By KORNRAWEE PANYASUPPAKUN
The court also did not make clear whether drugs and a hand grenade found at the crime scene belonged to the dead suspect.
The ethnic teen was slain on February 15 last year in Chiang Dao subdistrict, Chiang Mai province, by military officer Chonnawee Kum-a-nek, who fired an M16 rifle bullet from behind that pierced the victim’s heart, according to the court.
The court ruling yesterday did not name anyone as guilty and only summed the results of the investigation into the cause of the death of the ethnic teen, his lawyer said.
“The court ruling concluded that the military officer had caused Abe’s death, which opens ways for the family to seek compensation for their loss from the authority and the authority’s agency,” lawyer Rassada Manurassada said.
It is the duty of the prosecutor to file another lawsuit against the military officer, he said, adding the family can also file a case in a civil court seeking compensation.
To determine whether this was a legitimate extrajudicial killing or a murder, the family must rely only on the prosecutor of the court-martial to file the case to the court-martial since the suspect in this case is a military officer.
“In a court-martial, civilians cannot be a joint plaintiff in a criminal case. The public prosecutor of a court-martial must be the one to put the case forward for interrogators to charge the soldier with murder and eventually to the court-martial for punishment,” he said.
“There is a discussion going on about this issue. The court-martial should rule on cases like war crimes. But in a case like Abe’s, who was killed by a soldier, it should go to the court of justice instead,” Rassada said.
The court ruling yesterday left many questions unanswered, he said. Did the authority use the M16 rifle in an act of self-defence? Did Abe attempt to throw a hand grenade at the officers? Did the ammunition and the heroin found in his bag belong to Abe? he asked.