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Why the TRCT has Failed – An Open Letter to the International Community

Dear members of the international community, 

With this letter I wish to clarify the UDD’s stance on the final report of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) into the events of April-May 2010. It is the view of the UDD, the victims, and the victims’ families, that the report has failed to provide a pathway to reconciliation in Thailand and has exacerbated the political conflict within Thai society.

We believe that the TRCT report seeks to undermine the UDD’s peaceful movement for full democracy in Thailand. The hundreds of thousands of protestors who attended the demonstrations in April-May 2010 were only asking for their most basic democratic rights in the shape of fresh elections. The state’s violent response to these demands for such basic political rights consisted of deploying 60,000 armed troops, armoured vehicles, and snipers against the protestors.

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The Fight for Truth in Thailand Continues – UDD Leaders

At the UDD’s weekly press conference on Friday, UDD leaders expressed their concerns for the ongoing suppression of truth in Thailand. As they mourned the sudden loss of Kittichai Kangkan, a Red Shirt supporter and a key witness in the Wat Pathum massacre of 2010, they also discussed tomorrow’s 36thanniversary of the Thammasat University massacre and the persistent failures of Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Kittichai passed away on Monday, October 1st, at Siriraj Hospital due to sudden heart failure. According to family members, he was not known to have any previous cardiovascular issues. Although he had yet to testify in court, he had provided police with an eyewitness account of soldiers shooting at unarmed civilians inside the temple that had been declared a “safe zone.” His statement is still admissible in court and will surely help in proving that the military were responsible for the six murders that occurred at Wat Pathum on May 19th 2010.

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“We use ideas, not violence” -UDD Leaders

At the press conference today, UDD leaders addressed Tuesday’s violent clash between Red Shirts and Yellow Shirts, the relationship between the Pheu Thai party and the Red Shirt movement, as well as the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand’s (TRCT) final report. They also announced the opening of a Political School on Sunday in Bangkok.

Regarding the clash that occurred on Tuesday in front of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) office, Warawut Wichaidit argued that the conflict was initiated by Yellow Shirts in an attempt to provoke violence from the Red Shirts. He reaffirmed that the Red Shirts must refrain from engaging with the Yellow Shirts in this way, as it is part of a plot to demonise the Red Shirts and depict them as a violent group. (more…)

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TRCT failures confirm importance of ICC – UDD lawyer

UDD lawyer Robert Amsterdam issued a paper on Monday, titled “License to Kill,” that critiques the Truth for Reconciliation for Thailand (TRCT) report that was released last week for its lack of  fresh evidence and its blatant failure to account for the killing of unarmed civilians by soldiers.

Amsterdam writes that,

The findings of the TRCT not only provide further evidence for the admissibility of the case before the ICC, on the basis that Thailand remains unable and unwilling to prosecute crimes against humanity, but underscores the urgency of taking action to end impunity in order to prevent the reoccurrence of similar incidents.

In the paper, Amsterdam describes the TRCT report as an

Attempt to shield those who planned, carried out, and oversaw the 2010 crackdowns from accountability.

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Academic Panel Blasts TRCT Report

A fact-finding panel of academics spent nearly four hours dissecting the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) report on Sunday afternoon at Thammasat University. The panel, which included six professors from multiple universities, argued that the report lacks in raw data and fails to condemn the army’s disproportionate use of force in handling the protests of April-May 2010.

According to the panel, the TRCT report’s 300 pages are superficial and ignore the crucial question of whether the Committee for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) complied with international standards when it ordered 60,000 combat-ready soldiers onto the streets of Bangkok.

Instead, the TRCT tried to blame the violence on the supposed “men in black”, based on dubious evidence that would not hold in a court of law. In the report, the TRCT use such flimsy evidence to conveniently include the “men in black” in every scenario and situation where unarmed protesters are murdered or injured by the Royal Thai Army (RTA).

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Pictures suggest Thai Army’s covert infiltration of Red Shirts in 2010

At the weekly press conference yesterday, Friday 21st September, the UDD reaffirmed its opposition to the Truth for Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, and exposed several factors that demonstrate that the report is biased and unreliable. Spokesperson Warawut Wichaidit, prominent UDD member Somwang Asrasi, and Chairwoman Tida Thavornseth each took turns punching holes in the TRC report’s findings and its supposed claims of impartiality.

In summary, Chairwoman Tida said:

Although there are a few positive elements in the TRC report, they are overshadowed by its many instances of lies and misinformation.

Most significantly, Chairwoman Tida showed pictures in which soldiers are seen in the army controlled areas wearing red and black shirts and carrying weapons. Such images raise serious questions about the report’s unsubstantiated conclusion that the “Black Shirts” were an armed element of the Red Shirt movement.

Furthermore, a video-clip shows Red Shirt protesters fending off armed “men in black” from the Hua Chiew hospital where General Major Khattiya Sawasdipol, also known as Seh Daeng, was being kept in critical condition after being shot in the head by a sniper. The “men in black” had come to remove Seh Daeng from the hospital grounds. This clip significantly undermines the theory that Seh Daeng was the effective leader of the “Black Shirts”.

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UDD rejects the TRCT Report

Press Release
Wednesday 19 September 2012

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) rejects the findings of the TRCT report for lack of scientific proof on the existence of the “Black Shirts” and its pervasive ambiguity which offers no justice to the victims of the April-May 2010 military crackdown and their families.

The TRCT was established at the wrong time, and by the wrong people. UDD Chairwoman Thida Thavornseth says, “How can we trust a commission that was appointed by the very government that is responsible for the deaths? It was not a process led by the people.”

The head of the commission, Khanit na Nakhon, has publicly expressed his profound dislike of PM Thaksin Shinawatra, having left the Thai Rak Thai party on bad terms. This calls into question his suitability as an impartial observer.

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