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Political Rights to which Thailand is a state party. These include the right to life, the prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, the right to liberty and security of the person, and the right to a fair and public trial.13

Part III. The crime of enforced disappearances in Thailand 3.1 The history and context of enforced disappearances in Thailand

Thailand has a decades long history of state violence and authoritarianism. Enforced disappearances take place in this context and cannot be divorced from the broader, often violent, political context. Since at least the 1950s, enforced disappearances have taken place alongside a range of very serious human rights violations such as extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detention, torture, threats and intimidation. Enforced disappearances should therefore be viewed as one manifestation of the violent methods employed by the Thai state to stamp out dissent or to eliminate suspected criminals outside of the rule of law. Laws codifying immunity of state officials, a politicized and sometimes weak criminal justice system (including the police, the Department of Special Investigations and the judiciary) and a concerning lack of political will have resulted in impunity for security officials who are directly responsible or bear responsibility through chain of command for these serious crimes. Decades of impunity have created a context in which administrative and security officials, know that their illegal actions are condoned by the state and the likelihood of punishment is extremely low. They are therefore free to use extra-legal methods in their implementation of government policies or to settle more personal local disputes. As a result, enforced disappearances, along with extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detention, torture, threats and intimidation, have become legitimized as necessary and appropriate extra-legal methods of policing the Thai state. Enforced disappearances have been recorded since the 1950s. Teiang Sirikhan, member of the House of Representative of Sakolnakorn province, who sympathized with Pridi Banomyong and was a member of the Free Thai Movement during the Second World War following the occupation of Thailand by Japan, was disappeared on 12 December 1952. His car was found at a forest in Kanjanaburi province. The investigation report of Royal Thai Police, after the term of Prime Minister, Pol.Gen. Pao Sriyanond, stated that police had taken him to a house and tortured him until he died. A witness reported that his body was burnt and buried in Ladya, Kanjanaburee province and left his car in that area.14 Five police officials were accused of murder: Pol.Maj.Gen Pad Tungkhasamit, Pol.Maj.Gen.Thom Jitwimon, Pol.Lt Jamrast Yimlamai, Pol.Lt. Thanu Pukjaidee and Pol.Sgt. Nab Nimrat. The court verdict in 1961 sentanced three of the accused to death: Pol.Maj.Gen Pad Tungkhasamit, Pol.Maj.Gen.Thom Jitwimon and Pol.Sgt. Nab Nimrat. Pol.Lt Jamrast Yimlamai and Pol.Lt. Thanu Pukjaidee were acquitted.

13 14

Human Rights Watch, It was like suddenly my son no longer existed, March 2007, 52. Chit Wiparttawat, The Confession of Pol.Gen.Pao, Prea Pittaya Press, Pranakorn, 1960, 205-456.

Enforced Disappearances in Thailand  

Enforced Disappearances in Thailand