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Friday Forum Lecture: Tyrell Haberkorn
September 28, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
The Prosecution of Dictators in Thailand
Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, UW-Madison
The regime of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which took power in Thailand in the 22 May 2014 coup, is a dictatorship that has been marked by a series of human rights violations, including curtailment of freedom of expression, torture, arbitrary detention and unjust prosecutions which depart from the letter and spirit of the law. Four years after the coup, General Prayuth Chan-ocha and the NCPO have gestured towards a willingness to hold elections, albeit under circumstances highly-constrained by the 2017 Constitution. Taking an assumption that part of the NCPO’s reluctance to exit power is their realization of their many violations of the very law they claim to enforce, this talk outlines how and on what charges General Prayuth Chan-ocha and other members of the NCPO could be indicted and prosecuted under domestic criminal law and with respect to Thailand’s international human rights violations. Reflecting on such a possible prosecution within the context of Thai and global histories of human rights and impunity, this talk also explicates both the urgency of justice and potential obstacles to it.