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Rule of Law - Burma/Myanmar-specific

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Asian Human Rights Commission
Description/subject: Several hundred documents on Burma. "The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) was founded in 1986 by a prominent group of jurists and human rights activists in Asia. The AHRC is an independent, non-governmental body, which seeks to promote greater awareness and realisation of human rights in the Asian region, and to mobilise Asian and international public opinion to obtain relief and redress for the victims of human rights violations. AHRC promotes civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. AHRC endeavours to achieve the following objectives stated in the Asian Charter "Many Asian states have guarantees of human rights in their constitutions, and many of them have ratified international instruments on human rights. However, there continues to be a wide gap between rights enshrined in these documents and the abject reality that denies people their rights. Asian states must take urgent action to implement the human rights of their citizens and residents... " Search for Burma and/or go to Asian Countries/Burma. Links, Urgent appeals.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission, Asian Legal Resource Centre
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.ahrchk.net/
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Asian Human Rights Commission - Search results for Myanmar
Description/subject: Several hundred reports and urgent appeals on legal events in Burma/Myanmar, including restrictions on lawyers and unjust conduct of legal proceedings.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 February 2012

Title: Burma/Myanmar laws in need of amendment (texts and commentary) - link
Description/subject: Link to an OBL sub-section
Language: English
Source/publisher: Online Burma/Myanmar Library
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 17 May 2016

Individual Documents

Title: Handbook on Habeas Corpus in Myanmar (English)
Date of publication: May 2016
Description/subject: "...International law guarantees the right of all individuals deprived of their liberty to an expeditious judicial procedure in which an independent and impartial court reviews the legality of their detention and orders the release of individuals wrongfully detained.1 This right is commonly referred to as ‘habeas corpus’ in legal systems that are based on common law. The right entitles anyone who is deprived of liberty by arrest or detention to take proceedings before a court, in order that the court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of the detention and order release if the detention is not lawful. The right to challenge the lawfulness of detention before a court is a self-standing human right, the denial of which constitutes a human rights violation. Habeas corpus protects personal liberty or physical integrity by means of a judicial decree ordering the appropriate authorities to bring the detained person before a judge so that the lawfulness of the detention may be determined and, if appropriate, the release of the detainee ordered. In Myanmar under military rule from 1962 until 2008, there was no effective mechanism to challenge the lawfulness of detention before a court. One of the major (and unanticipated) improvements in Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution was the reintroduction of the writ of habeas corpus. Since then, the government has passed an “Application of Writs Act 2014” and the Supreme Court has promulgated rules and procedures for its implementation. In order to assist and propel the process of judicial reform and strengthen the protection of human rights, the International Commission of Jurists provides this discussion of the law relevant to the writ of habeas corpus under international law as well as Myanmar’s current national law. The following are of particular significance: • Analysis of international standards for challenging arbitrary or unlawful arrest or detention (including that which results in torture and ill-treatment of detainees)... • Analysis of Myanmar’s current legal framework for the Constitutional writ of habeas corpus... • Analysis of the seemingly forgotten and underutilized procedure for challenging arbitrary arrest and detention (similar to the writ of habeas corpus) under Section 491 of the 1898 Code of Criminal Procedure... • Analysis of the few publicly available recent petitions for the writ of habeas corpus... • Analysis of relevant existing precedents (pre-1962) from the Myanmar judiciary’s case law on habeas corpus....."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
Format/size: pdf (672K-reduced version; 842K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Myanmar-Handbook-on-Habeas-Corpus-Publications-Report...
Date of entry/update: 27 June 2016

