THAILAND: Perpetrators involved in seizure of Cho-airong Hospital must be brought to justice without use of torture

A Press Release from Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

On 13 March 2016, the Cho-airong Hospital was laid siege by an unknown group of armed insurgents. It was further reported that more than 20 armed men with war weapons have raided and taken control of the hospital and then used it as their base to launch the armed attack against the Military Ranger Company base TP 4816. After the incident, officers from the Office of Police Forensic Science have collected more than 2,000 bullet cases of various types of firearms including M60 and AKA. Intended for attacking the military ranger base located adjacent to the public hospital, the act was clearly a breach to international humanitarian law and convention and in view of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, it could constitute a crime against humanity which is a grave criminal offence.

The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) has the following opinions to make regarding the incidence;

1. A hospital and public health facility must be respected and protected by all parties. It is prohibited to launch an attack to impede the performance of duties by medical personnel or to attack the facility or to use the facility as a base for military operation. Any breach of such principle is unacceptable in whatsoever circumstances and for whatsoever reasons since the act can be construed a crime against humanity.

2. We condemn the incidence in which the armed insurgents had laid siege to the hospital and used it as a base to attack a military barrack and urge society to condemn it as well. We urge that they come out to acknowledge their act and to apologize to medical personnel and patients in the hospital as well as to general public. All those responsible for the attack including those at the commanding level must be brought to justice and they must publicly vow to not let such incidence happen again.

3. Even though this is a heinous crime, security officers must adhere to the rule of law in their attempt to bring the responsible persons to justice. No torture and inhumane treatment can be allowed since it would also infringe upon the law. Public is urged to help monitor the situation and any individuals who may commit an act of human rights violation and crime against humanity and report the information in order to track down the perpetrators including those at the commanding level and to bring them to justice at the national and international levels.

4. People particularly in the Southern Border Provinces are tired of the use of violence against each other among various factions. Regardless of their race and religion or their personal opinion or political view, they have all been roundly affected by the armed violence in the past 12 years. We urge that all parties in the violent conflicts stop to use violence and seek ways to establish the dialogue to make peace in the Southern Border Provinces.

For more information, please contact Pornpen Khongkachonkiet Tel. +66 2 693 4939