On 15-16 October 2016, the ICJ held a Workshop for justice sector actors in Thailand’s deep South on “the Use of Telecommunication Evidence in Criminal Cases” for police, special investigators, prosecutors and lawyers.
The attendees included 30 public prosecutors, police and Department of Special Investigation (DSI) officials, 15 defense lawyers, and observers from the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) and the Asia Foundation.
This is the sixth ICJ workshop related to strengthening the administration of justice in the deep South since 2011.
The objective of the workshop, held in Hat Yai, was to discuss how telecommunication information may be used as part of an effective criminal investigation, and the ways in which prosecutors, lawyers and judges should consider approaching the use of this kind of information as evidence at trial.
The Workshop observed a moment of silence for the passage of the late King Rama IX.
Kingsley Abbott, ICJ Senior International Legal Adviser, opened by saying that the use of telecommunication evidence is one tool that can be used in an effective investigation of serious criminal and security related cases followed by fair trials.
However, it is important to ensure that the acquisition and use of this information as evidence fully respects the right to privacy guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a State Party.
The ICJ firmly believes that respect for human rights and the rule of law must be the bedrock in countering terrorism and violent crime.
Speakers at the Workshop included Judge Wasupatchra Jongpermwattanapol, Chief Judge of the Office of the Chief Justice Region 9; Mr Sophon Tipbamrung, Executive Director of the Special Office of Criminal Litigation 3, Region 9; Lt. Col. Thatphichai Chanwaranon, Deputy Superintendent of the Investigation Bureau, Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Center and national expert on the use of telecommunication evidence; and Mr Nigel Povoas, a British Barrister with experience leading high profile international serious and organized crime cases and an expert in the use of telecommunication evidence.
Previous ICJ workshops in the deep South have included:
- The Protection of Victims in Criminal Cases (2015)
- The Principle of Inadmissibility of Evidence Obtained by Unlawful Means and Hearsay Evidence: International Standards Compared to Thai Law (2014)
- Rule of Law and Strengthening the Administration of Justice in the Context of Habeas Corpus in the Southern Border Provinces (2012)
- Rule of Law and Strengthening the Administration of Justice in the Context of Bail in the Southern Border Provinces (2012)
- Rule of Law and Strengthening the Administration of Justice in the Context of the Application of Emergency Laws in the Southern Border Provinces (2011)