Sunai to talk to chief judge in Hague over protest deaths

national December 02, 2011 00:00

By THE NATION

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Says it's too early to say whether the case would be taken to the ICC



 

Pheu Thai Party MP Sunai Jullapongsathorn said yesterday he would consult the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the possibility of Thailand bringing before it the government’s deadly crackdown on red-shirt protesters last year, despite the fact that the Kingdom has yet to ratify the Rome statute.
Thailand signed the statute – the treaty that founded the court – in October 2000 during Chuan Leekpai’s administration, but has not yet ratified it, Sunai said.
Sunai, who heads the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, yesterday consulted with Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul and senior officials at the Foreign Ministry to explore the possibility of bringing the case before the ICC.
Sunai said he would make a courtesy call on the ICC’s chief judge in the Netherlands next week to discuss the case.
Senior officials and legal experts at the ministry would accompany him at his personal expense, he |said.
A military crackdown on red shirts protesting against Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government in April and May last year killed 91 people, including some military officers and journalists.
Pheu Thai MP Khattiya Sawasdipol, a daughter of the late Maj-General Khattiya Sawasdipol, who was shot dead during the protest, and overseas-based |supporters of the red shirts are |also interested in the case, Sunai said.
Asked whether the case could be taken to the international court in The Hague, Sunai said, “It’s too early to answer the question, since I don’t know the law, but I have to do something since the case has made no progress in the Thai justice system.
“Members of the opposition Democrat Party should not have anything to fear if they did nothing wrong,” Sunai told reporters.
Opposition Democrat leader Abhisit said yesterday he has not yet received an official summons from the Metropolitan Police Bureau to give his account of the bloody incident.
Former deputy prime minister Suthep Thuagsuban, who was then in charge of security matters, has not received any official letter from the police regarding the case, either, Abhisit said.
“I’m ready to cooperate, but it’s very strange that some government politicians and media knew about the [possibility of a] police letter before I did,” he said.
Abhisit said the government is trying to link the 91 fatalities with its move to seek amnesty for all parties involved in the political struggle of recent years. Abhisit has said he is opposed to an amnesty designed to benefit individuals.
“I personally disagree with the amnesty since it would not benefit the public or rule of law, but is intended to benefit somebody in particular,” he said.
Pheu Thai Party spokesman Promphong Nopparit challenged Abhisit to face justice and take responsibility for the bloody incident.
“As many as 91 people died during Abhisit’s government, and the then-prime minister won’t take any responsibility?” he said.
 

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