An Entirely Predictable Cover-Up
Today’s report in the Bangkok Post that Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations (DSI) were seemingly pressured by the Thai army into changing their line on who killed Reuters’ cameraman Hiroyuki Muramoto was shocking.
Yet, to us, it was no surprise at all.
In our application to the International Criminal Court, which the Bangkok Post seemed to have avoided reading, Anonymous Witness No. 20 (edited version of their statement is below) predicted exactly this kind of cover-up occurring.
“It has been the official policy of the government of Thailand to conceal and/or eliminate all evidence of criminal conduct by the government or the Army leaders in connection with the civilian killings. After the violent events in Bangkok on April 10, 2010, during which some twenty-five people were killed, the CRES caused the investigation into those deaths to be assigned to the DSI. On April 16, 2010, DSI Director Tharit was formally vested with the authority to conduct the investigation into the … killings.
At this time, investigations into more than half of the eighty-nine deaths during the Red Shirt demonstrations — which are in various stages of progress — have concluded, at least preliminarily, that the killings were caused by certain soldiers of the Royal Thai Army under orders from the Thai government and the CRES. Some of the DSI investigators that have reached these conclusions have been instructed by their superiors to change their conclusions.
DSI Director Tharit is engaged in a purposeful effort to delay the outcome of the DSI’s investigations. This is evident from his failure to assign the cases promptly for investigation, and from his failure to initiate any investigation into the issue of intent. His failure to advance the case is motivated, at least in part, by the fact that he is a member of CRES, which, under ordinary circumstances, would be the focus of an investigation.
Additionally, consistent with other government efforts to suppress evidence, DSI Director Tharit has issued orders that the DSI investigators are prohibited from summoning any soldier of the Royal Thai Army for interrogation. This position is wholly inconsistent with ordinary practices of the DSI, which would have long ago interrogated anyone the DSI had concluded had been the cause of a killing.
In November 2010, official DSI reports regarding some of the killings in May 2010 were leaked to the press, and Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan made public comment about their conclusion that certain soldiers had caused the deaths. Shortly after this occurred, it was reported in the Thai media that Army Commander General Prayuth Chan- ocha had called for the removal of DSI Director Tharit. Accordingly, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban summoned DSI Director Tharit to meet with him.
Immediately after that meeting, Prime Minister Abhisit held a press conference reaffirming his support for DSI Director Tharit. Director Tharit was kept in his position so that he could make a final decision not to prosecute Army leaders or members of the CRES.On his part, DSI Director Tharit told the press that Mr. Jatuporn’s statements about the leaked DSI reports did not coincide with the findings of the DSI investigators. These statements by Director Tharit were untrue.
Shortly after his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Suthep, DSI Director Tharit issued an internal DSI edict expressing his sole authority over the determination of whether there had been criminal intent in any of the killings. Without a finding of criminal intent, there can be no criminal liability under Thai law against Army leaders, CRES members or the Thai government.
It is abundantly clear from these events that DSI Director Tharit assured Prime Minister Abhisit, through Deputy Prime Minister Suthep, that he would conclude that there was no criminal intent on the part of any Army soldiers in connection with the civilian and soldiers deaths in April and May 2010, regardless of any finding by DSI investigators concerning the cause of death. In exchange for this concession, DSI Director Tharit was allowed to keep his job.”
Before they dismiss our efforts out of hand again, we would suggest to the likes of the Bangkok Post that they could actually take some time and read our application. They might just learn something.