Updated: Commentary in the press on Amsterdam and Peroff report

1 02 2011

Earlier PPT posted regarding lawyers for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), Amsterdam and Peroff, presenting “Application to Investigate the Situation of the Kingdom of Thailand with regard to the Commission of Crimes Against Humanity” to the International Criminal Court. Here we link to some of the media commentary:

Wall Street Journal notes Thaksin’s role, a point taken up in the next piece.

An interview with Robert Amsterdam in Spiegel Online, with some choice cuts here:

We have a reasonable basis to argue that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva personally ordered the military to assassinate the Red Shirt leaders. When that plan was botched, he authorized the army to brutally clamp down on unarmed demonstrators. Not only did he approve of the firing order, he even deployed snipers against them.

We have hundreds of affidavits. The most impressive of these originate from some of the closest aides to Abhisit himself, others from well placed high ranking officers. The picture that you get after reading this evidence is crystal clear: Abhisit gave a carte blanche style order to the military to massacre civilians with the only goal of eliminating the Red Shirt opposition.

It is known that Amsterdam and Peroff claim that Abhisit is British and that allows ICC jurisdiction. Abhisit’s response is in an AFP report: “I am a Thai citizen, not Montenegrin…”.

Reuters: “Some of the most potentially explosive accusations said to come from sources inside the military are that journalists and medical workers were specifically targeted to prevent evidence of killings from being recorded, and that soldiers posing as medical workers took away dead bodies to two hospitals where incriminating evidence was destroyed by way of cremation.”

Bangkok Post: “Democrat Party spokesman Buranat Samutrak said the move to petition the ICC was part of Thaksin’s drive to discredit Thailand and pave the way for international bodies to interfere in the country’s affairs.”

The Post includes this tidbit of great interest: “In another development, Phayaw and Natthaputt Akkahad, mother and brother of Kamolket, a volunteer nurse who was found shot dead at Wat Pathum Wanaram after the protest dispersal operation on May 19, 2010, have failed to obtain a visa to Britain after they received an invitation from the House of Lords to discuss the controversy surrounding the death of Kamolket. The hearing in London will be held tomorrow.”

Update: More links on this story: Daily Times Pakistan, Gulf Times, Channel News Asia, Zee News, MSN Malaysia, Radio Australia, TelegraphBloomberg, PRNewswire.

The Nation: Amsterdam says “Thailand has demonstrated a complete absence of the rule of law“.

Government response in Bangkok Post: “Lawyer Robert Amsterdam is simply ‘deceiving a billionaire’ for the money he can earn by filing a case with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the government under Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for alleged crimes against humanity during the red-shirt protest in April-May last year, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Tuesday.”

With 3 updates: Amsterdam and Peroff’s latest ICC filing

31 01 2011

Law firm for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), Amsterdam and Peroff, have presented their second detailed report to the International Criminal Court. It is titled “Application to Investigate the Situation of the Kingdom of Thailand with regard to the Commission of Crimes Against Humanity.”

The report is 294 pages long, so PPT hasn’t yet had time to read it. It appears to update and expand the firms earlier report, with extensive use of witness reports. It is bound to be explosive.

Update 1: Here’s the first news report PPT has seen. We highlight some points here but read the whole story. Note that there are errors in this report (e.g. stating that Abhisit Vejjajiva assumed power in 2006, so the full 294 pages is the best source:

The Thai government’s crackdown on “red shirt” protesters last spring was planned nearly four years in advance and modelled on the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, a report contends, saying Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva approved military force against unarmed civilians.

The plans included the construction of a full-scale mock-up of Rachadamnoen Ave. — an upscale street sometimes known as Bangkok’s Champs Élysées — where protesters were killed and injured last April 10, the report contends. The mock-up, which was built at a training ground used by the 11th regiment of the Thai army, included “killing zones.”

Thai military personnel, including snipers, rehearsed at the mock-up as early as February 2007, the report alleges.

The application also includes a statement from “Anonymous Witness No. 22” — described as an amalgamation of testimony from several active-duty officers in the Thai military, who would be in grave danger if their identities were exposed, though the lawyers say they will provide all names to the court’s prosecutors.

One potential obstacle the red shirts face in getting the court to consider their complaint is whether Thailand comes within the court’s jurisdiction.

But Amsterdam and Peroff argue the court still has the power to investigate Abhisit for possible crimes against humanity because he is a British citizen, born in England on Aug. 3, 1964.

The court has the authority to investigate and prosecute people who are citizens of countries that are its members, which the United Kingdom is.

Update 2: Here’s a draft statement by Joe Witty as a former Green Beret commenting on the action by the Abhisit government and another draft statement by Anonymous Witness No. 22.

Update 3: More details at Robert Amsterdam’s blog.


