Impunity not just for the military

24 10 2014

PPT has often posted on the abject failure of Thailand’s so-called justice system. We have also posted on the impunity enjoyed by officials – mostly in the corrupt military – who torture and murder citizens. Impunity is promoted by the failed justice system that is politicized and works in the interests of the royalist elite.

It is clear, though, that impunity extends to others who do the elite’s dirty work. It is reported at Khaosod that the former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who was “summoned to give testimony for a court inquest into the death of Muramoto Hiroyuki, the Reuters reporter who was shot dead while covering the clashes between Redshirt protesters and security forces on Din So Road on the night of 10 April 2010.” As Khaosod states, this “crackdown was authorized by Suthep and then-PM Abhisit Vejjajiva.”

Suthep “said he would not attend the court hearing because he has already given testimonies in other court cases related to the 2010 crackdown…”. Clearly, Suthep’s bloody work for the elite outweighs the law.

Here’s how impunity works, as clipped from Khaosod:

According to the official, the court will issue another summons for Suthep to provide testimony in court on 25 November. It is unclear whether the former deputy PM will face any legal action if he refuses to attend the hearing. 

… Suthep and Abhisit have repeatedly insisted on their innocence, claiming that the military operation was necessary to restore order in the capital city. They also alleged that many of the civilian casualties were in fact caused by “Blackshirt” militants allied to the protesters, not security forces.

Commanders of the Thai military have echoed this account, including Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the leader of the 22 May coup.

Although court inquests in the recent years have identified military forces as responsible for many of the deaths caused by the crackdown, no official has ever been held accountable.

Murder charges filed against Abhisit and Suthep were thrown out by the Criminal Court this August. According to the judges, Thailand’s Criminal Court lacked jurisdiction over the case because Abhisit and Suthep were holders of political office at the time of their alleged crimes.

… In contrast to the drawn-out inquiries into Abhisit and Suthep’s murder charges, Thai authorities convicted 26 Redshirt demonstrators of charges related to the unrest in the first year after the crackdown. At least two Redshirt activists were jailed for 10 months before facing trials and never compensated for their time in prison even though they were eventually acquitted.


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