Thailand: ICJ holds workshop on the independence of the judiciary

On 1 and 2 September, the ICJ held a “Workshop on the Independence of the Judiciary in the Context of the Inquisitorial Judicial System in Thailand” for members of the Thai judiciary in the north of the country.

Some 31 judges from 21 courts and the Administrative Office of the Court of Justice, Region V, attended the workshop, which was held in Chiang Mai.

The objective of the workshop was to discuss the role of judges and exercise of judicial power within the inquisitorial system, particularly in the context of adjudicating cases of human trafficking.

In an effort to combat human trafficking in Thailand, the Procedures for Human Trafficking Cases Act B.E. 2559 (2016) established inquisitorial system procedures for adjudication of cases of human trafficking.

With an increasing number of cases of human trafficking in Northern Thailand, judges in Northern Thailand are increasingly required to utilize inquisitorial processes in human trafficking cases.

Courts in Thailand generally adjudicate cases based on the adversarial judicial system.

In this context, the ICJ held the workshop in collaboration with the Administrative Office of the Court of Justice, Region V, in the North of Thailand, to share information and expand collaboration between Thai and international judges about inquisitorial processes.

Justice Aree Thecharuwichit, Chief Justice of the Office of the Chief Justice, Region V, Frederick Rawski, Regional Director of ICJ Asia and the Pacific, and Justice Radmila Dragicevic-Dicic, Vice-President of the ICJ, ICJ Commissioner, Acting President of the Belgrade Court of Appeals and Judge of the Supreme Court of Serbia delivered opening statements at the Workshop.

Justice Sittipong Tanyaponprach, Chief Judge of the Office of the Chief Justice, Region I, spoke about existing procedures in Thailand’s justice system to deal with human trafficking cases under the Procedures for Human Trafficking Cases Act 2016.

Justice Marcel Lemonde, Honorary President of Chamber in France’s Court of Appeal and an International Consultant in Judicial Matters, delivered an introduction to the inquisitorial system based on the French judicial system and spoke about existing challenges in inquisitorial processes.

Justice Radmila Dragicevic-Dicic, of the Supreme Court of Serbia and ICJ Vice-President spoke about judicial practice in cases involving human trafficking and shared her experience in adjudicating human trafficking cases in Serbia.

ICJ’s Senior Legal Adviser Kingsley Abbott moderated the workshop and provided an introduction to the ICJ’s resource materials on the independence of the judiciary and judicial accountability, including the ICJ’s Practitioners’ Guide No. 13 on Judicial Accountability.

The ICJ ended the Workshop with a statement reiterating its commitment towards working with Thailand’s judiciary to strengthen the rule of law and administration of justice in Thailand.

This Workshop is the second workshop held by the ICJ for Thailand’s judiciary in the North of Thailand.

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