The government’s move came as earlier suggested by the Truth for Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and 522 victims, whose evidence was approved by the subcommittee on deciding remedies for political protest victims, were compensated Thursday, under a budget of Bt577 million.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, earlier scheduled to preside over the event at Government House at 3.30pm, assigned Deputy Prime Minister/Interior Minister Yongyuth Vichaidit to serve in her stead.
Many victims have registered to receive the compensation, while some hesitated.
The families of Samapan Srithep, a 17-year-old youth killed during the political chaos, and of Kamonkate Akhad, a volunteer nurse who was shot dead at Pathumwattanaram Temple on May 19, 2010 during the military crackdown on the Red Shirt protests, reaffirmed they would not register for compensation until they are informed that their civil case could still proceed.
The family said they were upset that registration documents stated that no civil suit to be filed against the government in exchange for the compensation granted.
The two families then submitted their complaint to Sompas Nilpan, public service director for the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office who reaffirmed that the government’s scheme already included civil case compensation so that the plaintiff need not spend time in court procedures.
Deputy Premier Yongyuth also met with them, accompanied by human rights activists who urged that the rights of the victims should not be violated and that today’s distribution of compensation was considered only as initial aid.
After the ten-minute discussion, Mr Sompas revealed that the deputy premier allowed the two families have the right to file both further civil and criminal cases, but under the condition that no charge will be filed against the government.
The two families said they agreed with the government’s stance and later joined the ceremony.
Meanwhile, the opposition Democrat party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva noted that the urgent payment of compensation by the government without finding truth would not lead to national reconciliation.
Mr Abhisit said that the process seemed to be politicised and did not follow an appropriate reconciliation path which, he said, should start from fact-finding.
The opposition leader also urged the government to follow the TRC recommendations that compensation should not be paid at once, but given periodically, as the situation is still not stabilised and the immediate payment would hurt the feeling of those who disagreed with the scheme.
The compensation covered the public, government officials and media members who died, were disabled or otherwise injured during political incidents between 2005 and 2010. Those who were killed or disabled in a string of violent protests would receive Bt3 million each which would be given to their surviving spouses or parents.
As for the other humanitarian compensation to almost 2,000 victims–including about 100 persons killed–who were entitled to benefits, the Cabinet approved a budget of Bt2 billion for the overall payment with each recipient receiving Bt4.5 million.
Report by : MCOT