DSI denies targeting Abhisit, Suthep

The Department of Special Investigation is only performing its duty as a law enforcement agency and has not targeted former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban for premeditated murder charges as alleged, DSI chief Tarit Pengdit said on Thursday.

Mr Tarit said the DSI is a law enforcement agency. Once legal cases in connection with the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) protests are categorised as special cases the DSI is duty-bound to proceed with legal action against all sides in the conflict.

A total of 213 cases have been filed against UDD members. They include 64 terrorism cases, 62 arson cases and 87 other related cases, he said.

Cases against state authorities were still in the early stages. The court had just made a ruling on one case, that Phan Khamkong, a taxi driver and UDD supporter, was shot and killed by government troops on Ratchaprarop road on May 14, 2010.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva (L) and Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdit (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

Mr Tarit said when Mr Abhisit was in government he had reported to the prime minister that there were cases in which government authorities were believed to be responsible for 11 deaths, and that the cases must be forwarded to the court for further investigation.

Mr Abhisit agreed and assigned him to explain to the military so there was a proper understanding over the issue. The investigation had since been carried out and the Phan Khamkong case was the first to get a court ruling -- that he died from shots fired by troops acting on the orders of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES).

The DSI, therefore, had to proceed with the case, aiming at the source of the order, the CRES.

Mr Tarit said he personally felt that all sides involved must share the responsibility for the losses and damage.

The DSI had not worked alone, but with police and prosecutors, in handling the special cases. Therefore, if a charge was to be filed against anybody, it must be agreed on by the three parties - DSI, police and prosecution.

The DSI chief also cited the Truth for Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) suggestion on page 193 of its report, which pointed out the CRES's shortcomings. It said the CRES issued orders to the authorities handling the protests, but failed to systematically follow up the results.

The TRC's report on page 243 also stated that the agency which gave the orders must also take legal responsibilty and be liable for criminal action, Mr Tarit said.

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