Roundtable discussion on Rule of Law and Public Security

  • By Zin Oo and Khin Yadana

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Deterrence of attacks and pulling down the crime rates are important factors in conjunction with the crime prevention: Deputy Attorney General U Win Myint.
The second part of round table discussions on public justice and rule of law was conversed by panelists U Myo Tint, Judge of Supreme Court of Myanmar; U Win Myint, Deputy Attorney General of Union Attorney General’s Office; U Han Nyunt, Member of Anti-Corruption Commission of Myanmar; Police Major General Aung Naing Thu, Deputy Chief of Myanmar Police Force; and U Aung Soe, Member of the Joint Coordination Committee for Rule of Law and Justice Affairs of Yangon Region, Notary Public, Advocate being conducted at the Studio Hall of Myanma Radio and Television (Tat Kon) in Nay Pyi Taw on 4 October 2018.
Moderator: We have heard the rise of crimes in various forms that were committed by individuals and groups. Many violent incidents involved weapons. I would like to request the panelists to share the views on that matter including the challenges.

U Myo Tint: I am of the view that the violence with weapons in the midst of human society is a challenge to the rule of law of that human structure. When the innocent public has lost confidence in their security of life and property, then the people started to feel lost of trust on the administrative machinery and justice mechanism. There are two ways to prevent this matter.

Punishment that fit the crime
The first point is crime prevention and taking legal action to the wrong doers immediately according to law. At this juncture, the prosecutors must act in time and call in the witnesses to the courts. I believe that when the respective courts pronounced deserving sentences at the earliest, then the crime rates would decreased. Therefore, the administrative sector and judiciary sector must act in top gear in arresting the culprits so as to pulling down the crime rates in the society.
U Win Myint: I would like to discuss on the stream and flow of news reports. The reporting of digital media is much faster and broader than the print media. When a crime is occurred, the public is being informed by the social media. There are good aspect and bad aspect. When the news is exaggerated, the public is being alarmed. When the news is directed in a wrong way, negative impacts come up to the forefront. Therefore, it is necessary to control the fake news. When we evaluate the rising crimes, it usually started with the dissatisfaction over a matter. The discontent is to be settled according to law, but some persons take the matters into their own hands. Most of the crimes are rooted on uncontrolled anger and fury while doing their own livelihood that involved small weapons. We must take deterrent actions on the crimes that involved weapons such as hard sticks, knives and small weapons. Moreover, the violence in groups must be effectively curbed. When we look into the crimes, we need to tackle on drugs, alcoholism and gambling. Analyzing over a crime, it has negative impact over the culprit, the victim and the state, and therefore, crime prevention is very much important.

No sentence over the innocent
We need public awareness talks on crime prevention. On the other hand, we need to equip CCTV cameras and modern surveillance devices. Effective prosecutions of culprits and deterrent sentences on them are vital. The innocents must be spared while the culprits are to be punished. Heavy sentences should be pronounced on the crimes that breach rule of law and security of wards and villages.
The concept of sentencing is generally based and directed on moral correction, but only the deserving and heavy punishment could lead to the rule of law. We all need to cooperate to overcome the challenges. Individual responsibility to respect the law is necessary while the relevant departments must act in line with their duties. I would like to share my view that the rule of law would prevail when we implement our duties.

U Han Nyunt: Allow me to share my view. The rise of violent crimes is related with bribery and corruption. The corruption could ruin the rule of law and the judicial system would collapse. Any form of graft could bring negative impact. The rise of crimes is connected with the corruption. Corruption is the common enemy of the people. It is the right time for the people to consider the graft as the common enemy of the people. Time has come for the people to step forward for the rule of law through unity in the corruption free atmosphere.

Disturbances to pull down the judicial pillar
We are witnessing many chaotic issues such as the unruly acts; the destruction of justice; the transformation of right things into wrong impression and vice versa; and making things upside down. Various means of bribery is carried out into the hands of the law enforcers with the intent to knock down the judiciary pillar. They used various methods to wreak havoc in the rule of law.
At this juncture, we could see “the rule of law” and “the terminator” in parallel. We must think and decide who will finally win. Who will be the winner? Perhaps the rule of law or may be the terminator. It is time for us to think. The people must decide. We must evaluate and decide. We must find solutions. I would like to suggest and advice to work together and pay more attention on the rising crimes with focus on anti-corruption drive.
Police Major General Aung Naing Thu: Myanmar Police Force is facing two challenges with regards to the rule of law. The first category is the crimes being committed again by the ex-convicts who were freed after serving jail sentences. The other category is the crimes being pushed and catapulted by the multifaceted issues of politics, social, economic and religion.
The crimes that fall under the first category could be contained and controlled systematically by our area surveillance tasks through crime prevention.
The challenges of crimes under the second category cropped up from the politics, social, economic and religion could not be deterred by our Myanmar Police Force alone, but by all the relevant organizations through cooperation.
When we looked into the second challenge, some unfortunate people while in search of jobs were fall victims into the traps of greedy and insatiable money makers. From that stage, the victims committed illegal tasks and finally breached the law.
Some people moved to the towns and cities in search of livelihood, making the towns congested with over population. Along with the rising population, crimes have risen due to the social problems; the illegal squatters; and the crimes committed in groups.
Another factor is connected with modern digital age with the broader use of Internet in towns and villages, resulting with online fraudulences. The crimes are compounded with the trafficking in persons; the security breach of personal privacy; the slandering of personal matters. Moreover, some people wrongly intimated the alien culture and inappropriate characteristics and committed crimes.
When the road transportations and communications are getting better, the trade and business trend is fast moving. Along with that development, business and economic crimes are on the rise such as that of cross border crimes; the illegal trades; the traffic in persons. Some young people dropped out from schools and entered into available odd jobs turning themselves into tough and rough individual. Eventually, they headed into the direction just to get hold of money by all means, and find lust in illegal business.
These are the challenges found in the ground realities in the rise of crimes. The growth and over population of towns and cities; the better transportation and communication; the better technology; the finer amenities have all supported the development of the nation. However, on the other hand, may people fall into victims of greedy people resulting with the rising crimes such as cross border offences; the cyber crimes in the international arenas; eventually challenging the rule of law.
The neighboring countries and the whole world are working for the development of their own countries, while we are also working for the development of our own. In order to avoid the hurdles and hindrances of our development, we have to face the difficulties and find solutions by working among the Myanmar People Force; the law enforcement forces; the judiciary institutions; the lawmakers; the officials of relevant government departments and the people to overcome the challenges.
Translated by UMT (Ahlon),
Photo by Thiha Sithu

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