The Report on Human Rights Violation
Human Rights Protection Subcommittee No.1
Report of Examination No / 2008
Subject The Violence Resulting from the Dispersal of the Rally on October 7, 2008 in Terms of Policies and Commands
Plaintiff The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) and Abhisit Vechacheewa, Democrat Party Leader
Defendant Anyone Who Took Part in the Dispersal of the Rallies
NHRC voted in the meeting No.34/2008 on October 7, 2008 in a special agendum, to examine the dispersal of the rally while Abhisit Vechacheewa, Democrat Party Leader, submitted a letter No. 492/2008 on October 9, 2008, requesting an investigation of the dispersal of the rally on October 7, 2008 following the violence which took place after government officers dispersed the rally around the House of Parliament and the viccinity resulted in fatality and morbidity of innocent people which is a severe violation of human rights. NHRC authorized Human Rights Protection Subcommittee No.1 to investigate for fact findings as a special case.
Investigation in the Aspects of Forensic Medicine and Forensic Science Investigations
Following the police officers' use of force and teargas firearms to disperse the rallying crowd on Rajvithee road and Uthongnai road around the House of Parliament in the early morning of October 7, 2008, at about 6 am as well as the dispersal of the afternoon rallying in the Statue of King Chulalongkorn plaza and another dispersal of the evening rally on Sri-Ayudhya road in front of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter, resulting in a lot of casualties, severe injuries of both the people and police officers apart from some fatalities of the protesters, Human Rights Protection Subcommittee No.1 has initially concluded and presented to the National Human Rights Committee on October 17, 2008 that the executions by the police officers, of force and teargas firearms in dispersals of the rallying crowds without warning announcement, together with the absence of the practice in accordance with the principles as set by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the basic principles on the use of force and firearms, leading to the fatalities and casualties of the people and police officers, are actions against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Law enforcement officers who are supposed to respect, protect human dignity and preserve human rights, instead, used force and teargas firearms to disperse the rallying crowd on October 7, 2008 because of the order of the government in order to make possible for the government to carry out the declaration of the government policy as scheduled. This conforms with the fact that the dispersal of the rally had been premeditated earlier since the night of October 6, 2008. The government and the National Police Office, therefore, cannot deny the responsibility for the lost in this event.
The Subcommittee has investigated additional facts as follows:
Following the International Treaties on Human Rights which Thailand is a member, the National Human Rights Committee has the jurisdiction to investigate and report on human rights violation, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights's Preamble's statements as follows:
"Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law."
Following Human Rights Protection Subcommittee No.1 's additional investigation of the casualties and fatalities of the people and the police officers from the dispersals of the rallies by gathering facts from more than 50 on-site witnesses including people, state officers, and the media. Their testimonies to the subcommittee together with the invesitgation of the collected forensic medicine evidences and forensic science evidences, have revealed the issues to be considered as follows.
The first issue is whether or not the injuries and fatalities were the direct results of dispersal of the rallies with teargas.
Deliberation revealed most of the injured confirmed two types of teargas used by the police to disperse the rallies, i.e. teargas canisters launched from firearms and teargas grenades launched by manual throwing.
The ways the teargas worked, according to the witnesses were of two types, i.e. the first one being after the object had hit the ground, it emitted white smoke for a while and later exploded in a loud noise and a further release of more white smoke; the second one being after reaching the ground, the object did not emit any smoke, but later exploded in a loud noise without releasing white smoke.
Before the witnesses got injured, they observed either teargas canisters, or teargas canisters look-alike objects, or teargas canisters look-alike objects which police officers had fired at, and throw at the crowd, hitting directly at the injured persons or hiting the ground near the injured persons followed by explosions which resulted in the witnesses' injuries including blown-off legs, blown-off arms and some other lacerations on the bodies, arms, legs and faces. Some people sufferred from perforations of eardrums. Some sufferred from deep wounds into the fat layers. Some sustained fractures of the arms, legs. Some lost of skin and flesh.