Title: Handbook on Habeas Corpus in Myanmar - Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: May 2016
Description/subject: နိဒါန္းႏွင့္ အႏွစ္ခ်ဳပ္ အျပည္ျပည္ဆုိင္ရာဥပေဒမွ လူသားတစ္ဦးခ်င္း၏ အခြင့္အေရးျဖစ္သည့္ လြတ္လပ္ခြင့္ကုုိ တရား လက္လြတ္ဆုံး႐ႈံးခံရမႈအေပၚ လ်င္ျမန္ေသာ တရားေရးက်င့္ထုံးဥပေဒ ေဆာင္ရြက္ေပးျခင္း အခြင့္အေရးအတြက္ အာမခံေပးထားရာ ၎တြင္ အမွီအခုုိကင္း၍ ဘက္မလုိက္သည့္တရား႐ုံးမွ ၎တုိ႔အား ဥပေဒအရ ထိန္းသိမ္းခံထား ရမႈအေပၚ သုံးသပ္ျပီး မွားယြင္းစြာထိန္းသိမ္းခံရသူမ်ားအား လႊတ္ေပးရန္ အမိန္႔ေပးပုုိင္ခြင့္ရွိသည္။1 အဆုုိပါ လုပ္ထုုံး လုုပ္နည္းသည္ အဂၤလိပ္႐ိုးရာဥပေဒ (common law) ကုိ အေျခခံထားေသာ ဥပေဒစနစ္မ်ားပါ ေလွ်ာက္ထားလႊာ ျဖစ္သည့္ တရား႐ုုံးေရွ႕ေတာ္သြင္း စာခၽြန္ေတာ္အမိန္႔ကုုိ ေယဘုုယ်အားျဖင့္ ရည္ညႊန္းပါသည္။2 ယင္းအခြင့္အေရး သည္ ဖမ္းဆီးျခင္း သုိ႔မဟုတ္ ထိန္းသိမ္းျခင္းခံရမႈမွ လြတ္ေျမာက္ခြင့္ကုိ တရားလက္လြတ္ဆုံး႐ႈံးျခင္း ၾကံဳေတြ႔သည့္ မည္သူမဆို တရား႐ံုးတြင္ အမႈခင္းဆုိင္ရာေဆာင္ရြက္ခ်က္ရပုိင္ခြင့္ရွိသည္။ သုိ႔မွသာ တရား႐ုံးမွ ေႏွာင့္ေႏွးမႈမရွိဘဲ ထိန္းသိမ္းမႈသည္ ဥပေဒႏွင့္အညီ ျဖစ္၊ မျဖစ္ကုိ ဆုံးျဖတ္ေပးျပီး၊ အကယ္၍ တရားဥပေဒႏွင့္ အညီမျဖစ္ပါက ျပန္လည္လႊတ္ေပးရန္ အမိန္႔ထုတ္ဆင့္ျခင္းျပဳရမည္။3 တရား႐ံုးတြင္ ထိန္းသိမ္းျခင္းဆုိင္ရာ တရားဝင္မႈ ရွိ၊ မရွိ (lawfulness)ကုိ စိန္ေခၚႏုိင္ခြင့္သည္ မိမိကုိယ္ ကုိရပ္တည္ႏုိင္သည့္ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးတစ္ရပ္ျဖစ္ျပီး ၎အား ျငင္းကြယ္ျခင္းသည္ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး ခ်ဳိးေဖာက္မႈ တစ္ရပ္ပင္ ျဖစ္သည္။4 တရား႐ုံးေရွ႕ေတာ္သြင္းစာခၽြန္ေတာ္အမိန္႔သည္ ပုဂၢလိကဆုိင္ရာ လြတ္လပ္မႈ သုိ႔မဟုတ္ ရုပ္ပုိင္းဆုိင္ရာ ဂုဏ္သိကၡာကုိ တရားစီရင္ေရးအမိန္႔ဒီဂရီအားျဖင့္ ကာကြယ္မႈေပးရာ ၎တြင္ ထိန္းသိမ္းခံရသူအား တရားသူၾကီးမ်က္ေမွာက္သုိ႔ ေခၚေဆာင္ရန္ အမိန္႔ထုတ္ဆင့္ျပီး ထိန္းသိမ္းခံရသူသည္ ဥပေဒႏွင့္အညီ ထိန္းသိမ္း ျခင္းျဖစ္သည္ကုိ ဆုံးျဖတ္ႏုိင္ျခင္း၊ သင့္တင့္ေလ်ာက္ပတ္ပါက ထိန္းသိမ္းခံရသူကုိ ျပန္လည္လႊတ္ေပးႏုိင္ရန္ အမိန္႔ ထုတ္ဆင့္ႏုိင္ျခင္းတုိ႔ကုိ ေဆာင္ရြက္ႏုိင္ပါသည္။5 ျမန္မာႏုုိင္ငံ၏ စစ္တပ္အုပ္ခ်ဳပ္ေရးလက္ေအာက္တြင္ ဥပေဒအရေသာ္လည္းေကာင္း သုုိ႔တည္းမဟုုတ္ လက္ ေတြ႔ေဆာင္ရြက္မႈအားျဖင့္ေသာ္လည္းေကာင္း ဥပေဒႏွင့္အညီဖမ္းဆီးျခင္းႏွင့္ ထိန္းသိမ္းျခင္းအား သုုံးသပ္သည့္ တရားစီရင္ေရးအတြက္ ထိေရာက္ေသာယႏၱရား မရွိခဲ့ေပ။6 ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံ၏ ၂၀၀၈ ဖြဲ႕စည္းပုံအေျခခံဥပေဒရွိ ႀကီးမား ေသာ (မေမွ်ာ္လင့္ထားေသာ) တုိးတက္မႈတစ္ရပ္မွာ တရား႐ုံးေရွ႕ေတာ္သြင္း စာခၽြန္ေတာ္အမိန္႔ဆုိင္ရာ စာခၽြန္ ေတာ္အမိန္႔ကုိ ျပန္လည္မိတ္ဆက္ထည့္သြင္းေပးျခင္းျဖစ္သည္။7 ထုိအခ်ိန္မွစ၍ အစုိးရက “၂၀၁၄ ခုႏွစ္ စာခၽြန္ေတာ္ အမိန္႔ ေလွ်ာက္ထားမႈဆုိင္ရာဥပေဒ” ကုိျပ႒န္းခဲ့ျပီး ျပည္ေထာင္စုတရားလႊတ္ေတာ္ခ်ဳပ္မွ အဆုိပါဥပေဒကုုိ အေကာင္ အထည္ေဖာ္ေဆာင္ရြက္မႈအတြက္ နည္းဥပေဒသမ်ားႏွင့္ လုပ္ထုံးလုပ္နည္းမ်ားကုိ ျပ႒ာန္းေပးထားပါသည္။8တရားစီရင္ေရးဆုိင္ရာ ျပဳျပင္ေျပာင္းလဲေရးႏွင့္ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးကာကြယ္မႈ အားေကာင္းလာေစေရး လုပ္ ငန္းစဥ္ကုိ ကူညီတြန္းအားေပးရန္အတြက္ အျပည္ျပည္ဆုိင္ရာ ဥပေဒပညာရွင္မ်ားေကာ္မရွင္ (ICJ) အေနျဖင့္ ႏုိင္ငံ တကာဥပေဒႏွင့္ ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံ၏လက္ရွိ ျပည္တြင္းဥပေဒတို႔အရ တရား႐ုံးေရွ႕ေတာ္သြင္း စာခၽြန္ေတာ္အမိန္႔ႏွင့္ စပ္ဆက္မႈရွိသည့္ ဥပေဒဆုိင္ရာ ဤေဆြးေႏြးမႈစာတမ္းကုိ ေရးသားထားပါသည္။ ေအာက္ပါအခ်က္မ်ားသည့္ အထူးအေရးပါေသာ အခ်က္မ်ားျဖစ္သည္။ • တရားလက္လြတ္ သုိ႔မဟုတ္ တရားမဝင္ ဖမ္းဆီးျခင္း (သို႔မဟုုတ္) ထိန္းသိမ္းျခင္းကုိ စိန္ေခၚမႈျပဳရန္အတြက္ အျပည္ျပည္ဆုိင္ရာစံႏႈန္းကုုိစိစစ္ျခင္း (၎တြင္ ႏိွပ္စက္ျခင္းႏွင့္ မညွာမတာျပဳလ်က္ထိန္းသိမ္းျခင္းတုိ႔ ပါဝင္သည္) • ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံ၏ ဖြဲ႕စည္းပုံအေျခခံဥပေဒဆိုင္ရာ တရား႐ုံးေရွ႕ေတာ္သြင္း စာခၽြန္ေတာ္အမိန္႔အတြက္ လက္ရွိ ျမန္မာ့ဥပေဒမူေဘာင္ကုိ စိစစ္ျခင္း၊ • ၁၈၉၈ ခုႏွစ္ ရာဇဝတ္က်င့္ထုုံးဥပေဒ(CrPC) ပုုဒ္မ ၄၉၁ ရွိတရားလက္လြတ္ ဖမ္းဆီးထိန္းသိမ္းျခင္းကုိ စိန္ေခၚမႈျပဳျခင္း (တရား႐ံုးေရွ႕ေတာ္သြင္း စာခၽြန္ေတာ္အမိန္႔ ႏွင့္ အလားတူသည့္) အတြက္ ေမ့ေလ်ာ့လုနီး ျဖစ္ျပီး တင္းျပည့္က်ပ္ျပည့္ အသုံးမခ်ရေသးသည့္ လုပ္ထုံးလုပ္နည္းကုိ စိစစ္ျခင္း၊ • တရား႐ံုးေရွ႕ေတာ္သြင္းစာခၽြန္ေတာ္အမိန္႔အတြက္ မၾကာေသးမီက အနည္းငယ္ေသာ အမ်ားျပည္သူ လက္လွမ္း မီွႏိုုင္သည့္ေလွ်ာက္ထားခ်က္မ်ားကုိ စိစစ္ျခင္း၊ • တရား႐ုုံးေရွ႕ေတာ္သြင္း စာခၽြန္ေတာ္အမိန္႔ဆုိင္ရာ ျမန္မာႏုုိင္ငံတရားစီရင္ေရး၏ ျဖတ္ထုံးမ်ားမွ သက္ဆုုိင္ ရာတည္ဆဲျဖတ္စီရင္ထုံး (၁၉ ၆၂ မတုုိင္မီ)ကုုိ စိစစ္ျခင္း၊ ဤစိစစ္ခ်က္ (ႏွင့္ ၎အေပၚအေျချပဳသည့္ အၾကံျပဳခ်က္မ်ား) အေရးၾကီးရျခင္းမွာ ျပဳျပင္ေျပာင္းလဲမႈမ်ား
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
Format/size: pdf (1.4MB-reduced version; 4.2MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://icj2.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Myanmar-Handbook-on-Habeas-Corpus-Publications-...
Date of entry/update: 28 June 2016

