Campaign Committee for Human RightsCCHR
18 August 2009
Topic: Call upon the Government to reform the police and the Department of Special Investigation, setting a standard of justice, and end the culture of impunity
Dear Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva,
Due to the current political situation, the problem of corruption among the officials, some of them also related to abuse of power especially the law enforcement personnel, lead to the structure of social injustice and patronage system of this country. Many cases of human rights violations in
Police officers ranks in the Royal Thai Police can be bought and trade inappropriately. This practice has been done by few police officers to gain power and for their own interest regardless of the personnels competence. The hard working police officers do not receive fair promotion. This scandal stains the image of the Royal Thai Police. The law defender has transformed into an organization of power, influential person, and self-interest.
Many violations of human rights cases have been done by or involved police officers and those police officers aid each other to obstruct to justice. Many of these cases, the victims have been torture during detention and does not receive justice; such as, Cherry Anne Duncan murder case, Police Captain Nut Cholnithiwanich case, the Involuntary Disappearance of Human Rights Lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit, the case of torture and forced confession at Pra Nakorn Sri Ayutthaya Province, an assassination of political activist as Mr. Sonthi Limthongkul; the leader of Peoples Alliance for Democracy, which face the difficulties and delay in justice process due to the problems within the Royal Thai Police.
The Disappearance of Kamol Laosophaphan at Baan Phai police station in Khonkaen province on 7 February 2008, after he went to filed a criminal complaint against corruption of the local officers and had the conflict with police officers there. There was no progress in this case. On June 24, 2009, the DSI accepted Kamol Laosophaphant's case as a special case.
Many cases of involuntary disappearance and murders of many young citizens in Kalasin province as a result of the drugs war policy established by Thaksin government. These cases involved some police officers that may have used vigilante measure to murder the victims who know about drug-related business inside police force or their abuse of power such as the case of Mr. Kiattisak Thitboonkhrong. He was arrested by a team of Muang station officers in Kalasin province and was later found dead. In accordance with Article 21 Paragraph 1(2) of the Special Investigation Act B.E. 2547 (2004), the Special Cases Committee have the resolution in the meeting 5/2548 on 3 June 2005 concluded that the death of Mr. Kiattisak must be treated as a special case and that the state prosecutor may participate in the trial. In light of the information gathered over four years by the investigation team, warrants for six police officers from Muang station in Kalasin have been issued, charging them with deliberate murder and the concealing of evidence of the death. The DSI has issued a warrant for the 6 suspected police officers to report themselves to DSI, including of 3 commissioned officers; which are, Sampao Indee, Sumitr Nanthasathit and Montree Sriboonlue, and 3 non-commissioned officers; which are, Angkan Khammoonna, Sutthinan Noneting and Phansin Ooppanan. As of now, the DSI already sent the brief to the state prosecutor on 11 August 2009. However, the 6 accused police officers do not get disciplinary punishment as transfer out of the area or suspended them from duty.
Moreover, there are many cases in Kalasin province that may be the serial killings committed by state officers. According to the information of the Campaign Committee for human Rights (CCHR) and network organizations, regard Kalasin as a test case of severe violations of human rights area and no progress found in more than 28 cases. The police officer saying most of the slayings were ordered by drug lords in an effort to cut any links between them or because the victims fight back and the officers have to murder legally.
1. Mr. Prasert Krungsriwattana, shot dead on 31 December 2003
4. Mr. Suphan Ploywilert, shot dead on 16 January 2004 in Soi Kumpholpattana, Muang District, Kalasin province.
9. Mr.Pravit Sattawut, hanged; body was found on 24 February 2004 at Kud namgin park, Muang District, Kalasin province.
13. Mr. Kiattisak Thitboonkhrong, hanged; body was found on 23 July 2004
14. Mrs. Aoinapha Sookprasong, enforced disappeared since 2 December 2004
15. Mrs. Wantana Thaksima, enforced disappeared since 2 December 2004
16. Mr. Wan Yubonshu, enforced disappeared since 4 May 2005
17. Mrs. Sommai Yubonshu, disappeared since 4 May 2005
18. Mr. Somsin Worawattanawong, shot dead on 14 August 2005 in a bus stop in front of a national politicians house
26. Mr. Suphan Donchompuu, disappeared since 7 April 2006 between Baan nongtae-Baan nongbua, Huangua sub-district, Yang district, Kalasin province.
27. Mrs. Lamyong Donchompuu, disappeared since 7 April 2006 between Baan nongtae-Baan nongbua, Huangua sub-district, Yang district, Kalasin province.
28. Mr. Saman Meetham, enforced disappeared since 2 June 2006 at public highway Kalasin-Roi Et, Baan taohai, Muang district, Kalasin province.
In the interest of human rights violations and closely monitoring these cases, CCHR would like to submit to the Government some proposals:
1. CCHR calls upon the Prime Minister to seriously reform the police and justice system and urgently investigate these human rights cases to promote human rights norms and justice, end abuse of power, and reform the Royal Thai Police. The good police officers should be promoted fairly. The Royal Thai Police should reduce rank value for its reform. It should have decentralization of power and divide the power of interrogation and investigation. In cases that involved police officer, the investigation process shall have the officer from other agency participate in an investigation, for instance, the Lawyer Council, special prosecutor, or human rights organization. Besides, it should have an independent organization to check on the Royal Thai Polices work for making rule of law society and the authorities have to end the culture of impunity.
The Kalasin case would be important norms of making the non-discrimination of justice system and end the culture of impunity. If impunity occurs again, the flaws of Thai justice system would happen endlessly. CCHR calls upon the government to set a standard of justice by using the Kalasin case as a test case regardless of the rank of the officers in charge. The rummaging through a file cabinet in the DSI reflects conflict of interest within the DSI and abuse of power to help their colleague. If the DSI cannot even protect a brief, it also means the safety of witnesses in this case cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, the work of the DSI director-general should be considered.
3. CCHR calls for norm-setting on human rights case that has a connection with police officers. The culprit shall not go unpunished. The Government must put an end to impunity which currently exists among the authorities in patronage system, and implementation of a test case must set up to set a standard of human rights case especially the cases above mentioned; which are, the Kalasin case, the disappearance of Kamol Laosophaphant at Baanphai police station in Konkaen province, the involuntary disappearance of Human Rights Lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit, the torture case by electric shocks applied to the penis at Pra Nakorn Sri Ayutthaya province, and the assassination of political activist as Sonthi Limthongkul and the murder of human rights defenders.
CCHR hopes the Thai government to seriously implement these issues and push for the police, law, and the whole justice system reform in order to reduce human rights violations in justice process; especially on torture, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearance. This would enable the justice system to be a truly preventive and protective mechanism for human rights.
CCHR requests that these concerns receive the highest consideration.
Relative of the victim of the involuntary disappearance case