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Draft bill on offences by politicians ‘applicable retroactively’

Jul 14. 2017
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By The Nation

The new draft bill on court procedures against political office holders will be applied retroactively to existing criminal cases, but exempted from penalties with retrospective effect, Deputy Attorney-General Khemchai Chutiwong said on Friday.

As the draft bill stipulates how such cases will be proceeded without the defendants being present, it is thus automatically applicable to all cases that are on hold, including cases before the draft bill’s enactment, Khemchai explained.

Only stipulations on penalties will not be retroactive in these cases, he said.

The draft was deliberated and passed on Thursday by the National Legislative Assembly.

Khemchai said the new law would not have much impact on the work of lawyers, and it would help speed up prosecution of politicians involved in wrongdoings.

He said there was no double standard in dealing with politicians, civil servants and private sectors concerning graft, as there are already separate court procedures in place for politicians, including the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders.

“Politicians often have a huge impact on society. They also come and go fast hence we need this bill in place,” he said “Civil servants and the private sector, on the other hand, often commit less serious graft so they can be prosecuted through the normal process,”

Asked if this standard will be applied in the case of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Khemchai replied: “Possibly yes. However, the law is aimed at future use and does not target anyone specifically.”

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