Reaffirmed with the Lower Court, Appeals Court refusing to revoke Post Mortem Inquest Order made onthe Deaths of Tak Bai Demonstrators
At 09.00 am, on8 June 12, an order of the Appeals Court was read concerning a motion broughtby the relatives of 34 slain victims of the Tak Bai incident, who filed torequest the revocation of a post mortem inquest order made by the ProvincialCourt of Songkhla in 2009 (B.E.2552). It was claimed thatthe post mortem inquest order was in breach of provisions of the Constitutionof the Kingdom of Thailand and previously, the motion had been dismissed by theLower Court.
The complainants decided to appeal the case and the Appeals Court made theruling today that “Reviewing issues to deliberate, the Criminal Court decisionshould it have jurisdiction over the case. It was deemed that the post morteminquest order had been made by the Provincial Court of Songkhla, and Ms. Mastaand others have filed a motion against the order with the Court. The AppealsCourt deems that it does not have the right to review the motion, since it isprohibited as per Section 15 of the Law for the Organization of Courts ofJustice, B.E. 2535.The Appeals Court thus reaffirmed with the Lower Court to not to accept toreview the case filed by Ms. Masta and others, altogether 34 persons, anddismisses the case”.
The case stems from an order made by the Provincial Court of Songkhla on 29May 2009 for a post mortem inquest regarding the deaths of 78 demonstratorswhile they were transferred from the demonstration site in front of the Tak BaiPolice Station in Narathiwat to the Ingkhayuth Borihan Army Camp in Nong ChikDistrict, Pattani on 25 Oct 2004 (BE 2547). In the order of the Court, it wasruled that the 78 people had died of suffocation while being held in custody byofficials who had carried out their official duties.
Relatives of the victims found the order unjust and in breach of the Constitutionof the Kingdom of Thailand including: Sections 3, 27, 28, 32, and 197 and the International Covenant on Civil and PoliticalRights (ICCPR) including: Articles 2, 6, 7, and 14 and in breach of Section 150 of Thailand’s CriminalProcedure Code (CPC).
According to these provisions, state officials have to carry out theirduties based on the rule of law and respect for human dignity, liberty andequality. But according to testimonies of witnesses in this case, it was foundthat the act of duties by government officials, which caused many deaths in custodyduring the transportation of the Tak Bai demonstrators, had not been conductedcorrectly and fairly. Thus, on 29 June 2009, 34 relatives of the victimsdecided to file a case to revoke the post mortem inquest order made by theProvincial Court of Songkhla citing their rights provided by the Constitutionand given that the Criminal Court has universal jurisdiction all over theterritory. According to Section 150 of CPC, the post mortem inquest order ofthe Provincial Court of Songkhla shall be treated as final and therefore amotion of appeals could not have been filed with the Court of higher instancethere. Earlierthe Criminal Court decided to dismiss the motion claiming that since theCriminal Court and the Provincial Court of Songkhla are both the Courts ofJustice of the First Instance, the Criminal Court could accept to review thecase. Then, on 29 July 2009, the relatives appealed the case and then came the order of the Appeals Court as mentioned above.
Formore information, please contact;
– Mr. Ratsada Manooratsada, attorney, phone 081-4394938
– Ms. Pavinee Chumsri, attorney, phone 083-1896598
Appeal Court order: