MP seeks support for anti-torture bill

MP seeks support for anti-torture bill

An activist holds up a picture of missing pro-democracy activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit during a ‘White Bows for Justice’ campaign on June 12. The self-exiled activist was kidnapped in  Phnom Penh on June 4. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
An activist holds up a picture of missing pro-democracy activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit during a ‘White Bows for Justice’ campaign on June 12. The self-exiled activist was kidnapped in Phnom Penh on June 4. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

A Move Forward Party list-MP has called on all lawmakers to back a bill outlawing torture and forced disappearances, saying the proposed law would help raise human rights standards in the country.

Rangsiman Rome said the bill, sponsored by twelve civil society groups, has been examined by a sub-committee on justice administration reform and it was to be tabled for scrutiny by the House committee on law, justice and human rights today.

According to Mr Rangsiman, key elements of the proposed legislation is that it imposes no statute of limitations on torture and enforced disappearances cases and also applies to cases that take place overseas if the victims or suspected perpetrators are Thai nationals.

He said the bill would also allow a court to hold an inquiry into suspected torture and enforced disappearance cases that took place before the law came into effect, but noted it would not seek to impose severe penalties. 

"It doesn't seek to retroactively change the legal consequences and the punishment will be in accordance with the laws that applied when the crime was committed.

"It's time to push for the passage of this bill to raise human rights standards," Mr Rangsiman said.

Late last month, the cabinet approved a draft bill from the Justice Ministry  against torture and forced disappearances.

The ministry's version allows the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to intervene in such cases.

While welcoming the government’s draft law, human rights advocates suggested the bill should set a statute of limitations on such cases at 50 years.

The issue of torture and enforced disappearances recently returned to grab headlines following the disappearance of self-exiled political activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit who was allegedly abducted outside his apartment in Phnom Penh on June 4.


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