Thailand has raised the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old unconditionally and to 15 years with conditions.
“Children under the age of 12 shall not receive penalties for committing actions that are deemed to violate the law,” read the 29th amendment to the country’s Criminal Code.
The amendment, which was published in the Royal Gazette last week, came into effect on Monday, May 9.
Under the revisions, minors under 12 years old who commit offenses now have legal immunity.
Children aged 12 to 15 will also enjoy the same, but courts can impose measures that may include placing the children in custody, rehabilitation or foster homes.
Under the old provisions of the Criminal Code, minors under 15, their parents or legal guardians, could be fined if they repeat the offense committed.
Courts can now require offending children aged under 18 to get training, attend school or undergo psychiatric treatment.
They can also place children in the care of guardians or social agencies if they deem that parents are incapable of caring for children.
Thai authorities changed the law based on scientific data that show that the brain development of 12-year-olds is no greater than that of 10-year-olds so that they are not fully cognizant of their actions.
In doing so, they adapted the country’s legislation to international norms as embodied in the Convention on the Rights of the Child in place since 2 September 1990, which Thailand ratified in 2012.
The 29th amendment to the Criminal Code replaces Section 73 and states: “Children under the age of 12 shall not receive penalties for committing actions that are deemed to violate the law.”
The 29th amendment also changed Section 74 of the Criminal Code to free children older than 12 but under 15 from criminal responsibility. – with a report from AsiaNews