Expert Report Cites Deliberate Killings of Civilians by Thai Military
BANGKOK, Jan. 30, 2011 – Lawyers acting on behalf of the Red Shirt pro-democracy movement in Thailand are presenting an application before the International Criminal Court tomorrow including a powerful expert witness report. The report submitted by Joe Ray Witty, a former U.S. Army Sergeant and crowd control expert with the Los Angeles Police Department SWAT, finds that the Royal Thai Army’s operations on May 19, 2010 were “military in nature” and “designed to kill innocent civilians, without provocation or justification, in order to suppress the Red Shirt demonstrations.”
Download a copy of the report over at New Mandala.
Witty’s expert statement represents one of the first publicly available documents to shed light on the specific events of the April and May 2010 crackdowns resulting in some 90 deaths of Red Shirt protesters. The report contains many shocking revelations, including the Army’s alleged responsibility for the April 10th bombings on Dinso Road, which prompted the troops to begin firing directly into the crowds. Given the shrapnel pattern, sounds, and distances between protesters and soldiers, the report concludes it would not have been possible for the Red Shirt protesters to toss the grenade.
“It is clear to me, therefore, that the grenade was either dropped or rolled along the ground by someone within the ranks of the troops in the immediate vicinity of the explosion,” the expert statement reads. “An M67 grenade has a timed fuse of five seconds, ample time for someone to surreptitiously drop a grenade in the area of the explosion and walk behind the adjacent APC, visible in the video evidence, in time to avoid injury. In my opinion, this is the only plausible deduction, based on the evidence I have examined.”
The report goes on to state that the Royal Thai Army’s conduct in numerous circumstances was criminal in nature, and failed to meet the military’s own rules of engagement. They did not engage in a rational or reasonable crowd-management operation, the report argues, but instead sealed off the exits, corralled the protesters in a confined space, and “engaged in various illegal acts designed to provoke the crowd to violence so that the Army would appear justified in its use of deadly force against demonstrators.”
Lead lawyer Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff LLP said that the facts contained in the Witty report represent the most important documentation to date of alleged human rights abuses and crimes against humanity committed by the Government of Thailand in April and May 2010.
“I would challenge the Thai government to provide any other credible expert witness who could dispute this assessment of the events,” said Amsterdam. “We believe the evidence collected in this report, and the ICC application as a whole, is irrefutable.”
Along with leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), Amsterdam & Peroff will present the ICC application on Monday, Jan. 31 at 11:30AM Bangkok time. A copy of the ICC application and accompanying materials will be published tomorrow on http://www.robertamsterdam.com/thailand.