“A Jurisprudence Against Coups in Thailand”
Professor of Southeast Asian Studies
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
University of Wisconsin-Madison
On the first anniversary of the coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the junta that launched the 22 May 2014 coup in Thailand, Resistant Citizen, a coalition of sixteen activists, lawyers, artists, and survivors of state violence filed charges of treason and rebellion against the NCPO. This first half of this talk places Resistant Citizen’s struggle in the seventy-year history of attempts to hold coupmakers to account. Despite amnesty laws passed with each coup to foreclose accountability, Resistant Citizen and others who have brought cases advance an idea of the people’s sovereignty that refuses its destruction by an illegal seizure of power by a handful of military generals. The protection of state officials from being impugned, never the protection or even recognition of the people as equal members of the polity, remains constant across the decisions. In this case, too, the Supreme Court adhered to historical precedent and dismissed Resistant Citizen’s charges against the NCPO. In contrast, a jurisprudence of accountability would center the people and accord weight to the damage sustained by individuals and the polity by coups. Drawing on feminist judgment methodology, the second half of this talk offers a new decision rendered in the name of a Court by and for the People that reverses precedent and writes towards a different future in which sovereignty is not reduced to brute force, but is a shared project between the rulers and the ruled.
This event is free and open to the public. A recording will be available on the CSEAS YouTube channel following the event.