On 21 October, the ICJ, together with Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), organized a lawyers’ meeting in Bangkok on the admissibility of evidence in the context of application of special security laws in Thailand.
Attendees included 30 human rights lawyers, paralegal officers, documentation officers, human rights defenders and journalists from Bangkok and other regions in Thailand.
The objectives of the meeting were:
- To discuss about the challenges that lawyers currently face regarding the admissibility of evidence in criminal proceedings, both in law and in practice, in the context of existing special security laws. These laws include the Martial Law, Emergency Decree, and the Internal Security Act that are applied in the southern border provinces, and certain repressive National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Orders that are applied nationwide;
- To discuss how to address the adverse effects on human rights and the administration of justice as a consequence of the implementation of these laws and how lawyers, members of civil society, and other stakeholders, at national and international levels, may work together to address such challenges; and
- To gather recommendations from participants and discuss future advocacy strategies to tackle identified challenges.
The ICJ’s Legal Memorandum on Hearsay Evidence and International Fair Trial Standards was used as one of the main reference materials during the meeting.
A main recommendation of the Workshop, echoed the ICJ’s assessment in the Legal Memorandum, namely that Thailand should review existing standards in all special security laws and relevant articles in the Criminal Procedure Code regarding the admissibility of evidence that are not compatible with international fair trial standards to ensure safeguards required to protect individuals from unfair trials.
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