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Laws, decrees, bills and regulations relating to the judiciary (commentaries)

Individual Documents

Title: An Introduction to the Law and Judicial System of Myanmar
Date of publication: March 2014
Description/subject: "The intention of this paper is to provide an introduction to the law and legal system of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Myanmar). Based on common legal texts, the paper highlights the main sources of law and legal institutions, in particular the judiciary and the legal profession. The paper also reviews the structure of the judicial system through different time periods, describes judicial appointments in the highest courts, and summarises key processes in civil and criminal practice and procedure. A brief bibliography is provided at the end of the paper..."
Author/creator: Nang Yin Kham
Language: English
Source/publisher: National University of Singapore
Format/size: pdf (370K)
Date of entry/update: 09 October 2015

Title: Right to Counsel: The Independence of Lawyers in Myanmar
Date of publication: 03 December 2013
Description/subject: Lawyers continue to encounter impediments to the exercise of their professional functions and freedom of association, as well as pervasive corruption, although they have been able to act with greater independence, says the ICJ in a new report launched today. Right to Counsel: The Independence of Lawyers in Myanmar – based on interviews with 60 lawyers in practice in the country – says authorities have significantly decreased their obstruction of, and interference in, legal processes since the country began political reforms in 2011. “The progress made in terms of freedom of expression and respect for the legal process is very visible,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ Asia-Pacific director. “But despite the improvements, lawyers still face heavy restrictions and attacks on their independence, which can result in uncertainty and fear, particularly when it comes to politically sensitive issues.” Systemic corruption continues to affect every aspect of a lawyer’s career and, as a result, is never absent from lawyers’ calculations vis-à-vis legal fees, jurisdictions and overall strategy. “Corruption is so embedded in the legal system that it is taken for granted,” Zarifi said. “When the public also generally assumes that corruption undermines the legal system, this severely weakens the notion of rule of law.” “Lawyers in Myanmar, as elsewhere, play an indispensable role in the fair and effective administration of justice,” Zarifi added. “This is essential for the protection of human rights in the country and the establishment of an enabling environment for international cooperation towards investment and development.” But lawyers in Myanmar lack an independent Bar Council, the report says, noting that the Myanmar Bar Council remains a government-controlled body that fails to adequately protect the interests of lawyers in the country and promote their role in the fair and effective administration of justice. The ICJ report shows that other multiple long-standing and systemic problems affect the independence of lawyers, including the poor state of legal education and improper interferences on the process of licensing of lawyers. In its report, which presents a snapshot of the independence of lawyers in private practice in Myanmar in light of international standards and in the context of the country’s rapid and on-going transition, the ICJ makes a series of recommendations: The Union Attorney-General and Union Parliament should significantly reform the Bar Council to ensure its independence; The Union Attorney-General and Union Parliament should create a specialized, independent mechanism mandated with the prompt and effective criminal investigation of allegations of corruption; The Ministry of Education should, in consultation with the legal profession, commit to improving legal education in Myanmar by bolstering standards of admission to law school, law school curricula, and instruction and assessment of students.
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
Format/size: pdf (463K-reduced version; 1.6MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://icj.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/MYANMAR-Right-to-Counsel-electronic.p...
Date of entry/update: 09 December 2013

Title: Myanmar: Justice on Trial
Date of publication: 30 July 2003
Description/subject: "On 22 May 2003 Amnesty International submitted a 29-page memorandum to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, Myanmar's military government), in order to provide the SPDC with the opportunity to comment on and to clarify various issues about the administration of justice raised in the document. The Memorandum reflected the organization's findings during its first visit to the country from 30 January to 8 February 2003, and drew on its institutional knowledge and expertise about both international human rights standards and human rights in Myanmar. The text of the original Memorandum has now been updated to reflect comments from the SPDC, which were received by Amnesty International on 9 July 2003. The updated Memorandum forms the text of this document, along with a summary of the current human rights situation in Myanmar... Since the submission of the Memorandum to the SPDC on 22 May, political tensions escalated sharply during a National League for Democracy (NLD) tour of Upper Myanmar, culminating in a violent attack on NLD leaders on 30 May. What follows below is a summary of both the attack and the subsequent deterioration in the human rights situation in Myanmar. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD General Secretary, U Tin Oo, NLD Vice Chairman, and other NLD members had been travelling in Upper Myanmar, with the prior permission of the SPDC, during the month of May. As larger and larger crowds gathered to see the NLD leaders, tension increased between the NLD and the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA), an organization established, organized, and supported by the SPDC.(1) NLD members and supporters were reportedly harassed, intimidated, and threatened by USDA members in various locations as they attempted to conduct their legitimate political party activities, including giving speeches and opening local NLD offices. However the SPDC reportedly did very little to diffuse tensions between the USDA and the NLD. While Amnesty International acknowledges the universal right to peacefully assemble and conduct protest demonstrations, the actions of the USDA went beyond such non-violent expressions of dissent. .."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Amnesty International
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA16/019/2003/en/be1bd333-d6b2-11dd-ab95-a13b602c0642/asa1...
Date of entry/update: 19 November 2010