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Amnesty for Peace, Amnesty for Conflict: Political Transitions and Justice in Thailand Since 1973

Suh, Jiwon 1

1서강대학교

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ABSTRACT

The aim of this paper is to examine political conditions that invalidate the usual causal mechanism between amnesty and peace. Debates on transitional justice often center on amnesty versus prosecution. The problem is the balance and tradeoffs between justice and peace: it is assumed that perpetrators of abuses will act as spoilers of peace processes when they are prosecuted, leading to continued conflict, while amnesties bring about peace. The recent political crisis in Thailand, however, was triggered by the blanket amnesty bill. The political context of the 2013 amnesty bill was different from the previous conditions that enabled amnesties to work as a part of transitions. As a result of political changes since 2006, Thailand saw the emergence of mass movements who counter each other, often acting as “reversed spoilers” against amnesties. Moreover, King Bhumibol’s authority as the final arbiter weakened, precluding the resolution of political conflict “à la Thailand” since 1973, which had always included amnesties.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.