Extradition Requests

What Is The Relevant Thai Law That Provides For Extradition?

The Extradition Act 2551 (C.E. 2008) now applies to all extradition proceedings from Thailand.

This Act repeals and replaces the Extradition Act 2472 (C.E. 1929). It must be noted that the Act is subject to the provisions of any treaties concerning extradition between the government of Thailand or any other international agency.

Which Countries Have Extradition Treaties With Thailand?

Currently, the following countries have extradition treaties with Thailand: the US, the UK, Canada, China, Belgium, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, South Korea, Bangladesh, Fiji, and Australia.

What Makes Offences Extraditable?

Generally, offences which are considered by both the country requesting extradition and Thailand to be:

  • A crime punishable by death, or
  • A crime punishable by imprisonment of one year or more

Extradition for less serious offences will also be considered if they relate to the commission of serious offences as defined above.

Note that individual extradition treaties may also provide a list of specific crimes that are considered extraditable, e.g. the Treaty between the UK and Thailand concerning the “extradition of fugitive criminals.”

Can Extradition Be Made For Inchoate Offences?

Extradition can generally be made for offences such as incitement, conspiracy, attempt etc.

What Are The Conditions For Extradition?

Extradition will generally only be granted if the following conditions are met:

  • The extradition would not be otherwise contrary to Thai law.
  • The offense is not political in nature: The definition of political does not include the murder of, or wilful crime (or any attempts of such crimes) against the safety of a Head of State or their families.
  • The offense is not exclusively military in nature.
  • There is no final judgement from a court in the requesting country finding the person who is the subject of the extradition request innocent of the offence; that such person has already served punishment for the offence; that such person is in no other way precluded from prosecution for the offence; that such person has been granted amnesty from prosecution.

Can A Country That Has No Extradition Treaty Request Extradition?

Under the principle of reciprocity in extradition, requests for extradition may be made by states which have no treaty of extradition with Thailand, but such states must clearly express a commitment to grant extradition of fugitives required by Thailand in a similar manner when requested.

This being the case, extradition requests will usually be considered from states with no formal treaty on an ad hoc basis.

What Is The Procedure For A Request For Extradition?

In the event the requesting country is a party to an extradition treaty with Thailand, the request is submitted to directly to the Attorney General.

If no treaty exists, the request must be submitted through diplomatic channels to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who will examine the request to ensure it will not adversely affect relations between the two countries.

If they believe this to be the case, they will submit the request to the Attorney General.

Assuming there are no deficiencies in the request, the Attorney General will instruct a Public Prosecutor to issue an arrest warrant.

Upon arrest, a formal action in court will be commenced.

What Must A Request For Extradition Contain?

Since Thailand, like most other States when issued with a request for extradition, will make an arrest on the basis that a warrant has been issued in the requesting country, such a warrant should set out (if possible) all the offences for which the subject of the extradition is wanted.

Where a defendant has attended court but has subsequently failed to attend and a warrant of arrest is issued, either the original or a certified copy of the warrant (or the judgment of the Court, if the defendant has been convicted) may be used.

The following information should also be included in a request for provisional arrest extradition:

  • Statement of facts: Usually a very brief summary of facts in order to satisfy a judge that the conduct alleged amounts to an extradition crime.
  • Statement of law: At the preliminary stage all that is set out is the offence and the maximum penalty. No more is needed at this stage, since details will be provided in a later formal request.
  • Particulars of identity: Evidence establishing that the person sought is the person to whom the arrest warrant refers; any information which will assist with identification, e.g. photographs, fingerprints (if available), and information regarding the address or area where the person sought might be located.

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