Pheu Thai lashes out at bill on criminal procedures for political post holders

The Pheu Thai party on Tuesday (July 18) issued a statement to oppose an organic bill on criminal procedures for holders of political positions, saying it is against the principle of equality under the constitution and the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The statement was made public in a press conference by acting party leader Pol Lt Gen Viroj Pao-in, secretary-general Phumtham Vechayachai and the party's legal staff including Bhokin Bhalakula, Chusak Sirinil and Noppadon Pattama.

In the statement, the party called for a review and amendments to some provisions of the bill, which was passed by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on July 13.

It said the bill contravened Section 27 of the Constitution and Sections 7 and 10 of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The party raised objections to three main points. They are: the exemption of the statute of limitations to allow legal action to be proceeded specifically against political position holders; the provision empowering the court to try political position holders in absentia; and, the provision allowing the law to be enforced retroactively � which is against the rule of law.

Mr Bhokin said the bill may lead to injustice and inequality in law enforcement. Allowing the court to run a trial against a defendant in absentia may cause injustice because it is necessary for that person to appear before the court to build confidence in the legal procedures, he added.

Mr Phumtham, the party secretary-general, said the international practices and the rights of defendants should be taken for consideration in the drafting of a law to prevent mistakes.

Mr Noppadon, a former foreign minister in the Thaksin Shinawatra government, said according to the international practices, equality must be adhered to in law enforcement. In his opinion, it is unfair to try a defendant in absentia and enforce a law retroactively.

Mr Chusak said the party will submit its statement to international organisations on human rights for consideration.

The party will also send a letter to ask Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to send the bill to the Constitutional Court for a ruling on its constitutionality before forwarding it to His Majesty the King for endorsement.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)