National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)
Thailand should immediately end the use of Article 44 of the Interim Constitution which gives the Head of the military junta sweeping, unchecked powers contrary to the rule of law and human rights, said the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), today.
Despite being accused of disrespecting the military court, an embattled lèse majesté suspect has refused to bow down, saying that the court should have defended democracy against coup-makers. On 4 October 2016, a defence lawyer for Sirapop (surname withheld for privacy concerns), 52, resubmitted his client’s closing statement to the Military Court of Bangkok, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported.
A military court has accused a lèse majesté suspect of disrespecting the court for arguing that the courts have a role in defending democracy and resisting Thailand’s coup-makers.
Police and public officials have prevented a press briefing by Amnesty International (AI) on a report about state-sponsored torture, saying that the AI speakers might be charged for not having work permits. On 28 September 2016, at Four Wings Hotel in Bangkok, Special Branch police officers and officials from the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare intervened in a press briefing on an AI report titled “Make Him Speak by Tomorrow: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Thailand”.
Since 1991, 101 Thai citizens have been subjected to enforced disappearance. This has motivated a drive to draft a law against enforced disappearance to make accountable state officials and their supervisors if they are aware of the offence, to prohibit defamation prosecutions against complainants and to ensure that every minute is counted. Academics are concerned that the bill will be dropped or distorted and noted that Article 44 of the Interim Constitution alone can override any law against enforced disappearance because of its supra-constitutional power.
Order of the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order No.
The Thai junta’s Order today phasing out the prosecution of civilians in military courts is a welcome step but the military government must do much more to comply with its international human rights obligations, said the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) today.
Amid grim hope, student activists representing various groups have argued civil society can still take concrete steps towards repealing Thailand’s new constitution, even if the amendment process will be hard. At a public panel convened at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand on Tuesday, 23 August 2016, former and current student activists grimly acknowledged that the junta will likely remain in power for the near future.
On 19 August 2016, the military officials have brought 13 men and two women, 15 of them, to the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), the Royal Thai Police, to process the arrest memos and to have them hear the charges filed against them by the military. They are all accused of forming the Revolutionary Alliance for Democracy Party and their act is considered an offence concerning being members of a secret society or a criminal association and having a political gathering of five persons and upward without getting permission from the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
Thanks in part to the prospect of a return to elections, the junta-sponsored draft constitution has been approved by a majority vote via the controversial referendum. The attached question of whether an unelected-senate should be allowed to join the house of representatives in selecting the Prime Minister was also approved.