For immediate release on 24 August 2018
CrCF Statement: the case of a severe Injured army conscript
Torture must be criminalized
Royal Thai Army must come up with effective preventive measures
It has been widely reported that on 22 August 2018, Private Khacha Chapa, 22, of the 3rd Infantry Battalion, the 31st Infantry Regiment (King’s Guard) in Lop Buri has been brought to the hospital when he was severely injured. Initially, the Battalion’s commander as the person in charge admitted to the media that three army privates had been involved with the commission of the offense and the three had been held in custody. Also, an inquiry committee has been appointed to investigate the case and to propose disciplinary actions against the perpetrators.
The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) has found this was not the first of its kind. In the past couple year, several army conscripts have been subjected to torture until they died or got seriously injured. For example, in 2011. Private Wichian Phuaksom was subject to corporal punishment by his trainer and he died as a result, in 2016, Corporal Kittikorn Suthiraphan, an inmate of the 25th Military Circle’s prison, Weerawat Yothin Military Camp, Surin, died as a result of being physically abused by the prison’s warden and other military officials.
Thailand is a state party since 1997 to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which absolutely prohibits torture and has been a party to the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) since 2007. However, Thailand lacks a legal and procedural safeguard to prevent military punishment that has resulted in injuries or deaths. It is pertinent that Thailand acts in compliance with ICCPR and UNCAT.
Despite the establishment of a committee to receive complaints on torture and enforced disappearance per the order of the Prime Minister no. 131/2560 dated 23 May 2017 or the drafting of the draft Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance BE … which has not been passed by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), practically, Thailand has not specifically criminalized torture in compliance with international treaties including the UNCAT.
Such a lack of legal provisions has led to the impunity of the perpetrators on a charge of torture and has resulted in a lack of measure to effectively prevent torture and expeditiously investigate torture-related cases. It has led to a number of cases in which officials are found to have tortured other persons and more frequently. And no implicated officials have been brought to justice, particularly when such incidences happened in a military barrack.
The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) supports the stand taken by the Battalion’s Commander and the Army in Chief with regard to the case of Private Khacha Chapa as they have come out to openly reveal and admitted what has happened as well as to set up an inquiry committee to take a disciplinary action against the military offenders and their commanders who could have been found negligent to let this offence take place. But this investigation is going to take place while the implicated officials are still in charge of the military command, it, therefore, warrants an independent inquiry committee composed of experts with knowledge and mandate to carry out the review of this case urgently and transparently. Any identified offenders must be brought to justice, criminally and with regard to disciplinary action. Compensation must be fully and sufficiently made to the victim for the grave human rights abuse.
This incidence and several ones in the past should offer a lesson learned by the Royal Thai Army which should be prompted to come up with measures to prevent any recurrence of such incidence.
For more information, please contact: Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, phone 02-1015481-2