As we remember Anniversaries of the 52 deaths in the 1992 Black May uprising and the 100 killed in the crackdown on the Red Shirt protests in May 2010, the Thai Alliance for Human Rights would like to propose once again a mechanism for preventing future massacres of civilians. When democracy returns to Thailand, we urge the civilian government to join the International Criminal Court. We repost a video that has just be re-uploaded because it was censored last time:
Statement for the 15th ASP of the ICC at The Hague, the Netherlands,
November 14-26, 2016
Because universal justice is key to world peace and human progress, we ask the CICC and the ICC to seriously examine Thailand’s stunted political development and partner with Thais to provide a partial remedy: we ask you to energetically pursue Thailand’s ratification of the Rome
Gross human rights violations in Thailand are the product of decades-long political conflicts: the emergence of royal army dictatorship under the protection of a neo-absolute monarchy led, until very recently, by the late King Bhumibol; and a corrupt justice system, in which those with money or good connections (especially to royalty) are never held accountable for their crimes.
The most egregious example of this unequal justice is Thailand’s archaic lese majeste law, which makes it illegal for anyone to say anything negative about the King, Queen, or Heir Apparent (even if it is true!). This draconian law both sets up the conditions for crimes against humanity and protects the mass murderers afterwards.
Royally-endorsed military coups and mass killings of protesters are both endemic in Thailand for the reasons outlined above. October 6th of this year was the 40th Anniversary of the massacre of 50 to 100 students at Thammasat University in 1976 by police, military, and a vigilante mob. Not only were the students butchered in various and unusual ways, but their dead bodies were desecrated and even raped. This crime against humanity took place in downtown Bangkok, and it was filmed from beginning to end; yet no one was ever prosecuted. The mob was worked into a frenzy by an accusation that the students had insulted the Crown Prince. The murders were never investigated because three of the vigilante groups were directly sponsored by King Bhumibol. Given Thailand’s current addiction to coups with 12 successful ones and nine failed attempts since 1932, similar numbers of protesters were killed in the October 14, 1973 popular uprising (77 deaths), the 1992 Black May uprising (52 deaths), and most recently in 2010 when Red Shirt protesters were cleared from the streets (100 deaths and over 2000 injuries).
We believe that Thailand could use the International Criminal Court to hold even its most powerful people accountable, and consequently end the culture of impunity and discourage future crimes against humanity. Although ratification is less likely (though not impossible) under the present dictatorship, a civilian government, when the promised return to democracy finally occurs, should be able to see the value in joining the International Criminal Court. Thailand’s ratification of the Rome Statute has become more likely now that King Bhumibol has passed.
Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn’s reign has not begun; so, presumably, he has no record to protect in this particular area. Because most of the army officers now in power were on different occasions engaged in massacres of civilian protesters and human rights abuses that would probably qualify as “Crimes against Humanity,” they will be relieved to learn that the International Criminal Court is prevented from retroactively investigating incidents prior to ratification. This increases the chance for the success of the CICC in persuading the Thai junta and the allied elites or the subsequent civilian government. A successful ratification will ensure that those in power think more carefully before they employ violent and brutal forces against Thai civilians again. Thus, we strongly encourage the CICC to focus on Thailand once more.
However, suppression and human rights violations will more likely continue to take place in the near future because the dictatorial generals and their allies in the former King’s network need to cling onto power without any threat from resentful dissidents. So, it remains the duty of all international civil society members to help prevent the abuses and heal the victims. On behalf of members of the Thai Alliance for Human Rights, we sincerely thank you all for your attention. We are ready to help you all with the mission of making justice prevail globally and of holding all criminals accountable.
Mrs. Ann Norman, Executive Director
Dr. Snea Thinsan, Chairman, Board of Directors
Mr. Anake Chaichana, Chairman, Board of Advisors