnings / economic, 608 applications22
    • Social, 3 applications
    • Others, 23 applications
    2) The second round of data collection was carried out between June 2011 and March 2012 (the present). Applications were as follows:
    • Physical, 108 applications
    • Mental / emotional, 23 applications
    • Property / earnings / economic, 208 applications
    • Social, 0 applications
    • Others, 10 applications
    (N.B. Some of the applicants may receive reparations in more than one category).
    21 Establishment of the Coordination Center for Restoration of Victims of Violence on 19 November 2010
    at the TRCT Office, Parking Building 5th Floor, Ratthaprasasanabhakti Building, Government Complex Commemorating His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday, Chaengwattana Road, Lak Si, Bangkok.
    22 From reparation projects/activities, it can be concluded that there has been 529 claims in the category
    of Property/Earnings/Economic.
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    The Center coordinated with the following agencies in the provision of reparations to those affected: The Department of Mental Health23, the Rights and Freedom Protection Department24, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security25, the Pathumwan district office of the Ministry of Public Health and the Office of the Prime Minister. TRCT staff proceeded according to the recommendations of the TRCT Commissioners26.
    23 From the 28 individuals suffering physical damage that have been transferred to the Department of
    Mental Health, it was possible to follow up on medical treatment of 19 individuals. Among these, some cases suffered from stress, depression, and risk of suicide. The staff has followed up on and organized activities to provide knowledge on maintaining mental health and has provided suggestions to the affected individuals.
    24 The Rights and Liberties Protection Department has provided the following information on remedies for individuals
    that were affected by violent incidents:
    • The Coordination Committee has supported four individuals that were affected by the demonstrations.
    • 14 individuals will be provided monetary funding by the Justice Department upon temporary release, 2 cases are still proceeding, 6 cases did not comply with the necessary requirements and another 2 cases were unreachable.
    • A total of 3 individuals have been provided with monetary support according to the Act on Victim Compensation and Expense Reimbursement in Criminal Cases B.E. 2554
    25 The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security has provided information on remedy support
    to victims or individuals that have been affected by the violent conflicts and have been applying for remedy support with the Coordination Center for Restoration of Victims of Violence. A total of 88 individuals have applied for compensation, the Coordination Center has requested the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security to proceed further, as follows:
    • A total of 5 individuals have been provided support by the Ministry of Social Development and
    Human Security, Lampoon Province
    • A total of 13 individuals have been provided support by the Ministry of Social Development and
    Human Security, Srisaket Province
    • One individual has been provided support by the Ministry of Social Development and Human
    Security, Nonthaburi Province
    • One individual has been provided support by the Ministry of Social Development and Human
    Security, Bhuriram Province
    26 Copy of TRCT Document no. 155/2012, dated 9 March 2012 (Ref. Appendix 6). The Coordination Center
    for Restoration of Victims of Violence also informed the physically damaged individuals in writing to register for the compensation package within 12 April 2012 at the Rajvithi Home for Girls on Ratchawithi Road in accordance with the Cabinet’s decision.
    15
    2.9 Research into Causes of the Conflict
    TRCT organized a conference to listen to the opinions of members of the public regarding a number of issues and discussed and consulted with academics, representatives of government agencies, and the private sector; both domestic and foreign. By analyzing the information and facts we found that one of the major causes of the conflict which eventually led to the violence has five distinct elements: 1) inequalities in the structure of power; 2) management and attitude of the military; 3) the role of society, culture, history and identity; 4) law enforcement; and 5) using communication media as a tool for broadcasting ideology.
    TRCT has therefore set the conceptual framework for studying the root causes of the conflict and ways to achieve reconciliation as having five sections and has summarized the way out of conflict and leading to reconciliation as one issue.
    2.9.1 Inequalities in the structure of power.
    A study of the political problems and crisis that has arisen by explaining the interaction between networks and social power groups based on the social and political theory of social power explained by Michael Mann in The Sources of Social Power. He proposes that society is composed of many and various networks of power that overlay and cross each other.
    2.9.2 Security Reform
    A study of powerful organizations and their duty in protecting the security of the state including the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Bureau and the Emergency Response Center; in particular the issue of structure and beliefs of the Thai Armed Forces and their role, from past to present, in maintaining internal security, the importance and necessity of reforming security agencies, practical examples of security sector reform in foreign countries, and ways in which security section reform can be applied to the Thai Armed Forces.