Title: BURMA/MYANMAR: Prosecutor concludes that case against soldiers for Ko Par Gyi killing “erroneous”
Date of publication: 10 April 2016
Description/subject: "...Therefore, the Asian Human Rights Commission urges that the Government of Myanmar have the criminal case against the soldiers responsible for killing Ko Par Gyi reopened. Specifically, personnel of the Myanmar Police Force’s Criminal Investigation Department should be assigned to conduct a full inquiry and lodge charges in a civilian court against those persons found responsible for the killing. Recognizing that the case of Ko Par Gyi has the potential to serve both as a legal precedent and as a major political achievement in bringing to an end the decades of impunity that soldiers in Burma at all levels have enjoyed for violence committed on civilians, the new government must devote all available resources, be they material, financial or moral, to its success. Let it never again be said in Burma that to bring a case against a soldier in a criminal court is “erroneous”."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 April 2016

Title: The mean streets of Hlaing Tharyar
Date of publication: 28 August 2015
Description/subject: "...While all-out street brawls might not be an everyday occurrence in Hlaing Tharyar, the township is awash with crime – everything from fistfights, robberies, rapes and extortion to assaults and home detentions by lenders against debtors. A senior police officer from the Hlaing Tharyar Myoma Police Station said some of these cases are brought to the attention of police, but many others are “solved” by calling in local toughs who rely on intimidation. Among the obstacles to maintaining rule of law in the township are the huge growth in population, and an insufficient police force. Last year’s census identified 684,700 residents, about half of whom are squatting illegally on land they do not own or rent. Many of these squatters are thought to have migrated to the area in the wake of Cyclone Nargis in May 2008..."
Author/creator: Khin Wine Phyu Phyu
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 30 August 2015

Title: Law and conflict in Myanmar
Date of publication: 11 August 2015
Description/subject: "...in Myanmar, while law has at times been used to manage and avoid conflict, it can also exacerbate it. This is evident when looking at three areas of legal reform between 2010 and 2015: structural, economic and social reforms. Structural reforms established the country’s new constitutional and legal system. Many of these laws were intended to avoid conflict between institutions, primarily by giving the President and the executive significant control, including over the courts. And while many offices and institutions may sound new, they are rather old institutions or positions that have been rebranded, such as references to the former chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) being replaced with the President. Further, the new laws passed since 2010 continue to subordinate the courts to executive and parliamentary control. In fact, the courts are the branch of the government that has been least affected by the transition process. Meanwhile, Myanmar’s economic reforms have been geared towards greater foreign investment and the market economy, including the banking sector, the establishment of special economic zones, and potential reform of the Company Law. These economic reforms generally prevent individuals from challenging government decisions in court, and have also generated conflict between local stakeholders and foreign investors. One of the first and most significant laws passed in terms of economic reforms was the Foreign Investment Law. This raised tension between local and foreign interests include rights to land use, tax concessions, and standards in terms of labour requirements for skilled positions..."
Author/creator: Melissa Crouch
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 August 2015

Title: Road to democracy under repair?
Date of publication: 14 July 2015
Description/subject: "...Myanmar’s political transition is an unusual phenomenon: it is self-made, without any external agency supervising, monitoring or enforcing it. It also derives its power, and authority from the popular support it generates, with or without elections to legitimise it, because of the wider political support it enjoys for the moment. Any “incentives” for those in real control to continue the transition are contained within the process, either in terms of positive options that become available (such as substantial new trade or investment or funding), or in terms of negative options that disappear (lifting of political sanctions, economic sanctions, and inclusion in regional development arrangements, rather than exclusion). The other main characteristic of Myanmar’s transition is that it is tolerated and in principle supported by those giving up power – the military – who can allow it to continue, or who can block it, partially or totally. In all of this, external influences play an important part, but are not critical; they can be supportive, collaborative and expect considerable benefits for their own interests, but they should anticipate a perhaps less than perfect “Myanmar” solution, and cannot count on imposing their own wishes or creating “mirror” copies of their own socio-economic paradigms. In Myanmar, new institutions are being established but are not necessarily yet fully tested; and old institutions are being (slowly) transformed, but are often still incapable of producing the hoped for results. In such circumstances, it can hardly be surprising that many of Myanmar’s “reforms” since 2011 are incomplete, are not delivering all the outcomes hoped for, or in many instances, have not yet even begun to be carried out in any concrete way. Some changes can be implemented by announcement alone, and might rely on general goodwill or on willingness to give things “a go” to see whether or not they can work reasonably well..."
Author/creator: Trevor Wilson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 July 2015

Title: MYANMAR Country Profile prepared by the ICJ Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers
Date of publication: June 2014
Description/subject: "Myanmar has thus far failed to ratify most human rights treaties. Judicial independence is provided for in law, but not respected in practice. In particular, the degree of control exercised by the Executive over the appointment process and the lack of transparency over criteria for selection and promotion, insufficient security of tenure, executive control over the budget and insufficient pay and training are inconsistent with international standards. Lawyers lack a self-governing professional body that can defend the profession’s integrity and professional interests. Although their independence has increased substantially since 2011, on-going challenges remain, such as interference in politically sensitive and criminal cases. Structural problems such as the poor state of legal education have yet to be addressed."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Commission of Jurists - Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers
Format/size: html (372K)
Date of entry/update: 10 October 2014

