Thailand: ICJ Workshop promotes standards applying to investigations of unlawful deaths and enforced disappearances

From 29 to 31 March 2019, the ICJ co-hosted a workshop in Ayutthaya province for authorities from Thailand on Human Rights, Investigation Techniques and Forensic Examination of Evidence. The event focused on how such investigations should be conducted in accordance with international human rights law and standards.

The workshop was co-hosted with Thailand’s Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The participants included 35 criminal investigators, public prosecutors, representatives of the Ministry of Justice’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI), the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS), the Ministry of Defense, the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.

Kingsley Abbott, Senior Legal Adviser for Global Redress and Accountability at the ICJ and a member of the Working Group in revising the Minnesota Protocol, presented a summary of the international human rights legal framework applicable to the investigation of unlawful deaths and enforced disappearance.

He also introduced an outline of the revised Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death (2016), which was launched in Thailand on 25 May 2017.

The Protocol formed the core of the materials used at the workshop. He also addressed the use of telecommunication evidence as evidence at trial.

Other speakers included:

  • Amornrat Lekwichai, Senior Professional Level Forensic Scientist from the CIFS, who addressed the use of telecommunication and digital evidence in criminal cases towards establishing the identity of suspects;
  • Pornthip Rojanasunan, Adviser with the CIFS and a member of the Advisory Panel in revising the Minnesota Protocol, who spoke on forensic pathology and the need for independent autopsies in an independent and impartial investigative process;
  • Badar Farrukh, Human Rights Officer from OHCHR, who addressed witness interviews and witness protection;
  • Angkhana Neelapaijit, National Human Rights Commissioner and spouse of lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit, a victim of enforced disappearance; and
  • Somchai Homlaor, a leading Thai human rights lawyer and member of several independent fact-finding commissions, who raised concerns about challenges for accountability for human rights abuses in Thailand’s criminal justice.

This workshop is part of the ICJ’s ongoing efforts to ensure the domestic implementation of international law and standards on the investigation of potentially unlawful deaths and enforced disappearances.

The ICJ has held several Workshops on the same topic including:

Regional Workshops

National Workshops


Kingsley Abbott, Senior Legal Adviser for Global Redress and Accountability, ICJ Asia Pacific Regional Office, t: +66 94 470 1345, e:

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