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Thailand to review ICC jurisdiction to probe 2010 violence

Publication Date : 08-11-2012


The Thai foreign ministry will first launch a review before deciding on whether an international inquiry into the 2010 political violence should be allowed.

The first step for the review would be to check if a committee, set up in 2000 to check the mandate of the International Criminal Court, is still in operation, Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said yesterday.

"If getting the ICC involved helps strengthen the justice system in Thailand, then I think it will be a good thing," he said.

Surapong also reminded government critics to wait for the outcome of the review instead of hastily deciding to oppose plans to bring in the ICC.

He said that after Thailand became party to the Rome Statute, which sets out the ICC's jurisdiction and functions, it formed a committee to vet the court's provisions and pave the way to ratification.

The minister went on to say that the committee should examine the pros and cons of consenting to the ICC's jurisdiction on a one-off basis in order to ensure justice for victims of the bloodshed.

This committee is comprised of representatives from the Treaties and Legal Affairs Department, the Council of State, the Office of the Attorney General and the Judge Advocate Department.

Surapong said he had spoken to ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda while she was in Bangkok for a meeting last week. He said he had asked her about a complaint the red shirts submitted to the court in June seeking an ICC inquiry into the political strife.

He said that Bensouda responded by saying that the ICC could only open the inquiry if Thailand consented to it and granted jurisdiction to the ICC as per the Rome Statute.

The minister said it would be necessary for Thailand to grant its consent because it has yet to ratify the statute. He also quoted Bensouda as saying that even if the consent was granted, it would not be seen as an international treaty and could be revoked at any time.

Also, Bensouda said that should the ICC be allowed to look into the 2010 violence, its inquiry would likely fall under the category of crimes against humanity.

Bensouda also said that she would have to check the evidence and circumstances to see if the killings were massive and systematic before classifying the case.


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