Pubdate: Fri, 26 Feb 2010
Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Copyright: The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2010


Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will set up a committee to
reinvestigate the extra-judicial killings of drug suspects during the
Thaksin Shinawatra administration's war on drugs.

Mr Abhisit announced the formation of the panel yesterday after being
questioned in parliament by Chalerm Yubamrung, chief of the Puea Thai
Party MPs.

Mr Chalerm said that when Mr Abhisit was the leader of the opposition
bloc, he accused Thaksin of committing crimes against humanity by
ordering the extra-judicial killings of more than 2,500 people
suspected of involvement in drug trafficking, during the war on drugs
in 2003.

Mr Abhisit had wanted to bring the issue to the attention of
international human rights organisations, Mr Chalerm told the House.
Since coming to government, however, Mr Abhisit had made no serious
attempt to pursue the matter.

Mr Chalerm said he wanted to know how much progress a government
inquiry into the allegations was making.

An independent committee investigating the extra-judicial killings had
concluded the Thaksin administration had not ordered them. The panel
was appointed by former prime minister Surayud Chulanont.

Thaksin deserved an apology, Mr Chalerm said.

Mr Abhisit said he was willing to take up the matter. He would set up
a panel to reinvestigate the suspected extra-judicial killings.

However, Puea Thai MPs and Thaksin supporters should not see the move
as a bid to bully Thaksin, Mr Abhisit said.

The Justice Ministry had looked into the extra-judicial killing
allegations and found that many claims were true.

The panel appointed by the Surayud government did not reach any
recommandations on who was responsible for the killings.

The panel's tenure expired before it could complete its findings and
the People Power Party-led coalition government did not take it up. 
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