General & Misc

Foreign Ministry clarifies Thai Military court system

Date: 12 April 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Thai News Agency

BANGKOK, Apr 12 (NNT)  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release regarding factual accounts on trials before the military courts of persons accused of committing offences from the early administration of the current government in 2014 to 12 September 2016.

The press release reads:

1. Thailand, similar to many other countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and various countries in Europe, has long been using the system of military courts. Although practices may differ between countries, military courts are not established with the purpose of targeting particular individuals. The Military Courts form part of the judicial system under Chapter X (The Courts) of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, which also includes the Courts of Justice and the Administrative Courts. The Constitution also affirms the principles that trial and adjudication of cases must be carried out in accordance with the laws and in the name of the Monarch, and judges and justices are independent in trial and adjudication of cases, in accordance with the Constitution and laws in the expeditious and fair manner, and without any partiality.

2. Under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Announcements No. 37/2557 and No. 38/2557, legal proceedings against persons accused of committing certain categories of offences under the Criminal Code, including Section 116 and other offences such as Section 189, shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Military Courts. Subsequently, NCPO Order No. 55/2559 dated 12 September 2016 pronounces that such offences committed from 12 September 2016 shall be under the jurisdiction of the Courts of Justice, whereas offences committed prior to the date of the Order shall remain under the jurisdiction of the Military Courts. Alleged offenders or defendants have the right to a lawyer and the right to appeal against judgement of the Military Courts, in a similar manner to cases before the Courts of Justice. However, should the alleged offenders or the defendants wish to contest the competent jurisdiction of the Military Courts, they may file a request to the Committee on Jurisdiction of Courts, presided by the President of the Supreme Court, in accordance with Section 192 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, for the cases to be tried before the Court of Justice.

3. The case of Mr. Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, et al., on 24 June 2015

Mr. Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, et al., have been accused of committing offences in violation of Sections 116 and other offences under Section 189 of the Criminal Code, on 24 June 2015 (before the issuance of the NCPO Order No. 55/2559 dated 12 September 2016). Thus, this case falls into the criteria stated in Paragraph 2 above.

The proceedings shall be in accordance with laws and the Rule of Law. The alleged offenders or the defendants have the right to open trial in the expeditious and fair manner, and without any partiality, under our long-established judicial system, and are protected under the standards laid out in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand in the same manner as in other civilised nations.

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