Amnesty Bill: the art of covering your ass

When coup-makers come into power, one of their first acts would dictate a law that gives them amnesty to prevent any future civilian government from bringing sedition charges on the generals.

Hence, General Prayut Chan-o-cha and his clique are protected by the amnesty law for the 2014 military coup.

Likewise, the mismanagement of a nation can lead to criminal charges against government leaders. Case in point, Yingluck Shinawatra and the Rice Pledging Scheme.

On 27 September 2017, the Supreme Court found the ex-PM guilty of “criminal negligence” and gave her a five-year prison sentence in absentia. However, she was cleared of civil litigation.

“Negligence” in the COVID-19 and vaccine management would not be the right word. “Gross negligence” is closer to the truth.

Hence, the Health Ministry is pushing an amnesty bill.

On the surface, the amnesty bill seems to protect healthcare workers in the frontline.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said, “We must protect the frontline healthcare workers who are making the sacrifices.”

In this, he is correct.

But read further into the proposed bill, and we find Number 7:

“To protect persons or group of people designated to find or manage the vaccine.”

That person is the Health Minister. The group of people is those in charge of the Health Ministry. But this isn’t entirely fair, as neither the Health Minister nor the Health Ministry is actually in charge.

General Prayut has appointed himself the head and decision-maker of everything, including the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) nationwide. General Prayut outranks everyone and makes the final decision on everything, including vaccine management.

As the General has said in the past, mean-mugging and chest-thumping, “I’m responsible for everything.”

If there’s a future “gross criminal negligence” charge, it should be on General Prayut.

But like the 2014 coup, the amnesty bill would simply say: “General Prayut can do no wrong.”

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