Judges, experts discuss integration of women's rights in Thailand

Judges, experts discuss integration of women's rights in Thailand

There is a possibility that the so-called "battered wife syndrome" can be considered as evidence to possibly mitigate criminal action against women who end up killing their spouse after being repeatedly subjected to physical or emotional abuse.

However, Thai society still lacks enough knowledge about this problem.

Supreme Court judge Vacharin Patjekvinyusakul said there was a lack of clear stipulations under Thai criminal law that battered wife syndrome could apply as a mitigating factor, though some judges have started considering it as a bona fide factor in court proceedings.

"The penalty is not being lessened, but the court is inculcating it in the proceeding," he told the two-day Judicial Colloquium on Gender Equality Jurisprudence and the Role of the Judiciary in Promoting Women's Access to Justice.

The forum, which wrapped up on Thursday, was organised by the International Commission of Jurists, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN WOMEN) and the Office of Thai Judiciary under the Justice Ministry.

Judges and experts from ASEAN countries took part in the meeting to discuss how to better integrate the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) into each country's judicial system.

CEDAW is an international human-rights instrument that requires member countries to take action in compliance with its edicts, and Thailand is party to it.

However, women's activist Naiyana Supapung pointed out that the judiciary insists that domestic laws take precedence over the convention and that they cannot comply with the convention if it is in conflict with domestic laws.

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