|8 May 2015 |
Justice Minister General Paiboon Koomchaya and Deputy Interior Minister Sutee Markboon have given a policy briefing on the management of the Justice Fund at the provincial level via a videoconference.
Taking part in the videoconference on 6 May 2015 were provincial governors, district officers, chiefs of provincial justice offices, and other relevant officials.
The Government has a policy to revise various laws and reform the justice process. One of the laws involves the Justice Fund, which has been set up as a mechanism to provide legal counseling services and financial assistance for hiring lawyers and for bail.
The fund aims to protect the rights of the accused in the judicial process. It helps poor people facing legal charges but who are hampered by budget constraints. With the fund, they will have access to justice on an equal basis, and innocent poor people will be given justice.
The Deputy Interior Minister said that the National Council for Peace and Order had established the Damrongdham Center in various provinces to receive complaints and suggestions from the public, as well as providing counseling and information services. He explained that the Ministry of Interior has mechanisms covering all villages and communities nationwide. For this reason, it plays an important role in translating the Government’s policies into action.
On 8 December 2014, the Ministry of Interior joined the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Council of State in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure justice for the people and reduce social disparity. The MOU will be used as a framework that relevant agencies may use to mobilize efforts to tackle problems concerning social inequality.
In response to the implementation of the MOU, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice jointly organized the videoconference on the Justice Fund. The Damrongdham Center at the provincial and district levels was assigned to work closely with the Provincial Justice Office in making the system of receiving public complaints and requests more efficient before passing them to agencies involved.
The Justice Minister explained that the Justice Fund was set up in 2006 in accordance with the Constitution. Since its inception, the fund has received 15,156 requests. About 347 million baht has been spent on assisting people in the course of justice. Most of the assistance money, accounting for 96.9 percent, was paid for bail deposits, followed by lawyers’ fees, accounting for 6.8 percent.
He said that the Justice Fund Management Committee had approved the decentralization of fund management. In this regard, the Provincial Justice Office and the Provincial Justice Fund Subcommittee are empowered to approve up to 500,000 baht for each case.
He added that the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior would step up efforts to ensure the right of people to have access to justice.