News : Cabinet Approves Measures for the Reparation and Rehabilitation of those Affected by the Incidents o News

News : Cabinet Approves Measures for the Reparation and Rehabilitation of those Affected by the Incidents o

15 January 2012

On 10 January 2012, the Cabinet approved in principle the measures, mechanism and means for reparation and rehabilitation of those affected by the incidents of political violence as proposed by the Committee to Coordinate and Follow-up on Actions Taken to Implement the Recommendations of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (ITRCT). The Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security have been assigned to administer the budget for reparation and rehabilitation measures.

             Previously, on 6 January 2010, the ITRCT held its third meeting at Government House and approved a framework for the reparation and rehabilitation of those affected by the incidents of political violence. ITRCT’s main decisions in this regard are as follows:

              1) Reparation and rehabilitation measures whether in respect of monetary compensation or other forms including creating opportunities for one to make a living and to carry on with an occupation as usual would be based on international standards including the setting of compensation by the United Nations and countries where reparations have been made to those who suffered losses. Such measures are also to be consistent with TRCT’s recommendations. 

              2) Reparation will cover all groups of people, state officials, media and the private sector who have been affected by incidents of political violence and their families starting from the period before the military coup of 19 September 2006 when the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) held protests against the government of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in the latter part of May 2005 until the protests of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) in April – May 2010.

              3) Monetary compensation is to be made for the following categories: death (4.5 million Baht per person), cremation costs (250,000 Baht per person), disability (4.5 million Baht per person), loss of organ (up to approximately 3.6 million per person), injury (up to approximately 1.1 million Baht per person), medical costs (up to 400,000 Baht per person) and mental harm (up to 3 million Baht per person). In cases related to political protests, monetary compensation would also be made for those who were detained but were later acquitted and those who were detained for a period longer than the final sentence received. It is initially estimated that the payment of compensation for the above-mentioned categories would cost around 2 billion Baht. 

               During ITRCT’s meeting, a number of other issues were also raised. Amongst others, the meeting was informed about the Department of Special Investigation (DSI)’s report concerning 261 cases which appear to be related to political conflict under the purview of the DSI. The report concluded that the pressing of charges and the proceedings for such cases were consistent with the circumstances of the commission of the act and the pressing of charges were not unduly severe. The meeting was also informed that preparations have been completed for the special detention facility at Laksi in Bang Khen District to be used for the relocation of 72 detainees of cases which appear to be related to political conflict. The relocation is being made in accordance with TRCT’s recommendation that such detainees should be held at an appropriate place of detention which is not a common prison.

               On 13 January 2012, Mr. Weerawong Chittmittrapap, ITRCT’s spokesman, gave a press briefing to provide clarification about the compensation package for those affected by the incidents of political violence. Mr. Chittmittrapap noted that the compensation was merely the start of the reconciliation process, and that the essence of the process is to identify and address the root causes of the conflict in order to prevent a recurrence. Nonetheless, compensation is an important means through which the government can show its responsibility and regret for what occurred while also aiding those affected to resume a normal life. He added that a separate committee chaired by Justice Minister Pracha Promnog has been tasked with studying appropriate measures for compensation in relation to incidents in the Southern Border Provinces of Thailand.

                The ITRCT spokesman emphasized that compensation would be based on the principle of non-discrimination which means that equal treatment would be applied to all sides regardless of status (such as between military, police or civilian), gender or political affiliation. A sub-committee would study the details on compensation including the means for payment and eligibility, for example, whether a person convicted of a crime related to the incidents would be entitled to compensation. These details would then be submitted for Cabinet’s consideration. Regarding the total amount of compensation to be paid, this would depend on the number of people who are eligible for compensation.

                  On whether the payment of compensation would encourage irresponsible behaviour on the part of protesters in the future, Mr. Chittmittrapap opined that this was not about what benefits one would receive from protests, but the main underlying rationale for the compensation is the fact that the State was unable to perform its duty in facilitating the people in exercising their rights and allowed violence to occur, including loss of lives.