The Central Administrative Court yesterday ordered the government to compensate yellow shirts injured in the 2008 crackdown against protesters outside Government House.
A total of 261 demonstrators, most of whom were supporters of the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), were injured, and one was killed, when the Somchai Wongsawat-led government ordered police to break up the demonstration on Oct 7, 2008.
The protesters were attempting to block Mr Somchai from delivering his policy statement to parliament, which he was legally required to do within 15 days from taking office.
A panel of judges from the court, led by Sirikan Panpitak, ruled that compensation for the yellow-shirt protesters was warranted given the current government's resolution on Jan 10 this year to compensate victims of the deadly crackdown against red-shirt protesters in 2010. The maximum compensation rate for a protester killed during the rallies is 7.5 million baht.
During the 2008 crackdown, police were accused of using tear gas improperly.
The plaintiffs said government officials had failed to issue warnings and to comply with international standards for dealing with peaceful protests.
The court agreed, ordering the Royal Thai Police Office and the Prime Minister's Office to compensate the victims within 60 days.
The court decision holds former premier Somchai and former deputy prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh responsible, as they issued the orders for police to intervene.
The court agreed with the opinion of the National Anti-Corruption Commission that the crackdown was an overreaction. It also endorsed remarks from the National Human Rights Commission which state that Mr Somchai, Gen Chavalit and former Bangkok police chief Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwon committed crimes of physical assault, premeditated murder and attempted murder.
The court dismissed Mr Somchai and Gen Chavalit's claim that a male protester had been killed with a grenade that he had brought along himself.
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- Writer: Mongkol Bangprapa