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Yingluck-led panel would decide who gets amnesty

Prayuth

Prayuth

Prayuth Siripanich, deputy chair of the House ad hoc committee vetting the amnesty bill and sponsor of the controversial amended clauses, tells The Nation's Opas Boonlom that it is not his intention to return former PM Thaksin Shinawatra's seized assets or 'whitewash' his crimes. Here are excerpts from the interview:

What are your thoughts on granting amnesty to rally leaders and state officials involved in the political mayhem and those accused in connection to the 2006 coup?

My record shows that I have strongly opposed every power seizure staged after October 6, 1976.

It was my personal initiative to propose blanket amnesty. Neither Thaksin Shinawatra nor Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra or the ruling party ordered me to do so. I have three main reasons to back amnesty.

First, Article 3 paragraph 2 of the Constitution prescribes for the courts and agencies formed under organic laws to abide by the rule of law.

Second, Article 30 of the Constitution prescribes for legal equality and is against discrimination.

Third, under the punishment principles for crime, it is unacceptable to absolve those who shoot people and not those who ordered the shooting.

Will amnesty, if granted, be in conflict with the coup immunity under Article 309 of the Constitution?

The amnesty clause does not judge activities associated with the coup, hence it has no bearing on Article 309. Furthermore, the coup immunity does not ban the enactment of the amnesty bill.

Will the change to expand the amnesty coverage contradict the original draft, which has already passed the first reading?

No, the change and the original draft rely on the anti-coup principle.

Will incidents in the South, such as the Tak Bai and Krue Se cases, come under the bill?

No. The strife in the South is not linked to the political turbulence.

Will the amnesty apply to legal wrangling over slander stemming from the political mayhem?

No. Disputes among parties that initiated defamation suits and their respective decisions to litigate have no links to political rallies.

What would be the next move after enactment of an amnesty?

After the amnesty law comes into effect, the prime minister will be in charge of forming a committee tasked with determining the cases and individuals who should be granted 'absolution'.



What they say

"If we must first survey the public's opinions, which group should we ask? From 10 people, or 100 people? Or from the media? We must admit that we use a parliamentary system, in which the voters' majority voted to select their representatives." - Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri



"As a victim of the poisonous tree [military coup], I want all of this amnesty law, for it to go all the way [a blanket amnesty], as both an investigator and a victim of a poisonous tree." - Department of Special Investigation director-general Tarit Pengdith



"The House committee is in charge of the amnesty

law and it will certainly not be a financial-related

bill." - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra



"The reds want justice to run its course in order to set a precedent that will prevent a repeat of political violence." - Red-shirt leader Natthawut Saikua



"Critics should have waited and seen the final version of the amnesty law. Besides, the more important question is how the consequences and damage caused by the military coup can be undone." - Noppadon Pattama, legal adviser for former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.




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