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Emergence of Victims’ Rights in Thailand: Twenty Years After the U.N. Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.

Watanavanich, Prathan
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) In, Simon Cornell, UNAFEI Resource Material Series No. 70. Tokyo:United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders. P 3-30

This article discusses strategic policy for victims of crime in Thailand, including major operations undertaken under the Victim Compensation and Restitution for the Accused Person Act and the Witness Protection Act by the Department of Rights and Liberties Protection, Ministry of Justice.In Thailand, crime victims have three alternatives to seek redress by his or her own initiative: (1) enter a civil law suit against the perpetrator for civil liability; (2) institute a criminal complaint or charge the perpetrator in criminal court and file a civil case in connection with an offense; and (3) apply for a compensation award to the Victim Compensation and Restitution Board (VCR). The discussion begins with a description of the Thai criminal justice system followed by a history of victims’ rights in Thailand. While services for crime victims were initiated by community organizations during the 1970s, it was not until the 1980s that the victim’s rights movement gained momentum. At the time, the victims’ rights movement focused mainly on domestic violence against women and children and offenses against sexuality, particularly rape. The discussion next focuses on avenues for restitution for crime victims, which until 2002 was not required under Thai law and there was no system for covering injury compensation to victims. While the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) has since been amended to include for victim compensation, the author points out that there have been few victim restitutions made in connection with criminal cases. The emergence of witness protection legislation is critically analyzed as the author argues that additional legislation is needed to strengthen the witness protection system. The discussion next turns to restorative justice in Thailand, which is based on indigenous law and innovative conciliation, mediation, and dispute resolution practices. However, there has not been a comprehensive restorative justice project for the entire criminal justice system. Finally, victim compensation and restitution for the accused under the new legislation are considered, which makes provisions for both the crime victim and the accused in case of miscarriage of justice and an abuse of power. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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