Thailand: ICJ co-hosts discussion on addressing extrajudicial killings

On 14 July 2018, the ICJ co-organized a discussion on extrajudicial killings in Thailand, focusing on the cases of Chaiyaphum Pasae and Abe Saemu.

The discussion was held at the Student Christian Centre in Bangkok.

Chaiyaphum Pasae, a Lahu youth activist, was killed by a military officer in the Chiang Dao district of Thailand’s northern Chiang Mai province in March 2017.  The killing took place during an attempt to arrest him as an alleged drug suspect. Officials claimed Chaiyaphum Pasae had resisted arrest and was subsequently shot in “an act of self-defence”.

Abe Saemu, from the Lisu hill tribe, was killed by a military officer in February 2017 in the Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai province in an attempt to arrest him on allegations of drug coffences. Officials claimed Abe Saemu had resisted arrest and was killed in “self-defence”.

During the discussion, ICJ’s National Legal Adviser Sanhawan Srisod addressed the audience to set out the international law and standards that apply to investigating potentially unlawful deaths, including the rights of victims and family members, referring to the standards set out in the revised Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death (2016), which was launched in Thailand on 25 May 2017.

Participants in the event included members of the families of Chaiyaphum Pasae and Abe Saemu, the lawyers in both of their cases, interested members of the public, media representatives, students and academics.

The discussion opened with an art exhibition and Lahu dance show by the Save Lahu group. Human Rights Commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit then made a presentation on challenges in seeking accountability for extrajudicial killings in Thailand.

A panel discussion on the latest updates in the cases of Chaiyaphum Pasae and Abe Saemu followed, moderated by Pranom Somwong from Protection International.

The panel included relatives of Chaiyaphum Pasae and Abe Saemu; Ratsada Manuratsada, a lawyer representing the families in both cases and Krissada Ngamsiljamras, a representative from the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand.

A second panel considered challenges on the administration of criminal justice in the context of unlawful deaths.

Moderated by Pratubjit Neelapaijit of UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the panel included Malee Sittikreangkrai (Chiang Mai University); Sumitchai Hattasan (Human Rights Lawyers’ Association); Namtae Meeboonsalang (Provincial Chief Public Prosecutor, Office of the Attorney-General); Kritin Meewutsom (Forensic doctor, Ranong Hospital); and Sanhawan Srisod (ICJ).

The event was conducted in collaboration with Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF); Protection International (PI); UN OHCHR; Human Rights Lawyers’ Association (HRLA); Thai Volunteer Services (TVS); Dinsorsee Creative Group; Center for Ethnic Studies and Development, Chiang Mai University (CESD); Legal Research and Development Center, Chiang Mai University (LRDC) and Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT).


Kingsley Abbott, Senior Legal Adviser, ICJ Asia Pacific Regional Office,

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