Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thai JAG Department's defense of military courts with jurisdiction over civilians

The Nation provides this account of the military courts in Thailand:
AS THE debate on civilians being tried in military court continues, a source from the Judge Advocate-General's Department defended this practice, which was ordered by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) under Article 44 of the interim charter. 
He said one of the key advantages of using the military court was the faster judicial process. It is also important to note that only those who offend the monarch and the royal family, and those pose a threat to national security need to be dealt with swiftly under the current situation, he explained.

A member of staff from the Judge Advocate-General's Department said the use of a military court to try civilian cases was backed by the NCPO's 37th announcement, which specifies the types of suspects who will face a court martial.

He also pointed out that military court judges were independent and not under anybody's command or influence, and that the court used the same laws and methodology as the Civil Court.

The junta's decision to have civilians tried in a military court has been criticised by the international community, especially Human Rights Watch, which claims there are more than 700 suspects facing a military court. He said this was far from the truth, but added that the court had a limited number of judges and that the number of cases had risen by up to 20 per cent.

He said voicing disapproval was acceptable, but one should not resort to violence.

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