28 07 2010

There have only been a few stories that caught PPT’s attention in the past couple of days amidst by-elections, a bomb blast, the DSI trading accusations with red shirts and others, Thaksin Shinawatra’s birthday, flash protests by red shirts, and an apparently never-ending stream of stories regarding Princess Sirindhorn’s latest visit to China – seemingly essentially a holiday – that finished on 23 July but still screening long portions of the royal news four days later.

Some of the stories have raised questions for us, although PPT knows little more than what is reported in the media. We thought it might be useful to list them.

The first story relates to 28 July as Prince Vajiralongkorn’s birthday and he turns 58. As usual, newspapers have little advertisements that double as birthday felicitations to the prince. PPT only purchased the Bangkok Post, which had a one-page tribute and a series of the company-sponsored adverts. The whole thing is pretty low-key, kicked off with a large color picture of the prince at Wat Phra Kaew yesterday.

As PPT went through the color adverts, we noted they were from: Thai Airways, Boon Rawd Brewery, the Central group (the largest greeting, being a full page), CP Group and one all in Thai from Thai Beverage. The latter also posted a very large billboard celebrating the prince near Pan Fah Bridge (see the picture here). On the same day, PPT was reading The Bangkok Massacres: A Call for Accountability produced by Thaksin’s representatives, Amsterdam & Peroff LLP. On page 16, the report states: “The families controlling some of Thailand’s largest economic empires — among them Bangkok Bank, Kasikorn Bank, Thai Beverage, and TPI Polene — became fierce opponents of Thaksin.”

Maybe PPT was asleep at the wheel, but we hadn’t registered Thai Beverage as a major opponent previously. The company belongs to Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, the liquor, beer and land tycoon. Charoen has been pretty secretive. There’s a chapter on him by Nuolnoi Treerat in Pasuk and Baker’s Thai Capital After the 1997 Crisis (Silkworm). Recently he has been seen sponsoring royal events, including one of Princess Chulabhorn’s ventures. If Charoen has signed up with the royalists, then he has huge wealth and networks to build political support.

A second story is in the Bangkok Post and considers what is designated the “alleged ‘plan’ by Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij to change the current yuppiephone concession contracts…”. Then this is slipped in: “mortally wound Shin Corp and its No 1 network Advanced Info Service although that’s not the purpose, perish the thought…”. Given the “plan” is from Korn, a major yellow supporter, maybe this is the purpose. The story goes on to say that the “plan” has “thrown business, government, regulators and even the Senate into a tizzy; the kindest people said Mr Korn had good intentions, lousy planning; others were not so charitable; they noted that his plan to issue AIS, Dtac of Norway and True Move of Thailand with 15-year licences was highly questionable in legal terms…”.

The same column reminds us that Juti Krairiksh, said to be “minister of Internet Censorship in Thailand (MICT)” as well as “sniffing out dodgy websites” has “bragged that one of his greatest achievements was the arrest of three people who posted information critical of the monarchy.”

The third story relates to the Big C bombing and the Bangkok Post story that the “emergency decree will remain in place, at least in Bangkok, … Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says.” Abhisit said that “some parties were determined to carry out dangerous acts and it was the duty of the authorities to try to stop them. That meant they needed the proper legal tools.” Proper legal tools mean the power to detain and anything else the government seems to want to do to opponents.

Just a day before, in the venerable Bangkok Post, Abhisit’s motor-mouthed personal spokesman Thepthai Senapong had attacked critics of the imposition of the emergency decree, saying the bombing proved that the decree was necessary. He added: “The old saying that there is a calm before the storm is still worth considering…”. There’s little doubt that the hardliners in the government, like Thepthai, want the emergency decree in place for a lot longer, benefit from every incident. Much of the cabinet is very twitchy about “security” and, as they have admitted, personally frightened.

The fourth and final story, also in the Bangkok Post, was buried down on about page 4, and the headline suggested to PPT that the Ministry of Justice was going to investigate allegations that a bribe attempt was made in the Department of Special Investigation missing jewellery scandal of a few days ago. But, no. The Justice Ministry was launching an investigation into the rumours themselves!

The rumours were that the “owner of a shop who complained three pieces of jewellery had disappeared from a Department storeroom had been offered 300,000 baht to retract her accusation.”

The “secretary to the justice minister, Fuangwit Aniruttaewa, said it was possible that the claims the jewellery had disappeared were the work of certain people in the ministry who wanted to discredit the justice minister and DSI director-general Tharit Pengdit.” Remarkably, Fuangwit disclosed that an “investigation” had “found the jewellery said to be missing from the DSI storeroom had not disappeared at all. The owner of the store, identified only as Ms Chayaphon, had been told the items had been located.”

Apparently, the three items had just been … well, we don’t know. Hanging off some rich lady perhaps? Miraculously, they have turned up! So what was going on inside the DSI that caused the jewellery to be lost and found at about the same time?