Mrs.Roongthiwa Thartniyom, sustained critically serious injuries from a blast injury to the left eye socket and left side of the head. The scalp was torn, The skull of the left frontal area, the left orbit, and the base of the skull were shattered. The left eye was destroyed. The left side of the brain was destroyed and partially lost. The right wrist, the palm and the right fingers sustained a forceful hit by an object, leaving plastic fragments of cylindrical shape burried in the wrist. The prognosis on arrival at the hospital was only five per cent.
Miss Angkana Raduppanyawoot or Nong Bow,deceased , following a large laceration on the left side of the chest extending to the left arm and deep into the ribs. All of her left ribs were broken. There was 200 ml of blood in the left pleural cavity and severe left lung contusions and lacerations. There were also lacerations of the heart, stomach, spleen, left kidney, and the liver. Her left arm was broken. The left tympanic membrane was perforated. Nearby injured victims witnessing the incident reported that an object was directly shot at the body of Miss Angkana and exploded.
Moreover, a lot of on-site witnesses of the rally dispersals which took place in front of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter and at the Statue of King Chulalongkorn plaza testifed that they saw police officers in the buildings, on the trees and on the walls of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter useing firearms to shoot teargas canisters from within the Metropolitan Police Headquarter at the people walking pass Sri-Ayudhya road in front of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter to the Statue of King Chulalongkorn plaza, and at the people walking pass Rajdamnoen road beside the Metropolitan Police Headquarter to the Statue of King Chulalongkorn plaza, and at the people walking back to Makawan bridge, including the gathering and chatting crowd on the streets during 11:00-12:00 and during 17:00-19:00. The shooting were different in time and places. The police used force to disperse the rally to pave way for the Members of Parliament, the Senators, and the cabinet to enter the Parliament to carry out the declaration of the government policy in the morning and to exit the Parliament after finishing the declaration in the evening.
In addition, several testifiers insisted that they saw police officers useing firearms to shoot explosives from within the House of Parliament. People sustained injuries from continuous bombardments up to hours by police officers, in front of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter and at the Statue of King Chulalongkorn plaza, because they just wanted to pass to help the injured people near the House of Parliament but were blocked by rows of polices. During the negotiation to pass the police rows to go to the House of Parliament, the police's situtation commander announced through a loud speaker of warning to use teargas if the crowd would not retreat but the crowd did not retreat and threw objects such as bricks, sling shots, and fluid-filled bottles which became foamy like acid when in contact with police officers. The police's situtation commander at the site, ordered police officers to bombard teargas explosives into the people, resulting in several injuries and severe casualties and deaths of the people.
Similarly at the House of Parliament, there were periodical bombardments for durations as long as hours, particularly between 16:00-17:00 when it was under the order to use teargas explosives to disperse the rally once again to pave way for the Members of Parliament, the Senators, and the cabinet to exit the House of Parliament after finishing the declaration.
In addition, several medical officers and nurses testified that they were trying to bring in ambulances to rescue the injured people in front of the House of Parliament at Karnruan junction, in front of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter, and at the Statue of King Chulalongkorn plaza but they were bombarded with teargas. People who were bombarded with teargas retreated behind the shelters of several hospitals' ambulances which explicitly show red-cross signs on all sides. However, both the people and the medical units were still under heavy bombardments with teargas explosives.
Forensic evidences show that the injured as well as the severely traumatized patients, sustained wounds from high pressure or blast effects which caused destruction of the tissues, bones and internal organs. As for the death of Miss Angkana, the causes were the big laceration at the left side of the chest, live, lungs and the heart. It can be concluded that they resulted from high pressure contacts with hard objects possessing heat compatible with explosive effects.
Similarly, Mrs.Roongthiwa who sustained severe injuries from high pressure contacts with hard objects at the left eye socket and left side of the haed. Her scalp was lacerated. The left frontal skull was shattered. The base of skull was fractured. The left orbit was broken. The left eyeball was crushed. The left cerebral hemisphere was lacerated and partially lost.
