Just over a year ago, and while still with Amnesty International, I wrote a report on unlawful attacks by the insurgents in southern Thailand. The legal conclusion was that they are committing war crimes, which in turn depends on the southern violence being designated an internal armed conflict (as opposed to banditry, a law enforcement problem, an “insurgency”, or other ambiguous term). There was not space in the report, however, to substantiate that designation in as much detail as I would have liked.
In view of that, and more importantly, the recent up-tick in the number and intensity of attacks in the South and the attention they’ve received in Bangkok, readers may be interested in this recently published article. It was written in April and so is modestly factually “behind”, but it otherwise establishes the South as an internal armed conflict. It is unfortunate that after nine years that is what has developed in the deep south, but it is clear now that the law of war applies there. If you are interested in my full analysis it is available here.
Benjamin Zawacki is a former Thailand researcher for Amnesty International