• No Death Penalty for minors
  • Limited pre-trial detention or release

Thailand withdraws its interpretative declarations to Articles 6(5) and 9(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

After approval by the Cabinet on 20 May 2012, the government of Thailand notified the UN Secretary-General on 6 July 2012 that it had decided to withdraw its declarations regarding Articles 6(5) and 9(3) of the ICCPR.

Article 6(5):

“Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried out on pregnant women.”[i]

Article 9(3):

“Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgement.”

Firstly, with respect to Article 6(5), the Criminal Code of Thailand has been amended to ensure that no person below the age of 18 is sentenced to death. In addition, life sentences for minors shall be reduced to a maximum sentence of 50 years imprisonment.[ii]

Secondly, with respect to Article 9(3), the Criminal Procedural Code of Thailand has been amended to ensure the due process rights of arrested or detained people. An arrested person may not be detained in custody for longer than 48 hours and has to be brought before a court within this timeframe. This may be extended to a maximum of 7 days only if a necessity arises.

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) commends the strengthening of guarantees against arbitrary and unlawful detention. It also reiterates its call to the government of Thailand to work towards the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes as set out in its Human Rights Plan 2009-2013 and in the interim to remove shackles from prisoners on death row; establish a moratorium on executions and to commute all death sentences.

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