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Dictatorship on Trial in Thailand

Online Event
Agence France Press
Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

On 22 May 2014, a military junta calling itself the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) launched a coup and ousted the elected government in Thailand. When the NCPO launched the coup, they promised to restore the rule of law after ten years of political conflict but their regime instead undermined its most fundamental principles. The NCPO employed the arbitrary, disproportionate and politicized use of law to violate the rights of civilians, facilitate extrajudicial violence, and guarantee impunity for the coup and subsequent crimes. Justice, long tenuous in Thailand, disappeared entirely for those deemed to be enemies of the junta.  On 16 July 2019, the NCPO formally ceased to exist when a new civilian cabinet was sworn in following a national election, yet a post-NCPO military-monarchy alliance still continues to exercise significant power and obstruct democracy. This talk takes the long history of impunity for state violence in Thailand as a point of departure from which to reflect on how the past six years of dictatorship might be redressed and justice forged. Inspired by feminist court decision rewriting projects, the talk revisits a series of cases in which the court adjudicated in favor of the coup and the abrogation of the people’s rights.  Plotting alternative logics, interpretation of evidence and conclusions — a jurisprudence of accountability — is a way to at once imagine what justice might look like and assess the depth of legal, social, and political transformation necessary to make it real.