UPDATE (Thailand): Petition to be presented to Ministry of Justice before July 19 


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-135-2006
ISSUES: Administration of justice,

[RE: UP-20-2005: THAILAND: Human rights lawyer still missing after nearly one year; Action needed today to have case transferred; UP-24-2005: THAILAND: Thai minister refuses to act on missing human rights lawyer case; UP-37-2005: Thai PM orders action on missing human rights lawyer, while court hears of torture; UP-45-2005: Wife of missing human rights lawyer intimidated; UP-77-2005: THAILAND: Department of Special Investigation fails to bring justice to Charoen Wat-aksorn case; UP-89-2005: THAILAND: Repeated failed commitment to assign Department of Special Investigation to Somchai case… UA-112-2005: THAILAND: Murder of Thai monk following an environmental and land dispute with local influential business figures; UP-028-2006: THAILAND: Protection withdrawn from monk who continues to receive death threats… UP-78-2004: THAILAND: Torture cases transferred to special investigators, but police still free; UP-157-2005: THAILAND: Alleged tortured victim withdraws his complaint against the police; UP-061-2006: THAILAND: First call for special investigation chief to resign over Somchai case; UP-107-2006: THAILAND: Second call for special investigation chief to resign; EU expresses concern in Somchai case; UP-124-2006: THAILAND: Important programme to commemorate human rights defenders and discuss failed investigations; UP-134-2006: THAILAND: Special call for observers to attend trial of persons accused of murdering environmentalist Charoen Wat-aksorn]
UP-135-2006: THAILAND: Petition to be presented to Ministry of Justice before July 19

THAILAND: Attacks on human rights defenders; negligence; impunity; unaccountability



Dear friends,

Human rights defenders in Thailand will present the online petition calling for reform of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in Thailand to the Ministry of Justice before July 19, which is a year since the case of Phra Supoj Suwagano (UA-112-2005) was transferred to the DSI. Please sign the petition before that date. Please distribute the petition to your friends and colleagues. Please also note that the petition is so far available in four languages: English, Thai, Korean and Japanese.

So far the petition to remove the DSI director and appoint a person who is responsible and committed to human rights has received hundreds of signatories from all around the world, including Thailand, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Canada, Korea, India, Germany, Australia, USA, Sri Lanka, UK, Cambodia, Norway, Malaysia, Pakistan, Netherlands, Sweden, Brazil and Indonesia. The signatories are also from all walks of life.

Thank you to everyone who has so far signed.

The petition and expressions of concern about the DSI have also received considerable attention in local media, including the English-language newspapers:
Activists want DSI chief ousted for lack of probe progress (Bangkok Post)
DSI ‘in dire need of major overhaul’ (The Nation)
DSI blamed for failure of probes (IHT Thai Day)

The calls for reform to the DSI are getting louder. However, as family members and colleagues of Charoen Wat-aksorn (UP-077-2005), Phra Supoj Suwagano and Somchai Neelaphaijit (http://www.ahrchk.net/somchai) are planning to present the petition to the Ministry of Justice before July 19, we need many more persons to join this call.

Please go online and sign the petition if you have not done it already: http://thailand.ahrchk.net/dsi_petition/signature.php

Please also ask your friends and colleagues to sign. It will make a difference.

We are also pleased to announce that the petition has so far been translated into Korean and Japanese, and more translations are planned. Please visit the following pages for those translations, and links to sign:

Korean version: http://www.gwangjuic.or.kr/gic/?K_Mode=app/k2_board.php&k2_code=main_05&page=1&k2_no=225

Japanese version: http://thailand.ahrchk.net/dsi_petition/jpnindex.htm

The text of the petition is again given below.


Dear Minister of Justice

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI), established under the Ministry of Justice and authorized by the Special Investigation Act 2004 with aspirations to be “an interdisplinary organization that prevents, suppresses, and controls crimes that critically affects the economy, society, and security of state, as well as the international relations, to attain justice through expertise, transparency and public trust” has raised high public expectations for justice.

Thus far, we have found that–with the exception of the vigorous pursuit of justice for the sake of ruling politicians–several cases which have been deemed “unusual crimes that are complicated, and critically affect the social stability and public morals, masterminded by influential figures” as stated in article 21 of the act, have completely failed, including the following:

1. The disappearance of human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit since 12 March 2004. With the Royal Police Commission ‘s indictment, only one of the defendants, who were police officers, was convicted of coercion to three years in prison (and released on bail during the appeal process), while the remaining four accomplices were acquitted. The DSI has accepted the case as a special case since July 2005 but no further attempts have been made to find other accomplices and the masterminds. Above all, up till now, the DSI has never been able to officially identify the status of the missing lawyer, even though the case has received strong attention and as solution to the disappearance of human rights lawyer Somchai would have a great impact on the violence in the south.

2. The murder of environmentalist and community leader Charoen Wat-aksorn on 21 June 2004. Two gunmen and three accomplices were arrested. The DSI rushed to conclude that it was merely due to a personal conflict. The villagers of Bo Nok very much doubt if the existing evidence and indictment ever will get the accused convicted. Moreover, no further investigation was conducted to find the masterminds, despite a litany of material evidence and witnesses pointing to the real cause of the murder, to which even the DSI once admitted: the campaign against a coal-fired power plant, and protection of the community’s common land.

3. The murder of the conservationist monk Phra Supoj Suwajo in Fang district, Chiang Mai. He was brutally slashed to death on 17 June 2005. For one year, the DSI has not been able to come up with any leads: no suspects, no witnesses, no weapons and no material evidence, as a result of its initial inadequate investigation. Of late, the DSI’s investigation team has called the relatives and involved persons for re-interrogation, claiming that it is reviving the case.

One of the common aspects of the three cases is that the missing and murdered were all prominent persons devoted to the common good and bravely fighting for justice, whose deeds invariably got in the way of those with vested interests, be they government officers, politicians and influential figures, local and national alike.

The failure of the DSI to quell organised crimes and terrorising acts inevitably disturbs the public confidence in the country’s justice system. That may lead to ever more unrest and violence in the society, of which the government cannot deny the responsibility.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, ask the Government of Thailand through the Minister of Justice to:

1. Immediately relieve Pol. Gen. Sombat Amornvivat from the post of director general of the Department of Special Investigation, due to a lack of efficiency, incompetence, and his actions against the judicial process; and,

2. Appoint a new director general to the Department of Special Investigation through a transparent selection process with broader qualification criteria,

With the aim of improving the DSI to be independent, free from any influence and domination, so that it will be a vital part of attaining justice for people in Thailand.

Your consideration and action are appreciated.

To sign please go to: http://thailand.ahrchk.net/dsi_petition/signature.php.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ahrchk@ahrchk.org)

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-135-2006
Countries : Thailand,
Issues : Administration of justice,