BANGKOK — Family members of victims of the 2010 military crackdown have renewed their calls for justice, demanding the government allow the International Criminal Court to pursue the pending court cases against those responsible for the crackdown.
"It's been four years since I lost my son, but the case is not going anywhere," said Somchai Chiamphol, whose son, Thipnet Chiamphol, was shot dead near Soi Rang Nam during clashes between the military and Redshirt protesters on 14 May 2010.
Today marks the fourth anniversary of the military crackdown on Redshirt protesters that left over 90 people dead, yet the Thai authorities have still failed to make any headway on the lawsuits against the government and military officials who authorised the crackdown.
As a result, families of the victims and human rights activists have been calling on the government to formally cede jurisdiction over the cases to the ICC.
"I want the DSI [Division of Special Investigation] to press ahead with the cases of the martyrs, and I want the government to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC, so that the world will know [about the crackdown] and help us find the wrongdoers," said Mr. Somchai, whose son died in the crackdown. "That way, the country can move forward."
In April of 2010, former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban ordered the brutal military crackdown on the tens of thousands of Redshirt protesters who were rallying on Bangkok’s streets to demand a fresh election.
The 10 April crackdown was followed by weeks of clashes between the protesters and security forces, culminating in a final military assault on the Redshirts' encampment on 19 May.
Mr. Abhisit and Mr. Suthep have been charged by the DSI for murder due to their role in 2010, but both have denied the charges, blaming the deaths on shadowy "Blackshirt" militants thought to be allied with the Redshirts.
Pan Kamkong, whose brother Phan Kamkong was shot dead by the military near Ratchapralop Airport Link Station on 15 May, said he wanted authorities to hasten the legal procedures against Mr. Abhisit and Mr. Suthep.
"Especially Mr. Suthep. He is now charged with insurrections and murder, yet he is allowed to walk free and hurt our feelings," Mr. Pan complained. "If it's possible, I want the government to finally accept the jurisdiction of the ICC, because this is a big case. A lot of people died."
Despite their alliance with the Redshirts, the current government has been reluctant to pass jurisdiction onto the ICC.
In November 2013, the ruling Pheu Thai Party also attempted to pursue a "blank amnesty bill" that would pardon all politicians accused of corruption and political violence since 2005, including the authorities responsible for the 2010 military crackdown.
"I have to admit that I am still deeply disappointed by the government's attempt to pass the 'all in the basket' amnesty bill," Mr. Pan told Khaosod. "Eventually, it led to what is happening right now. If the government had not done it, the PCAD wouldn't be here," Mr Pan said, referring to the anti-government People's Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State, who began their protests in response to the introduction of the amnesty bill last November.
To commemorate the anniversary of the crackdown, Redshirts invited 2,000 monks to their rally site on Aksa Avenue in western Bangkok to perform a religious ceremony this morning.
Yesterday, a group of families, under the name "Families of April-May 2010 Martyrs,” arranged their own ceremony to honor their loved ones at Plab Pla Chai Temple in Bangkok.
"It's been four years since the loss, but as a relative of the victim, I am still upholding their democratic ideal. I have not forgotten those who died," said Ubonwan Chantorn, the sister of a taxi driver who was shot dead while rallying with the Redshirts near Lumpini Park on 14 May 2010.
"I want the legal process to move forward, because so far progress has been abysmal," Ms. Ubonwan said, "Personally, I understand bureaucracy, and I see that some cases that have clear evidence are being processed, but many cases have not seen any progress at all.”
She added, "I want to use this occasion of the fourth anniversary to remind officials, to ask them whether they are ready to perform their duties, find the truth, and bring us justice."
According to Ms. Ubonwan, the "Families of April-May 2010 Martyrs" will renew their campaign for justice once the current political crisis calms down.
Phayao Akhard, thhe mother of "Nurse Kate" who was shot dead by the military inside a temple on the last day of the 2010 crackdown, said she plans to meet with DSI chief Tharit Pengdith herself and urge him to make genuine progress on the more than 70 still unresolved cases.
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