DSI ‘still investigating’ 2010 deaths
MOTHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM PLANS TO SUE
>> The Department of Special Investigation says it is still investigating the six deaths at Wat Pathum Wanaram during the crackdown on red-shirt protesters eight years ago.
DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang was responding to reports that the mother of one of the victims planned to visit the DSI on Wednesday to follow up on the case. Payao Akahart lost her daughter Kamolkate, a volunteer nurse who was killed by military fire while helping wounded people at the monastery on May 19, 2010.
Mr Paisit said he had assigned an official to explain the progress of the investigation to Ms Payao and tell her that if she had additional evidence, the DSI would gladly accept it.
“I insist we’re still working on the case and have not dropped it as claimed. Right now, it is at the stage of finding the perpetrators,” he said.
“However, let’s be clear that a criminal charge can only be filed against an individual who has committed the crime such as Pvt A or Pvt B. It’s not possible to charge an entire military unit.”
A source at the Justice Ministry admitted requests had been made to suspend the investigation into the deaths and injuries in the cases involving the crackdown.
“But this doesn’t mean the cases are closed or the investigation is dropped. A further probe can always be made if new evidence is found and prosecutors agreed with the DSI some of the cases should be suspended for now,” the source said.
He added that prosecutors had yet to decide on other cases involving protest deaths, citing as an example the use of an M79 grenade launcher to fire on army officers temporarily based on Dinsor Road in Bangkok, resulting in the death of Gen Romklao Tuwatham.
“There’s credible evidence that someone used an M79 against the soldiers but prosecutors have not decided on the case yet,” the source said. “Nor have they given orders in cases involving skirmishes in a number of places where soldiers were accused of shooting into the protesters.”
Ms Payao on Tuesday submitted a letter to the director-general of the Special Litigation Department under the AttorneyGeneral’s Office to follow up on the case. Trump Jalichandra, a deputy spokesman for the Office of the Attorney-General, told her prosecutors had not yet received the case from the DSI.
Ms Payao told reporters later that she felt the agencies were trying to avoid responsibility so she planned to file lawsuits against both the prosecutors and the DSI for the lack of progress.
Nattapat Akahart, a brother of Kamolkate, said the army had always said the victims were killed by “men in black”, in which case it should also lend a hand to solve the cases.
“The fact is a soldier was also killed ... If the soldiers are sincere in finding the answer they should cooperate instead of dragging their feet,” he said.