Myanmar law students are reporting for JURIST on challenges to the rule of law in their country under the military junta that deposed the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the former State Councillor deposed and detained by the Myanmar military in February 2021, has been charged in 19 cases since 30 December 2022, and all of these cases have been decided by the courts. The courts have ordered her imprisonment for a maximum term of 33 years in connection with these 19 cases. Her representatives and lawyers are currently applying for appeals and making preparations to challenge the orders issued by the lower courts.
There are many cases to hear in the Supreme Court, but all cases are not heard on the same day. Because there can be many conditions, some cases can be ordered on different days, some can take a long time to be filed in the Supreme Court, and some can be late as there can be other cases to appeal in the Supreme Court. On July 5, 2023, the Supreme Court heard two cases in which Daw Suu’s lawyers had filed preparations concerning the Myanmar Official Secret Act and Section 130(A) of the Election Act. However, Daw Suu herself was not present in court, as is the usual practice. Her lawyers pleaded before the judges in the Supreme Court, but their statements were not made public. The orders issued by the Supreme Court have not been published, and only the families of the applicant and her lawyers have copies of the orders. Therefore, I am facing difficulties in obtaining the orders.
On July 14, 2023, the Supreme Court heard Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s five appeals that were filed under Section 5 of the Anti-Corruption Law. On July 18, 2023, the Supreme Court will hear five appeals which two related to the Natural Disaster Management Act, one appeal related to Section 67 of the Communication Act, one appeal related to Section 8 of the Export and Import Act, and one appeal related to Section 505(B) of the Penal Code. Additionally, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers are preparing to file six appeals under Section 5 of the Anti-Corruption Law, four of which are related to the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, and two related to U Maung Wait, a Myanmar businessman and the founder of “Maung Wait and family Company” which engages in real estate trading and construction. There is also an appeal to be heard that was filed under the Anti-Corruption Law and involves the seizure of 600,000 dollars and 7 pounds of gold from U Phyo Min Thein who served as a chief minister of Yangon Region and was the chairman of Union Democratic Party.
The above information pertains to the appeals and preparations in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s cases. As a law student, I believe that all courts dealing with political prisoners should be open to the public, and everyone should have the right to attend the proceedings and hear the orders. Furthermore, all courts should allow copies of orders to be made available to anyone interested in the cases. If the courts operate with transparency, judges and individuals engaging in wrongful actions will feel ashamed and be more likely to correct their behavior. Therefore, it is crucial for every court to be transparent, except when it comes to the inquiry of child rape cases.
Opinions expressed in JURIST Dispatches are solely those of our correspondents in the field and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.