Advocates call for justice reforms
Advocates of human rights have called for a revamping of the justice system, claiming that the current system has loopholes that cannot protect victims who have been tortured during investigation by police.
Published on February 17, 2008
Somchai Homlaor, chairman of the Campaign Committee for Human Rights (CCHR), yesterday proposed that investigations should be done by state attorneys or a new agency rather than by the police as happens under the current system.
Somchai expressed concern at many reports about torture and the disappearance of people accused and investigated by police without the culprits ever being arrested.
Besides reforming the investigation process, he suggested the government set up a fund that would allow accused poor people access to loans to hire lawyers. Somchai, a human-rights lawyer, also called on the courts to be more aggressive in working on human-rights protection.
His comments came after recent reports that Muslim students detained in a military camp in Pattani had been tortured and forced to confess involvement in the insurgency in Yala last month.
Angkhana Neelapaijit, chairman of the Justice for Peace working team of the CCHR, said it was almost impossible for the students to ask for justice as the justice system demanded they show evidence of the torture.
"There can be no evidence, but the health problems of the students are clear: they all have problems with their ears as they were badly beaten by military officers during detention," she said.
Meanwhile, Metha Maskhao, also from the CCHR, demanded the government set up an independent committee to resolve the truth of the student massacre on October 6, 1976. The history of the massacre became an issue again after Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said during a recent interview with CNN that only one student had died in the incident.