Friday, September 01, 2017

Thai Court did not say Abhisit(fromer PM) not guilty on crackdown on protest that killed about 90?

When a Prime Minister, Minister does something wrong...can he be charged and prosecuted in a criminal court? Note these wrongs will not just be 'kleptocracy' and corruption, but also police actions that caused death or serious injury? 

Memali Incident in Malaysia - Can the Prime Minister then, the Deputy Prime Minister then and the Home Minister then, amongst others be charged in a criminal court? What about for the death in custody and/or 'shoot to kill' situations?

What about 'negligence' or bad decisions by Prime Minister that resulted in monetary losses for the country and Malaysians? The Prime Minister is responsible for dealing with money and other assets in Malaysia belonging to the people - and if he does something wrong intentionally and negligently, then he must be made liable... A Prime Minister cannot simply allocate contracts to his 'friends', or even pay someone more than needed for a particular service or goods. Well, what about 1MDB or even MAS, is not the Prime Minister responsible for the losses and 'money losses'? A doctor or any other professional can be taken to court for negligence - why not Prime Minister, Minister, etc...?

DETERENCE - well, that will surely be a deterrent for future PM and Ministers - they need to do their jobs correctly - any wrong moves that especially leads to losses, and they will face the music - including jail time.

[Thailand's case against former Prime Minister Yingluck is something we shall look at later - because in Thailand, it looks like no 'hanky panky' is permitted by the Prime Minister or Ministers...]

What about the Abhisit's case - for ordering a deadly crackdown on demonstrators protesting against his government in 2010 which resulted in around 90 persons being killed? Was it thrown out of court because in Thailand, no criminal charges can be taken against a former PM - Well, not really...
"...The Supreme Court upheld rulings by lower courts that the police's Department of Special Investigation had no jurisdiction to bring the case....The Supreme Court said that any case against Abhisit would have to be filed by the National Anti-Corruption Commission through a specific division of the court that deals with those who held political office...."
Most interesting that Thailand have specific crimes for people that hold/held 'political office'. Should Malaysia also be considering this, to have specific enactments that will cover persons who hold/held public office....and this should include Prime Minister, Ministers, Menteri Besar, State Exco, etc...

Even more relevant since, in Malaysia a recent High Court case(which have been approved by the Court of Appeal)...suggests that the Prime Minister is not a 'public servant'...or 'public officer'...or person holding public office....the courts say that these persons are different - they are 'members of the administration'...
' ...the High Court has ruled that the Prime Minister is not a public officer in public office.It held that the premier is also not in public services as defined under the Federal Constitution but “a member of administration”...“The court agreed that the Prime Minister, Minister, Deputy Minister and political secretaries are not in public services or public officers but members of administration,”...see more at MACC want more power? No need MACC Pledge? More independence for MACC?
In the past, how many former Prime Ministers, Ministers, Menteri Besars, etc have been charged in the Malaysian Criminal Courts? The Opposition took over government of States, and we wonder why none of the former 'members of administration' are facing criminal charges or civil suits for the 'wrongs' they did when they were in control. Does this mean that all these 'allegations' being thrown around before elections is really 'false' or baseless? If a new UMNO-BN Prime Minister(or Menteri Besar) takes over and no criminal or civil action is taken, it may be understandable ...'same gang...and we 'do not expose' wrongdoings of our predecessors'. But when another party takes over government, and we see no action - we can only ask 'Why'? Are we all being 'played' by these politicians and parties (Adakah kita semua dimain oleh ahli politik dan parti politik) - Are they all really in the 'same team' or is it a 'you scratch my back and I scratch yours' culture being practiced amongst Malaysian political parties - the BN and the Opposition?

Something is amiss in Malaysia, and we really need to look at our existing laws, and also the administration of justice(maybe they are breaking Malaysian laws, but no one is enforcing or prosecuting them...). 

TRANSPARENCY is always very important - but when government keeps 'secrets' is a problem, and it also allows for people in power to do wrong things...

Things have to change in Malaysia ...

Thursday, 31 August 2017 | MYT 4:55 PM

Thai court dismisses case against former PM over bloody 2010 crackdown

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a case against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for ordering a deadly crackdown on demonstrators protesting against his government in 2010.

More than 90 people were killed in the unrest, one of the bloodiest episodes in more than a decade of turmoil stemming from rivalry for power between populist former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the conservative establishment.

Abhisit and his deputy, Suthep Thaugsuban, were accused of murder and attempted murder in connection with the crackdown on Thaksin's red-shirted supporters to end their two-month street protest in Bangkok.

The Supreme Court upheld rulings by lower courts that the police's Department of Special Investigation had no jurisdiction to bring the case.

It was brought in 2014, before the government of Thaksin's sister, then prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, was ousted after weeks of at times violent anti-government protests by yellow-shirted supporters of the establishment.

Yingluck had defeated Abhisit's pro-establishment Democrat Party in an election in 2011.

The Supreme Court said that any case against Abhisit would have to be filed by the National Anti-Corruption Commission through a specific division of the court that deals with those who held political office.

Abhisit made no comment after the case was dismissed.

