Myanmar’s legal system in ruins under Military Council
“ Political cases decided by military instructions to the judges”
Narinjara News, January 26, 2023
Myanmar’s legal system under the Military Council is broken ,and political cases are decided by instructions from military authorities, according to a lawyer.
In Rakhine State, all those arrested on suspicion of being related to the Arakan Army (AA) were decided by the military, and there are many pending cases that cannot proceed without authorization from the military.
In those cases filed by the military, the plaintiffs representing the junta often don’t turn up for court hearings, and so the accused and their families may wait for months without any hearing of the case.
Among them is the case of 2 villagers from Kyaukpyu Township who were charged with Section 17(1) of the Unlawful Association Act. These two defendants are: U Thein Tan (47) and U Tin Aung (50) from Min Tat Taung Village, Kyaukpyu Township.
They appeared in the Kyaukphyu Township Court at around 11:30 am on January 24, but as the plaintiff from the Military Council repeatedly failed to show up, the trial had to be postponed 7 times, family members said.
It is said that the two of them will have another trial on January 31.
“ The plaintiff has not come to court since the trial started. Now it has been exactly 7 times. Every time my husband appeared in court, the plaintiff did not come, so we suffered a lot because the case was not heard,” said the wife of one of the defendants.
She said that she wanted the plaintiff to be summoned for a speedy trial. However, the judge has no influence on the military’s plaintiffs.
A legal employee, who did not want to be named, criticized the fact that the Military Council’s plaintiffs have repeatedly failed to appear in court.
The court was being blocked from hearing the pleas and the grievances of the defendants, who had to remain in prison.
“ The court issued a summons through the police to inform the plaintiff on the date of the trial that he must be examined as a witness. The plaintiff also received it, and knew about it. If the summons has been confirmed three times and he did not come, the judge has the legal right to issue an arrest warrant to bring the person to the court. That’s for the judge to do. Now the judge is not doing it.”
Among those currently arrested are government employees, social activists, and ordinary civilians. Some of them have been charged under Section 17(1), Section 505(a)(b), etc. It is said that in many cases, the trial is often postponed because the plaintiffs from the military do not come.
The families of those arrested told Narinjara that they have no contact with their families and do not know where they are being held.
From August to November, when the resurgence of fighting between the Military Council and the Arakan Army (AA) in Rakhine intensified, civilians were arrested daily in Rakhine state.