Under the junta, the Thai judicial system, already deeply, deeply flawed, lacking impartiality, transparency and sometimes even legal knowledge among judges, has been made even worse.
The judiciary has become not just indistinguishable from the junta’s regime, but defining of it. So flawed is it that it is difficult to see any way in which it can be reformed once the junta has departed – if it ever does – and, of course, that is what the junta and a cohort of royalist legal flunkies intended.
The most recent example reeks of political partiality. It involves red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan, chairman of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, but the decision of the court should worry anyone interested in a decent and competent judiciary.
Jatuporn has been “sent to jail for breach of his bail conditions by the Criminal Court…”. This bail refers to the “charges of terrorism linked to the violent red-shirt street protests in 2010.”
The report tells us that “[p]rosecutors said the five defendants had in 2015 made remarks on several television programmes which could be construed as stirring unrest and violating the rights of individuals or state agencies, in violation of the conditions set for their temporary freedom on bail.”
That’s “could” and followed by “construed.” Okay, courts can interpret a bit. But this court declared that “Jatuporn had breached bail conditions by being ‘sarcastic’ about the work of the junta…”. Worse, it seems, he impinged on the “dignity” of the junta with “harsh words…”.
You get the picture. This is politically-inspired nonsense, “protecting” the junta as if it is a bunch of feudal lords.
The court is a kangaroo court that destroys the credibility of the whole judiciary with such bizarre political partisanship.