The ICJ and other Human Rights groups are requesting the Attorney General to publicly explain his decision not to prosecute certain officers involved in an operation that killed 28 suspected insurgents five years ago.
The Krue Se Mosque incident has enormous symbolic importance for Thailand’s Malay Muslim population, particularly in the southern border provinces. Local perception of a lack of justice has contributed to the violent insurgency in the Deep South, which has claimed more than 3,400 lives in the past five years.
“This decision appears to contradict the findings of high level independent investigations, including by the National Reconciliation Commission, that the Thai security forces used disproportionate force and that the case should be formally pursued through organs of the justice system,” said Roger Normand, ICJ Asia-Pacific Director. “At minimum, it is incumbent on the Attorney General to provide evidence and reasoning for deciding not to prosecute the responsible parties.”
The Government of Thailand has recognized the need to prioritize respect for the rule of law, especially in high profile cases, as the basis of a just and lasting resolution to the conflict. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has publicly stated that his government “has made it a clear policy that the key to peace in the south is justice”. Since coming to power four months ago, Government representatives have made similar commitments to national and international media.
The International Commission of Jurists, the Human Rights Committee of the Lawyers Council of Thailand, the Cross Cultural Foundation, the Working Group on Justice for Peace, and the Muslim Attorneys Centre are deeply concerned that the Attorney General’s decision will undermine the prospects for peaceful resolution by furthering the perception that the Government is unable or unwilling to apply the rule of law in cases of alleged violation by security forces in the Deep South.
- The basic facts of the case are not in dispute. On 28 April 2004, 28 men armed with guns and knives attacked the Krue Se security checkpoint and then fled inside the mosque. Soldiers and police officers surrounded the mosque. In the ensuing operation, the security forces killed everyone inside the mosque.
- After extensive investigations, the government-appointed Independent Commission of Enquiry into Facts about the Krue Se Mosque Case concluded that the use of heavy artillery constituted disproportionate force inconsistent with international standards such as the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. It identified high ranking officersresponsible for the operation and recommended that investigations should be pursued through organs of the justice system. In addition, the Pattani Provincial Court conducted a post-mortem inquest report and identified three ranking officers as being responsible for the killings.
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