Title: Constitutional Reform in Myanmar: Priorities and Prospects for Amendment
Date of publication: January 2014
Description/subject: "...The Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Myanmar’s third and current constitution (“the Constitution”), was adopted following a referendum on 10 May 2008, held just eight days after Cyclone Nargis, the most devastating natural disaster in Myanmar’s history. There was little or no public participation in the production of the text of the Constitution; indeed the proposed text was published just one month before the referendum and was unavailable to a large part of the electorate.... 2. However, Myanmar has recently taken a significant step towards participatory democracy by inviting public views on the amendment of the Constitution. In July 2013 the Joint Committee for Reviewing the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (“the Committee”) was established with the aims of: guaranteeing the perpetuation, peace, stability and development of the Republic; bringing eternal peace to all national races and ethnic people by bringing unity between them; and carrying on democratic reforms for building the state. One of the Committee’s first actions was, on October 3 2013, to announce a nationwide consultation exercise aimed at garnering advice from a broad range of political parties, organizations and individuals as to how the Constitution might be amended. This exercise ran until December 31 2013. The Committee has stated that it received 28,247 letters in response.... 3. During the consultation period, the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law (“the Bingham Centre”) took part in a project to encourage participation by the citizens of Myanmar in that consultation exercise. The Bingham Centre assisted in many well-attended workshops across different parts of Myanmar between October and December 2013. As a result of these workshops, over 500 people submitted responses to the Committee. A summary of the Bingham Centre’s experience of people’s priorities for reform is set out below.... 4. However, the immediate priority for reform identified by the overwhelming majority of delegates at the numerous workshops was to amend the onerous procedure for amending the Constitution, without which reform is likely to be extremely difficult. This paper seeks to put those popular concerns into context by comparing to other constitutions around the world the three elements of this procedure, which, in our view, combine to make it so onerous. Those three elements are:..."
Author/creator: Naina Patel, Alex Goodman and Naomi Snider
Language: English
Source/publisher: Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law (Working Paper No 2014/01)
Format/size: pdf (768K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs19/Bingham-2014-01-myanmar_constitutional_reform.pdf
Date of entry/update: 20 October 2014

Title: Law and Economic Development: The Cautionary Tale of Colonial Burma
Date of publication: January 2014
Description/subject: Abstract: "Burmese colonial history suggests that a legal system cannot operate independently from the felt needs of the people who are supposed to obey the law. Despite a monopoly of force for many decades, the British failed to create a sustainable legal system in Burma. Colonial status shifted Burma’s economic role from subsistence agriculture to the generation of large-scale exports. By undermining the traditional Burmese legal system and substituting Western international standards of property rights, enforceability of contracts, and an independent judiciary — all attributes of what some consider to be the “Rule of Law”— the legal system amplified and channelled destructive economic and social forces rather than containing them. This paper examines traditional Burmese law, the administration of law in British Burma, and the consequences of the new legal system for the country and its own stability. The paper concludes by suggesting lessons for Myanmar today, and for the study of the “Rule of Law." ..... Keywords: Rule of Law, colonial law, law and custom, law and development, colonial administration, Burma, Myanmar
Author/creator: Thomas H. Stanton
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Journal of Law and Society / FirstView Article / January 2014, pp 1 - 1
Format/size: pdf (312K-original; 252K-reduced version)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Stanton-2014-01-Law_and_Economic_Development-Burma-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 14 September 2015

Title: The governance palimpsest: order maintenance in Southeast Burma
Date of publication: 2014
Description/subject: Focus on Karen refugees....."The force of habit, the awe of traditional command and a sentimental attachment to it, the desire to satisfy public opinion - all combine to make custom be obeyed for its own sake. In this the ‘savages’ do not differ from the members of any self-contained community with a limited horizon, whether this be an Eastern European ghetto, an Oxford college, or a Fundamentalist Middle West community. But love of tradition, conformism and the sway of custom account but to a very partial extent for obedience to rules among dons, savages, peasants, or Junkers. [. . .] in the main these rules are followed because their practical utility is recognized by reason and testified by experience." (Malinowski 1926).....Re the attached sales flyer for the book, the publishers say that a paperback version will be out in July or August.
Author/creator: Kirsten McConnachie
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Governing Refugees - Justice, Order and Legal Pluralism" (Chapter 4)
Format/size: pdf (619K)
Date of entry/update: 24 February 2015

Title: The struggle for ownership of justice
Date of publication: 2014
Description/subject: "We lawyers just cannot help being Darwinian. We simply cannot shake off our assumption that some legal cultures are more developed than others. We prefer written law to oral law; we are happier with professional judges than with people’s rough justice; and — need I say? — we just love cultures that have their own lawyers.".....Re the attached sales flyer for the book, the publishers say that a paperback version will be out in July or August. (Andrew Huxley 2011)
Author/creator: Kirsten McConnachie
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Governing Refugees - Justice, Order and Legal Pluralism" (Chapter 6)
Format/size: pdf (599K)
Date of entry/update: 24 February 2015

Title: Burma and the Road Forward: Lessons from Next Door and Possible Avenues Towards Constitutional and Democratic Development
Date of publication: 25 July 2013
Description/subject: "The chapter of authoritarian rule may finally be ending in Burma’s complicated narrative. The Burmese government has taken visible steps towards democratic reform. Despite reports of military control and intimidation at the polls,the country transitioned to civilian rule in 20103 after fifty years of control by a military junta. The government also released the country’s preeminent democratic leader and icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been on house arrest sporadically since 1989. Rapid political reforms soon followed. The ability to reconcile Burma’s political history and transition to a democracy will be a challenging one. A successful transformation requires more than legal formalism; legal formalism cannot work without the development of a civil society. However, legal formalism, as Suu Kyi has urged, ensures a rule of law that will allow Burmese citizens, including minority groups, to protect themselves from their government’s historical abuse of power. This Comment discusses how the expansion of legal rights for individuals and minorities is the direct way for Burma to secure a democratic future..."
Author/creator: Connie Ng
Language: English
Source/publisher: Santa Clara Law Review (Vol 53, No. 1)
Format/size: pdf (198K)
Date of entry/update: 21 August 2014

