For immediate release on 1 April 2016
Press Release by the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)
Opposing the Order of the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) no. 13/2559:
A breach of the rule of law and human rights commitment pledged to international community
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has issued the order no. 13/2559 on 29 March 2016 titled “The Prevention and Suppression of Certain Offences Detrimental to the Maintenance of Public Order or Harmful to the National Economic and Social Systems” which bestows on military officers sweeping powers and exempt them from any judicial review. It is claimed that the exemption from judicial review will help the officers in the prevention and suppression of various criminal offences. However, the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) deems the Order of the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is a breach of and stands contrary to the rule of law and the universal principle on rights to procedural guarantees and due process of law, and even infringes upon the Criminal Procedure Code. The Order subject individuals to various possible violations of human rights. CrCF has the following observations;
- The definition of the person whose behaviors are liable to a criminal offence and a violation of the order is too broad and subject to the discretion and arbitrary interpretation of the competent officers per the order. The deprivation of liberty as a result of the order can potentially become an arbitrary detention, and likewise an unlawful detention. The Order confers blanket detention to be conducted without clarity and foreseeability. Even though the Order has been issued by a virtue of the law, but its legality is unjustified by the by the element of arbitrariness and unregulated discretion vested in competent officers. The detention could then be conducted without reasonable ground and without compelling circumstances involving the case and without independent review of the use of the discretion by the competent officer. This will have led to infringement of rights and liberty including the right to life and asset (if the asset is seized), the right to freedom of expression and peaceful public assembly, etc.
- According to the Order, the crime prevention and suppression officer is vested with power to deprive a person of liberty for inquiry for seven days while the detention can take place in any place which does not have to be the police station, the prison, or the detention facility. The deprivation of liberty can take place in a secret and undisclosed place while access to relatives or lawyers is made impossible. Such deprivation of liberty is a breach of human rights principle and international obligations as well as the Criminal Procedure Code and other fundamental procedural safeguards in criminal justice procedure. It violates the person being deprived of liberty of their right to due process of law and fair trial including the right to have access to their families and lawyers, the right to see doctor, etc. The conduct of detention is also without sufficient protection against torture or enforced disappearance as it subjects individuals to complete control by authority.
- That Thailand is a state party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and a signatory to the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICCPED) and had essentially demonstrated its commitment pledged to international community to respect human rights and to take steps toward the complete prohibition of torture and enforced disappearance which is one of the most heinous crimes and could be a crime against humanity. A lack of transparency and accountability as a result of the enforcement of the NCPO order has subjected people to vulnerabilities and fear of violation of their rights enshrined by the Conventions.
The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) urges the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, to review and revoke the order, and to uphold the rule of law and human rights safeguard, particularly the right to due process of law and fair trial and criminal justice process which is fundamental and indispensable for the restoration of democracy in Thailand.
For more information, please contact Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, phone no.086-7039000