Thursday, May 31, 2018

Rare trial for Myanmar officer

Radio Free Asia reports here on a rare instance of an Army officer being prosecuted. The officer killed a civilian in the course of investigating a domestic dispute. Quaere: why was the Army involved in the first place -- and why shouldn't the case be handed in the civilian courts? Excerpt:
Major Aung Ko Ko Min, an officer from the army’s Light Infantry Unit 587, was charged with the murder of Tin Soe Myint, a resident of Ale Sait Village on Kalar Gote Island in Ye township on May 15, officer Myint Win from the Ye township police force told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

Khin Swe Tint, the dead man’s wife, reported the killing to the Lamine Region Police Station, requesting that action be taken against the soldier, he said.

The army has taken Aung Ko Ko Min into custody and has begun an investigation, he said. The officer will be tried in a military court.

“The villager Tin Soe Myint got into a fight with his father-in-law [who] reported the fight to the Light Infantry Unit 587,” Myint Win said.
The story explains:
The case is a rare instance of an army officer being held accountable for a crime despite decades of Myanmar’s powerful military acting with impunity, especially in areas affected by ethnic conflict and civil war.

The country’s 2008 constitution, drafted by a military junta in power at the time, guarantees that soldiers are immune from prosecution by civilian courts — a protection that gives local authorities little impetus or power to bring the perpetrators of crimes to justice.

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