Geneva Convention, occupying powers, PAD, and the Thai 7
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Geneva Convention, occupying powers, PAD, and the Thai 7

The Bangkok Post:

Meanwhile, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, a leader of the Thai Patriots Network, said the Thai embassy in Cambodia had tried to bar the network’s legal team from meeting the seven Thais. This could affect their court defence and consequently deprive them of an opportunity to return to Thailand.

He said the network had also petitioned the UN asking it to intervene.

“We will not accept the Cambodian court’s ruling as the court procedures are not in line with the fourth Geneva Convention,” he said.

BP: The fourth Geneva Convention?? MCOT have a slightly better explanation

Chaiwat Sinsuwong led activists from the Thai Patriots Network to the world body’s Bangkok regional headquarters to present the letter to the UN Secretary-General.

Mr Chaiwat said that that matter was of concern to the UN because the area where the seven were arrested was used by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to accommodate Cambodian refugees in 1975 after asking for permission from Thailand.

After the UNHCR moved out, some Cambodians have continued to live there. Accordingly, Thailand believes the arrest of the seven Thais is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Mr Chaiwat said, arguing that the Cambodian court has no authority to rule in the case but must send it to an international body for adjudication.

The network called on the UN to help the seven detainees, he said, adding that he believed the letter would reach the UN secretary-general on Tuesday and the group’s overseas members will follow up on the reaction from the world body.

BPSo what is the fourth Geneva Convention you ask? Wikipedia:

The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention

BP: Now, wanting a war with Cambodia doesn’t mean we are actually in a time of war. In case you are having a WTF moment, from the Convention:

Article 2 states that signatories are bound by the convention both in war, armed conflicts where war has not been declared and in an occupation of another country’s territory.

Article 3 states that even where there is not a conflict of international character the parties must as a minimum adhere to minimal protections described as: noncombatants, members of armed forces who have laid down their arms, and combatants who are hors de combat (out of the fight) due to wounds, detention, or any other cause shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, with the following prohibitions:

(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) taking of hostages;

(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment

(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

Article 4 defines who is a Protected person: Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals. But it explicitly excludes Nationals of a State which is not bound by the Convention and the citizens of a neutral state or an allied state if that state has normal diplomatic relations within the State in whose hands they are.

BP: Thailand and Cambodia are signatories, but still. One assumes he is not conceding they were arrested in Cambodian territory so the argument is that Cambodia is an occupying power. There are a list of rules on how people should be treated, but if the Geneva Convention is going to be invoked one needs to be careful as it allows for internment:

Art. 42. The internment or placing in assigned residence of protected persons may be ordered only if the security of the Detaining Power makes it absolutely necessary.

If any person, acting through the representatives of the Protecting Power, voluntarily demands internment, and if his situation renders this step necessary, he shall be interned by the Power in whose hands he may be.

Art. 43. Any protected person who has been interned or placed in assigned residence shall be entitled to have such action reconsidered as soon as possible by an appropriate court or administrative board designated by the Detaining Power for that purpose. If the internment or placing in assigned residence is maintained, the court or administrative board shall periodically, and at least twice yearly, give consideration to his or her case, with a view to the favourable amendment of the initial decision, if circumstances permit.

Unless the protected persons concerned object, the Detaining Power shall, as rapidly as possible, give the Protecting Power the names of any protected persons who have been interned or subjected to assigned residence, or who have been released from internment or assigned residence. The decisions of the courts or boards mentioned in the first paragraph of the present Article shall also, subject to the same conditions, be notified as rapidly as possible to the Protecting Power.

BP: Not sure that the internment of the Thais and review in six months is what the PAD/PAD-affliate groups want though…. Otherwise, BP can’t see any details of a breach of the Convention…

btw, BP wondered about associating Chaiwat with the PAD given he is now speaking under a different umbrella, but he is one of the 9 PAD leaders and well BP cannot see any discernable difference between his rhetoric and the PAD.