With a major update: Soldiers responsible at Wat Pathum

7 08 2013
The South Bangkok Criminal Court has issued its ruling. It has stated that six persons who were killed on Wat Pathum Wanaram on 19 May 2010 were shot by the soldiers. The court states that five were shot by the soldiers situated on the BTS sky train track above the temple, with the sixth shot by soldiers stationed on Rama I Road. In addition, it states that examinations by the Central Institute of Forensic Science found no gunpowder residue on the hands of any of the six victims,meaning they were not using any weapons. Interestingly, the court found no evidence that men in black were operating in this area, contradicting earlier claims trumpeted by the Democrat Party and former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his then deputy Suthep Thaugsuban.
Prachatai provides an unofficial translation of the Criminal Court’s decision, which we reproduce in full:

The Court’s Order

The post mortem inquest of six deaths inside Wat Pathum Wanaram Ratcha Worawiharn

Black Case No. C5/2555

At 09.00, the South Bangkok Criminal Court read an order after completing the post mortem inquest of six deaths that occurred inside Wat Pathum Wanaram Ratcha Worawiharn as a result of the demonstrations on the Rama I Road.

At the request of the public prosecutors of the Office of Attorney General for an inquest on the death of six persons inside Wat Pathum Wanaram Ratcha Worawiharn as it was possible that the deaths have been caused by the act of competent officials who claimed to have performed their official duties. The Court was asked to investigate and rule on who the deceased were, where they died, when they died, causes and circumstances around their deaths as per Section 150 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

After reviewing evidence submitted by the petitioners and relatives of the six deceased including eye-witnesses and other experts, the Court was convinced that the first and the third to the sixth deceased were shot dead by high velocity .223 or 5.56 mm bullets which had been fired by competent officials who were military officials under the charge of Ranger Battalion, Special Force Group 2, Erawan Military Camp while the officials were stationed on the BTS rail tracks. The second deceased was shot dead by high velocity .223 or 5.56 mm bullets which had been fired by competent officials who were military officials under the charge of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, 31st Infantry Division the King’s Guard while the officials were stationed on the BTS rail tracks.

The first deceased, Mr. Suwan Sriraksa, the second deceased, Atthachai Chumchan, the third deceased, Mr. Mongkhol Khemthong, the fourth deceased, Mr. Rop Sooksathit, the fifth deceased, Miss Kamonket Akkhahad and the sixth deceased, Mr. Akkharadet Khankaew, died inside Wat Pathum Wanaram Ratcha Worawiharn, Pathumwan Sub-district, Pathumwan District, Bangok on 19 May 2013 during daytime. The deaths were caused by being shot with .223 or 5.56 mm bullets and the direction of fire was from where the competent officials were stationed to perform their duties to maintain order on the BTS’s rail tracks in front of Wat Pathum Wanaram Ratcha Worawiharn and around Rama I Road. At the instructions of the Center for Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES), the officials took control over the area of the Ratchaprasong Intersection. And as a result of that, the first deceased died of gunshot wounds on his lungs and heart causing hemorrhage, the second deceased died of gunshot wound that destroyed his lungs, the third deceased died of gunshot wounds that destroyed his lungs, heart and liver, the fourth deceased died of gunshot wounds that destroyed his lungs and liver, the fifth deceased died of gunshot wounds that destroyed her brain and the sixth deceased died of gunshot wounds that went through his oral cavity, whilst no particular perpetrators can be identified.

Update: PPT just read the Khaosod report of the courts findings, and considers that some of its points deserve repeating:

The inquest helps debunk claims made by critics of the Redshirts who have claimed that the the military had not played any role in the deaths of over 90 people, mostly civilians, that perished during the 2010 crackdown….

The notion that these civilians were shot at as they were helplessly penned inside a Buddhist temple has made the incident at Wat Pathum particularly shocking in its level of brutality, even compared with other bloodsheds that have characterised the closing weeks of Redshirts protests….

In an unprecedented move, the court went further than stating that the 6 civilians were killed by the soldier; its inquest also disputed the soldiers′ explanation of their action as a necessary “self-defence” against the shadowy armed militants who, according to the soldiers, were blending in with the crowd around the temple and shooting at the military personnel….

… [T]he Democrat Party has always insisted that the heavy-handed tactics of the military operation authorised by then-Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, which included uses of live ammunition, was necessary to combat Blackshirts militants around the protest site.

Critics of the Redshirts therefore placed the blame of Wat Pathum deaths on the Blackshirts, saying that the military opened fire only after the Blackshirts shot at them from inside the temple….

Former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban once insisted that individuals on Skytrain track shooting at civilians inside Wat Pathum were actually “thugs” wearing army uniforms to create misunderstanding….

The court inquest read out today stated that there was no evidence that the so-called Blackshirts were present inside or around the temple. The entire area has been secured by the military, the court insists, and it is impossible that so many journalists – some of them foreigners – failed to spot the mysterious gunmen…. [T]he gunfire was most likely one-directional.

As for the weapons allegedly found inside the temple and shown to the press later, the court noted that there was no evidence the firearms were found inside the temple immediately after the compound has been secured by members of security forces. Consequently, the court said, the weapons had no connection with the incident on 19 May 2010.


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11 08 2013
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