June 29, 2014 00:00 By Khanittha Thepphajorn
The main problem of the Thai justice system is that relevant agencies do not collaborate well and this leads to higher costs and poor effectiveness, Kanit na Nakorn, chairman of the Law Reform Commission of Thailand and a former attorney general has said.
Meanwhile, Thirayuth Boonmee, a political critic, lecturer and a leader during the student uprising in 1976, said Thailand’s reforms in the past had failed because they were conducted separately – not holistically and comprehensively tackled.
They were speaking at a seminar marking Thammasat University’s 80th anniversary on Friday.
The university’s name means the ‘University of moral science’ and it was originally called the University of Moral Science and Politics.
Thirayuth said the civic sector should take part in the checks-and-balances process. “The civic sector’s role must be strong. People must have the power, rights and freedom and use them responsibly in tackling problems of the country,” he said, adding that focusing only on the strength of the government sector would not be the answer.
“Thailand will never develop in the same way as the West or Japan, which has strong discipline. We have to think about hybrid development – how we can live happily together.
“We have to accept that motorcycle taxis are useful and food stalls play an important role in the Thai economic system, for example.
“I think the National Council for Peace and Order is heading in the right direction, but it’s too soon to conclude that.”
He said he would comment more on the NCPO’s work in the next few months.
Kanit said many cases tackled by the National Anti-Corruption Commission expired because they exceeded the statute of limitations and nobody was held responsible for that.
The problem stemmed from attorneys not being trusted, he said.
“Thai laws are good but the problem is the practice [of the law],” he said.
“Some people might have said we treat people with many standards. I personally think we have no standard, to be exact. Officers must do the cases objectively and with unity.
“We have justice organisations but they don’t cooperate. That allows the wrongdoers to avoid punishment.”
Kanit said educational institutions must take the issue seriously.
“The Thai justice system can make the country peaceful. But the unrest in the past was because the justice system still lacked fairness,” he said.
Kanit raised Japan as an example of using the justice system as the base of all aspects in national development.
Former Constitutional Court president Wasan Soypisudh also said Thailand had failed to build a strong and effective justice system and as such had failed to protect people’s rights.
Wasan said the justice process moved too slowly and the limited knowledge and experience of some judges contributed to the problems.
“The [nullified] February 2 election failed. We have to accept that people obstructed it,” he said.
“Whose fault was that? Some said the Election Commission. In my opinion, the EC is not in charge of peace and order. It cannot order the military, police officers or governors.
“The authorities – government officers – should have done their job. They didn’t, so that led to defiance. That’s why I see the justice system as failing to keep peace and order, except when legal cases are filed.”