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Global Viewpoint

Thailand has a chance if Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva can stop the killings

Former foreign minister of Thailand weighs in on Thailand's crisis.

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Consider, for example: On Dec. 14, 2009, a British court issued an arrest warrant for former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for Israeli action against the Palestinians in Gaza. Spanish courts have pursued the former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet for the alleged crimes of humanity he had committed against Chileans in Chile.

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For the rest of his life, Abhisit may have to think twice before he travels abroad. A holiday visit to his alma mater, Oxford University, may become out of reach for him.

On May 13, the Asian Centre for Human Rights warned Abhisit of his individual criminal responsibility regarding the use of force against civilian protesters in Thailand.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, I call on you to decisively and magnanimously put an abrupt stop to Thailand’s free fall into the abyss. The situation in Thailand is very bad, but it can get much worse. Now is the time to put a decisive end to the killings. Now is the time to put an end to the use of force against civilians.

There is no more time for further negotiations. There is no more time for political posturing. The power to end this crisis is in your hands. Whatever you think could be gained from buying more time before the dissolution of the parliament surely cannot be worth more loss of lives and injuries. Dissolve parliament now and give Thailand a chance to reset itself before it is far too late.

Kantathi Suphamongkhon is the former foreign minister of Thailand. He was in office until Sept. 19, 2006. He is currently senior fellow at the Burkle Center for International Relations at the University of California at Los Angeles where he also teaches law and diplomacy.

© 2010 Global Viewpoint Network/ Tribune Media Services. Hosted online by The Christian Science Monitor.

[Editor's note: The original version of this essay misstated the date of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s latest decision to use force against protesters.]