Former justice minister calls for end to military government’s legacy

The military government, also known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), violated human rights and messed up Thailand’s management and legal structures through their executive orders former justice minister Chaturon Chaisang told Thai Enquirer.

“The unfair use of [the executive orders] was against the rule of law,” he said.

Chaturon said those orders must be lifted as they could be reused by the government against the spirit of the law.

“The orders have impacted the management structure in many sectors including education, forestry, and fishery,” he said.

The junta, which ruled from 2014-2019, issued a total 533 announcements and orders when they were in power.

The Internet Dialogue on Law Reform (iLaw) said at least 35 of them were against human rights and democratic principles including the orders which allow the military to summon and detain people for seven days without charge, the ban on a political gathering of more than five people and the gag on media.

Chaturon said many of the NCPO’s orders were equal to amendments of the legal code so the process of lifting them should be accompanied by amendments that would modernize the laws that have been affected as well.

“After lifting these orders, there will continue to be problems to fix because you cannot just cancel them without replacing them with something else,” he said.

“The NCPO illegitimately amended the laws because they were not representatives of people…and their orders are still problematic now since they have affected the country’s management and legal structures.”

For example, if the orders to set up regional committees and provincial education offices to oversee education matters in each region and province have been lifted then they must be replaced.

“Just canceling them is no longer the solution,” Chaturon said.

Simply going back to before the NCPO’s orders were issued is also difficult since some of them are already being used as bases for other amendments.

“Going back to where we were is not going to always be better for every law either since there are many ongoing issues that are already involved with the orders such as the current amendment of the National Education Act,” he said

The orders that should be lifted first are the ones that are blatantly violating human rights and press freedom, he said.

“What should be quickly lifted are the orders that infringe on the rights of the people and the media, including mainstream and online media,” he said.


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