Thailand’s parliament should amend the draft law on torture and enforced disappearance without delay in order to ensure compliance with Thailand’s international legal obligations, said the ICJ and Amnesty International.
The letter was submitted to the parliamentary Committee Considering the Draft Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act (‘Draft Act’).
The ICJ and Amnesty International also expressed concern at the recurrent delays in the amendment and enactment of this important legislation that will be critical for ensuring accountability and justice for future victims of torture and enforced disappearance.
On 16 September 2021, the Draft Act was approved by Thailand’s House of Representatives, in its first reading. Consequently, 25 Committee members were appointed to review the bill before to the second and third readings by the House of Representatives. Their first meeting was convened on 5 October 2021.
The recommendations were made based on the text of the main Draft Act that the Committee will consider – the one that was proposed by the Ministry of Justice and later approved by the Cabinet.
The key concerns include:
- Definitions of the crimes of torture and enforced disappearance, as well as of other key terms, that are incomplete or otherwise discordant with international law;
- The absence of provisions concerning cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT/P);
- The inadequacy of provisions concerning prosecuting agency;
- The inadequacy of provisions on the inadmissibility of statements and other information obtained by torture, CIDT/P and enforced disappearances as evidence in legal proceedings;
- The inadequacy of provisions relating to modes of liability for crimes described in the Draft Act;
- The inadequacy of provisions concerning safeguards against torture, CIDT/P and enforced disappearances; and
- The absence of provisions concerning the continuous nature of the crime of enforced disappearance and statute of limitations for torture and enforced disappearance crimes.
Most of the above noted concerns were addressed in the three other draft laws that were proposed by House Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights, Democrat Party and Prachachart Party, which will also be considered by the Committee along with the main Draft Act.
Thailand is a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and has signed, but not yet ratified, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
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