Title: BURMA: Criminalization of rights defenders and impunity for police
Date of publication: 29 April 2013
Description/subject: The Asian Human Rights Commission condemns in the strongest terms the announcement of the commander of the Sagaing Region Police Force, Myanmar, that the police will arrest and charge eight human rights defenders whom it blames for inciting protests against the army-backed copper mine project at the Letpadaung Hills, in Monywa. The commission also condemns the latest round of needless police violence against demonstrators there.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Format/size: html (45K)
Date of entry/update: 29 April 2013

Title: Myanmar Rule of Law Assessment
Date of publication: March 2013
Description/subject: Executive Summary:- Background: • In June 2012, Perseus Strategies and New Perimeter, in partnership with the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, initiated a broad rule of law assessment of Myanmar • Upon completion of this assessment, New Perimeter and Perseus Strategies will launch a program where potentially thousands of pro bono hours from the global law firm DLA Piper will be invested into a focused project to advance law reform efforts in Myanmar... Current situation: • On November 7, 2010, Myanmar held its first election in 20 years – much of the reaction to the reforms instituted by President Thein Sein, inaugurated in March 2011, reflects the hope that the country can break free of its authoritarian past that involves widespread human-rights abuses • Following by-elections in April 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi has joined the government as an elected MP, along with several dozen representatives of the National League for Democracy and ethnic political parties • Major reform efforts have been initiated by the government across an array of areas, which has reinforced these hopes, but there remains a large gap between public perception and the reality of the impact of reform efforts on the ground • There is a strong consensus across the political spectrum that advancing the rule of law and law reform efforts are a top priority, but the government, opposition, and other parties have different views as to the sequencing of specific efforts... Key findings: • President Thein Sein and his allies in the government are making genuine reforms; however, many government institutions are quite fragile and the role of the military remains opaque • For these changes to be permanent and irreversible, constitutional reform is important, but it is unclear if the government will undertake such efforts in the near term • Law reform is being implemented from the top‑down, but these efforts must be driven into government bureaucracies and down to the local level, and coupled with major grassroots efforts to educate people about their rights • The judicial system is in need of large‑scale reform – corruption is a serious issue and decisions are sometimes made by the executive branch • The parliament will be a significant player in law reform efforts, but requires major investment to build its capacity so its contributions can be meaningful • Myanmar requires unprecedented effort to create a criminal defense and legal aid system, reconstitute the Bar Association, and rebuild the legal education system • The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission has potential, but should be reconstituted by the parliament as an independent government agency, in accordance with the Paris Principles • The government has signed several new treaties, but reform efforts could also be advanced through the signing and ratification of the Int’l Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Int’l Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment (CAT), which the government has indicated its intention to do.
Language: English
Source/publisher: DLA-Piper (New Perimeter), Perseus Strategies, Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB)
Date of entry/update: 14 March 2013

Title: The Rule of Law in Myanmar: Challenges and Prospects
Date of publication: 20 December 2012
Description/subject: Report of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) Supported by the IBAHRI Trust and the Open Society Foundations.....Contents: Executive Summary... 1. Introduction: 1.1 The IBAHRI delegation and its mandate; 1.2 Interviews and consultations; 1.3 The rule of law: an overview... 2. Background and History: 2.1 Myanmar in facts and figures; 2.2 Myanmar before 1988; 2.3 Myanmar in the two decades after the 1988 coup; 2.4 The 2008 Constitution; 2.5 Myanmar since 2008... 3. The Civil Sphere: Social, Economic, Cultural, Civil and Political Rights: 3.1 Background; 3.2 Current legal structure; 3.3 Findings; Access to courts and the administration of justice; Freedom of expression, association and assembly; Ethnic conflicts; 3.4 Conclusion ... 4. The Political Sphere: the Branches of Government: 4.1 Background; 4.2 Current legal structure; 4.3 Findings; 4.4 Conclusion... 5. The Legislative Sphere: Parliament and the Reform Process: 5.1 Background; 5.2 The structure of the legislature; 5.3 Findings; The Bill Committee of the Lower House; The Complaints Committee of the Upper House; Other perspectives; 5.4 Conclusion... 6. The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission: 6.1 Background; 6.2 Current legal structure; 6.3 Findings; 6.4 Conclusion... 7. The Military Sphere: the Role of the Army: 7.1 Background; 7.2 Current legal structure; 7.3 Findings; 7.4 Conclusion... 8. The Judicial Sphere (I): Courts and Judges: 8.1 Background; 8.2 Current legal structure; 8.3 Findings; 8.4 Conclusion... 9. The Judicial Sphere (II): the Legal Profession: 9.1 Background; 9.2 Current legal structure; 9.3 Findings; Former and current lawyers; The Attorney General and Justice Soe Nyunt; 9.4 Conclusion... 10. Conclusions and Recommendations... Annexes: A. General Assembly Resolution 66/102 on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels... B. The Peaceful Demonstration and Gathering Act 2012... C. Principles Relating to the Status of National Institutions (The Paris Principles)... D. UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary ... E. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers... F. IBA Standards for the Independence of the Legal Profession... G. UN Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors... H. International Association of Prosecutors’ Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors... I. The Venice Commission Report’s Checklist for Evaluating the Rule of Law in Single States... List of Acronyms
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)
Format/size: pdf (409K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibanet.org/Document/Default.aspx?DocumentUid=DE0EE11D-9878-4685-A20F-9A0AAF6C3F3E
Date of entry/update: 20 December 2012

