Thursday, July 14, 2011
If a soldier commits a crime...
It's not uncommon for justice systems to permit the military to try their own soldiers in a separate courts-martial system. However, in more democratic countries, the constitution generally grants defendants the right to appeal their cases to the regular judiciary. Moreover, the military justice system's jurisdiction is usually limited to incidents that occurred during the course in the line of duty.
By contrast, Myanmar's new constitution establishes an autonomous system of military justice, in which not even the Supreme Court can exercise review of courts-martial. In an article posted on Mizzima, U Myo and James Tager argue that the Constitutional Tribunal can and should limit the military justice system's jurisdiction and ensure that the regular courts can exercise review. While I suspect some of their prescriptions are somewhat idealistic, to say the least, they nonetheless provide a useful overview of the problems Myanmar's military justice system might face. You can read the whole article here.