Monday, September 25, 2023

Myanmar Military Junta is Above the Rule of Law

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“My husband should not have died. There is no value of a human life, and there is no accountability. I have become a widow now at a young age,” Nang Hom cried and narrated her story to SHAN.

In February early this year Sai Mg Ngo was hit and killed on the spot by a drunk military junta soldier in Mongsu township Loilem District Southern Shan State
In February early this year Sai Mg Ngo was hit and killed on the spot by a drunk military junta soldier in Mongsu township Loilem District Southern Shan State

In February early this year, Sai Mg Ngo was hit and killed on the spot by a drunk military junta soldier in Mongsu township, Loilem District, Southern Shan State.

Currently, Sai Mg Ngo’s wife is struggling to raise her only three years old daughter after the death of her husband.

According to Nang Hom, even though the military junta promised to provide compensation for the death of Sai Mg Ngo, nothing has been provided up to date.

“The military junta did not provide help or compensation. They did not even come to check. They said they would make sure everything is alright. They asked us to keep the expenses record for the funeral and other costs in front of our elders and everyone. When they made the promise, my husband’s corpse was not cremated yet,” Nang Hom sadly told SHAN.

On 29 January 2022, the accident occurred when Sai Mg Ngo was about to board a passenger car to return to Pan Soi village, Mongsu township. He was hit by a drunk soldier who drove at a high speed, and his body was carried away by about 15 meters.

The truck did not stop even though it hit a person, and it was driven away at a high speed into a military compound.

Sai Mg Ngo was the head of the family and he was a very responsible person. He was the main person to earn and feed his whole family. After his death, his wife has been struggling to earn a living and raise her daughter.

“Nobody comes to speak about the accident now. There is no accountability, and no one is taking responsibility. When he was alive, he fed our whole family. After his death, everything is now on my shoulders. I still have my parents to look after, so it is all on me now. I do not dare to complain. My daughter is only three years old. I am worried that she would feel inferior after her father’s death. So, I am trying my best to raise her not to feel that way even though it is very hard for me,” Nang Hom depressingly told SHAN.

When Sai Mg Ngo was alive, she only stayed home and raised her daughter – she did not have to work.

However, she has to do whatever it takes to earn a living and send her daughter to school now.

“I started to do an online business, I sell things online. I have also done other kinds of jobs which I have never done before. They (Military junta) have the authority to do whatever they want. My husband should not have lost his life – they do not value a human’s life. They also do not have accountability. So, I have become a widow at a young age now. My daughter is also very young,” Nang Hom cried and continued telling her story.

The expenses for Sai Mg Ngo’s funeral, donations, and building his grave was about 150 Lakhs (About 7,500 USD). Even though the military junta asked to keep the expenses record and came to check it, there has not been any compensation up to date, according to Nang Hom.

97 years old man was hit and killed on the spot by a bulldozer ordered by the military soldiers
97 years old man was hit and killed on the spot by a bulldozer ordered by the military soldiers

Similar case like Sai Mg Ngo happened in the Shan State capital city, Taunggyi, last year on 17 March, where a 97 years old man was hit and killed on the spot by a bulldozer ordered by the military soldiers.

According to a 20 years old woman who witnessed the incident, “His blood was spilt on the road. It was around 8 A.M in the morning. It was the Myanmar military’s doing. There was also a motorcycle in the bulldozer’s blade when it occurred. On the cremation day, the military junta claimed that they needed to inspect the corpse and they took it away. They returned the corpse around 1 P.M the same day.”

The military junta did not take any responsibility for the loss of that family – there was not any accountability.

According to a political activist, Nan Kwan Lake, even though the military junta committed so many human rights abuses, there is no legal process to make sure justice is served.

“As we are all aware of, the current Myanmar judicial system is completely under the military junta, so there is no hope at all for justice. We cannot hope that this judicial system will serve us justice, meanwhile, the international community is not doing anything about the military human rights abuses. As we all see, they cannot do anything,” the above political activist, Nang Kwan Lake told SHAN.

She also added that there were some cases where the military took action against its soldiers when the incident was widely known and could not be denied. However, those criminals were released during the amnesty – there were many such cases.

“It is like the military judiciary is not for punishing its soldiers but to pardon them. So, the soldiers committed human rights abuses as they liked. The reason is that they know the military judiciary is not effective. The worst part is that soldiers were never tried outside the military judiciary,” Nang Kwan Lake pointed out the flaws of the Myanmar military judiciary.

According to Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) spokesperson, Sai Hor Hseng, it is the responsibility of the army to protect its civilians; however, the military actions indicated that they are committing human rights abuses.

“If we would like to take action against the army according to the laws, first we need to make sure if our judicial system is strong enough to bring justice and to protect our civilians. If not, we will not be able to do anything against the military through the judiciary. Currently, the military junta holds all the authorities, and I think it would be very difficult to have a just judicial system,” Sai Hor Hseng told SHAN.

A lawyer also pointed out that even though the military junta is taking the country’s authority according to the 2008 constitution, the country’s rule of law has been deteriorating after the coup in February 2021.

“If there is no rule of law and justice, and the civilians are oppressed, it would only damage the image and reputation of the military institution in the long run. Currently, the military junta is torturing its own civilians. As a well-established institution, the more they tortured and oppressed the people, the more it is damaging itself. Without the rule of law within its organization, it will only ruin its structure and image,” a lawyer told SHAN.

The lawyer also added that in a judicial system, everyone is under the rule of law. In the case of injustice, judicially it is valid and can be brought to justice regardless of any reasons.

“In a judicial system, no one is above the laws. Judicially, any injustice cases can be brought to court and trial according to my opinion. The rule of laws will still be applicable one day, it will not go away – just a matter of time and the way the trial will proceed. The rule of law will be there even though there is no ruler. Rules and regulations are always there,” the above lawyer pointed out his perspective.

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