By The Nation
NACC members agreed that there should be an appeal of the acquittal of then-Metropolitan police chief Pol Lt-General Suchart Muenkaew. But they said the work of the other three officials was focused on policy rather than the violent suppression operations that day, and so their acquittals should not be appealed.
NACC member Surasak Kirivichian said the NACC had reviewed the evidence as well as the court’s central and individual judge verdicts. They divided all those involved into two groups: the policy makers and the operations officers.
If the incident had continued beyond one day, the responsibility for violence would fall on the policymakers, because it would raise questions about whether they reviewed their policies and instructions, Surasak said.
However, the suppression operation lasted one day, and thus responsibility for actions lies with officers who may have taken action fell beyond their instructions, he said.
The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders earlier this month acquitted former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, his deputy Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, then-police chief Pol General Patcharawat Wongsuwan, and then-Metropolitan police chief Pol Lt-General Suchart Muenkaew.
They were found not guilty in relation to the police crackdown in October 2008 that left two people dead and more than 400 injured.
The NACC, as the plaintiff in the case, reviewed all the evidence and only disagreed with the acquittal of Suchart. The NACC sees Suchart’s role that day as an operational commander and thus very familiar with procedures to be followed on the day of the protests. He was close to the situation and had the authority to issue orders to change the course of actions but failed to do so, said the NACC. It would be correct to challenge his acquittal, they said.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) yesterday resolved to file a charge against the NACC after it decided to only appeal against Suchart, claiming the action was equivalent to helping the other three.