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Thailand Licence to Kill

Thailand Licence to Kill

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Published by greenboy

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Published by: greenboy on Aug 28, 2012
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InvestIgatIon made by vIncent brossel and nalInee udomsInn
////////REPORTERs wiThOuT bORdERs//07.2010  //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
InvestIgatIon report
lIcenceto kIll
reporters WIthout borders calls or IndependentInquIry Into crImes agaInst medIa
eporters Without Borders has in-vestigated 10 cases that are repre-sentative o the press reedom vio-lations committed by both partiesto the conlict: the army, specialorces and paramilitaries on theone hand, and the Red Shirt activists o the UnitedFront or Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD)and their paramilitaries on the other. Reporters Without Borders decided in this report to let thevictims and witnesses o the violations speak orthemselves. A government representative and oneo ormer Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’slawyers were also interviewed. Some accountsare devastating.The government emerged the victor rom thisbloody battle ater the assault on the Red Shirtcamp in the heart o Bangkok on 19 May, but many questions about the behaviour o the armed orcesremain. The many accounts o soldiers ring liverounds at unarmed civilians, the ring on journa-lists with automatic weapons, the systematic inti-midation and the use o military orce to suppresspolitical protests are all evidence o serious abuses.Taking advantage o the state o emergency and thethreat posed by the Red Shirts, the Thai army andspecial orces rode roughshod over internationallaw and Thai legislation protecting civilians.
inTERnaTiOnal EnquiRy nEEdEd
 An independent enquiry that includes inter-national experts is necessary. Thailand’s interna-tional credibility is at stake. I the government isserious about wanting to reconcile Thais and learnthe lessons o this violence, Prime Minister Abhi-sit Vejjajiva must give much broader powers andmore resources to the commission o enquiry thathas been set up.Reporters Without Borders urges United Na-tions secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to ensurethat UN agencies are involved in this investiga-tion into the violence in Thailand, which has justbeen elected president o the UN Human RightsCouncil. The gravity o what took place requires atransparent and exhaustive investigation to whichReporters Without Borders is ready to contributein a completely independent capacity.Thai oreign ministry spokesman Thani Thon-gphakdi told Reporters Without Borders that the
inquiry into crimes against media
t  i ii ii   ti i ai  m 2010  i i     ji  i . t w : w i ji w   90  i,   ji w w ( ii iji  wi  wi  )   w  w  i  iiii wi i  1990.
 Agnes Dherbeys/VII Photo mentor program
commission created to investigate the violence would be independent. “The government believesit is very important to answer the public’s ques-tions about the April and May incidents,” he said.“Regardless o the investigation’s ndings, the go-vernment will assume its responsibility.”“The gures don’t lie,” ormer Prime MinisterThaksin Shinawatra’s lawyer, Robert Amsterdam,told Reporters Without Borders. “The number o  journalists and stretcher-bearers killed or woun-ded shows a dramatic lack o concern or the saety o civilians. Indiscriminate useo violence was widespread. And we have witnesses whotell us that journalists weretargeted. We are in the pro-cess o conrming these ac-counts and the government will have to respond to these charges (...) Most o the dead and wounded were among the Red Shirts.That clearly shows where the violence was coming rom (...) And we have no condence in the politi-cal will to establish the truth.”Since agreeing to conduct an investigationinto the April and May violence in Bangkok, thisinternational lawyer has been banned rom ente-ring Thailand.
RulEs Of EngagEmEnT and cEn-sORshiP
 Was the high number o journalists killed or wounded due above all to a combination o un-ortunate circumstances – the presence o many  journalists (some o them not suciently trainedor equipped), very violent armed clashes in anurban environment, and the act that the Thaisoldiers were not adequately trained, above all indealing with unarmed civilians? Or was there anintention to kill and wound journalists, including oreign journalists?Soldiers used weapons o war to re on unar-med civilians including journalists in the nal dayso the confict,” said a European journalist who was on the streets o Bangkok. “There were clearly no rules o engagement and the soldiers were letto their own devices.” The oreign ministry’s spo-kesman nonetheless insists that there were spe-cic rules o engagement: “Ater the attack on ourunarmed soldiers on 16 April, the army receivedauthorisation to use live rounds against armed RedShirts, these amous men in black. The rules wereannounced to the soldiers. The army was denitely not told to target civilians.”  Another issue o importance or Reporters Without Borders was the reinorcement o Thaimedia censorship and sel-censorship. Taking ad-vantage o the imposition o a state o emergency,the authorities, above all the Centre or Resolutiono the Emergency Situation (CRES), censored news websites such as Prachatai. Asked about this, o-reign ministry spokesman Thani said the govern-ment accorded a great deal o importance to pressreedom but “the circumstances called or mediaresponsibility.///
inquiry into crimes against media
thailand / thailand //
a i   ii  i  :
1. Death o Italian reelance photographer Fabio Polenghi2. Death o Japanese cameraman Hiroyuki Muramoto, who worked or Reuters3. Injury o Nelson Rand, a Canadian reporter working or France 24 TV4. Censorship o the Prachatai news website5. Fire at Channel 3 headquarters in Bangkok 6. Endangering o New York Times photo-stringer Agnès Dherbys7. Injury o Jo Subin, a Thai photographer with the newspaper Matichon8. Injury o Canadian reelancer Chandler Vandergrit9. Account o a oreign correspondent who requested anonymity10. Injury o Chaiwat Pumpaung, a Thai photographer with The Nation
The cross-fre was very intenseat that moment. There was nolonger any restraint on the part oeither the soldiers or the UDD »
September 2006:
Military coupoverthrows Prime MinisterThaksin Shinawatra ollowinganti-Thaksin Yellow Shirtprotests
August 2007:
New constitutionadopted
December 2007:
Electoral victoryby Thaksin’s allies
September 2008:
State o emer-gency declared in Bangkok ater clashes between RedShirt and Yellow Shirt activists
December 2008:
Oppositionleader Abhisit Vejjavija isappointed prime minister byparliament ater the rulingparty’s dissolution
March 2009:
Thaksin urges hisallies to stand up to the govern-ment. Tens o thousands o RedShirts gather in Bangkok andnorthern Thailand.
February 2010:
The supremecourt seizes more than halo Thaksin’s assets ater heis ound guilty o abusing hispolitical position in order toenrich himsel
March-April 2010:
Thaksin’ssupporters occupy severalareas o Bangkok, demandingnew elections and Abhisit’sresignation
7 April:
State o emergencydeclared
10 April:
Twenty people, inclu-ding a Japanese cameramanand fve soldiers, killed inarmed clashes.
17 May:
Renegade generalSeh Daeng killed by a sniperwhile giving an interview tojournalists
19 May:
Sixteen people, inclu-ding Italian journalist FabioPolenghi, are killed in the fnalarmy assault on the Red Shirtcamp. Several buildings inthe capital are gutted by fresstarted deliberately. Dozens oRed Shirt leaders and activistsare arrested.

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