Wednesday, April 24th 2024

Judges' silence on repeated failure of military plaintiff's trial in Rakhine State criticized



Narinjara News, 19 March 2023


The judges at the district and township level of Rakhine State remain silent regarding the repeated failures of the military plaintiff's trial and they have not taken any action to address the pertinent issue.

This inaction has resulted in criticism of the judicial sector as repeated delays have harassed the defendants along with their families.

U Myat Tun, Arakan human rights defenders and promoters association director, has criticized the plaintiff and the judges in cases involving individuals who were arrested on suspicion of having links with the Arakan Army (AA), but they repeatedly failed to attend the trial. It demonstrates a lack of respect for the laws, he observed.

"When a lawsuit is brought to the court, all witnesses and plaintiffs must appear for examinations. Failing to testify is a form of disrespect towards the court and the laws," he added.

Many individuals, who were arrested on suspicion of having ties to AA faced the hardship due to multiple trial postponements. The absence of a military plaintiff has been cited as the reason for these delays, but the judges have not utilized ordinary summons or court orders to compel their attendance.

"They are acting as dictators, intentionally behaving as if they hold all the power. This is a dictatorial approach. Under the law, if a summoned plaintiff fails to appear, a final warrant can be issued," asserted U Myat Tun.

Reports indicate that trials involving individuals arrested on suspicion of having ties to the AA have been delayed multiple times, where some cases experienced even nine postponements. The absence of plaintiff military officers has been cited as the reason for these delays.

On 14 March, 14 defendants, including ward administrator U Win Maung (who is charged under section 17(1) of the Unlawful Association Act) from Zayditaung in Kyaukphyu township, appeared in the township court.
But the plaintiffs in the case, captain Shine Htet Aung with another officer, failed to appear at the trial, causing the postponent till 21 March, said the concerned family members.

Similarly, during the trial of U Aung Kyaw Hla (aka Nyi Daung Chey), ward administrator of Okkar Pyan, at the Minbya township court on 14 March, the hearing was adjourned for a week due to the absence of the judge. Daw Oo Mya Yee, wife of the defendant, confirmed that the trial was postponed.

5 Minbya residents, including U Aung Kyaw Hla (aka Nyi Daung Chey), who were prosecuted under the unlawful association act 17(1) and (2) after arresting by the military council soldiers on 8 October 2022 also faced the same fate.

During the trial of U Lay Maung Thein (aka U Hla Maung Thein) at Sittwe district court on 10 March, the plaintiff captain Waiyan Paing Soe of the Sittwe-based 354 battalion and the judge U Win Naing from Sittwe township, failed to attend the proceedings.
The plaintiffs in the case failed to appear in the court for three consecutive hearings (10, 28 February and 10 March), said a concerned family member while talking to Narinjara News.

During the court hearing of U U Kyaw Hla, 66-year-old Daingnet administrator of Tat Min Chaung village under Buthidaung township, and U Hamid Tu Song, 66-year-old Muslim village administrator of Mee Kyaung Zay at Buthidaung township court on 9 March, the plaintiffs military Intelligence (Sa Ya Pha) captain Nay Min Oo of Buthidaung strategic and captain Soe Win of the border guard failed to attend the proceedings. Consequently the trial was postponed till 17 March.

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