By PRAVIT ROJANAPHRUK
A GREAT, long-lasting charter, such as the Magna Carta, can only be proved by how it is implemented through the ages, Chulalongkorn law professor Vitit Muntarbhorn said.
“The Magna Carta will always be an inspiration,” Vitit said at the British Embassy on Monday.
He was a speaker at an event marking the 800th anniversary of the Great Charter – Magna Carta in Latin – that was agreed upon by King John of England with a group of rebel barons on June 15, 1215, and in effect led to swift justice, protection of church rights, protection from illegal imprisonment and more.
Vitit said the words and ideas of legitimacy through law encapsulated in the Magna Carta were resilient and resonated through the ages and through documents such as the US Declaration of Independence and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
The idea introduced by the Magna Carta is that every single person is under the rule of law, Vitit pointed out.
“We cannot trust power, and that is the whole point of the Magna Carta. It’s about power and checks and balances as well as people’s participation,” he said.
When asked why Thais are such voracious consumers of constitutions, Vitit said: “You can’t measure one’s rights by the presence of a constitution [alone]. Don’t look at one instrument alone.”
British Ambassador Mark Kent also reiterated that the very essence of the Magna Carta was that “nobody” is above the law.