Moreover, some people sustained some overlooked injuries from minute shrapnels deposited in various parts of the bodies because of the sizes of shrapnels were as small as a green or a red bean seed. These small shrapnels punctured and deposited in the bodies, from 1 cm depth and can be as deep as 10 cm beneath the skin if the victims were near the teargas explosives. The symptoms appeared after 72 hours, starting with burning pain, swelling and redness followed by inflammation and putrifaction. If left untreated, the tissues nearby would become necrotized and decomposed. It could get worse to cause septicemia and fatality. If such wounds were in diabetic victims, there would be risks of loosing organs, arm amputations or leg amputations because of much more difficulties in treating such wounds.
As for the investigations of forensic science evidences by the Forensic Science Institute, Ministry of Justice, on October 10, 2008, many forensic scientists were sent to examine and collect evidences at sites and on the victims injured in any of those three sites, by using ionscan instrument both in front of the House of Parliament and in front of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter.
Examinations revealed a highly explosive substance RDX in front of the House of Parliament and in front of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter including on the wall, in front of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter where Mr.Chingchai Udomcharoenkij or Mr.Tee, the artist with his right hand blown off. At present, the final report is awaiting reconfirmation with another instrument, GC-MS. In addition, the highly explosive substance RDX was found on the bodies, clothes and hairs of the injured and the deceased (RDX = Cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine = Cyclonite or Research Development Formular X which is an explosive composite.)
Moreover, highly explosive substances TNT and RDX or C4 were found on some spots near the Cherokee Jeep which exploded in front of the Chart Thai party and killed Pol.Lt.Col. Montree Chartmontree or Inspector Jarb, the chief security guard of PAD. (TNT is Trinitrotoluene which is a explosive substance.) The definite cause of the Jeep explosion has not yet been determined.
The subcommittee envisages that the majority of the injured and severely injured insisted that some police officers used firearms to bombard teargas and threw teargas grenades directly into the crowd, resulting in people's injuries, severe injuries and deaths. The Commandant of the Quartermaster Department, National Police Office, explained after an experimental firing of teargas in front of the Director of the Forensic Science Institute and confirmed that in firing teargas, the shooter should not fire directly to the crowd. The teargas should not be fired in a short distance.
Excessive number of teargas canisters should not be used because of the risks of dangerous chemicals which may be physically harmful. Therefore, the injuries, the severe injuries and deaths were direct results from teargas bombardments by police officers which used force and firearms to disperse the rallies.
As for the police officers who were attacked by the people and was injured in the evening between 16:00-17:00, the event took place after the people were bombarded with teargas to disperse the rallies by police officers in the morning followed by continuous spells of shooting in front of the House of Parliament, in front of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter, and at the Statue of King Chulalongkorn plaza which resulted in people's injuries, severe injuries as bad as blown-off arms, blown-off legs and fatalities. Such use of force to disperse the rally certainly caused people's anger following teargas bombardments.
The second issue is whether or not the teargas which police officers used by firing and throwing into the crowds to disperse the rallies could injure the bodies and kill.
From forensic science examination in the case of teargas using to disperse the rallies on October 7, 2008, as carried out by Doctor Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunan, deliberation leads to a conclusion that in dispersal of the rallies on October 7, 2008, police officers used teargas both firing-driven cannisters and hand grenades which were mostly made in the People's Republic of China. Both types of teargas have detonators as components which were sources of traces of highly explosives RDX which ferociously exploded, resulting in severe injuries and fatalities. Therefore, it should not have been used to control rallying crowds.
Teargas has two dangerous chemicals, i.e., CN (Chlorlacetophenone) and CS (Chlorobenzyliden malononitrile). CS is less dangerous than CN which could cause cancers. In addition, The Commandant of the Quartermaster Department, National Police Office, explained after the experimental firing of teargas, that the Quartermaster Department withdrew all China-made teargas canisters because those teargas canisters which had been purchased since 1993 had been dispatched to stock in several units since 1995. Teargas shooters should neither fire into the crowds, nor within short distances. Excessive numbers of teargas explosives should not be fired because of the composition of dangerous chemicals.
