Reach of the Thai court

Apparently the convicted fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra has over stepped Thai law again. However the fact it happened outside of Thailand does bring up the question of how far can Thai law be extended beyond the borders of Thailand.

Assuming the scenario that what Thaksin did violated Thailand’s lese majeste law and was found to be guilty. The ethical question is can that law be applied beyond the borders of Thailand remains. With the same thought can any country apply it’s laws beyond it’s own borders.

Quoting the Nation:

Fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra will be recommended for indictment based on his “offensive” comments about the monarchy during the Songkran mayhem, police said yesterday.

“The police report has drawn the conclusion that Thaksin has committed lese majeste as per Article 112 of the Criminal Code,” Special Branch commissioner Lt General Theeradet Rodphothong said.

Thaksin made numerous disrespectful references to the royal institution in his interviews to the foreign press describing the riots by the red-shirt crowd, he said.

Investigators from the Special Branch, Central Investigation Bureau and Information Technology and Communication Office made a joint recommendation for prosecution.

The investigation report is expected to be submitted for final review by police headquarters before forwarding to the Attorney-General’s Office.

After reading that news clipping, even people with little knowledge of law would at least ask themselves if a conviction could be handed down by the Thai courts. The implications are huge if they did. Imagine you are an American at home in your back yard with some friends cooking up a nice set of pork ribs on your barbeque grill while having a few beers. Innocent enough in America but very possibly against the law in other places. So someone attending took some photos of the event and made a comment about it on their blog. So now some law enforcement official in a country where this activity is against the law reads the blog and obtains an arrest warrant. Then as it would be the American in question happens to visit that country on a personal holiday and finds themselves arrested at the border. That thought is very scarey to say the least.

Looking at the facts as stated in the news clipping, first Thaksin was out of Thailand when the statements were made. Second is they were reported by the foreign press as news items, so little could be done there to jump on the foreign press as they were simply reporting the news and not creating the news. Third as humans we do not have the natural ability in intercept the news without the use of some technology. So what that means is someone in Thailand had to deliberately use some form of technology to hear what Thaksin said. If that never happened then what Thaksin said would have never been known.

what is truly at stake here is the reputation of Thailand and Thailand’s courts. By seeking to prosecute a person Thaksin or other for a Thai crime but not a crime where the act happened is what this is all about. If Thailand can do this, then so can other countries. If the facts are as stated Connecting the Dots would side with Thaksin on this one simply because no matter what we do, we would be breaking some law in some place.

4 Responses to Reach of the Thai court

  1. angryirishman says:

    extra territorial crimes are prosecuted all the time, ranging from drug crimes to financial crimes to treason to sex tourism. this is why spain in investigating us war crimes against spanish citizens committed outside spain. thaksin’s problem is that he is a thai citizen breaking thai laws. put him to jail. AI

  2. Paul C. Parvis says:

    I would think as an American Citizen I should abide to American Laws whereever I live – and can be held responsible for breaking an American Law outside the USA.

    Conversely – Thaksin as Thai Citizen should abide to Thai Law – whereever he lives – if not he should and can be held responsible for breaking these laws.

  3. I think we have 2 issues here. If a person breaks a law that is common in his or her own country and the country they are in is one issue. For example the US law on pedophiles and crimes out of the USA. The one Richard is talking about is only in one country and we are talking about in reality freedom of speech in this case with Thaksin. If you look at the you tube issue when Thailand blocked it for uploads that they felt insulted the King, you will see yet another view.

  4. Paul C. Parvis says:

    Correct – but if “Freedom of Speech” is limited in the country of his ciizenship – on a given subject – then therefore he is still under the jurisdiction of his Country.

    After all he would not be able to get away with “certain Statements” living in his Country “Thailand”.