Mediation, witness-protection touted in grassroots justice push

Friday, 11 July 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 28 By  Surasak Huasoon

Dispute mediation and protection from witness intimidation were touted as major benefits of a plan to set up provincial-level offices to provide justice at the grassroots level.

Top officials from the Chonburi Justice Office joined local politicians at a June 25 briefing on the “community justice” pilot program and training on related legal issues for representatives from Pattaya’s 42 communities.

(L to R) Chonburi Justice Tueanjai Chareonpong from the Chonburi Justice office; Sarawuth Benjakul, deputy secretary of the justice office, and Pairoj Tinchatarak, head of the justice and legal group.(L to R) Chonburi Justice Tueanjai Chareonpong from the Chonburi Justice office; Sarawuth Benjakul, deputy secretary of the justice office, and Pairoj Tinchatarak, head of the justice and legal group.

The Ministry of Justice unofficially established provincial justice offices many years ago by assigning work to be under the responsibilities of departments, such as to prison superintendents, chief prosecutors, probation office directors, and directors of Juvenile Observation and Protection centers.

Chonburi Justice Tueanjai Chareonpong said the Ministry of Justice set up pilot offices in twelve provinces, including Chiang Mai, Chachoengsao and Chonburi and has the provincial justice supervise work to bring justice and reduce inequality in communities.

Tueanjai said the local justice office also would conduct missions to provide knowledge, introduce and offer legal advice, including serving as a center for complaints relating to witness protection.

She said many legal cases are lost or dismissed due to destruction of evidence or witness intimidation. If people are afraid to testify, then justice fails at the local level. However, she said, the legal system previously has done a poor job in protecting those who agree to testify in legal cases.

At the seminar, Chonburi Justice Office officials provided additional information on damages for injured persons and Compensation and Expense for the Accused in the Criminal Case Act.

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