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05BANGKOK687 TAK BAI INDEPENDENT COMMISSION REPORT

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 000687

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/BCLTV, DRL; US PACOM FOR FPA

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL TH HUMAN RIGHTS

SUBJECT: TAK BAI INDEPENDENT COMMISSION REPORT

 

REF: 04 BANGKOK 8567

 

 

 

¶1. (U) SUMMARY: The Independent Commission investigating the

October 2004 Tak Bai incident has concluded that three senior

security officials, including the Fourth Army Commanding

General, failed to monitor their subordinates during the

transfer of detainees from Tak Bai to a Pattani Army camp.

Officially seven people remain missing. The Independent

Commission suggested no legal action or punitive

recommendations (in the belief that such recommendations were

beyond its mandate), but the Government has assigned the

Ministry of Defense to conduct a military disciplinary

investigation of the three senior officers cited in the

report, and ordered the Police Department to conduct a

criminal investigation. The Government has also established

a committee to provide assistance and compensation to victims

and their families. The Thai Senate and the National Human

Rights Commission (NHRC) have also completed similar reports

on Tak Bai. The Senate report describes abuses in more

detail and calls for greater accountability. No progress in

holding the officers accountable is expected until after the

February general election. END SUMMARY.

 

GENERAL PHISAN CITED FOR NEGLIGENCE; SEVEN STILL MISSING

 

¶2. (U) On January 18, the Embassy received an English

language document from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

entitled, &Summary of the Findings and Recommendations of

the Independent Fact-Finding Commission on the 25 October

2004 Incident Leading to the Death of Individuals at Tak Bai

District, Narathiwat Province, Thailand.” A copy of the

document was faxed to the Thai desk and to DRL on January 20,

¶2005. The 13-page report provides a general overview of

events leading to the deaths of over 80 Muslim demonstrators

by discussing 11 &issues for consideration.8 A large

portion of the summary provides justification in general for

the use of force under certain conditions and reinforces the

authority of the Fourth Army Regional Commander, General

Phisan Watthanwongkhiri, to take action in response to a

violent demonstration. A set of nine recommendations

completes the report. The report notes that in addition to

the numbers previously reported as shot or killed by

suffocation, the commission found that seven people remain

missing.

 

¶3. (U) However, the commission’s report further states that

&the commanding officers concerned (were seen) to be badly

lacking in judgment for having failed to supervise the

transportation of the persons in custody until its

completion.8 The report cites 4th Army commander Gen.

Phisan (by title and position but not by name) for having

&failed to properly perform his duty and failed in his

responsibility as a commander to closely monitor and

supervise the mission he entrusted to his subordinates.8

Major General Chaloenchai Wirunphet, Commander of the 5th

Infantry Regiment, and cited as the officer in charge of

crowd control at Tak Bai, is also criticized for failing to

perform his duties responsibly. Major General Sinchai

Nutsathi, Deputy 4th Army Commanding General, assigned to

prepare logistics (transportation and accommodation) for the

demonstrators, is also cited in a similar manner.

 

THAI SENATE AND HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION REPORTS

 

¶4. (U) Three Senate Committees also investigating the Tak Bai

incident have released a joint report which cited more

specific human rights abuses at Tak Bai and in its aftermath,

including the beating and kicking of demonstrators. The

Senate report states that &those responsible for the

incident must be punished through the legal system(right up

to the highest level(8 The National Human Rights

Commission (NHRC) also has issued a brief three-page summary

statement, reiterating the concerns of both the Independent

Commission and the Senate reports, but not providing details

on human rights abuses and only generally calling on the

Government to pay compensation to victims.

 

FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS

 

¶5. (SBU) COMMENT: From the outset, members of the

investigating Independent Commission were very clear: they

would produce only a report and they had no authority to hold

persons accountable for their actions. Their position was:

&It should be for the agencies tasked with the

implementation of the judicial process to dispense justice

for all the parties concerned.8 The Thaksin Cabinet, to its

credit, has instructed both the military and the police to

take up investigations of the three officers cited in the

report. Military disciplinary and Police criminal

investigations have been ordered. But with the country’s

attention captivated by post-tsunami efforts and daily

election wrangling, further investigation and true

accountability probably will not move forward swiftly without

continued pressure from Thai human rights groups and civil

society leaders. END COMMENT.

 

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

August 26, 2011 at 4:37 am

One Response

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  1. Wonder why it is that none of the recent batch of released cables include dates? That makes them less useful.

    Kevin Hewison

    August 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm


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