DSI ‘still in­ves­ti­gat­ing’ 2010 deaths



>> 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.

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