    16
    2.9.3 Political Violence: Social and Political Dynamism, culture and solutions A study of social structure, inequality and the relationship between cities and rural areas, as well as, the origin of the conflicts and the dynamics of identifying politics in the historical and cultural context; and the risk of the violence contact by conducting the theory of conflict-transformation. Conflict transformation recognizes that conflicts are common within a society. In a society where the context is constantly moving, distinction among the people can increase. If such distinction arises, it depends upon the people in power or stakeholders to provide support of relief or solution; on the other hand, it may enhance the conflict. Therefore, understanding the nature, causes and dynamics of the conflict should be the foundation in order to seek for possible solutions and provide guidelines for preventing reoccurrence of conflict in the future.
    2.9.4 Justice and Political Violence: Problems and solutions
    A study of the problems in the system justice in Thailand, especially the system of public justice and criminal justice. The root cause of violence that has occurred lies in these two systems. Making comparisons with other countries and proposing solutions to the problems that have arisen in our system of justice will help us solve one of the causes of the conflict. In addition, there is the possibility of implementing a form of transitional justice to help bring about reconciliation in the short term and as a firm foundation for systematic reform of the justice system in the future.
    2.9.5 Legal limitation to freedom of the press
    A study of the articles of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2550 (2007), especially that of freedom of expression in public media. Also, a study of the criteria applied when limiting and allowing freedom of expression of the people in other related acts and laws which are currently enforced; the concepts and established criteria in laws, standards, and professional ethics of the mass media in Thailand and in other countries that are currently enforced; the role of official organizations that have been legally empowered to exercise control over freedom of expression; the standards and professional codes of conduct of the media; and self control mechanisms implemented by the media through professional organizations. In explaining the causes of the political violence that occurred during April-May 2010 this study is limited to only the principle communication channels of radio, television, and newspapers.
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    2.9.6 Root causes of conflict and the path to reconciliation
    It analyzes the outcome of the research studies in the 5 issues mentioned above, as well as, studies from the experiences of dealing with conflict both in Thailand and from other countries to provide possible solutions for the government and related parties in order to start the process of reconciliation building within the nation.
    2.10 Reconciliation Strategy
    In order to achieve our goal of leading the country away from conflict and toward
    reconciliation, TRCT, especially the Sub-commission on Reconciliation Strategy, stress
    impartiality. This is an important element in creating an environment in which people on all
    sides - individuals, agencies, networks and others - especially the two groups in conflict, can
    talk together and exchange ideas in a peaceful manner either through informal discussions
    or in more formal meetings.27 It is in this way that a solution to this conflict will be found. It
    27 Public Forums have been organized on three occasions, as follows:
    1. A public forum on “The Role of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission during Transitional Justice” was held at the Siam City Hotel on Friday 23th September 2011. The objective of the forum was to help the public understand more clearly about the Truth for Reconciliation Commission (TRC). In its proceedings, TRCT has used a modified form of Transitional Justice and it was thought that people should be informed about this principle so that all would understand it in the same way and also understand that this is the way to bring about reconciliation. Ms. Priscilla Hayner, an expert on Truth Commissions and Transitional Justice was a key speaker and participated in an exchange of experiences and provided recommendations on the work of TRCT.
    2. A panel discussion on “Reconciliation and Social and Political Dynamism, B.E.2555 (2012)” was organized on the 30th January 2012, from 8.30-12.00 at the Rama Gardens Hotel. Its aim was to assess the current situation in which Thai society is deeply divided into political camps and in the process of rapid political change. There are risks that this situation will lead to even more violent conflict in the future because of proposed changes to the Thai Constitution, legal issues related to the lese majeste laws, calls for amnesty laws, and the increased role of many organizations and groups in the political process that are perceived as tools for one or other party. The panel discussion was also organized to listen to opinions and promote solidarity in solving problems in a peaceful manner. All parties were encouraged to openly express their feelings and ideas and cooperate together in finding a solution for the nation, trying to reduce competitive attitudes and seeing the problem just from their own perspective. They were encouraged to clarify their thinking and to try to compromise or develop a consensus on ways to move
    18
    also enables us to receive valuable advice and suggestions on how to prevent such violence from erupting and spreading and how to bring about long-term reconciliation in our country. In addition, TRCT also acts as a communication link with the international community. TRCT is well aware of the impact that the political conflict and violence has had on the international community and therefore seek for possible guidelines to create a process of reconciliation in our country while keeping the international human rights principles and standards in mind.
    During 18th – 23rd October 2011, Dr. Kanit Nanakorn, Chairman of TRCT and Mr. Kittipong Kittiyarak, TRCT Commissioner and Head of the Sub-commission on Reconciliation Strategy, traveled to Switzerland and Finland to meet with Mr. Kofi Anan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, both Nobel Peace Laureates of who are internationally recognized for their expertise in diplomacy. During the visit there was productive discussion on how the dispute could be mediated and peace brought about. Useful suggestions were also presented on how TRCT might proceed and ways to build a stable and enduring reconciliation among the people of Thailand.
