A draft Witness Protection Act B.E. …. (“Act”) proposed by the Ministry of Justice and reconsidered by Council of State of Thailand, has already been approved by the Cabinet. It will later be proposed to the Coordinating Committee of the House of Representatives for consideration before summitting to the Parliament for its final consideration. The purposes of amendment of this Act are for enhancing a protection reliability and appropriate protection measures for a witness especially in a criminal offence. The key revision of the Act are as follows:
- Revising the definition of “witness” to a person who commits himself/herself and presents at, or testify, or give evidence to competent officials for investigation, criminal interrogation, court for criminal proceedings, includes an expert.
- Adding crimes that the witness of the following crimes shall be arranged for special protection measures which are:
- Offences related to the internal and external security of the state as specified in the Penal Code
- Offences under Section 282, Section 283, Section 317, Section 318 or Section 319 in the Penal Code or the offences in the Anti-Human Trafficking Act B.E. 2551 or Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act B.E. 2539
- Reviewing and revising special measures for witness protection such as arranging for an accommodation to the witness, paying for a reasonable compensation to the witness or changing a name and surname of the witness and reinstate the same.
- Adding authority of the Minister of Justice or his authorized official to consider terminating special measures as they reasonably deem appropriate subject to the safety and normal life of the witness.
- Adding a provision to authorize a competent official to inspect a suspected person or vehicle with reasonable ground to believe that it will cause danger or threaten to the witness, his/her wife, husband, ascendent, descendent or person with close relation to him/her including having an authority to seize any article or asset that may cause insecurity to the witness, his/her wife, husband, ascendent, descendent or person with close relation to him/her
Author: Panisa Suwanmatajarn and Parita Preamsawat