Murder charges against Abhisit and Suthep to be revived

Families of the victims of the 2010 military crackdown have called on the authorities to revive charges against those responsible for the deadly crackdown, saying the case is not over yet despite a recent Supreme Court ruling.

On 18 September 2017, Winyat Chatmontri and Chokchai Angkaew, lawyers representing the families of victims of the 2010 crackdown on red-shirt protesters, submitted a petition to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in an attempt to revive the case against former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban.

The petition, signed by Samorn Maithong and Nuchit Khamkong, family members of the victims, calls on the prosecutor to request the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to reinvestigate the crackdown, which took the lives of at least 90 people and injured over 2,000.  Abhisit and Suthep were accused of corruption for authorising it.

The victims’ families are demanding that the corruption charges against the two should be reinvestigated and then merged with the murder charges which the OAG has already filed against the two.     

They point out that the trial was halted after the Court of First Instance dismissed the case, ruling that it should be filed in the Division of Holders of Political Positions of the Supreme Court and that only the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has the authority to process the case before submitting it to the court.

As the case was dismissed due to technical grounds, they argued that the recent ruling of the Supreme Court on 31 August 2017 to dismiss murder and corruption charges against Abhisit and Suthep was not final.

The petition also added that the Criminal Court also concluded that many of the deaths were caused by bullets fired by the military during the crackdown.

In the four years following the April-May 2010 crackdown, the Criminal Courts heard 20 cases involving 30 deaths that took place during the massacre. The courts ruled that 18 out of the 30 were killed by bullets fired by the military. These include Fabio Polenghi, an Italian photo-journalist, Kunakorn Srisuwan, a 13-year-old child, and Phan Khamkong, a red-shirt taxi driver. However, none of the inquests specified the individual army officers responsible for the deaths.

The red-shirt protest in April 2010 (Photo by Noppakow Kongsuwan)