    Later, TRCT invited Mr. Kofi Anan and Mr. Martti Ahtisaari to visit Thailand as guests of
    TRCT. The visit took place from 16th – 19th February, 2012. They attended a conference on
    ways and means to bring about reconciliation in Thailand. The conference was attended by
    forward and build national reconciliation. From this TRCT was able to determine appropriate measures and modify their strategy in building reconciliation.
    3. A panel discussion on “Youth and Reconciliation in Social and Political Dynamism, B.E. 2555 (2012)” which was conducted on 11 February 2012 at the Mercure Fortune Hotel. The purpose of the session was to create an opportunity for the public to speak up and get them involved in the process of national reconciliation. As the TRCT gives priority to involving the public in the reconciliation process, Thai youth play an important role in social and political dynamism. The information gathered was used to establish appropriate measures to prevent conflict and develop national reconciliation. Moreover, the discussion raised awareness among the younger generation of the root causes of the conflict that is occurring in Thai society. Understanding the investigation process and determination of the truth is a “part” of the national reconciliation process.
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    TRCT and by representatives from many groups28 including leaders of the government, leaders of the opposition in the House of Representatives, victims, business groups, religious groups, civil society groups, the media, and youth groups from various regions. TRCT clarified that its aim was to help Thai society overcome conflict and to promote reconciliation.
    28 The objective of the visit is to support and encourage ongoing reconciliation efforts within Thailand.
    “We came to listen, to learn and to share our experience. We did not come to mediate.”... Press Release (Ref. Appendix 7)
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    3. Recommendations
    The recommendations in this 3rd Progress Report of the TRCT would like to emphasize and follow up on the previous recommendations presented by the TRCT on several issues. The TRCT is aware that the progress of reconciliation is not moving forward as it has been expected. This may be due to the lack of cooperation by the government, agencies and other stakeholders as follows:
    3.1 In the 2nd Progress Report of the TRCT (December 2011), TRCT has requested that all parties involved in the conflict shall exercise caution and not commit any act which could adversely affect the reconciliation progress. TRCT acknowledged that such a situation of conflict still exists in Thai society. Therefore, TRCT would like to emphasize that all parties involved in the conflict – the government; the prime minister, the opposition, political parties, political groups, those involved in the supervision and control of the use of state power, media, individuals and other agencies need to take cautious measurements regarding the situation of the conflict in order to create a supportive environment for national reconciliation by giving priority to the interest of the people of the nation, they must be tolerant, listen to the opinions of all parties and not commit any act that could escalate the conflict in the future.
    The Reconciliation process takes time, endurance and the engagement of all parties and all sectors, as well as, tools and mechanisms that can support the process of reconciliation, for instance, disclosing truth and root causes of the violent incident, reparation and restoration support for those affected by the violent incident, providing compensation to the victim, prosecution of accused person or defendants which must be proceeded in concrete manners with every individual treated equally and fairly, mediation process, and organizing public forum in order to build a common understanding with the support of the government. This, however, requires “time” which is a very important factor in achieving reconciliation. TRCT believes that accelerating the process of reconciliation can harm the purpose of creating a supportive environment for reconciliation. Society may not trust one another, it can become a serious obstacle in the negotiation process which aims to seek for possible solutions and create a better understanding among the people within Thailand, consequently, leading to national reconciliation. Therefore, the process of reconciliation must be conducted with awareness, cautious, transparency and based on democracy principles which include the participation of every party.
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    3.2 Before presenting the first interim report (launched in April 2011) prior to the term of office of the current government, TRCT made the following two recommendations:
    First Recommendation: TRCT remarked on the use of shackles on accused persons
    held by the Department of Corrections. TRCT pointed out that this was inappropriate and
    incorrect according to international conventions and that this practice should be adjusted to
    meet such international conventions and standard practices related to accused persons.29
    Second Recommendation: TRCT presented a recommendation relating to the
    unlawful holding of individuals by the state justice system. TRCT recommended that every
    agency within the system of justice of the country create a mutual understanding so as to
    ensure fairness which is of fundamental importance in building reconciliation and peace
    within the country.30
    3.2.1 Regarding the first recommendation relating to the shackling of prisoners, TRCT is not very satisfied with the response from the government. TRCT would like to confirm that the government can take up this matter and proceed in the correct way according to international practice because Article 14 of the Corrections Act 2479 states that:
    “Article 14: Use of shackles on prisoners is prohibited except in the following cases:
    (1) The prisoner is a danger to the lives of him/herself or others;
    (2) The prisoner is insane or lacking full mental faculties and is therefore a
    danger to others;
    (2) The prisoner is likely to try to escape custody;
    (3) Prison officials deem it appropriate to shackle the prisoner;
    (4)The (relevant) minister orders that a prisoner be shackled because of the
    condition of the prison or existing conditions in the local area.