Longstanding political divisions and the tangle of legal cases around them returned to the fore last week when Yingluck fled Thailand before a criminal negligence verdict over a costly rice subsidy scheme for which she faced up to 10 years in jail.

She denied any wrongdoing.

A spokesman for the pro-Shinawatra United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, said the group had already petitioned the Anti-Corruption Commission to take the case against Abhisit and Suthep back to court.

"Red-shirt supporters around the country feel that there is a double standard in the Thai justice system," the spokesman, Thanawut Wichaidit, said.

This month, supporters of the establishment were furious when a court dismissed a case against another former prime minister, Thaksin's brother-in-law Somchai Wongsawat, for ordering a crackdown on a demonstration in 2008.

The military government has tried to encourage reconciliation and has also promised to hold a general election next year.

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um, Panarat Thepgumpanat, and Aukkarapon Niyomyat) - Star,31/8/2017,


For Immediate Release(a statement by Human Rights Watch)

Thailand: Supreme Court Enshrines Impunity for 2010 Violence
No Accountability for Officials, Soldiers Involved in Bloody Crackdown

(New York, September 1, 2017) - The Thai Supreme Court's dismissal of criminal charges against a former prime minister and his deputy for their role in the deadly crackdown on "Red Shirt" protesters in May 2010 is a serious setback for justice in Thailand<>, Human Rights Watch said today. International human rights law makes clear that official status cannot justify immunity from criminal responsibility for serious human rights violations.

On August 31, 2017, the supreme court ruled that the criminal courts have no jurisdiction to put on trial former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban. The court held that the case can only be investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which is responsible for malfeasance cases against officials, effectively ruling out any criminal prosecutions of the two men.

"Letting Abhisit and Suthep off the hook for grave abuses because they held government positions violates basic principles of justice and international human rights law," said Brad Adams<>, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Despite overwhelming evidence that soldiers killed protesters, medics, reporters, and bystanders during the 2010 upheavals, Thailand's institutions are failing to ensure justice for those responsible for the bloody crackdown."

The confrontations between the Abhisit government and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), popularly known as the "Red Shirts," took place between April 7 and May 19, 2010, and resulted in at least 98 deaths and more than 2,000 injuries. The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) issued a finding in September 2012 indicating 36 deaths were caused by gunshots fired by soldiers acting on the orders of the Center of the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES). Abhisit set up CRES and placed it under Suthep's command.

By referring the case to the NACC, the supreme court transformed an important criminal investigation into an administrative inquiry regarding abuse of official positions, Human Rights Watch said. The ruling contravenes Thailand's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties to ensure the right to an effective remedy for victims of serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings. A victim's right to an effective remedy requires that the government take the necessary investigative, judicial, and reparatory steps to redress the violation and address the victim's rights to knowledge, justice, and reparations. The government is under a continuing obligation to provide an effective remedy; there is no time limit on legal action and the right cannot be compromised even because of a state of emergency.

The court ruling disregarded the fact that the NACC already decided in December 2015 to drop the case against Abhisit and Suthep with respect to their alleged dereliction of duty and failure to review the use of military force that resulted in the loss of lives and the destruction of property. The NACC determined that since the "Red Shirts" protests were not peaceful and some protesters were armed, Abhisit and Suthep's order to soldiers to use force to reclaim protest sites was in accordance with standard procedure. These rulings effectively mean that there is no longer any way to bring the case against Abhisit and Suthep to the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

Contrary to the NACC's conclusion<> that the use of force by the CRES was justified and followed standard procedures, Human Rights Watch found that soldiers used live ammunition starting on the afternoon of April 10, 2010 - killing and wounding protesters, journalists, and bystanders - many hours before armed "Black Shirt" militants, who operated in close proximity with protesters, showed up and fought with soldiers.

Human Rights Watch's May 2011 report, "Descent into Chaos: Thailand's 2010 Red Shirt Protests and the Government Crackdown<>," documented that excessive and unnecessary force by the military caused many deaths and injuries during the 2010 political confrontations. The high number of casualties resulted in part from the enforcement of "live fire zones" around the "Red Shirt" protest sites in Bangkok, where sharpshooters and snipers were deployed by the CRES. Human Rights Watch also documented that some elements of the UDD, including armed "Black Shirt" militants, committed deadly attacks on soldiers, police, and civilians. Some UDD leaders incited violence with inflammatory speeches to demonstrators, urging their supporters to carry out riots, arson attacks, and looting.

Similar findings were presented in September 2012 by the independent Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT), which recommended the authorities "address legal violations by all parties through the justice system, which must be fair and impartial."

The prospects for justice for victims of the 2010 violence, which have long been bleak, appear to have been totally destroyed, Human Rights Watch said. Over the past seven years, successive Thai governments made insufficient efforts to prosecute policy makers, soldiers, and commanding officers responsible for the killings. Yet at the same time, the government has moved to prosecute UDD protest leaders and their supporters with serious criminal offenses.

"Impunity for state-sponsored violence remains the name of the game in Thailand," Adams said. "It's beyond outrageous that until today not a single government official, military commander, or soldier has been punished for the many deaths and injuries they inflicted in 2010."

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