Friday, October 17, 2014

Jurisdictional challenge to military court in Thailand

Chaturon Chaisaeng, former Thai education minister, is challenging the jurisdiction of the military to try him for "defying the National Council for Peace and Order's direction that he report to the junta, inciting unrest in violation of Section 116 of the Criminal Code, and breaching Section 14 (3) of the 2007 Computer Act." His contention is that the offenses at issue occurred before the effective date of the new law on military courts. The Bangkok Post reports:
When Mr Chaturon and his lawyer, Narinpong Jinapak, appeared before the court today they submitted a request that the court to forward the case to a committee to decide whether it should be handled by a military court or the civilian courts of justice.
The request was made under a 2009 law covering settling of doubts over the powers of different types of courts.
Mr Chaturon argued that his alleged offences were committed on May 22-24 and May 27.  Although the NCPO's announcement Nos 37 and 38, which required offenders to be tried in a military court, were issued on May 25, they were not published in the Royal Gazette until May 30 and took effect from May 31.  The announcements could not be enforced retroactively, he said.
Therefore, his case should be handled by the Criminal Court, not the military court, Mr Chaturon argued.
Moreover, the two NCPO announcements also contradicted Section 4 of the 2014 interim constitution, he said.

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