    Under paragraphs 4 and 5 of this article, the warden has the authority to order
    that shackles be used or be removed.”
    29 TRCT Recommendation relating to the shackling of prisoners in TRCT document Yor Tor 0910/1dated 29
    July, 2010 in the Appendix 8
    30 TRCT Recommendation relating to basic rights of those accused of criminal activity resulting from
    violent unrest as contained within TRCT document (most urgent) TRCT 1/2553 dated 15 November 2010 in Appendix 9.
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    In addition, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners 1955, item 33 and item 34 refer to the use of shackles on prisoners as follows:
    “Item 33. Shackles such as handcuffs, chains, iron bands and arm straps cannot
    be used as a form of punishment nor for restraining prisoners. Other forms of shackles
    can be used in the following situations:
    (a) To prevent a prisoner escaping during transportation. These restraints must
    be removed when the prisoner appears in court or in other administrative agencies.
    (b) For medical reasons as ordered by medical personnel.
    (c) According to the orders of a prison superintendant when other methods of
    restraint have failed. This can be done when there is danger of a prisoner harming
    him/herself or other people or of damaging or destroying property. In these cases the
    prison superintendant must consult with medical personnel and must report the facts
    of the case to his/her superior.”
    “Item 34. The design and characteristics of shackles shall be set by the
    appropriate corrections agency. Further, such shackles shall be used only for limited
    periods and when absolutely necessary.”
    TRCT believes that the legal standards relating to corrections in Thailand closely correspond to international standards. TRCT therefore request that the government order an adjustment in the way these standards are implemented so as to ensure that our practices conform to the basic human rights principles of the United Nations. Widespread implementation of correct practices will also affect other prisoners both at present and in the future.
    3.2.2 The response from organizations within the system of justice to our second recommendation relating to the holding of individuals by the state is also not moving in a satisfactory direction. It is appropriate at this time to make adjustments and create understanding of the basic criteria under which persons in the future can be held by the state. The recommendation of TRCT, presented to the current government in TRCT document “Most Urgent. TRCT 651/2554 dated 15th September, 2011” 31 particularly Paragraph 3.2 states:
    31 Already referred to in Appendix 1.
    23
    “Proceed with earnest in arranging temporary release – a basic human right - of
    accused persons and defendants so that they can fight the criminal charge they are
    accused of and prove their innocence as well as reduce the impact on themselves and
    their families that comes from the limitation of their freedom. Relevant agencies such
    as investigators and prosecutors can petition the court and provide evidence relating
    to the accused and to the likelihood that the accused would abscond, destroy
    evidence or be a danger to society. If there is no such likelihood, the legal principle
    protecting accused persons or defendants right to temporary release should be
    invoked.
    Even though according to Article 110 of the Code of Criminal Procedure there
    can be no request for bail, the practice of agencies in the system of justice is to
    request bail. This practice is not in accordance with the law and is very damaging to
    the whole system of justice. It opens the door to “professional bail providers” which is
    illegal and which provides opportunities to take advantage of the rights and freedoms
    of individuals. Similarly, “insurance companies” profit in this way. Allowing “insurance
    companies” to profit from the rights and freedoms of individuals is a result of the
    government’s policy during a period when there was a misunderstanding of the
    relevant law. However, solving the root cause of the problem through a clear
    understanding of the law may not be possible at this time because the problem is
    intertwined with legal education and attitudes of those who use the law as well as
    other issues. In cases where the court agrees to temporary release but stipulates a bail
    amount it would be correct that the government provide the bail amount for all
    accused persons and defendants who are not able to do so themselves. Further, being
    accused of violent offences should not be considered a reason for refusing temporary
    release.
    In addition, TRCT would like to stress once again that the use of money by the Ministry of Justice from the “justice fund” in matters relating to temporary release is contrary to the basic principles of the Ministry. Temporary release of accused persons or defendants is a matter directly related to the system of justice and must be understood and practiced correctly according to the law. Article 110 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states:
    24
    “In cases involving heavy sentences of more than five years imprisonment,
    defendants must have a guarantor and may or may not be required to provide bail.
    In other cases, defendants may be granted temporary release without a
    guarantor, or may be required to have a guarantor, or may be required to have a
    guarantor and provide bail.
