Royal Pardon is the granting of pardon to a person given a punishment by the Thai courts. The pardon may be either in the form of an unconditional release, a commutation or reduction of punishment. This depends on the discretion of His Majesty the King as stated in Section 221 and 225 of the Constitution (B.E. 2540) and Section 259 to 267 of Division 7: Pardon, Commutation and Reduction of Punishment in the Criminal Procedure Code Amendment Act (No. 23), B.E. 2548.
Collective Royal Pardon
According to section 261 bis. of the Criminal Procedure Code, the cabinet may submit to his Majesty the King a recommendation for the granting of a pardon. In so doing, the cabinet will prepare the draft of the royal pardon decree and propose to his Majesty the King for promulgation. All the procedure is taken by the authority, without requiring any actions of the prisoners.
The collective royal pardon is granted on special ground on auspicious nation events; for example, on the occasion of the Long-Reign Celebration and the Golden Jubilee.
1. Professionally keeping prisoners into custody
2. Efficiently providing rehabilitation for prisoners
Individual Royal Pardon
Individual Royal Pardon is granted as a matter of routine procedure. Any convicted prisoner or a concerned person wishing to petition his Majesty the King praying for pardon may do so by submitting such petition through official channel. However, whether or not the pardon is granted shall be subject to the King’s discretion based on the recommendation submitted by the Minister of Justice.
Who can submit a petition?
* Convicted prisoners
* Concerned persons: parents, offsprings and spouse
* Diplomatic representatives (only in the case of foreign prisoners)
(Note: Lawyers are not regarded as concerned persons)
When can the petition be submitted
* For prisoners imposed with sentence other than death, the petition can be submitted at once the case becomes final
* For prisoners sentenced to death, the petition must be submitted within 60 days from the date of hearing the judgement.
Procedure of submitting the petition
After a case has become final, a person sentenced to whatever punishment or an concerned person can submit a petition either through the prison authority, the Ministry of Justice, The Office of His Majesty Principal Private Secretary, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Embassy of his/ her country. Upon receiving of such petition, the Department of Corrections shall forward the petition to the prison authority to verify the accuracy of information. After that, the Department shall forward the petition together with the recommendation to the Minister of Justice, who will then propose the petition to his Majesty the King through The Secretariat of the Cabinet and The Office of His Majesty Principal Private Secretary. Once informed the result of the petition, Department of Corrections shall notify the petitioner and take action accordingly.
Recent Collective and Individual Pardons
1999: King’s Birthday (6th Cycle) – 33,789 released and 45,681 reduced sentence
2003: Individual pardons – 3 released and 17 reduced sentence
2004: Queen’s Birthday (6th Cycle) – 35,282 released and 101,881 reduced sentence
2004: Individual pardons – 13 released and 27 reduced sentence
2005: Individual pardons – 27 released and 42 reduced sentence
2006: 60th Anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej – 32,427 released, 75,834 reduced sentence
2006: Individual pardons – 6 released and 13 reduced sentence
2007: King’s 80th Birthday – 31,149 released and 101,607 reduced sentence