Petition for justice regarding court verdict in Takbai post mortem inquest trial
To: Chairperson of Supreme Court of Thailand
CC: 1. Prime Minister Abhisit Vetchachiva
2. Chairperson of the Parliament
3. Chairperson of the Senate
With respect to the decision of the Songkhla Provincial Court regarding the verdict on black case number Chor16 / B.E. 2548 and red case number Chor8 / B.E. 2552 issued on 29th May 2009, individuals and civil society groups listed below fully support the submission of appeal by the relatives of the deceased. As the court decision did not provide sufficient description of circumstances which caused the deaths and the names of the perpetrators, therefore we are of the opinion that the decision of the court was not in accordance with the standards of post mortem inquest trial.
Doubts and feelings of injustice with regard to the court decision among the relatives and the public are weakening public confidence in the administration of justice. The judiciary is the only hope for those people who are seeking justice in situation of conflict in the southern border provinces which has continued since the last 5 years
Takbai tragedy has damaged the families of the victims. Ensuring that justice is provided to the victims and the families should be part of the confidence building measures in Deep South initiated by the government. The government should send out a clear message that it will not tolerate violation of law and human rights and that law is to be enforced equally and without discrimination against suspected insurgent groups or government officers.
However the Takbai post mortem inquest only states that the deaths were caused by suffocation. Such a conclusion is not according to the facts established by evidence, both audio and visual, such as witnesses’ testimony, documents, pictures and VCD which showed that officers from various agencies were involved in the incident. The inquest file clearly stated the fact that the hands of the deceased were tied behind their backs when they were placed in the canvas covered trucks for transportation. During the journey of about 150 kilometers from 15.00 hours on 25th October 2004 till 02.00 hr. on 26th October 2004, the deceased were unable to move and had to lie flat on their face, piled up on each other in the closed truck. Lack of air circulation in the trucks during the transportation resulted in 78 persons dying from suffocation.
The decision of Songkhla Provincial Court on black case number Chor16 / B.E. 2548 and red case number Chor8 / B.E. 2552 of Takbai post mortem inquest does not prejudice the right of the victims to file criminal lawsuit against the perpetrators. However the Court did not indicate the identity of the perpetrator even though there was sufficient evidence to show that the deaths were caused by the actions of the Commander ordering dissolving of the demonstration and transportation of the protestors. While transporting the demonstrators in the manner described above, the official should have been able to predict the possibility of deaths caused by suffocations. Actions of the officials should be deemed as killings by gross negligence or by intention to commit bodily harm, torture and cruel treatment to the demonstrator to such extent that cause death.
Therefore the decision of the court verdict could be seen that it was not accordingly to Thai Constitution 2007 Section 40 “A person shall have the rights to judicial process (3) A person has the right to correct, prompt and fair trial.” and Section 197 first paragraph “The trial and adjudication of cases are the power of the Courts, which must be proceeded by justice in accordance with the Constitution and the law and in the name of the King.” And second paragraph “Judges are independent in the trial and adjudication of cases with accurate, rapid and impartial practice in accordance with the Constitution and the law.”
Given that your Excellencies are the head of executive, legislative and judicial power, therefore individuals and human rights organizations listed below are submitting this letter requesting action to be taken to bring justice to the relatives of the deceased in Takbai incident. Also for the law to be equally and without discrimination enforce towards the people in the southern border provinces. And most of all to declare government’s respect in the rule of law and to set precedents for state administration in the future.
List of individual and organization support the submission of the letter petition for justice regarding the court decision on Takbai post mortem inquest.