Ruling on lese majeste law 'will not curb opposition'
The Constitution Court's ruling last week saying that the lese majeste law was within the realm of the charter will not stop opponents from campaigning for the amendment or abolition of the law, a key opponent and a prominent supporter of the law concurred.
"I don't think they care [about the Constitution Court's ruling]," Tul Sithisomwong, leader of a royalist group, said. "It's not that they are against the lese majeste law per se. Their concept is that the institution of monarchy impedes true democracy."
Meanwhile, Sawatree Suksri, from the Nitirat Group of Thammasat law lecturers and an opponent of the law, said the ruling does not mean that the law is free of problems and that moves to get it amended will continue.
Speaking in a personal capacity, she said she believes there are a couple of problems with the ruling. First, the Constitution Court appears to believe that protecting the monarch as an individual and protecting monarchy as an institution are one and the same; and that the monarchy needed special protection, which would put it under the category of national security. However, she said, there was no special protection for the other key pillars of Thai society, such as the Parliament or the courts of justice.
Sawatree also said that people's constitutional right to express their views was being curtailed by the lese majeste law.
To make matters worse, she said, the current penalty under this law was harsher than it would be under an absolute monarchy, which goes against the Constitution Court's ruling that the penalty is "proportionate".
Tul, however, sees things differently, saying the court's ruling made it clear that citizens were not barred from making legitimate critical remarks against the monarchy under the lese majeste law.
"I agreed with the court's ruling," Tul said.