Thai Delegation Meets with ICC as Country Faces Risk of Renewed Hostilities
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ – This week a delegation of Thai citizens held preliminary meetings with prosecutors of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands to discuss the violent military crackdown against protesters in 2010 which led to more than 90 deaths.
Dr. Thongchai Winichakul, a professor of history based at the University of Wisconsin, led the delegation along with numerous witnesses and survivors to present before the ICC during this meeting. In a letter delivered to prosecutors ahead of the meeting, Dr. Winichakul emphasized the historical importance that the court could make in Thailand, where coups and violence against civilians by the military has occurred repeatedly throughout history.
“Among the subjects I study include the atrocities in 1973, 1976, and 1992, and the culture of impunity in Thailand. I have followed the political situation in Thailand closely since the coup in 2006, especially the bloodshed in April-May 2010 and its aftermath,” Dr. Winichakul wrote in his letter. “I would like to request that the ICC can help bring the end to this repeated impunity – thereby the repeated killings of civilians — by investigating into the 2010 killings and bringing the case to the International Criminal Court.”
The visit to The Hague follows upon a two-year campaign to raise awareness of the alleged crimes against humanity committed by the former government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Although Thailand has not ratified the Rome Statute, it was proven that Prime Minister Abhisit is a British subject, and therefore is under the court’s jurisdiction, argues the legal team on behalf of the Red Shirt victims.
“The meetings held with the ICC were productive, and we will continue to comply with all normal protocol to move forward through the process,” said international lawyer Robert Amsterdam, of Amsterdam Partners LLP, who serves as international defense counsel to the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), a group popularly known as the Red Shirts. “This crucial meeting takes place within a very tense context. Given the ongoing attempts by minority groups to yet again forcefully remove a democratically elected party in an upcoming constitutional court decision, the prospect of renewed violence and instability is a matter of grave concern for the international community, and makes more relevant our request before the ICC.”
Further information on this case, including a full copy of Dr. Winichakul’s letter, can be found at http://www.robertamsterdam.com/thailand.
Article source: http://en.prnasia.com/pr/2012/06/28/120316312.shtml