Thailand’s parliament should amend the draft law on torture and enforced disappearance without delay in order to ensure compliance with Thailand’s international legal obligations, said the ICJ and Amnesty International.
On 5 October, the recommendations were submitted to the parliamentary Committee Considering the Draft Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act (‘Draft Act’).
The ICJ and Amnesty International also expressed concern at the recurrent delays in the amendment and enactment of this important legislation that will be critical for ensuring accountability and justice for future victims of torture and enforced disappearance.
The recommendations were made based on the text of the main Draft Act that the Committee will consider – the one that was proposed by the Ministry of Justice and later approved by the Cabinet.
The key concerns include:
- Definitions of the crimes of torture and enforced disappearance, as well as of other key terms, that are incomplete or otherwise discordant with international law;
- The absence of provisions concerning cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT/P);
- The inadequacy of provisions concerning prosecuting agency;
- The inadequacy of provisions on the inadmissibility of statements and other information obtained by torture, CIDT/P and enforced disappearances as evidence in legal proceedings;
- The inadequacy of provisions relating to modes of liability for crimes described in the Draft Act;
- The inadequacy of provisions concerning safeguards against torture, CIDT/P and enforced disappearances; and
- The absence of provisions concerning the continuous nature of the crime of enforced disappearance and statute of limitations for torture and enforced disappearance crimes.
On 16 September 2021, the Draft Act was approved by Thailand’s House of Representatives, in its first reading. Consequently, 25 Committee members were appointed to review the bill before to the second and third readings by the House of Representatives. Their first meeting was convened on 5 October 2021.