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September 18, 2012

Thai Foreign Minister Supports ICC Jurisdiction

Thai media outlet Thai Rath has reported that the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, has said the following on the jurisdiction of the ICC:

“It is time for Thailand to accept the ad hoc jurisdiction of the ICC in order to allow the truth to come out.”

After months of uncertainty, Surapong’s statement demonstrates the Pheu Thai government’s commitment to bringing the perpetrators of April-May 2010 to justice. His announcement also reveals a lack of faith in the integrity of the Thai judicial system.

It is a long awaited response to the UDD’s application to the ICC to launch an investigation into the killings of civilians by the Thai military. Surapong, moreover, invited the Democrat Party to issue an application for the abuses of the 2004 “war on drugs”.

Although Thailand has signed the Rome Statute, it has not ratified it. However, according to Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, Thailand may, via a declaration lodged with the ICC, accept the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court. Such a declaration would need to be ratified by the Thai government’s cabinet.

Suraprong’s statement followed a speech made by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during his webcast at a Red Shirt rally that was held on Saturday 15th September to commemorate the anniversary of the 2006 military coup.

PM Thaksin said:

“The Thai government should recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC… as there is little hope for justice within Thailand.”

UDD lawyer Robert Amsterdam, who defied Thai army threats and spoke to the crowd on Saturday, had some strong words for former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the man that many consider responsible for the deaths in April-May 2010.

“[Mr Abhisit] says he is ready to face justice in Thailand, because he knows that he will never face justice in Thailand. I am telling Mr Abhisit.. he will face justice.”

In regards to the status of the ICC case, Amsterdam assured the crowd that:

“Our application to the ICC is being treated very seriously.”

Watch Amsterdam’s full speech here.

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