Title: BURMA: Continued use of military-issued instructions denies rights
Date of publication: 05 November 2012
Description/subject: "Much has been made in recent times of the continued use in Burma of antiquated and anti-human rights laws from the country's decades of military rule, as well as from the colonial era. While legislators discuss the amendment or revocation of some laws, and the issue is debated in the public domain, much less is said of the superstructure of military-introduced administrative orders that officials around the country continue to employ in their day-to-day activities, invariably in order to circumscribe or deny human rights. Among these orders are some being used to restrict or prevent access to land of people who rightfully occupy or cultivate the land, as in the case of villagers from some 26 villages affected by the copper mining project in the Letpadaung Mountain range in Sagaing Region, on which the Asian Human Rights Commission has previously spoken (AHRC-PRL-044-2012). The AHRC has obtained copies of a series of orders issued by Zaw Moe Aung, chief administrator of Sarlingyi Township, where villagers have been fighting since mid-2012 against the expansion of copper mining in the region onto their farmlands. The orders, issued under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, prohibit villagers from access to their farmlands or any form of use of the farmlands, such as for the grazing of cattle. The latest orders expired at the end of October; however, people in the region expect that they will be renewed, or that in any event they will simply be denied access to their land, which is being taken over by an army-owned company and its partner..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 05 November 2012

Title: Where are Burma’s lawyers in the transition?
Date of publication: 18 July 2012
Description/subject: N.B. this article is from 2012....."...NOTES: [1] RULE OF LAW PRINCIPLES (twelve) 1. There must be laws prohibiting and protecting against private violence and coercion, general lawlessness and anarchy. 2. The government must be bound (as far as possible) by the same laws that bind individuals. 3. The law must possess characteristics of certainty, generality and equality. Certainty requires that the law be prospective, open, clear and relatively stable. Laws must be of general application to all subjects. The must apply equally to all. 4. The law must be and remain reasonably in accordance with informed public opinion and general social values and there must be some mechanism (formal and informal) for ensuring that. 5. There must be institutions and procedures that are capable of expeditiously enforcing the law. 6. There must be effective procedures and institutions to ensure that government action is also in accordance with the law. 7. There must be an independent judiciary, so that it may be relied upon to apply the law. 8. A system of legal representation is required, preferably by an organized and independent legal profession. 9. The principles of “natural justice” (or procedural fairness) must be observed in all hearings. 10. The courts must be accessible, without long delays and high costs 11. Enforcement of the law must be impartial and honest. 12. There must be an enlightened public opinion— a public spirit or attitude favoring the application of these propositions. (This proposition has echoes of point number four in it. In addition, it is a requirement that the community be kept informed of the state of the law, social changes and trends requiring amendments to the law (or to the way in which it is enforced), and the need to proceed in a principled way at all times in the general public interest. The media inevitably play a large part in the fulfillment of this requirement – so freedom of the press, of information and of communications is vital.) [See the Southern Law Review Special Issue Restoring the Rule of Law in Volume 4 December 2000 Lismore NSW]..."
Author/creator: Janelle Saffin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 April 2016

