Updated: Thai use of cluster munitions in Cambodia condemned

6 04 2011

Bangkok Pundit has a very important post on the denial and now admission by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government that its troops have used cluster bombs against Cambodia. The Abhisit government and its military repeatedly denied the use of cluster bombs when the Cambodian government first made the claim of their use. Read the whole post by BP where this is detailed.

Here is the bit PPT thinks is really important from the Cluster Munition Monitor report:

In a meeting on 5 April, the Thai Ambassador to the UN in Geneva confirmed Thai use of 155mm Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) cluster munitions. The Ambassador said Thailand used cluster munitions “in self-defence”, using the principles of “necessity, proportionality and in compliance with the military code of conduct”. He alleged heavy use of rocket fire by Cambodian forces against civilian targets in Satisuk, in the Khun Khan district of Thailand.

A variety of the munitions used by the Thai army

The report also refers to CMC’s on-site investigations. The admission and the investigations cause the CMC to state:

This is the first use of cluster munitions anywhere in the world since the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force and became binding international law. The CMC condemns any use of cluster munitions, and urges Thailand and Cambodia to immediately commit to no future use and to accede to the global treaty banning the weapons.

The CMC is clear that these Thai weapons were used in civilian areas. It states:

Sister Denise Coghlan, a CMC leader who took part in the first research mission said, “These cluster munitions have already robbed two men of their lives, two more have lost their arms and a further five were injured. The area must be cleared immediately to prevent more suffering. Cambodia must make every effort to ensure the safety of civilians.”

There is more in the report and pictures are available.

More international condemnation should be expected of a regime and its military that appear rogue in their use of violence in domestic and international arenas.

Update: Linking this condemnation of the use of inhumane weapons with the Thai military’s continued rejection of any international scrutiny of their actions is inevitable. The Bangkok Post has the latest rejection. Supreme Commander Songkitti Chakkrabat says “Indonesian observers will not be allowed to enter the disputed border area surrounding the centuries-old Preah Vihear temple…”. Or anywhere else it seems. The Post says this is the “first time Thai military leaders have formally announced their position on the issue.” That may be formally correct although the military’s rejectionist stand has been abundantly clear.

General Songkitti “said the Thai military has adhered to bilateral commitments between the two countries.” So we can assume that includes artillery shelling on both sides and the Thai use of inhumane cluster bombs?

Let’s be clear. The Thai military has flagrantly abused its power for decades. It is a corrupt political organization that is able to maintain its abuse of human rights because its power is critical to the maintenance of the monarchy and ruling class. The border dispute is yet another example of this corruption of power. When it spills over into the international arena – in the use of cluster bombs, the forced repatriation of refugees and the abuse of migrants to Thailand, it is protected by the opacity of the current regime (and past regimes; think Tak Bai and Kru Se under Thaksin Shinawatra) and the ruling class’s fears and needs.



4 responses

6 04 2011
More army lies | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Skip to content HomeAbout usPending casesConvictionsCommentaryTake Action ← Updated: Thai use of cluster munitions in Cambodia condemned April 6, 2011 · 5:43 […]

6 04 2011
More government lies | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] remarkable statement from the ever-acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn related to an earlier post at PPT. We at PPT think that Panitan is telling lies. We guess that is what an acting government […]

9 04 2011
Cluster bombs used, not cluster bombs | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] is considerable evidence that Thai forces used cluster munitions when fighting broke out with Cambodian forces in February. […]

22 04 2011
There are cluster bombs that our guys use and then there are bad cluster bombs | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Thailand’s soon-retracted admission of the use of cluster bombs (read our posts here, here, here, here, here and […]

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