    In calling for a guarantor or bail according to paragraph 1 or paragraph 2 (the
    court) cannot call for that which is improper according to the situation. A guarantor or
    bail should be set according to the criteria set by the ministry or by the Chief Supreme
    Court judge, according to the situation.
    Therefore, the practice of agencies in the system of justice still calling for bail in almost every case is not correct or appropriate. This point has already been clearly explained by TRCT.
    As this incorrect practice of requiring bail is still continuing, TRCT would like to request that an attempt be made to get rid of these “professional bail providers” and “insurance companies”. All political parties and agencies in the system of justice of our country must see this as a matter of utmost importance. At least, the administration should create an understanding with the personnel in agencies within the system of justice such as investigators; whether police, special investigation staff or prosecutors. These people should review and understand the issue of temporary release. As for the courts, TRCT believes that if there is way to make all parties correctly understand this law, that way should be followed because this would enable the state to use the money in the “justice fund” in the correct way and for maximum effectiveness.
    Finally, in its 1st Interim Report TRCT stressed the importance of the law and system of justice for the country. TRCT would like to take this opportunity to request that all political parties be aware of and concerned about this matter.
    3.3 On 30th December 2011 TRCT presented a recommendation that the law relating to lèse majeste be modified.32 It is hoped that the government and cabinet were able to join together and bravely address this issue in order to eliminate the conditions for social problems. This is one way in which reconciliation can be achieved and peace brought to the people of our country.
    32 Already referred to in Appendix 2
    25
    3.4 In relation to providing reparation and restoration to those affected from the violent incidents, Thailand possess a public welfare that is providing care support to the people of the nation, in other word, when the public are troubled by whatever cause, the state will use a “helping-hand dimension” to eliminate the cause of the trouble. In the development of democracy there may be times when there is unrest that can escalate into violence. When losses occur from such violence, the state to care for and remedy the people affected by such developments in the democratic process. When unrest occurs, it is also the duty of the state to control violence and to guarantee the safety of its citizens when implementing such control. Not being able to perform its duty to guarantee the safety of the people results in the people being adversely affected by violent events. If this occurs, it becomes the duty of the state to care for and remedy those of the public who could not escape from the violence and who were harmed as a result. Furthermore, providing care support and restoration measures should not be seen as reducing a person’s human dignity but more correctly as part of a “dimension of atonement”. TRCT sees that care and restoration in this dimension should not be done in such a way as to promote greed which is a mental defilement of human beings. Restoration by giving large sums of money in one lump sum can be seen as the government transferring the responsibility onto the individuals who were affected, making them care for themselves and manage the money in a way that is unsustainable. For this reason, TRCT believes that the care and restoration of those affected by the violence should be in the form of monthly payments It also eliminates the mental defilement of people who may think they can obtain benefits in an incorrect way by risking their personal safety. A monthly payment system can also expedite understanding among people and gives restoration a more appealing aspect. It is more a condition for reconciliation than for conflict when compared to making a large payment all at one time.
    In conclusion, TRCT believes that restoration of people affected by the violence should be in the form of monthly payments. Also, that amounts used for restoration should appear in the government’s annual budget. Every year the government in office that proposes the annual budget and governments that consider annual budgets should come together and remember their apology to the people of the nation who were affected by the violence. To remember and reflect on, together, a restoration that is lasting and shows respect for human dignity.
    Statement
    We have visited Thailand at the invitation of the TRCT. The purpose of our visit was to support and encourage ongoing efforts of reconciliation by engaging with the TRCT and a wide range of actors involved in the reconciliation process. We came to listen, to learn and to share our experiences. We did not come to mediate.
    We exchanged views with the TRCT commissioners and staff. We met with the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition. We also met with victims of the conflict and civil society groups including; youth and women’s groups, as well as representatives from religious faiths, the media and the business community. Our view is that the TRCT is making an important contribution, one that remains highly relevant.
    We believe that reconciliation is everybody’s business. To be effective reconciliation must be inclusive and take account of the views of all sectors of society. It is essential to establish the facts and the truth.
    Based on our experience, reconciliation in any society is a long and arduous process. We are pleased that in our discussions we have heard a desire by the TRCT and all stakeholders to work together to nurture an open space for debate and to provide an effective channel of dialogue.
    Our hope is that the reconciliation process will continue, leading to an equitable, prosperous, democratic Thailand based on the rule of law and respect for human rights.


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    A lot to read but a must

    Post by Admin on 2nd April 2012, 11:11 pm

    Read it carefully if you are concerned about Thailand at present.

      Current date/time is 24th October 2018, 4:04 am