Title: LSE discussion roundtable on "Rule of Law" with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (Full Video)
Date of publication: 19 June 2012
Description/subject: "Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi told an LSE audience that fairness and freedom can only be restored to her country under the rule of law. Speaking on her first visit to the UK for 24 years, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said that unity in Burma and a new constitution could only be achieved within a legal framework. “This is what we all need - unless we see that justice is to be done, we cannot proceed to genuine democracy”, she told an audience of students, staff and visitors. She said that she condemned violence wherever it occurred, but that a full understanding of its causes was key: “Resolving conflict is not about condemnation, it’s about finding the roots, the causes of that conflict and how they can be resolved in the best way possible.” The leader of the National League of Democracy in Burma, who has spent much of her life under house arrest on the orders of the country’s military rulers, was speaking as part of a round-table discussion at LSE featuring academic and legal experts. LSE Director Judith Rees reminded listeners that the event was taking place on Aung San Suu Kyi’s 67th birthday and that everyone wanted to celebrate that she was able to enjoy the day in freedom. Professor Rees said: “Your trip to the UK will go down in history and I’m sure that it’s an emotional trip for you.” She also invited the crowd to sing Happy Birthday, adding: “It’s a tribute not just to you but to all those who have campaigned for freedom in Burma.” Alex Peters-Day, General Secretary of LSE’s Students’ Union, presented the guest with a surprise present - a photograph of her late father taken in London in 1947 - and with an LSE baseball cap, a traditional gift for visiting leaders. The panel discussion also involved LSE professors Mary Kaldor and Christine Chinkin, Burmese activist and visiting fellow Dr Maung Zarni, Oxford professor Nicola Lacey and barrister Sir Geoffrey Nice QC. Professor Kaldor ended the event by passing on a question from a student who’d asked Aung San Suu Kyi how she had found her strength to continue her campaigning. She answered: “It’s all of you, and people like you, who give me the strength to continue. And I suppose I have a stubborn streak in me.” "..."... Speaker(s): Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Professor Christine Chinkin, Professor Nicola Lacey, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Dr Maung Zarni Recorded on 19 June 2012 in Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is Chairman of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Member of Parliament of Kawhmu constituency in Burma. She was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1991. Christine Chinkin, FBA, is currently Professor in International Law at the London School of Economics. She has widely published on issues of international human rights law, law, including as co-author of The Boundaries of International Law: A Feminist Analysis. Nicola Lacey holds a Senior Research Fellowship at All Souls College, and is Professor of Criminal Law and Legal Theory at the University of Oxford, having previously held a chair at the London School of Economics. Nicola’s research is in criminal law and criminal justice, with a particular focus on comparative and historical scholarship. In 2011 she won the Hans Sigrist Prize for scholarship on the rule of law in modern societies. Sir Geoffrey Nice QC is a barrister; he is a signatory of Harvard’s Crimes in Burma report. Sir Geoffrey is a member of Burma Justice Committee and works with NGO's and other groups seeking international recognition of crimes committed in conflicts; represents government and similar interests at the ICC. A Burmese native, Dr Zarni is a veteran founder of the Free Burma Coalition, one of the Internet's first and largest human rights campaigns and a Visiting Fellow at the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, LSE. His forthcoming book, provisionally titled Life under the Boot: 50-years of Military Dictatorship in Burma, will be published by Yale University Press. Mary Kaldor is professor of Global Governance in the Department of International Development and Director of the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit at LSE. She writes on globalisation, international relations and humanitarian intervention, global civil society and global governance, as well as what she calls New Wars. "
Language: English
Source/publisher: Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) via Youtube
Format/size: Adobe Flash (1 hour, 2 minutes)
Date of entry/update: 20 June 2012

Title: The ‘Rule of Law’ in Burma
Date of publication: 01 February 2012
Description/subject: "Over the past several months, Burma’s pro-democracy icon and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has constantly repeated the refrain that the government must establish the “rule of law.” That’s a worthwhile goal, as well as a necessary achievement if Burma is going to raise the quality of life and standard of living for its 54 million long-oppressed and impoverished people. In the words of William H. Neukom, the president of the World Justice Project (WJP), “The rule of law is the foundation for communities of opportunity and equity—it is the predicate for the eradication of poverty, violence, corruption, pandemics and other threats to civil society.” But what does the “rule of law” mean?..."
Author/creator: Stephen Bloom
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: pdf (94K), html
Alternate URLs: http://www2.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=22960
Date of entry/update: 21 July 2012

Title: Thin Rule of Law or Un-Rule of Law in Myanmar?
Date of publication: 2010
Description/subject: "...In this article I examine the rule-of-law language and practices of the state in Myanmar in terms of the “thin” rule of law, which is sometimes described as “rule by law.” I am not advocating this type of rule of law. Rather, I am interested in how it can be used to explore the sort of authoritarian legality found in Myanmar, and to advance more critical study of Asian governments’ stated commitments to the rule of law..."
Author/creator: Nick Cheesman
Language: English
Source/publisher: Pacific Affairs: Volume 82, No. 4 Winter 2009/2010
Format/size: pdf (77K)
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2014

Title: Rule of Law: Myanmar - Non-state actors
Date of publication: October 2007
Description/subject: Out of date..... "The military junta is opposed by dozens of armed ethnic guerrilla groups. There are several dozen non-state armed groups in Burma, and each year sees the creation of one or two more. This is a non-exhaustive list of non-state armed groups currently operating in Burma. Some have signed ceasefire agreements, but have since then taken up arms again, following the 2004 government order to hand over their weapons."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC )
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 October 2015

Date of publication: 2000
Description/subject: Abstract: "After nearly thirty years of self imposed isolation, Myanmar has re- emerged as a significant potential destination for foreign investment. One of the key attractions of Myanmar as a destination for foreign investment is its legal system and historical commitment to the rule of law. With ASEAN membership and increasing levels of foreign investment in Myanmar, use of its legal system by foreign investors and their counsel has grown. The aim of this article is to outline, for both investors and legal professionals in other countries throughout the region, Myanmar's legal system and its practical operation in the area of commercial litigation, including the enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards"
Author/creator: Alec Christie
Language: English
Source/publisher: Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal Association
Format/size: pdf (896K-original; 304K-OBL version)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs15/Rule_of_Law_in_Myanmar-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 30 April 2013