Judiciary, legal institutions urged to work honestly for reforms
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said yesterday that rebuilding and reforming rule of law and the justice sector will be a top priority for Myanmar. She said to that end, the country’s legal profession and court system will be strengthened.
The comments were made in her address to the Conference on the Justice Sector Coordinating for Rule of Law held yesterday at the Myanmar International Convention Centre II in Nay Pyi Taw.
One of the benefits of legitimate and efficient rule of law is the confidence that ordinary citizens will receive a fair and impartial hearing in court.
“This delivers long-term social and democratic stability. There is no need and there is no excuse for people to resort to vigilante conduct or to take the law into their own hands”, she said.
Another benefit of rule of law is that it supports economic development. “If there is genuine rule of law, both foreign and domestic businesses can compete fairly. If they feel that the law is transparent and predictable, that there is a level playing field and that disputes will be resolved pursuant to established laws and procedures under a strong legal framework, this will encourage investment and drive our country’s development”, she said.
In order to accomplish this, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said Rule of Law centres will be established across the country.
This would include the training of a future generation of legal professionals, which would further improve the justice system and encourage young people to consider pursuing public service through a legal career, she said.
The court system would similarly be reformed, with a focus on eliminating corruption, improved legal training, and availability of legal counsel for the indigent.
“The public trust in people who are working in the justice sector has eroded. It is because of corruption, exercising the law for their own interests, failing the principle of upholding justice without favour, and not performing their work efficiently and lacking expertise”, she said.
The State Counsellor also said an accused person must be given quick access to a lawyer and to a speedy trial. Myanmar’s long tradition of settling disputes through village and ethnic leaders, and not through courts would be retained and improved.
The State Counsellor also commented on the police force.
“A great many of the complaints sent to higher authorities are concerned with the police. If the public is afraid to seek help from the police or do not wish to come forward about a criminal matter, the relationship and cooperation between the public and the police will deteriorate”, she said.
Yesterday’s conference involves the sharing of ideas that will create new strategies for strengthening, improving and modernizing rule of law, the court system, legal aid and law enforcement.
“I would like to encourage all relevant government institutions and departments to work seriously and diligently, not because of a complaint or suggestions submitted by the people, but because it is your duty and responsibility,” she said.
Union Attorney-General U Tun Tun Oo, in his capacity as the chairman of the coordination committee on the rule of law and justice affairs, extended greetings, pledging to bring about fair laws, transparency and easy access to justice by the people.
In today’s session of the Conference on Justice Sector Coordination for Rule of Law, Sir Jeffrey Jowell KCMG QC of Binghan Center, Dr. Diani Sadiawati, senior adviser to Indonesia’s National Level Development and Planning Ministry, and representatives of the Union Supreme Court, Union Attorney-General’s Office, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Myanmar Police Force, and experts took part in different topics of discussion.
The forum will end today.