whether armed or unarmed, “to protect property” in addition to the lives of theofficials or members of the general public.
After the first failed crackdown, modified rules of engagement were approved byCRES on 18 April 2010, which expanded the powers of officials to use lethal force inorder to protect “other people, official property, and private citizens under theirguard.” The modified rules of engagement authorized security forces to use liveammunition against: 1) Anyone seen carrying weapons who disregarded a notrespassing order, posed any danger to others, or prepared to use the weaponsagainst officials or the general public; 2) Unarmed civilians moving in a large crowdwho contravened a no trespassing order and were perceived to pose an unspecified“danger;” 3) Anyone who resisted arrest or refused to submit to a search. Themodified rules of engagement also approved the deployment of snipers who couldtarget armed persons mixed with crowds of “innocent people” and allowed theprovision of medical assistance to those injured, “according to human rightsprinciples,” only “after officials have managed to bring the situation under control.”Because the modified rules of engagement were approved almost one month inadvance of the crackdown of 13-19 May 2010, former Prime Minister Abhisit wasaware of the plan he was authorizing when he ordered the commencement of military operations on 12 May 2010.
The high casualty toll among unarmed civilians resulted directly from the policyauthorized by the Prime Minister, as opposed to actions taken by security forces ontheir own initiative. Particularly under the modified rules of engagement, securityforces were authorized to shoot civilians for merely throwing stones, handlingslingshots, destroying property, or otherwise resisting the Army’s operations. As adirect result, by the Royal Thai Army’s own admission, troops fired nearly twohundred thousand rounds of live ammunition in the April and May crackdowns,including five hundred sniper rounds. While none of those killed or injured wereever shown to have posed any danger to the lives of the officials or the generalpublic, the rules of engagement approved by the government nonetheless madethem a legitimate target for the use of deadly force. Also responsible for the heavyloss of life during the second crackdown were the declaration of live fire zones(explicitly permitted under CRES’ secret orders), the enforcement of rules that onlyallowed the injured to receive medical treatment after the situation had already been brought under control, and the government’s failure to specify clear criteria todistinguish between legitimate and illegitimate targets of lethal force.
Once confronted with reports of indiscriminate killings perpetrated by the armedforces, former Prime Minister Abhisit failed to exercise his authority as a superior toeither suspend the operations or reshape them in a way consistent with internationalstandards. As the second crackdown was unfolding, on 15 May 2010, Mr. Abhisitinformed the public that any losses resulting from the military operations in facthad to be accepted in the interest of justice. On that basis, he refused to halt theoperations. On 18 May 2010, moreover, Mr. Abhisit rejected a ceasefire proposed bya group of Senators who sought to broker an agreement with the Red Shirt leaders.As a result, twelve more people were killed on 19 May 2010, including the sixgunned down by security forces at Wat Pathumwanaram, the temple designated bythe government as a safe zone.
Finally, former Prime Minister Abhisit is responsible for the crime against humanityof imprisonment and other severe deprivation of physical liberty, through hisknowledge and approval of the CRES policy that authorized the illegal detention andenforced disappearance of hundreds of protesters after the rallies were dispersed.