Govt told to answer for torture law

Govt told to answer for torture law

A human rights lawyer yesterday called on the government to show responsibility after the Constitutional Court invalidated an executive decree suspending four provisions of the new law against torture and enforced disappearance.

Surapong Kongchantuek said the court ruling meant the government had broken the law, and although there are no legal punishments for such a violation, it must be held to account.

He said the government and agencies concerned should also apologise to the public for the blunder and compensate those affected by the incomplete enforcement of the decree.

Last week the court ruled 8:1 that the move to postpone the enforcement of Sections 22–25 of the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act until Oct 1 this year violated Section 172 of the constitution.

The ruling was sought by a group of 100 former MPs in late February after the cabinet issued the executive decree on Feb 19 this year to delay enforcement of the four provisions at the request of the Royal Thai Police (RTP).

The sections involve measures to prevent abuse and harassment and to keep the authorities’ use of power in check, such as requiring police to use body cameras during a search and arrest, as well as producing detailed reports for local officials and prosecutors.

Mr Surapong urged the RTP to comply with the law in its original form, saying audio and video recordings help to ensure accountability and transparency in the justice administration system.

Following the ruling, national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas called an urgent meeting with senior officers to make sure that police follow the law, according to RTP spokesman Pol Lt Gen Archayon Kraithong.

Pol Lt Gen Archayon said the RTP would speed up procurement of 37,000 body cameras for its officers and that setting up a storage facility for audio and video recordings had now been assigned to the RTP’s ICT Office.