The findings are therefore, police officers used 1993 teargas which had been dispatched since 1995. Both types of teargas had detonators as components which caused violent effects, i.e., "explosions". which were sources of traces of highly explosives RDX at the House of Parliament and in front of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter as well as on the clothes and on the bodies of the injured. The teargas explosives which the officers used to disperse the rallies on October 7, 2008, were therefore, teargas explosives which possessed violent actions which were explosion. Moreover, police officers continuously fired and threw teargas directly at people within short distances in a bombardment manner for lengthy periods several times.
Videos recording of the events submitted by the mass media revealed several police officers walking pass and perceiving several injured people, including some who lost the legs, but only some officers helped the victims.
Despite police officers had already witnessed the effects of the shooting and throwing teargas into the people especially after seeing ones who lost the legs in that morning, and despite police officers had realized then that teargas could cause severe explosive effects so bad that legs were blown off, they still continued using such teargas afterward throughout the day.
The last issue to be considered is who must be responsible for the results of the dispersal of the crowds, i.e., the injuries and the deaths on October 7, 2008.
From the high rank officers' testimonies to the subcommittee which revealed that Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and Deputy Prime Minister General Chawalit Yongjaiyoot had given orders to the National Police Office to use force to disperse the rallies which later resulted in people's and police officers' injuries, severe injuries and people's deaths, deliberation revealed that the uses of force and teargas firearms which were highly dangerous, bombarding and throwing within short distances at people who possessed only some makeshift weapons without direct serious threats, resulting in people's injuries and deaths, were cruel operations, inhuman, and violating human's dignity.
These were acts of violence upon fellow human beings without due consideration to humanity, rights and freedom which must be protected under the 2008 Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand. They violated the Code of Conduct for Law Enforeement Officials (CCLEO, 1997) and contradicted to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article No.3 and No.5 which stated that
Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
and contradicted to the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights article No.6, No.7 and No.9 which stated that
Article 6 1.) Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
Article 7 No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 9 Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
and contradicted to the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and firearms by Law Enforcement Officials which state that law enforcement officers must, at their best possible efforts, try to use non-violent measures first before using force and firearms, and that whenever it is righteously unavoidable to use force and firearms, the law enforcement officers must be restrained to use it, and that they must minimize the casualties and damages with due respect and preservation of human lives.
As for the government role which had ordered the use of force and teargas to disperse the rally to pave way for Members of Parliament, the Senators, and the cabinet to enter the Parliament to carry out the declaration of the government policy, after knowing that the morning dispersal of the rally had already caused injuries and severe injuries, the Prime Minister as the head of the government, instead of ordering a termination of the use of teargas in dispersal of the rally, did not do so. Still, he let the use of force and teargas go on to disperse the later rallies again, in order to pave way for the Members of Parliament, the Senators, and the cabinet to exit the House of Parliament after finishing the declaration.
Despite the policy declaration had already finished, the Prime Minister remained ignorant and let police officers continue bombarding and throwing teargas explosives to the people who were walking pass to help the people trapped near the House of Parliament, and to the people who were walking back to Makawan bridge, resulting in a lot of people's casualties and a death in front of the Metropolitan Police Headquarter.
Therefore, Mr.Somchai Wongsawat the Prime Minister, as the author of the order to disperse the rallies, and the cabinet Ministers who were present in the cabinet meeting but did not oppose the use of force and teargas to disperse the rallies, must be responsible for the losts from the rally dispersals.
The National Police Office, as the authority executing force to disperse the rallies, is currently under investigation and evidences collection, the result of which is to be published in the Report on Human Rights Violation soon..
Doctor Madam Pornthip Rojanasunan
Colonel Piyawat Kingket
Human Rights Protection Subcommittee No.1
October 24, 2008
Goto Human Rights Protection Subcommittee No.1 Report
October 17, 2008