Justice or Politics in Thailand?
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Justice or Politics in Thailand?

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Legal cases against Oxford-educated Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand’s former prime minister are starting to pile up.

Last month the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) charged the opposition leader over alleged illegal party donations for flood relief, and the military officially stripped Abhisit of minor military titles accusing him of draft-dodging years ago which could lead to a ruling barring him from serving as an MP.

By far the most serious charges facing Abhisit are those of murder, attempted murder and physical assault relating to his time as premier during political violence that erupted in Bangkok in April and May 2010 when opposition red shirts fought street battles with the military.

Following at least 23 coups or major rebellions in Thailand over the past century, senior human rights lawyer Sarawut Pratoomraj notes that holding Abhisit to account for some of the 91 deaths and more than 2,000 people injured during the violence in 2010 would be unprecedented.

“This is the first time in Thai history that our PM has been treated like a criminal,” he says.

But do these charges— as well as Abhisit’s threats to sue the DSI officials for charging him— represent the beginnings of justice and reconciliation in Thailand or simply the latest round of political one-upmanship?

The case against Abhisit and then deputy Suthep Thaugsuban is based around Phan Khamkong, a taxi driver, and father of four who was – according to a September court ruling – shot and killed by troops on May 15, 2010.

If Abhisit and Suthep are found guilty they could face the death penalty but a conviction would, in theory, require “clarifying who gave the order to use a weapon,” says Sarawut.

Abhisit has repeatedly argued that his job was to restore order in a city where red-shirt protestors were encamped on major intersections and reportedly threw Molotov cocktails and fired rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). Soldiers were ordered to fire only in self-defense, he has said.

Sarawut argues that the army should also be included in any judicial process but so far that appears to be unlikely, at least at the highest level.

Comments
9
The Amerikan Devil
January 28, 2013 at 00:00

Yeah, the damned Amerikans killed 2 million Vietnamese for 58,000 lives.  That's the biggest murderous campaign ever on this planet.  Genghis Khan did not even come this close.  Amerikans are exceptional?  Yeah, exceptional cold blooded murders, and now cold blooded slanderers and libellers on an extraordinary scale; Abusing the internet to recruit tens of thousands of useless Amerikans posing as other nationalities to tell lies to destroy the name and image of other countries and nationalities.  Washington and Obama is a devil. 

L Dennings
January 24, 2013 at 16:47

Vietnamese should and must do the same and pursue an in depth investigation into all the massacres and genocides conducted by the Americans during the Vietnam war.  Each and every individual American responsible for such crimes must be arrested and charged in an international war criminal tribunal in Vietnam.  Do it NOW while the survivors and the witnesses are still alive. 
Iraq and Afghanistan's government must also do the same. Let the world know what Americans did.  Ultimately, George Bush, Barrack Obama, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, John F Kennedy, should all be hauled before the international tribunal for war crimes like Pol Pot and judged in absentia and posthumously together with all its soldiers – alive or dead – for their war crimes.  It cannot be one way only.  Russia, China and the UN must show some gumption and turn that UN War Crimes Tribunal into a real world institution. ,

Yoganthiran Manikan
January 23, 2013 at 21:08

This is a great planned political game

Simon W Weiz
January 21, 2013 at 21:56

Murder was done.  there was intent and there was the act of murder.  Someone gave the order which was passed down the line.  Justice is only done when the murderers of the 91 Thais, and responsible also for the injury to the 2000 Thais, are brought to justice. Whether it is the prime Minister or the generals or the soldiers carrying out the order, all must be charged and arrested and punished.  If this is not done, Thailand will forever, live with a victimhood complex and in shame, and its children filled with inadequacy and resentment and further shame that justice was not done in Thailand.
It has to be like Cambodia where Pol Pot and his men had to be brought to justice in order to remove the blot from Cambodia's history and to allow its people to feel a sense of vindication that justice was done, and that they could hold their heads up and not down in shame.  They managed to close the chapter on the sordid genocide.
 
Thailand must not be like the stupid leadership in Beijing who did nothing to bring the ALL Japanese war criminals to justice.  Today they live in shame and psychologically in anger because they feel like losers.  Japanese war murderers and criminals were allowed to get away because of these stupid and irresponsible leaders who does not know how to close this psychologically devastating chapter in China's and Japan's history.  It does not have the brains or even the righteous morality to pursue this investigation and arresting and charging all these individual criminals. 
 
There is no question for the mental and emotional health of a nation, war criminals MUST be held to justice.  They should never be allowed to get away.  The long arm of the law MUST catch up with them.  Better later than never. Thus the same for Thailand.  Its demons and ghosts of years past MUST be exorcised.  Whether its Abhisit or that General whats-his-name, or  the soldier concerned, all must be brought to justice and punished.  Sweeping the matter under the carpet is like hiding the light of justice under the carpet.  Thailand, like China, will be in darkness while justice continues to swept under the carpet.  So, Ms Yingluck, show your leadership and an example to that stupid Chinese leadership.
 
 
 

[...] The Diplomat: Jakrapob Penkair, a founder of the movement that became the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship UDD), the core of the red shirts, and a former Thaksin spokesman in exile, says the truth is that red shirts in many cases simply want “to take revenge.” But ultimately charges against Abhisit are also seen as a test of whether the Thai judiciary can be reliable. [...]

[...] Finch, a freelance journalist based in Bangkok, has a story at The Diplomat that is getting some attention on some of the yellow-shirted social media. The reason for this is [...]

[...] Finch, a freelance journalist based in Bangkok, has a story at The Diplomat that is getting some attention on some of the yellow-shirted social media. The reason for this is [...]

StarOne
January 19, 2013 at 19:19

Frankly someone must answer for those that have died during the crisis. It would be unfair to them if no one is held responsible.
Any armed forces of a country should bear the responsibility to ptotect its citizen and not the other way around.
Somehow, somewhere, someone is responsible.

January 19, 2013 at 09:04

[...] Some say former PM Abhisit is rightfully being charged for supressing the red shirts; other see the case as business as usual. http://thediplomat.com/2013/01/19/justice-or-ruse-in-thailand/ [...]

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