Legal bid over 1976 killings

Legal bid over 1976 killings

People lay wreaths and flowers in remembrance of the Oct 6, 1976 massacre, during the memorial gathering at Thammasat University, Tha Prachan campus, on Wednesday. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
People lay wreaths and flowers in remembrance of the Oct 6, 1976 massacre, during the memorial gathering at Thammasat University, Tha Prachan campus, on Wednesday. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

A lawyer-activist has said he will attempt to bring the perpetrators of the 1976 Thammasat Massacre to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Kritsadang Nutcharas, a Thammasat University graduate and Ratsadon group lawyer, made his intentions known during a speech on the 45th anniversary of the Oct 6, 1976 crackdown at the Tha Prachan Campus of Thammasat University.

"Oct 6, 1976, was not a political accident but it was an intentional act by those who held power at that time and wanted to massacre students who called for freedom and democracy at the university," Mr Kritsadang said of the crackdown on students and left-wing activists demonstrating inside Thammasat University.

Mr Kritsadang said he has studied events around the massacre and he thought it is possible to take a case to the ICC, even though the incident occurred more than 40 years ago. The chances of such a case succeeding were unclear.

Students and others who survived the crackdown have yet to receive an apology or compensation from the state or those in charge, while the massacre was considered a "political crime" by the world, in which those responsible should be prosecuted, he said.

According to official figures, 45 deaths were reported, of whom 40 were students and members of the public and five government personnel.

A further 145 people were injured while 3,094 were arrested of which 18 were found guilty of a crime.

Commemorations are held each year at the Historical Sculpture Park inside the university, and at this year's event former PM, Chaturon Chaisang, gave opening remarks.

Mr Chaturon said society should understand that this massacre was rooted in a social structure, social system, and ideology.

He said upper-class members of society of that period were responsible for what occurred.

"They did it by creating hatred in society against the students and poor folk and killed them violently," Mr Chaturon said.

"Such a thing still occurs in society today," he said.

Mr Chaturon said Thais should find a way to change the nation's social structure because those ideas that made it possible for those "students and people" to be killed are still evident today.

He added that Thailand must find a way that guarantees freedom of speech.



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